From time to time, we receive questions and concerns from our customers regarding their options for installing and deploying the Flash Runtime components. This blog post will provide a high level overview of the options available. For additional information, please see the links below.
Today we’re releasing Flash Player 14 and the AIR 14 Runtime and SDK. This a major quarterly releases that includes new functionality, bug fixes, and security updates. We recommend taking a look at our release notes or visiting the Flash Player announcement or AIR announcement page for download links and additional details.
Thank you to Jonathan Hart (@jonathanhartsf) and others for the heads up on the recent resurgence of ActionScript on the Tiobe Index. Last month ActionScript broke into the top 20. The June numbers are now out and it’s moved up to the 14th spot! None of this would be possible without the awesome support of our AS developer community, creating and inspiring us with their applications and games for both mobile and desktop platforms! Thank you!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
Today 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!
As a company, Adobe is all about changing the world through digital experiences. In gaming, we know that there’s nothing like a beautifully crafted game to create a digital experience that’s fun, immersive, and in many cases, a great shared moment.
Oftentimes, these games are the result of very individual efforts, manifestations of passionate dedication to a particular vision. Helping indie game developers realize their creative dreams is the Adobe gaming team’s mission. Indie game developers have used Flash and AIR to create gorgeous games like Machinarium, Land of Me and Winter on Whale Island, taking creativity to new heights, and changing the look and feel of casual and mobile gaming.
As we announced a few weeks back, Adobe is also helping producers James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot, of Indie Game: The Movie, stay “Indie” by funding screenings throughout North America to bring the movie to fans without being locked into exclusive distributions agreements. The movie tour debuted to a sold out audience of about 600 people in Santa Cruz, CA on Friday and had two more amazing showings last night in San Francisco. The film follows the stories of independent video game designers as they create and release their innovative, personal works to the world. It’s a beautifully told story of individual game designers and developers, and the passion and creativity that goes into creating unique games. If you haven’t purchased tickets for a screening yet, tickets are going fast for all shows throughout North America.
In more indie developments, this past weekend several members of the Adobe gaming team attended the Indie Giving event to help independent game developers attend GDC through sponsorship. Adobe was also a premier sponsor of the Flash Gaming Summit, which saw a superstar pantheon of indie dev’s showing off their stuff in Flash and AIR.
As jam-packed as this week is, it also brings the exciting debut of a new Adobe site dedicated to game developers: http://gaming.adobe.com. The site launched yesterday and thousands of visitors have already made their way to it, with lots of great feedback and conversation about it on Twitter. Developers can get their hands on everything from code samples to tutorials, as well as see a rolling showcase of games showing off some of the best examples of what can be created with Flash technology. Check it out, and please send in your comments!
Mobile games delivered using AIR 3.2 can take advantage of 1000x faster rendering performance over AIR 2, allowing game developers to animate millions of objects with smooth 60 fps rendering. Developers can use a single workflow to optimize their apps, and take advantage of using native extensions for device-specific capabilities like vibration control, gyroscope, and dual screens as well as integration with in-app payments and Apple Game Center. AIR is enabling more and more developers to easily deliver content to mobile marketplaces; over the course of the last year, the number of AIR apps on mobile marketplaces, including the AppStore and Android Market, has grown more than 7 times!
The Adobe Gaming team will also be at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco this week, where we will be showing all kinds of new browser-based desktop games and mobile gaming apps with key partners including Rovio, Zynga, GameFly, EPIC, SpilGames, and many more. Demos of high-performance, cross platform games like Soundquest, Delta Strike, and Sherwood Dungeon are just a few of the new Flash technology-based games on show in Adobe’s booth. And the showcase of mobile games built using AIR includes Waste Invaders, Spaced Away, and Winter on Whale Island, as well as Machinarium, the hit iPad game. Also, our friends at NVIDIA and AMD will also show demos for games built with Flash as well. So come by and see us in the North Hall, booth 2328.
With the full release of Flash Player 11.2 later this month, Adobe is addressing the needs of game developers by ensuring that Flash technology provides the level of quality that enables it to become the true game console of the web. With Stage3D, Flash Player already brings console-quality hardware accelerated graphics to more of the web than any platform and Flash Player 11.2 includes features like mouse lock and expanded GPU support. Our recently announced roadmap demonstrates the investment we continue to make in delivering new capabilities for our customers with upcoming features directly targeting game developers. As we’ve previously communicated, Adobe will also productize “Alchemy,” an Adobe research project that allows users to securely execute high-performance C and C++ code with the reach of the Flash runtimes. The commercial release of Alchemy will offer significantly better performance and productivity over the Labs prototype, including full debugging support and up to 75% reduction in code size.
And one more thing, we’re pleased to announce the debut of a new site dedicated to game developers: http://gaming.adobe.com. It has a beautiful showcase of games that use Flash and AIR, as well as resources for developers like tutorials and more information on why and how to use Flash technology for gaming. Go check it out, and tell us what you think. Game on!
Over the last year, we’ve seen a 7x increase in the availability of Adobe AIR apps in mobile marketplaces, including the Apple AppStore, with no signs of slowing down. With AIR, game developers and publishers can deliver their apps across 6 platforms on more than 500 million smartphones and tablets with stunning graphics and intricate gameplay. Creating amazingly detailed games like Machinarium, which claimed the spot as the #1 iPad app in 12 countries last year, is becoming easier than ever.
Just as Machinarium first debuted as a desktop game, publishers and developers today are looking to easily take their games and deliver them to app stores on a host of mobile devices across the globe. With the availability of AIR 3.2, we’re excited to help users push the envelope of mobile game development with new hardware accelerated 2D and 3D graphics rendering (Stage 3D) to enable significant performance gains in mobile gaming apps. Hardware accelerated 2D and 3D graphics will help ring in a new class of social and casual games running at 60 frames per second on mobile devices and tablets. Developers can download a release candidate of AIR 3.2 today and start packaging up apps for delivery to mobile marketplaces immediately, with general availability of AIR 3.2 and Flash Player 11.2 in March.
Hardware accelerated 2D and 3D support, released in Flash Player 11 last year, spurred a new class of features for existing games, including Rovio’s Angry Birds for Facebook, now available with special power up features and enhanced graphics. The global gaming community has shown great adoption of this new technology, boasting a host of titles from Renren, Gamegoo and Disney, and we anticipate that many existing PC games will be ported to mobile using AIR 3.2 in the coming months. Falanxia’s Spaced Away as well as Pamakids Tech’s Winter on Whale Island will be some of the first. Also, we recently learned that the top 9 Flash based games in China generate more than $70 million per month! Now that shows rapid adoption.
All of these innovative developments (with more to come soon!) demonstrate our focus on creating value for our gaming customers. By delivering new features to advance gameplay, increase fun and provide added support for productized features within the runtimes, gaming at Adobe will continue to grow by leaps and bounds. The future has never looked brighter.
Check out some of the great new features that are available with Flash Player 11.2 and AIR 3.2.
Read why our partners are excited about 2D and 3D hardware acceleration with AIR 3.2:
“Earlier this month, Rovio launched the first ever version of Angry Birds for Facebook to huge fanfare using Adobe 2D accelerated graphics,” said Andrew Stalbow, GM of Rovio North America. “Building a game that runs smoothly at 60 frames per second with five times more particles in our explosions and special effects is critical for delivering the most brilliant gaming experiences to our customers. We’re excited to see how Stage 3D accelerated graphics with Adobe AIR 3.2 will take these features to mobile devices and hopefully we can take advantage of this capability down the road.”
“We are thrilled to be the first mobile gaming company to take advantage of the AIR 3.2 release candidate to deliver AIR versions of our social games to our users,” said Masaki Fujimoto, CTO, GREE, Inc. “Flash Player and AIR help us push the limit of what can be created across the web and delivered as standalone apps on mobile devices. As we expand into global markets, Adobe technology is helping us take advantage of our market leadership in Japan to build success around the world.”
“As Flash based game developers, we are excited to use AIR 3.2 to make our visually appealing games stand out even more with the tools we already know,” said Jakub Svoboda, Game Producer, Falanxia. “Adobe helps us to bring our award winning games, like Spaced Away, to more iOS gamers than ever before. Good job Adobe!”
“Flare3D Studio is leveraging the enhanced features in AIR 3.2 to create a very powerful Stage 3D IDE,” said Adrian Simonovich, CEO, Flare3D. “Adobe AIR has been, and will continue to be, a very important and powerful tool to bring hardware accelerated 3D support for mobile devices and allow Flare3D’s developers to create amazing 3D accelerated experiences and reach a much larger audience.”
“Since investing in AIR, we no longer have to worry about weighing different platforms and developer tools to reach our audience,” said Yifei Xu, CEO, Pamakids Tech. “AIR is the tool we rely on to avoid the clutter and just laser focus on what really matters – delivering the best games and apps to kids and parents.”
“We have chosen to develop with Flash because it is widely used, does not require installations, and games can be played instantly by simply clicking on a link,” said Filip Kuna, CEO, CUKETA. “Thanks to Adobe AIR, we were able to port our game, Age of Defenders, to different devices including Android tablets and iPad2 which allows us to appeal to a wider range of customers at a minimal cost.”
“NVIDIA’s been working closely with Adobe to bring increasing amounts of GPU acceleration to several generations of Flash Player and AIR,” said Neil Trevett, Vice President, Mobile Content at NVIDIA. “Now, Stage 3D in Flash Player 11.2 and AIR 3.2 can fully exploit the power of GPU acceleration to enable rich, real-time 3D games and content that is portable across multiple desktop and mobile platforms. NVIDIA is committed to ensuring that Stage 3D continues to be highly optimized for multi-core Tegra-based mobile devices.”
As someone who is passionate about film and enjoys games, I’m delighted to announce that Adobe is working with the producers of Indie Game: The Movie, Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky, to bring screenings of this award winning film to a city near you! We’ve scheduled seven dates so far in the U.S and Canada and are adding more every week, including Seattle, WA on March 23, and Portland, OR on March 28.
Indie Game: The Movie is a feature-length documentary, and follows the compelling, personal stories of independent video game designers as they create and release their unique and very individual works to the world. Coming off their recent win for Best Editing in World Documentary Cinema at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, Lisanne and James are thrilled to finally share this film with so many audiences, and are excited that Adobe is helping take the film to indie game developers and fans on such a large scale. Community support for this movie has been outstanding, and part of the funding was secured through Kickstarter, where the producers raised their initial funding goal in just 48 hours.
The first public screening will be held at the Rio in Santa Cruz, CA on Friday, March 2 at 7pm. For those of you attending GDC, the second and third screenings will be held at the Embarcadero in San Francisco, CA, on Tuesday, March 6th at 7pm and 9:30pm.
At each venue, members of the Adobe Gaming Solutions team will be on hand to give out prizes and talk one on one. Additionally, Indie Game: The Movie’s filmmakers will hold a panel to discuss the film and answer questions from attendees at each screening. Edmund McMillen, who was featured in the documentary will be a special guest at the Santa Cruz, CA screening, and will join the panel. Edmund is a Flash game developer and co-CEO of Team Meat that produced the successful Super Meat Boy game for Xbox 360, Windows PC, Mac OS X and Linux. Super Meat Boy has sold more than one million copies to date.
Like Edmund McMillen, game developers working with Adobe technology can reach 98 percent of Internet connected PCs and up to 500 million tablets and phones with their creations. Adobe will be demonstrating some great Flash based games at GDC March 5-9 in San Francisco, both for mobile and desktop. In the meantime, learn more about Adobe & Gaming at http://www.adobe.com/solutions/gaming.html, grab your tickets for a great show, and keep your eyes open for more news coming soon!