Adobe’s Project Primetime Powers BBC’s Coverage of the Olympics

Earlier this month, NBC launched two Olympics apps that are powered by Adobe technologies and built on Adobe AIR, Adobe’s Flash runtime for mobile apps.

Today, we’re excited to announce that the BBC is leveraging key components of Project Primetime in their live and video on demand (VOD) coverage of the London Games. The content is being delivered through a new, HTML5 app built with Adobe PhoneGap, Adobe’s tools and framework for creating cross-platform HTML5 apps for smartphones and tablets.

The BBC employs Project Primetime to power its coverage of the Olympic Games and other major sporting events to millions of mobile and connected devices across the UK for the first time in history. Positioned as “the Digital Olympics” by the BBC, we are happy to provide some of the core components required to deliver on their vision.

Several Adobe technologies are being used to power BBC’s coverage of the Olympics. Adobe Media Server prepares the content in using both the HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS) format and the HTTP Live Streaming format (HLS) to stream live and on demand video across desktops, connected TVs and iOS devices. Adobe Media Server is also used as a video origin to feed video across content delivery networks to meet capacity requirements.

To ensure an uninterrupted viewing experience, Adobe worked closely with the BBC to provide adaptive bitrate video playback technology built using the Open Source Media Framework (OSMF) that we have updated to ensure that video re-buffering or stream disruptions are limited as the video leaves the broadcast center and reaches the consumer device.

Primetime Highlights will also be used to power the rapid conversion of live video to on-demand clips. This allows audiences to experience interesting moments throughout the games, even if they cannot watch it live. Primetime Highlights can ingest pre-encoded video streams and quickly re-assemble them into clips with full adaptive bitrate support and made available to the audience quickly. This technology has been completely integrated into the BBC’s data management flow, so the video experience will be supported by synchronized data about the sport and the athlete.

Developer Spotlight: Jordan Casey of Casey Games

Our team at Cannes Lions last month had the opportunity to meet and chat with someone from our developer community – 12-year old Jordan Casey. If you’ve had the chance to play Alien Ball vs Humans or its sequel, Alien Ball vs Humans 2: Holiday, you’ve experienced a Casey-developed app. If not, you can get to know this young Irish prodigy, who has made headlines as one of Europe’s youngest iOS developer below. Between teaching himself game design, his schooling, and working on upcoming content for his own game studio – Casey Games – Jordan found some time to participate in a Q&A on his youthful rise in the world of game development.

 

Adobe: When did you first start developing and what inspired you to get started?

Jordan Casey: I first started developing when I was nine, I was playing a Flash multiplayer game called Club Penguin and saw that other kids were building websites and blogs about it, and I saw that this could be fun, so I learned 3 languages: HTML, ActionScript 2.0 and CSS and went ahead and made my site.

How do your ideas come to you? While riding your bike, playing with your dog, from your friends…?

Both of my grannies have a wall in their back garden so I get a football (soccer ball) and start kicking it at the wall, and I just start thinking and I could do this for an hour and when I’m finished I have a couple of game concepts or what to look up online that night when I get home.

Who are your “creative heroes” or role models?

My creative heroes would have to be Apple founders, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak and independent game developer Markus Persson (or Notch) the creator of Minecraft who showed me that you don’t need a big team to make a successful game.

How did you come up with the idea for ‘Alien Ball vs Humans?’ Was it based on game mechanics, the concept, or just the fun factor?

For Alien Ball, I was just in my granny’s house again just kicking the ball. I had just gotten my iMac and was thinking of ideas for my first app. I didn’t want my first app to be a massive thing and take years to make, but I didn’t want it to not be fun either, so I was thinking of a retro game remake and made a Pac Man, Space Invaders and Mario clone. I looked at them all, and I published the Space Invaders one and made a couple of changes and also made Alien Ball, who was the main character of my previous Flash games, the main character of my app. When you think about it, it is kind of the opposite of Space Invaders, because in space invaders you are the human destroying the aliens but in Alien Ball vs Humans, you are the alien killing the humans.

What was the transition from HTML to game coding like? Any tips for other young developers?

When I started developing web games, I already knew Actionscript 2.0, so making Flash games wasn’t that hard. But when I was starting to develop gaming apps it meant learning Actionscript 3.0, which wasn’t that hard but it did take a bit of time.

What’s next for Casey Games?

I am currently working on a Flash game, which I plan to publish to AIR for Mac and PC. Then, I will make some changes and publish to iOS. In September, I am speaking at a summit in Germany and after that I am starting a new school. So, I plan on taking a break and just study for a while but I will be developing, just not as often as the summer, maybe 20 minutes a day.

You can check out Alien Ball vs Humans in action below, and get in touch with Casey Games on Twitter @Casey Games.

Q&A With The Away Foundation’s Rob Bateman

We recently sat down with Rob Bateman, managing director of The Away Foundation, who told us about the company’s new project, Away3D 4.0 Gold, that was launched earlier today. Away3D 4.0 Gold is first official project from The Away Foundation, an offshoot of Away3D. The company has been active for two months, but Rob had been involved in the  Away3D engine since 2007.

Enjoy the Q&A below and visit away3d.com to read more about the release and download tutorials, examples and source files.

Tell us a bit about The Away Foundation and how it came about.

The Away Foundation is a non-profit Community Interest Company based in the UK, focusing on building and maintaining free and open source software resources for online and mobile games and applications. Work within The Away Foundation is enabled by corporate sponsorship and the continued support of a large community of individuals and organisations.

Around 6 months ago, I left a full-time Technical Director role to focus on Away3D activities, and it was around this time that the concept of a foundation was discussed with other core members of the Away3D community. The idea of a non-profit entity managing Away3D matters appealed to us as it appeared a straightforward way to generate corporate funding interest and accelerate development.

After the Away3D 4.0 Beta was released in February, we started making enquires to gauge company interest. Adobe came forward as a strong candidate for becoming a founding member, with significant interest in the work already achieved by our group and positive feedback from the many creative companies around the world that use our libraries. After 3 months of discussions with Adobe we agreed on the vision and we had our first founding partner.

How does this align with Away3D priorities?

Away3D has its roots in open source, and a large active community that has grown steadily from its origins over 5 years ago. The focus of Away3D has been 3D graphics on the web using the Flash technologies, and has previously relied on the free contributions of its community members to survive and grow. As things have got bigger, so too has the amount of necessary commitment, and the main benefit The Away Foundation offers is a business incentive for companies like Adobe to get involved and help support this commitment.

What was the principal driver of The Away Foundation?

As the organiser and founder of the Away3D project, I was the primary catalyst for pushing forward discussions and working out the logistics of the company. The main driver for me was the opportunities The Away Foundation presents to our community and development areas. Away3D has always been about providing free software to developers, but in the past we lacked a long-term business strategy for sustainability and growth. With The Away Foundation, we now have an official strategy for these aspects of free software development.

What is the goal of The Away Foundation and how do you see that coming to fruition?

The Away Foundation is primarily focused on the development and maintenance of tools and libraries used in the production of high-performance graphical content on the web and mobile devices, and seeks to promote the value of open standards and open source software to a broader audience. Away3D has laid the groundwork for this, establishing ourselves as a center for creative, high quality frameworks and free, unrestrictive licensing. By offering an official membership program to the businesses that benefit from such technology, we hope to encourage a new wave of possibilities and collaborations while cementing our existing development streams and improving the quality of our resources and support.

How will the Foundation be managed?

As a CIC we can be quite flexible about how we structure ourselves, and even how we do business. The only firm rule is our non-profit status which we hope will encourage business investment, as you can be sure that every penny donated in funding will be spent on the development and support of our libraries and resources. Decisions on our focus and strategy are made using a flat voting hierarchy that includes all members of our organisation, ensuring that our developers and community are at the heart of everything we do, and remain so.

How will The Away Foundation gain support and funding?

We already have a great deal of support for Away3D at a community level, and want to encourage companies who use our software regularly to become more involved in support activities through The Away Foundation. This doesn’t just have to be funding involvement – we have had several successful collaborations in the past with companies who have donated development time, and the foundation is designed to encourage this further.

How is Adobe involved in the project?

Adobe is registered as a Strategic Member of The Away Foundation, the top tier membership status. This is intended for organizations that benefit greatly from the proliferation and use of Away Foundation tools and software, and want to create lasting connections with Away Foundation activities, through the integration of their own communities, tools and software platforms.

What does it mean to gaming that Adobe is involved with the foundation and open source?

I think it’s a great step in the right direction, and further demonstrates Adobe’s commitment to providing high quality resources for games developers looking to the Flash ecosystem for serious games development.  Earlier this year Adobe endorsed the open source Starling 2D framework and now developers can leverage Away3D framework to create 3D and hybrid 2D/3D games. There is still a way to go, but The Away Foundation provides the resources, community and talent to get things to a potentially very interesting place. Our biggest advantage is our free & open source approach that offers any software project, whether it be free or commercially based, the ability to pick up our libraries and integrate them with their own systems. This expands the potential of what you can do with Away Foundation software, and empowers games companies of all sizes to be creative and innovative in the products they produce.

What are the benefits to members?

Membership is arranged in tiers, from community contributors right up to strategic sponsors, and benefits vary accordingly. The very least, you are entitled to vote on decisions that affect company direction and strategy at our annual general meeting and formal recognition as a foundation member on our website. Increased commitment offers increased benefits, such as targeted support on company matters relating to Away Foundation resources, pre-release details of updates and new projects being worked on, and at the very highest level a seat on the board of directors to foster long term commitments relating to shared goals and strategies.

Of course, the biggest benefit to anyone is the continued existence of a free, non-restrictive software resource that offers cutting edge libraries and strong community ties, something we hope any member would be happy to be associated with.

Where can one go to find more information on the Away Foundation?

Our main site is hosted at http://www.theawayfoundation.org, where you can find more information on the projects we manage, support we offer and members we are involved with.

Adobe and NBC Olympics Join Forces to Bring the Olympics to Mobile Devices

Today, Adobe and NBC Olympics announced the official NBC Olympics apps for the iPad, iPhone and select Android tablets and smartphones. For the first time in Olympics history, mobile apps will give you the opportunity to view live broadcasts of all Olympic events in the palm of your hand. This is possible because of the partnership between Adobe and NBC Olympics, and Adobe’s ability to provide leading video technology solutions at scale. We believe the Olympics will be a defining moment for digital video and we are proud to play a role.

The “NBC Olympics Live Extra” and “NBC Olympics” apps will provide a huge variety of content – from live streams of all competitive events to short video highlights, medal ceremonies, interviews, news stories and more. We’re thrilled that both apps are powered by a series of products and technologies from Adobe, which made it possible for NBC Olympics to more easily bring them to a wide range of mobile and tablet platforms and devices.

Adobe creative tools, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, Flash Builder, Flex and others, were used to design and build the apps. With Adobe AIR, our runtime for Flash content outside web browsers, NBC Olympics is able to leverage existing code to ensure a consistent content and video playback experience across devices without having to develop the apps natively for each platform. By integrating support for Adobe Pass, NBC Olympics is using the industry’s leading “TV Everywhere” authentication technology used by virtually all operators in the U.S. You simply provide the login and password of your pay-TV subscription to access live broadcast streams of over 3500 hours of Olympic events. To make it as easy as possible, you only need to go through the sign-in once and won’t have to “re-authenticate” every time you want to watch a live event.

NBC Olympics is also taking advantage of Adobe technologies to measure and monetize content in both apps. Advertising onto mobile devices will be served via Adobe Auditude, our video ad management and monetization platform. Auditude will work in conjunction with other existing NBC ad serving systems and is used by major brands worldwide like Comcast, Major League Baseball, Fox News, E! Entertainment, Dailymotion and others. SiteCatalyst, our flagship product for digital analytics, allows NBC Olympics to measure user traffic and engagement across both apps for live video streams, ads and video-on-demand (VOD) content for iOS and Android devices. This enables NBC Olympics to quickly optimize the app experience based on viewer behavior.

A few other great things I wanted to highlight: Each app is interconnected, so you can easily launch one of the apps from within the other to streamline usability. Both apps offer social media integration that lets you share and communicate with friends via Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus as the Games happen in London. You can also set reminders for your favorite sport events, and, pause or rewind.

Check out this video for more information about the apps and how Adobe and NBC Olympics is taking the 2012 Olympics beyond the TV and offering a whole new experience across mobile devices: