Adobe Loves Indie

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!

 

A Big Week of News for Adobe’s Gaming Efforts: Conferences, Demos and Screenings Galore

Hot off the heels of the AIR preview at Mobile World Congress, we’re excited about this week’s gaming activities. At the Flash Gaming Summit this weekend, Adobe gaming evangelist Lee Brimelow and Flash runtime product manager Thibault Imbert discussed the direction of gaming at Adobe and the features in AIR 3.2 with hundreds of attendees. Developers can now begin to deliver mobile games with Stage 3D support to more than 500 million smartphones and tablets including Apple iOS, Android, Barnes & Noble’s Color NOOK, Amazon Kindle Fire and BlackBerry platforms without having to rewrite an app from scratch.

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!

Mobile Gaming Gets a Performance Boost: Adobe AIR 3.2 with 2D and 3D Hardware Acceleration Announced

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.

Flash Player 11.2

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.”

 

Put Down the Joystick and Pick Up the Popcorn: Join Adobe for Indie Game: The Movie

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!

 

 

Rovio Chooses Flash Player 11 with Support for 3D Graphics

Today, Rovio launched Angry Birds for Facebook using Flash Player 11 with support for 3D graphics. The most social version of Angry Birds yet takes advantage of hardware accelerated graphics in Flash Player to bring a silky smooth gaming experience to a wider audience than ever before. More than 130 million people play Angry Birds every day – now with Flash Player, hundreds of millions of Facebook users can do the same. New, enhanced special effects like lighting, smoke and explosions running smoothly at 60 frames per second bring the game to a whole new level and allow players to have a more connected and engaging experience. As we showed you at Adobe MAX in the fall, Rovio’s general manager of North America, Andrew Stalbow provided a sneak peek of this new hardware accelerated version of Angry Birds built on Flash Player 11:

Angry Birds on Facebook game makes it even more exciting to play with friends, offering amazing new power-ups like Sling Scope, Birdquake, King Sling and Super Seed to extend players’ gratifying arsenals. And with new accelerated graphics, the feathery antics have never been more fun to more people. For more information about how to power-up your games using Flash and AIR, please visit the Adobe Gaming Solutions site.

 

2012: The Year of Gaming

Happy New Year! We’re excited to start 2012, and the holidays have brought a bushel of new games and apps, including the first version of those famously Angry Birds using Flash Player 11 and Stage3D. If you’re all revved up and looking to build something new in the coming year, see how you can publish a car visualizer to Flash in 90 seconds with Flare3D Studio Workflow.

As we announced last year, we are investing in our Flash technologies to support the kind of innovative 3D and 2D games that developers and publishers want to deliver both in browsers and through mobile apps. To give developers access to high-performance C/C++ code, we told you we’re creating an improved, paid, fully supported release of Alchemy for production development. This new addition will be available later this year and will allow developers to publish content leveraging Alchemy technology in Flash Player 11 or AIR 3 and beyond. Meanwhile, a few months ago we introduced full GPU-accelerated graphics rendering with Stage3D, which provides 1000x faster rendering performance over the previous versions of Flash Player and AIR on the desktop. Stage3D in Flash Player already enables fluid, hardware accelerated graphics for more people in more browsers than any other web technology. And we’re now seeing exciting previews of Stage3D hardware acceleration coming for mobile devices like iPhone, iPad, and Android smartphones and tablets.

See for yourself what’s happening with the latest updates to Flash Player and AIR for gaming, and jump in on the fun by checking out the beta release of Flash Player 11.2 and AIR 3.2!

 

Q&A with SparkChess’ Armand Niculescu

We recently caught up with Media Division’s lead developer and co-owner Armand Niculescu about SparkChess. Check out the Q&A below to learn about SparkChess, Armand’s process and why he relies on Adobe to deliver games across platforms and the globe. Enjoy!

Why did you use Flash/AIR to develop this app?

I’ve been using Flash since 1998 and over the years I’ve learned its strengths and weaknesses. Things that won me over were its availability across platforms, the rich toolset from Adobe and third parties and the ease in combining great graphics and animation with programming.

When I started working on it there was no HTML5, and even today I would not be able to deliver the same experience with Canvas & Javascript without worrying about compatibility or making compromises.

How easy was it to deliver your app across multiple platforms/channels?

SparkChess is built with Flash Professional  for interface elements, and I’m using FDT5 and Flash Builder to manage the code base – about 25,000 lines of code spread in 80 classes. The code is the same but I have slightly different graphics and layout for each platform. The biggest challenge was that the game had to be tested on each device, not as much for functionality but for the user experience, especially on tablet devices. A 7” tablet needs bigger buttons than a 10” one, the aspect ratios are different, you need to take the onscreen keyboard into consideration and so on.

The packaging and signing process is different for each platform, and can be confusing at first, but once I had it worked out, I created some batch files to automate packaging and signing for all platforms. Submitting to the various stores requires some preparation and organization, but it’s nothing daunting.

The multiplayer functionality is built with Union Platform, providing a consistent experience across platforms.

Are you monetizing this app currently? If not, do you have plans to do so in the future?

Yes. There are some significant maintenance costs associated with the game – CDN, multiplayer servers and so on.

SparkChess is available for free with ads and as a paid version with no ads and some very nice additional features.

How many people are currently using the app?

In total, across platforms, there are about 420,000 weekly users (single player and multiplayer). 8,000 chess games are played in multiplayer every day.

What drives you to create these apps/games?

I wrote my first game when I was 11 on a Sinclair ZX Spectrum. It’s what got me started with graphics and programming. Games are some of the most challenging types of applications: they have to look great, run smoothly and above all, entertain. They are an excellent way for any programmer to push the envelope and learn new skills.

As part programmer – part designer (though I absolutely despise the term ‘devigner’), I was always interested in creating visually appealing apps. With SparkChess, my goal is to have a chess game that’s actually fun to play by casual players and that also helps them improve their skills. I’m also told by parents that kids love it, that it is a game for all ages.

Do you have anything else up your sleeve?

Yes! I’m listening to user feedback and I’m constantly tweaking SparkChess to make it an even more enjoyable experience and to take advantage of the upcoming features in Flash Player and AIR.

Based on this experience, I’m in the planning stage of a new multiplayer strategy game.

What do you want developers to know about creating apps with AIR/Flash?

Since the beginning, the beauty of Flash was its ability to deliver a consistent experience (graphics, fonts, animation and later program logic) across browsers and platforms. With AIR and native extensions, I can now deliver a native-like experience on all major operating systems and platforms. In a way, Flash is Java done right. Recent advancements in Javascript, CSS, the Canvas element and other HTML-related technologies can make HTML5 an alternative in some cases, especially for features that need to look integrated in a website. On the other hand, the browser quirks and lack of solid development environments make development of complex apps much harder, resulting in higher costs. An objective assessment should be done on a a per-project basis.

What I love about Flash, compared to any other platform, framework or environment, is the ease in combining programming with animation, graphics, sound and video in a seamless way, and with the new 3D support, the possibilities keep expanding.

 

 

Developers: Game On!

Compelling online games? Check! Pushing the limits of interactive creativity across multiple browsers? Check! For online game developers, Flash is the console of the web for delivering gaming experiences that draw committed gamers.  Adobe’s investment in Flash for both desktop, in-browser gaming as well as apps for mobile and TV (via AIR) is a growing opportunity. We are currently defining new features and an updated gaming roadmap, which we’ll be sharing with you through blog posts, announcements and demos down the road.

In the meantime, if you’re an online game developer, you can continue to use Flash to reach the broadest audience across desktop browsers. To augment developer solutions for gaming, we recently released Stage 3D APIs for Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 for desktop and TV, and the stage is set for an upcoming release of Stage 3D for mobile apps. Given the range of incredible mobile games already under development in prerelease, I’m excited about the opportunity this provides game developers to reach new audiences and deliver unique and immersive 2D and 3D gaming apps.

Speaking of apps, we’re doubling down on AIR, which gives developers the ability to take Flash based content and create apps for multiple mobile marketplaces, including Apple’s App Store, Android Market, Amazon Appstore, and BlackBerry AppWorld. Developers can also deliver AIR apps that run on the recently released Amazon Kindle Fire as well as the Barnes & Noble Color NOOK.

Here are some great examples of a few recent hits powered by Flash and AIR.

Machinarium

Delta Strike

Ben Franklin vs the Dead Coats

La Carrera del Siglo, made with Flare 3D and Stage 3D

As we recently communicated, this updated strategy will narrow our focus and allow Adobe to prioritize development of Flash for advanced gaming online and via mobile apps with AIR. For more information on game development using Flash and AIR, please visit the Adobe Gaming Solutions site.

 

Winning Tablet Apps for Adobe AIR App Challenge, Sponsored by Sony, Announced

Today, Adobe and Sony are excited to announce the winners of the ‘Adobe® AIR® App Challenge, Sponsored by Sony’. The contest launched in July to drive the creation of breakthrough Flash based apps powered by Adobe AIR for the Android-based Sony Tablet™ S and Sony Tablet™ P. The winners will receive a cash prize plus premium promotion* of their app for Sony Tablet S and Sony Tablet P via Sony’s Select App, the website with a shortcut icon on the tablets’ home-screen to highlight Sony-recommended Android™ apps.

Hundreds of entries were received from developers in eligible countries, including Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, UK and USA. The winning apps in five categories (excluding ‘MAX Public Favorite’) were selected by a panel of Adobe and Sony judges and industry experts. Submitted apps were judged based on quality and performance on Sony Tablet S and Sony Tablet P, innovation and creativity, and overall user experience. All apps are now live and available for download from Android Market™ – visit the links below. Congrats to the winners and thanks to everyone who submitted an app!

List of Winning Applications by Category

  • Grand Prize ($100,000 US): Tweet Huntby RED Interactive Agency
    • Tweet Hunt is a classic shooting gallery game powered by Twitter.

  • Best Game ($20,000 US): Conveyor, by drMikeyStudios
    • Conveyor is an addictive word game – race the clock to score the most points!

  • Best Entertainment App ($20,000 US): Kidoodle: Pirate Scribblebeard, by Kidoodle Apps
    • Join Oscar, Josephine and Pirate Scribblebeard in this groundbreaking new type of interactive, animated, drawing app for kids.

  • Best Business & Productivity App ($20,000 US): Conqu, by AsFusion
    • Conqu is an easy-to-use yet powerful task management application that will help you conquer your inbox with style.

  • Best Lifestyle & Community App ($20,000 US): Sylvester’s Band, by Uncle Handsalt
    • Sylvester’s Band is Sylvester’s Band an interactive book for children ages 2-7, with 35+ pages and English voiceover.

  • Most Innovative App ($10,000 US): LEVEL, by drMikeyStudios
    • LEVEL is a puzzle-platformer with a twist. Designed specifically for the Sony Tablet P, LEVEL takes specific advantage of the two screen layout.

  • MAX Public Favorite ($10,000 US): Cassandra Stand – News & Clock, by Small Screen Design
    • Transform your tablet into a useful stand with date & clock, weather forecast and top stories from more than 50 countries. (Announced last month at MAX 2011, Adobe’s annual developer and designer conference, based on a public vote from the ten applications selected for the Adobe MAX Showcase prizes).

The Android-powered Sony Tablet S and Sony Tablet P devices combine all of Sony’s innovations rolled into one including unique hardware, content and network services with seamless usability to create a world of engaging networked entertainment experiences.

Sony Tablet devices are distinguished by four key features that set them apart from any other tablets on the market. These include: optimally designed hardware and software, a “swift and smooth” performance, cross-device connectivity and network entertainment services including Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited, PlayStation® Store and Reader™ Store.

Sony Tablet S is optimized for rich media entertainment on its 9.4-inch touchscreen display and its unique asymmetric design allows for hours of comfortable use. With a powerful NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2 mobile processor, the Sony Tablet S lets you enjoy the web as well as your favorite content and applications on its large, high-resolution screen and built-in Wi-Fi® compatibility means Internet connectivity virtually anywhere there’s a hotspot.

Available in 2012 exclusively on AT&T’s mobile broadband network, Sony Tablet P is ideal for mobile communication and entertainment. With its revolutionary folding design and two 5.5-inch displays, it can easily fit into a pocket, purse or backpack. Sony Tablet P is both Wi-Fi and 3G/4G capable allowing users access to digital content including videos, games, and e-mail, while on the go, nearly anytime. Taking advantage of its unprecedented design, Sony Tablet P allows for dual screen functionality  within specific applications, , such as playing games on one screen while using the other as a controller or reading e-mail on one screen while using the other as a software keyboard.

For additional contest details, please visit the ‘Adobe AIR App Challenge, Sponsored by Sony’ website at http://airappchallenge.com. For more information on Adobe AIR, go to www.adobe.com/products/air.html.


* Requires signing a premium promotional agreement with Sony

Amazon’s Kindle Fire Lights up App Creativity

This is an exciting day for Adobe AIR developers who create amazing Flash based apps capable of reaching over 350 million smartphones and tablets by the end of this year, including the iPad. Today, Amazon began shipping the Kindle Fire, a new tablet boasting a 7” full color multi-touch display with 8GB of internal storage and free cloud storage for all Amazon content.

The Kindle Fire is already equipped to run AIR apps available on the Amazon Appstore for Android, right out of the box. Using Flash Builder or Flash Professional and the AIR SDK, developers can create and deliver Flash based apps via AIR, which run outside of the browser and deliver rich interaction and stunning performance. The Fire shipped with AIR 2.7, but developers can deliver AIR 3 apps by leveraging captive runtime. Apps created for the Android Market can also be published to the Amazon Appstore and there are currently many cool AIR apps available on the Appstore already, including:

Pyramix (interactive word game)

Pocket Penguins (live streaming video of penguins at the California Academy of Sciences)

TouchUp Pro (photo editing for your phone)

Politifact (the #1 news app)

We’re excited to see how the Kindle Fire will encourage new and creative uses for tablets, and the many ways new Flash based apps will help deliver those experiences through the Amazon Appstore.