GDC Online: Game On for Adobe Gaming

With the leaves changing color and cooler temperatures on the horizon, I always feel like fall is a great time to reflect on the accomplishments of the past year and take stock. Looking back at GDC Online 2011, I am incredibly excited about how Adobe Gaming has progressed over the past year!

At this year’s GDC Online, the Adobe Gaming team is thrilled to show off some of the amazing accomplishments from game developers using Adobe technology, including runaway indie game successes like Song Pop, Wonderputt, and Botanicula, along with Stage 3D hardware accelerated browser and social games from bigger studios like Square Enix’s Legend World, SilverStyle Studio’s Herokon, Zynga’s FarmVille 2 and Ruby Blast. Even if you’re not able to join us at the show, check out the new Adobe Gaming channel on YouTube – it’s jam-packed with demos, how-tos, and product previews that help you get started with 2D and 3D game development.

But that’s not all we’re showing off at GDC Online 2012, far from it! We’ll be previewing software codenamed Project Monocle, and demonstrating how this advanced profiling tool for Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR can help developers gain much more insight into their code and increase their productivity. Believe me, you’ll never go back once you’ve seen Monocle :).

Two of our Adobe game superstars – Thibault Imbert and Renaun Erickson – will be demonstrating not only how developers can target the reach of the Flash Player, which is on 1.3 billion connected desktops, but also how super-charged 3D games like Madfinger’s Shadowgun and Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have begun to take advantage of that huge reach even though their games were developed using Unity. More details on their sessions on, “Adobe Gaming at GDC Online 2012.”

And if you’re inspired to develop your own game, don’t forget that you could win cash thanks to the Epic Flash Games contest happening now.

There’s a lot to show in Austin, and we’ll be posting some of the highlights later this week. In the meantime, check out the Adobe Gaming showcase, and tell us if you’ve got a great game you’ve developed using Adobe Game technologies!

The Web, Documented

Every great software platform needs some essential ingredients: one or more programming languages, great tools such as editors, compilers and debuggers, frameworks and libraries that make things easier, an enthusiastic community that help each other out and good documentation that helps get the most of the platform. The web platform is probably the biggest, fastest growing and most ubiquitous platform in the (short) history of computing. And while it has many of these essential elements, there is one that was still lacking: official documentation.

Think about what you do when you have a question about HTML, CSS or JavaScript. There are probably a few sites you trust, a few printed books you keep close at hand, if you’re old-fashioned, but more times than not you just search what’s out there and see what comes up. It could be a well maintained, up to date, credible source, or it could be articles or blog posts that are out of date or just plain wrong.

And the web platform is not static! The browsers keep evolving and implement new functionality, specs keep getting updated, and new specs get proposed and implemented. Best practices evolve as well.

Since there’s no single, definitive resource to go to, there’s no way to know for sure, except through trial and error.

All of that is changing today. The W3C – in collaboration with Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Google, HP, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nokia, and Opera – is announcing the alpha release of Web Platform Docs, a new web destination that will become the definitive resource for all open web technologies. You can find the W3C press release here. The Web Platform Documentation (WPD) will include:

  • API documentation
  • Information on browser compatibility
  • Examples
  • Status of specifications

And the WPD project will be open and community driven, just like the web. WPD is built on top of MediaWiki, the same engine that powers Wikipedia — which means that anyone can contribute. The initial content is being provided by many of the stewards listed above, but anyone with knowledge, examples, snippets or other relevant information is welcomed and encouraged to contribute.

The stewards have been working incredibly hard on this project for a bit over a year, and I want to congratulate them on the launch today. We are very proud to be participating in this effort. This is the culmination of the effort to build this infrastructure, but in many ways this is also a first step. It is now up to the web community to help create and maintain the most comprehensive and authoritative reference for web technologies. So, go check it out and start contributing. Document the web!

Adobe Gaming at GDC Online 2012

Game Developers Conference Online 2012 is upon us! This Austin event brings together the best and brightest professionals in online, social and cloud gaming – and we’re excited to be a part of it. Our team will be there and speaking at two sessions you won’t want to miss!

Changing the GameTuesday, October 9 at 2:00 p.m. CDT

From Stage3D development on the desktop with Flash Player, to cross-platform mobile development with Adobe AIR, Adobe is shaping Flash to be the console of the web. Join our own Sr. Product Manager Thibault Imbert to get an inside look at technologies, such as Stage3D (for GPU acceleration) and Project Monocle, and hear about their role in some of the latest gaming titles (e.g., Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) created. Register for this session here.

Introducing Project “Monocle” from Thibault Imbert on Vimeo. *Sneak Peek * Get a look into Project Monocle before the session:

Are AAA 3D Games for the Web Possible?Wednesday, October 10 at 3:00 p.m. CDT

Building AAA 3D games for the web require many features, including GPU hardware acceleration, shader languages, audio, input, content loading, content caching, and full screen support. Gaming Evangelist Renaun Erickson will cover feature comparison of WebGL/HTML5, Flash, Unity and Google Native Client technologies, and highlight how developers are using them to push previously unheard of boundaries during his session. Be sure to attend – register here.

Interested in more about Adobe and Gaming? Get the full scope on Adobe Gaming. And, if you’re working on a Flash game or have an idea you think is really special, enter the Epic Flash game contest!

 

Flash to Focus on PC Browsing and Mobile Apps; Adobe to More Aggressively Contribute to HTML5

[Also posted on Adobe's Conversations Blog]

Adobe is all about enabling designers and developers to create the most expressive content possible, regardless of platform or technology. For more than a decade, Flash has enabled the richest content to be created and deployed on the web by reaching beyond what browsers could do. It has repeatedly served as a blueprint for standardizing new technologies in HTML.  Over the past two years, we’ve delivered Flash Player for mobile browsers and brought the full expressiveness of the web to many mobile devices.

However, HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively.  This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms. We are excited about this, and will continue our work with key players in the HTML community, including Google, Apple, Microsoft and RIM, to drive HTML5 innovation they can use to advance their mobile browsers.

Our future work with Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores.  We will no longer continue to develop Flash Player in the browser to work with new mobile device configurations (chipset, browser, OS version, etc.) following the upcoming release of Flash Player 11.1 for Android and BlackBerry PlayBook.  We will of course continue to provide critical bug fixes and security updates for existing device configurations.  We will also allow our source code licensees to continue working on and release their own implementations.

These changes will allow us to increase investment in HTML5 and innovate with Flash where it can have most impact for the industry, including advanced gaming and premium video.  Flash Player 11 for PC browsers just introduced dozens of new features, including hardware accelerated 3D graphics for console-quality gaming and premium HD video with content protection.  Flash developers can take advantage of these features, and all that our Flash tooling has to offer, to reach more than a billion PCs through their browsers and to package native apps with AIR that run on hundreds of millions of mobile devices through all the popular app stores, including the iTunes App Store, Android Market, Amazon Appstore for Android and BlackBerry App World.

We are already working on Flash Player 12 and a new round of exciting features which we expect to again advance what is possible for delivering high definition entertainment experiences.  We will continue to leverage our experience with Flash to accelerate our work with the W3C and WebKit to bring similar capabilities to HTML5 as quickly as possible, just as we have done with CSS Shaders.  And, we will design new features in Flash for a smooth transition to HTML5 as the standards evolve so developers can confidently invest knowing their skills will continue to be leveraged.

We are super excited about the next generations of HTML5 and Flash.  Together they offer developers and content publishers great options for delivering compelling web and application experiences across PCs and devices.  There is already amazing work being done that is pushing the newest boundaries, and we can’t wait to see what is still yet to come!

Danny Winokur is the Vice President and General Manager of Interactive Development at Adobe

 

[UPDATED: 11/15/11 at 6:40 p.m. PT]

Read these related posts from Adobe’s Ben Forta, Thibault Imbert, Lee Brimelow, Pritham Shetty, Mike Chambers, Andrew Shorten and Deepa Subramaniam:

Some Thoughts on Flash and Devices
By Ben Forta
http://forta.com/blog/index.cfm/2011/11/9/Some-Thoughts-On-Flash-And-Devices

Adobe AIR and Flash Player Team Blog- Focusing
By Thibault Imbert
https://blogs.adobe.com/flashplayer/2011/11/focusing.html

Flash to Focus on Apps for Mobile
By Lee Brimelow
http://www.leebrimelow.com/?p=3151

Adobe Flash for Premium Video
By Pritham Shetty
http://blogs.adobe.com/ktowes/2011/11/adobe-flash-for-premium-video.html

Flash Professional and the Future
By Mike Chambers
http://www.mikechambers.com/blog/2011/11/10/flash-professional-and-the-future

Clarifications on Flash Player for Mobile Browsers, the Flash Platform, and the Future of Flash
By Mike Chambers
http://www.mikechambers.com/blog/2011/11/11/clarifications-on-flash-player-for-mobile-browsers-the-flash-platform-and-the-future-of-flash/

Your Questions about Flex (UPDATED: 11/15/11)
By Andrew Shorten & Deepa Subramaniam
http://blogs.adobe.com/flex/2011/11/your-questions-about-flex.html

 

 

Flash Support on Windows 8 and Metro

We expect Windows desktop to be extremely popular for years to come (including Windows 8 desktop) and that it will support Flash just fine, including rich web based games and premium videos that require Flash. In addition, we expect Flash based apps will come to Metro via Adobe AIR, much the way they are on Android, iOS and BlackBerry Tablet OS today, including the recent number one paid app for the iPad on the Apple App Store, Machinarium, which is built using Flash tools and deployed on the Web using Flash Player and through app stores as a standalone app.

Adobe is about enabling content publishers and developers to deliver the richest experiences for their users, independent of technology, including HTML5 and Flash. We are working closely with Microsoft, Google, Apple and others in the HTML community to drive innovation in HTML5, to make it as rich as possible for delivering world-class content on the open Web and through App Stores.

We are excited about the innovation and opportunities that are available to our customers and Adobe as the web and platforms evolve across devices, including Windows 8 and Metro.

UPDATED: 9/15/11

Introducing the Expanded Adobe & Mobile Showcase

If you’re looking for examples of full web browsing with Adobe Flash Player on your mobile device, chances are you’ve visited m.flash.com. Since launching a year ago, this site has been a great resource for leading device manufacturers like Motorola and RIM to promote some of the best rich content created with Adobe Flash technology for their customers to enjoy anywhere, demonstrating the benefits of Flash Player. Today, we’re excited to expand the breadth of expressive apps and web browsing created with Adobe tools for Android, BlackBerry Tablet OS and Apple iOS platforms with the Adobe & Mobile Showcase.

Built with Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 products like Dreamweaver CS5.5 using HTML5, visitors to the Adobe & Mobile Showcase can view content available for their mobile platform, with a consistent Adobe-branded experience throughout. Android and BlackBerry PlayBook users will notice a revamped showcase design. And now, Apple iOS device users can view some of the selected AIR apps from FX Networks and USA Network built with Creative Suite 5.5, also available on the iTunes App Store.

More mobile-optimized content will be regularly updated, so be sure to bookmark the site on your smartphone or tablet. Android and BlackBerry PlayBook users will continue to see more great examples of expressive apps and rich web content on their devices, powered by the Adobe Flash Platform. Check out the new Adobe & Mobile Showcase today at m.adobeshowcase.com and let us know what you think!

Adobe Pass Makes TV Everywhere a Reality

Today we are excited to announce the Adobe Pass authentication service, which enables pay TV subscribers to easily access premium content across the web from virtually any Internet-connected device.  
 
“TV Everywhere” is the Industry term that refers to Pay TV subscribers being able to access the same content they subscribe to through their traditional TV provider, online allowing customers to access premium TV content in web browsers, smartphones, tablets or IPTV’s.  The biggest problem to date with TV Everywhere is having a system that is transparent and easy to use for customers, conforms to all of the different parties business rules, and mostly importantly – is secure.  Adobe Pass solves these problems for all parties- consumers, programmers and pay TV providers alike.
 
Adobe has worked hard over the past year to integrate Adobe Pass with major Pay TV providers and content programmers.  By providing a secure, hosted solution, Adobe ensures that both the providers and the programmers have minimal integration work to perform as they pull together their many different online viewing options.  
 
Adobe Pass  leverages the Flash Platform for a seamless high-quality experience along with Adobe Flash Access® for enhanced security.  Adobe Pass also utilizes HTML5 for devices where Adobe Flash technology is not yet available.  
 
Adobe Pass is now live on several sites. Any Comcast, Verizon, Dish or Cox customer can try out the Turner TV everywhere sites, just click on the orange key to unlock more content by entering your pay TV username and password (typically the same information you would use to view your bill) at: www.tnt.tv/tveverywhere. What’s more, as you move to another site like www.tbs.com/tveverywhere, the premium contents come alive without a 2nd login. Verizon FiOS customers can also check out www.mtv.com/tve and again, the authentication will persist.

Adobe Pass is a great opportunity for Adobe to promote the Flash Platform across the entire media and entertainment industry, and to generate consistent, recurring revenue by solving a key business problem.  Keep up with the latest information on Adobe Pass on our product page at www.adobe.com/go/adobepass.

- Todd Greenbaum, Sr. Product Manager, Adobe Pass

WebSocket Charting Demo with HTML5 and JavaScript

One of the PHP demos that goes over pretty well is my Flex socket demo. It used to be that Flex/Flash was really the only way to take advantage of WebSockets but with browser vendors implementing bleeding edge support for HTML5, developers can now use the WebSocket API in JavaScript. I wanted to combine that with the Canvas API and try to recreate a basic example of my Flex socket demo in HTML5/JavaScript. It mostly works (demo embedded at the bottom).

Code

  • socket.html – HTML/JS file for connecting to the socket server
  • socket.php – PHP file that creates the socket server

Who Can Run This

It’s been kind of cool to see the browser vendors really move forward to implement support for various bits of HTML5 and CSS3 without a defined spec. That can be problematic because the spec is still changing, causing code to break in new versions of browsers, but in general it means that web developers can live on the cutting edge for most browser. Currently, the WebSocket API (and this example) should work in the latest version of Chrome and the Firefox 4 beta.

Differences in WebSockets with Flash and HTML5

Overall the WebSocket API is pretty easy to use. I took my existing PHP socket server code that works in Flash and tried to use it for the HTML5 version but all I was getting was the “close” event. The problem was that I wasn’t thinking about the handshake. Flash uses a policy file to determine whether or not it can connect, but the WebSocket API uses a handshake. I was able to grab some example code, change my PHP server to add the handshake then everything basically worked. The only other small change I had to make was to add a character (chr 0 and chr 255) to either end of the message I was sending through the socket_write method. I’m still not entirely sure why this is, but my onmessage event wouldn’t fire until I added those.

Charting with Canvas

I’m very excited about the Canvas API in HTML5. If you’re a Flash developer who has been working with the Flash drawing API, you’re going to be able to do some very cool stuff. The APIs are fairly similar with some syntax changes that you have to be aware of. The biggest pain I found was that once something is on the canvas, it’s on the canvas. You can’t reference specific drawn elements like you can in ActionScript. That makes doing things like the hover effect on specific charting points basically impossible.

Partly because of that, and because I’m still getting used to JavaScript I went with a very scaled down version of the chart. All this chart does is draw some grid lines and then plots the points as it gets them from the socket server. When you get to the end, the points are drawn off the page. I also couldn’t really figure out how to add to a path in a function call so I just went with the points instead of making it an actual line graph. I’m fairly sure that most of these are due to my JavaScript incompetence and not a limitation of Canvas.

Conclusion

It was both a lot of fun and very painful to go back to JavaScript. It’s an incredibly powerful language but if you come from Flash, you’ll find yourself banging your head against the wall because of subtle differences. The one thing that keeps tripping me up is figuring out how the DOM works compared to Flash. Another sticking point is the tooling. We have very good tooling on the Flash side compared to JavaScript. Chrome’s developer tools and Firebug both help a lot, but there’s no tool out there that provides code completion for the Canvas drawing API. When you don’t know the API that well, it means a lot of Googling, and a lot of the examples are pretty basic. I think a tool basic code completion for Canvas would make it a lot easier to start creating complex content in.

It’s definitely rough to go from Flash to JavaScript but hopefully I’ll be playing around with the new stuff in HTML5 more especially as Dreamweaver gets more support baked in.

Debating HTML 5 and Flash? Get educated first!

You’ve probably heard a lot of noise in the press, blogs, twitter, etc. about HTML 5.  You’ve probably also heard how this new video and animation capabilities combined with other cool HTML 5 features is going to be the death of Flash, right?  As a technical evangelist for Adobe, I obviously know a lot about [...]

YouTube: “Flash Platform will continue to play a critical role”

I’m sure you’ve heard that some people are saying that HTML5 is going to kill Flash and how that is already happening with the <video> tag. YouTube, the world’s largest video site, has just published a blog post where they weigh on the whole HTML5/Flash debate. In the post they highlight some of Flash’s strong [...]