We’re half way through 2015 and we’ve seen significant progress with the Flash Runtimes. Since January, we’ve had 7 Flash Player and 5 AIR releases and over 25 different public beta updates! In that time we’ve made hundreds of bug fixes and implemented important new features requested by the community, like VideoTexture and iOS 64-bit support.
It’s time for our next major update of the Flash Runtime. We’ve hit version 18 and we’ve got some great new features in store for you! We recommend that everyone take a few minutes to read our official release notes but please feel free to read past the break for a high level description of what’s included in Flash Player and AIR 18.
Improved Flash Player Install Process
We have had consistent feedback from our customers that they prefer not to shut down their browsers to simply install Flash Player. This feature removes this requirement whenever possible. With Flash Player 18, in the vast majority of cases, the installer will no longer display a dialog to shut down the currently running browsers or applications that are using Flash Player!
Once the installation is completed, you will be notified that the browser may need to be restarted to use the newly installed version. This requirement really depends on your browser’s ability to see the new version. Either way, Flash will continue to work and you can easily force the new version to appear by simply restarting your browser when it’s convenient for you.
Audio APIs added to Flash Player NPAPI
We have added the ability for NPAPI-compatible browsers and applications to query the player and detect if audio is currently being played and if it can be muted. This new feature will allow applications to alert the user if audio is being played and give them the ability to mute, even if the Flash content does not. This new API is not applicable to ActionScript developers and is only available to browser and application developers that host the Flash plugin.
Stage3D – Standard Extended Profile for Desktop
In version 17, Standard Extended Profile was introduced on iOS and Android devices that support GL ES3. In version 18, Standard ExtendedProfile support is added for Flash Player and AIR Desktop. It is represented by a new constant ‘STANDARD_EXTENDED’ in the Context3DProfile class. This constant can be used in the requestContext3D and requestContext3DMatchingProfiles methods of Stage3D. The standardExtended profile can only be accessed if the SWF version is 28 or newer.
Browser Zoom Factor for PPAPI Plugin and non-Win 8x ActiveX
We’ve introduced a feature that proposes scaling of Flash content in the web browser in response to web page zoom factor change. This feature was already present for Internet Explorer on Window 8.x. In Flash Player 18, it now supports PPAPI (Opera and Chrome) and Internet Explorer on Windows 7 and below.
VideoTexture Support for Android
The hugely popular VideoTexture feature has come to Android! Introduced in version 17 for iOS and desktop, the team has been hard at work and has now brought the full power and functionality of this feature to Android devices.
VideoTexture is an ActionScript feature that allows hardware-accelerated video to be used as a source texture in a Stage3D environment. Previously, using video with Stage3D requires the use of the Video object, which is not accelerated, and manipulation of the bitmap representations of the video frames. VideoTexture allows direct access to a texture object that is sourced from a Netstream or Camera object. Please see the VideoTexture blog post for implementation details.
Build Number in AIR iOS
This feature allows developers to simply update the build number while keeping the version number the same so that their application is available quickly on Apple’s Testflight for beta testing.
ADT Packaging Time Improvement with Support for Parallel Compilation for iOS
Air 18 introduces multi-threading support with the compiler for even faster build times. With this improvement, we have gained 20% improvement in packaging time on the top of last improvement which was made in Air 17!
ETC2 Support for ATF
With OpenGL ES 3.0 a new texture compression technique, ETC2 (Ericsson Texture Compression 2), was introduced as a standard feature.
ATF (Adobe Texture Format) is a container format provided by Adobe for different compression formats supported by different platforms. It previously supported three gpu texture compression formats; DXT1/5(desktop), ETC1 (Ericsson Texture Compression 1) (Android) and PVRTC (iOS). In AIR SDK 18, ETC2 support has been added (Ericsson Texture Compression 2) in ATF. Now app developers can use ATF with ETC2 on both Android and iOS devices that are OpenGL ES 3.0 compliant.