Flash Player and AIR 13 Released

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Yesterday we released Flash Player 13 and the AIR 13 Runtime and SDK.  This was one of our major quarterly releases that includes new functionality, bug fixes, and security updates.  We recommend reviewing our release notes or visiting the Flash Player announcement or AIR announcement page for download links and additional details.

AIR developers and users will notice that the AIR version jumped from 4 to 13.  This was done specifically to bring AIR and Flash Player in sync with their version number.  The two share common code and we believe this should help unify perception of both products under the Flash Runtime umbrella.

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Feathers updates to 1.3.0

Feathers Framework UI

Congratulations to Josh Tynjala and the Feathers project which was updated last week to version 1.3.0!  Feathers is a key framework included in the Adobe Gaming SDK and is a light weight, skinnable and extensible UI framework for both mobile and desktop applications and games.  Feathers leverages the devices GPU to create a smooth and responsive experience.

With the 1.3.0 release, Josh was able to add the much anticipated support for percent dimensions in layouts.

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In addition, Feathers has added a TextBlockTextRenderer built on the Flash Text Engine (FTL), support for Mac HiDPI, improved support for multiple Starling instances, and the example themes are now built as easy drop-in SWCs instead of source code.

The full release notes are available on the project’s Github page and developers can also download the latest version directly from the Feathers website.

Latest Updates on the Flash Runtime

There’s been talk recently on different forums regarding Adobe’s position on the Flash Runtime.  Hopefully some of the work we’re doing and items outlined below will help answer these questions.

First, let me introduce myself.  My name is Chris Campbell and I’m the product manager and customer advocate for the Flash Runtime product team.  I’ve been part of the Flash and AIR teams for the last 4 years and prior to that I worked for 14 years as a developer in our digital imaging group.  Some of you might know me from the forums, where I’ve spent a lot of time working with customers to bring issues to the engineering team.  I’m on Twitter @liquidate but you can also reach me via email at ccampbel@adobe.com.

What have we been up to lately?

Improved Packaging Engine – We’ve made massive improvements to our iOS packaging engine (Halfmoon AOT), with reduced packaging times up to 10x.  This work lays the foundation for future features like iOS workers.  This has been in our beta builds for a while (we try to make these publicly available on a regular basis) and was out in our public AIR 4.0 release.

ActionScript concurrency for Android – We knew this would be a hit with the feedback we received with ActionScript Workers on the desktop so getting this over to mobile was a priority for us.  We had an extended beta for this feature and it made its public appearance in AIR 3.9 with additional fixes based on feedback received in our 4.0 release.

Support for new versions of OSX, Windows, iOS and Android – We know that our developers and users want to use the latest OS’s and browsers.  We have made sure that the Runtime supports these targets and we’re committed to making sure that continues in the future.

Here are just a few of the new features that we’re working on this year –

ActionScript concurrency for iOS – Now that we’re finishing up with the Halfmoon packaging work, the next step is to add support for ActionScript Workers on iOS.  We know this is an important feature and we’re looking forward to starting an extended beta for this later this year.

Improvements to Stage3D – Stage3D was a massive game changer for Flash.  We want to add to this with significant efficiency improvements by supporting multiple render targets.  If you’ve been around for a while, you might remember a previous beta for AGAL2.  We’re picking this up again now that we’ve got support for all supported platforms and we should have something to share later this summer.

PPAPI debugging – A long time request has been the ability to debug Flash content on Google Chrome.  We’ve been working to bring our debugger to the PPAPI platform and we’re almost ready for a beta release.  This required a lot of work under the hood and while we’re there we’re also tackling a nagging Stage3D performance problem.  Progress has been going well and we’re optimistic that we’ll have a solution for our customers.

Game discovery – We know that there are a huge number of games available on the market and it’s hard to get the user’s attention.  We believe we can help.  One of our greatest strengths is the reach of our platform.  Flash Player is installed on over a billion computers!  The AIR shared runtime is installed on 50+ million Android devices!  We’re working to figure out how we can leverage these strengths to improve your app’s success.  Look for details on Adobe GameSpace, Playpanel, GamePreviews, and more in the very near future.

It’s certainly true that we have increased our investments on HTML technologies, but Adobe and the Flash product team are dedicated to pushing the Flash runtime platform forward.  We believe that AIR and Flash Player are excellent solutions for both the video and gaming markets.

While most of Adobe’s marketing and PR activities are focused on the Creative Cloud and Marketing Cloud initiatives, we are working on the following items to help improve our messaging around the Flash Runtime.

  • Redesign, refresh and make regular content updates to our game development web site.  We’ll be retiring the gaming.adobe.com microsite and instead updates will be made to our Adobe Developer Connection page found here – http://www.adobe.com/devnet/games.html
  • Create a new Flash Runtime showcase website that allows for easy showcase project submissions by our development community.
  • Reach out to the community and promote their games and usage of Adobe tools through guest blog posts and case studies that we feature on adobe.com.   If you’re interested, please contact me via email.
  • Find additional and creative ways to allow our passionate development community to evangelize the use of Flash Runtime

Finally, in a recent Adobe post there was some confusion regarding PhoneGap and if this product was supplanting or replacing AIR.  This is not the case.  We believe both of these technologies have merit and we recommend developers pick a solution that best suits their project.  For gaming and video related applications, on either the desktop or mobile platforms, we believe the Flash Runtime continues to be a great choice.

Upcoming changes to Flash Player’s extended support release

Beginning May 13th, 2014, we will be upgrading Flash Player’s extended support release from version 11.7 to version 13.  This change impacts enterprise and IT customers that currently deploy Flash Player using the extended support releases available through our distribution channel.

Adobe makes available the extended support release to organizations that prefer Flash Player stability over new functionality.  We will create a branch of the Flash Player code that we keep up to date with all of the latest security updates, but none of the new features or bug fixes available in our normal release branch.  This allows organizations to certify and stay secure with Flash Player with minimal effort.

To ensure a smooth transition, we encourage IT organizations to thoroughly test our version 13 releases (currently available on labs.adobe.com) over the next couple of months before deploying.

New Version Numbering

flash_player_11_icon_rgb air_3_icon_rgbToday we are excited to announce the beta availability of our next Flash Player and AIR releases, code-named “Jones“. With this release, we introduce a new numbering scheme for our product versions. Adopting the pattern set by Google with Chrome and Mozilla with Firefox, we will simply update the major version number with each subsequent release, doing away with minor releases altogether. In other words, beginning with the release of “Jones“, Flash Player will become Flash Player 12. With each new release, roughly every 3 months, that number will increase by one.

This change will also apply to AIR and the AIR SDK, albeit not right away. Our “Jones” release will be numbered AIR 4 and AIR SDK 4; however, with our “King” release, the version number will be synchronized with the Flash Player version at 13.

We think unifying the numbering makes great sense, as Flash and AIR have always shared the same core and are in many ways the same product. No more referring to AIR 3.x and Flash Player 11.x; we will all be able to refer to Flash and AIR using the same numbering. Hooray!

Adobe Gaming SDK 1.3 Released!

gsdk_toolboxWe are pleased to announce the immediate availability of Adobe Gaming SDK version 1.3, part of the Adobe Creative Cloud. If you have any interest in creating games, media rich experiences, or applications on either mobile or desktop platforms, the Gaming SDK is a great way to get started.  We’ve added some amazing open source frameworks, great tools, easy to follow tutorials and examples.  Everything is packaged in a single download and geared to get you up and running in minutes.  Best of all, it’s absolutely free!

The 1.3 release includes new features and updates for all framework components, including:

  • Mobile Workers (concurrency) BETA – Android
  • AIR Mobile support for background execution in “Direct” render mode
  • AIR Support for iOS7 and Mac OS 10.9
  • Starling – Updated to 1.4.1
  • Feathers – Updated to 1.1.1
  • Away3D – Updated to 4.1.5
  • Away Builder – Updated to 1.0
  • Dragon Bones – Updated to 2.4
  • AIR SDK and Compiler – Updated to 3.9

For more information on the most recent changes to Flash and AIR, please see the  Flash Player 11.9 and AIR 3.9 release notes.

Please visit our showcase page to see some examples of the great games developers have been able to create with the Flash Runtime.

Download the Adobe Gaming SDK

Thoopid, a Garden Snail, and Adobe AIR

Snailboy!Updated 10/31/2013. We are always excited to see the fantastic examples of what can be accomplished by our Adobe Game Developer Tools customers.  The creative capacity of Adobe customers is always amazing, but the folks at Thoopid have really garnered my attention with Snailboy, a fun, physics based, puzzle platform game with rich graphics, killer sound and over 45 levels of intoxicating game play.  When I first saw this game, I thought I was watching a movie or a cut scene.  I was wrong; this game is just visually stunning!

RW Liebenberg, Managing Director and Lead Developer at Thoopid, took a few minutes to talk to me about their company, their unconventional hero, Snailboy (yep, he’s a garden snail!), and their experiences with Adobe products in building this breathtaking experience, which, incidentally, is their first iOS game.
 
 
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Away3D makes its way to Typescript!

10-9-2013-11-27-12-AM1Today our partners at Away3D have introduced their first official alpha release of Away3D for Typescript!  Away3D is an open source 3D framework available in Adobe’s Gaming SDK.  Initially available for ActionScript developers, this new alpha available on Away3D’s website opens the framework up to the Typescript language and Javascript developers everywhere.

We’d like to congratulate the team at Away3D!  This is a major milestone and a huge leap forward for hardware accelerated graphics on the web for both desktop and mobile platforms!

For full details, please see the Away3D Typescript 4.1 Alpha blog post by Rob Bateman.  For examples, test tools, and source files please visit typescript.away3d.com.

Video tutorials are available here:

Getting Started
Recompiling the core
Live debugging with Google Chrome

Independent game developer successfully ports Adobe AIR game from mobile and tablet to console

Mat Dickie, independent game developer known for his work in the wrestling niche, has taken his retro-style mobile and tablet game, Wrestling Revolution, to the console. Created using Adobe Game Developer Tools and downloaded more than one million times across Android and iOS, Wrestling Revolution offers players the biggest wrestling universe with more than 350 characters – and dozens of them in the ring at one time. Now available on the new OUYA console, Wresting Revolution can now be enjoyed by fans on their TV, the genre’s natural home.

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OUYA provides an open development experience so that, like Dickie, any creator can publish a game for a console to be played on TVs.

“I was excited about bringing the gamepad-controlled, multi-player experience to consoles. Wrestling games have a proud history on consoles from the NES and SNES to the N64 and PlayStation. But those doors can be hard to open for an independent developer like me,” he says. “Consoles are the genre’s natural home, so on OUYA I’m reaching new audiences that don’t typically play PC or mobile games. What I like most about it is that I have a stable platform for the first time in my career, and I know that players will have the same experience as me.”

In taking Wrestling Revolution to the OUYA platform, Dickie made sure that it wasn’t just a mobile port to the console. The game fully supports controllers of all kinds—right down to analogue sticks for precise movement. The multi-player modes are also exclusive to consoles. There’s an option to play in either “Versus” or “Co-Op” mode, which will involve up to four human players.

Wrestling Revolution is just one of the first Adobe AIR games on OUYA,” he says. “Some perceptive AIR developers had everything in place ahead of OUYA’s launch which helped me get going quickly.”

Wrestling Revolution climbed over 200 places in OUYA’s O-Rank in its first week of release and jumped into the top 50 games in its second week. The game is being downloaded hundreds of times per day with 10% of players opting to purchase the full game.

“The OUYA audience is obviously a lot smaller than on established systems, where over a million people are playing my mobile apps. However, the conversion rate is higher. The OUYA audience likes to invest in games and support their evolution,” says Dickie. “That ensures that my first game won’t be my last.”

Bringing Console‐Quality Multiplayer games to Web and Mobile Platforms

San Francisco‐based nWay is a developer and publisher of free‐to‐play online multiplayer games. Founded in 2011 by gaming and startup veterans Tony Harman, Taehoon Kim, and Dave Jones, the nWay team is comprised of leading developers and executives from the gaming industry that have collectively contributed to more than a dozen hit console and online games including: Killer Instinct, StarCraft, Diablo II, Dead Space 2, FIFA Online, Battlefield Online, Dante’s Inferno, Grand Theft Auto, Crackdown, and Lineage II.

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nWay’s new action‐packed Flash browser game, ChronoBlade, combines the explosive skillbased combat of a hack‐and‐slash brawler game with the open‐ended character progression of an RPG. Showcasing fully 3D‐rendered characters that can execute dozens of brutal combo moves, ChronoBlade lets players customize their characters by creating a variety of attacks and upgrading their equipment with various enchants to suit multiple types of playing styles. In keeping with today’s web and mobile platform consumption habits, play sessions were designed to last five‐to‐ten minutes so that players don’t need to set aside significant chunks of time to play.

“ChronoBlade is a free‐to‐play game and is hyper accessible as a Flash browser game,” said Alex Pan, marketing director, nWay. “With the heavy user adoption rate of Adobe Flash Player, we knew that our game would be available to a wider audience.”

To develop ChronoBlade, nWay developers wanted a solution that had high accessibility, modern 3D hardware rendering, web deployment, and a no‐client‐install solution. “We selected Adobe Game Developer Tools because of the cross‐platform development capabilities and hardware accelerated rendering. Adobe Scout also gave us great insight into our game client performance—helping us optimize our code and detect problems early,” said Dave Jones, cofounder, nWay. “Another game development must‐have for us was the need for console quality graphics and gameplay and Adobe Stage3D helped us achieve that.”

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ChronoBlade is in Single Player Open Beta now on the browser and multiplayer PvP and Co‐op is launching at the end of Summer. The iOS and Android versions are expected to be available later this year.

ChronoBlade links:

Game Webpage: http://www.chronoblade.com

Facebook App Page: http://www.facebook.com/chronoblade

Facebook App: http://apps.facebook.com/chronoblade

Mobile: Coming soon!