Flash Platform, "Molehill" and Gaming Updates

This is a big week for game developers. Thousands of game developers converged on San Francisco for the gaming industry’s largest conference – Game Developers Conference (GDC). The Flash community kicked it off early with the Flash Gaming Summit (FGS), a day-long conference focused exclusive on Flash based games on Sunday. The energy from the community at both these events has been exciting.

I wanted to share some more thoughts on how important the Flash Platform is to gaming and what Adobe is doing to push the envelope.

Innovation

At FGS (Flash Gaming Summit) this year, Adobe made the Molehill 3D GPU accelerated APIs available to developers through the Adobe AIR and Flash Player Incubator program.  First demonstrated at Adobe MAX last October, “Molehill” is the code name for a new set of low-level, GPU-accelerated 3D APIs that will make it possible to deliver sophisticated 3D experiences across almost every computer and device connected to the Internet. Today, Adobe Flash Player 10.2, renders thousands of non z-buffered triangles at approximately 30 Hz. With the new 3D APIs, developers can expect hundreds of thousands of z-buffered triangles to be rendered at HD resolution in full screen at around 60 Hz. Here is Thibault Imbert, product manager for Adobe Flash Player, previewing Molehill at MAX:

Frima Studio has also built a version of the 3D game “Zombie Tycoon” (originally built for Sony PSP) that shows the 3D capabilities delivered by Molehill. To experience this game, please make sure that you have the latest Flash Player incubator build installed.

Reach

The Flash Platform is the de-facto standard for online games today and the only platform that can deliver the rich interactivity, rapid innovation and consistency across browsers and devices. While the dominance of Flash for gaming on desktops is well known, game developers have also been using Flash Platform technologies to target smartphones, tablets and other devices. The m.flash.com site, for example, showcases great games that run inside the browser on devices supporting Flash Player and – with over 130M smartphones expected to have the runtime installed this year – game developers have a great platform to bring all of their casual games to a large number of users.

With AIR, a superset of Flash Player, developers can bring their games as standalone apps to iOS, Android and soon BlackBerry Tablet OS. AppBrain for example lists the most popular mobile gaming apps on Android in several categories including Arcade, Puzzle, and Cards. With more than 84M devices able to run AIR apps today, developers can already reach users across devices while leveraging existing work and tools they know.

Community and Ecosystem

The Flash Platform would not be successful without the ecosystem of partners and a passionate community. In this video interview from “Down Under,” indie game developer Terry Paton talks about why he uses Flash.  As a long-time game developer who has created 100+ games, Terry produces the games and content he likes with Flash and publishes them to the Android Market and Adobe InMarket and other sites.  Terry says that without Flash, he’d struggle to develop games, share them with others and make money from his development efforts.

We are thrilled with the overwhelming response from the community to the announcement of Molehill. As always, we will continue to add innovation to the Flash Platform and provide our developers with the widest possible reach across screens.