Archive for July, 2012

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.

Update: Premium Features for Flash Player

Update – August 16, 2012: The premium features licensing website is now available.
Learn more about the premium XC APIs.

We previously communicated that beginning August 1, new content using the Premium Features for Flash Player would require a commercial license from Adobe, and that we would share more details on how to obtain a license. We will be extending this deadline to give publishers more time to prepare and obtain a license. These Premium Features are designed primarily to enable publishers and commercial game developers to target the Flash Player with games developed using C/C++ (via the Project “Alchemy” compiler) and/or 3rd party tools such as Unity.

We expect to make available a website where you can obtain a license by the end of August, which will be available at adobe.com/go/fpl. And we are extending the free use of the Premium Features for new content publicly released prior to the availability of the licensing website. To obtain a license for grandfathered content that is released prior to the availability of the licensing website, please contact us directly at fpl@adobe.com.

To provide publishers with enough time to obtain a license to take advantage of Premium Features, Flash Player will not begin enforcing the license requirements for Premium Features until at least 8 weeks after the availability of the licensing website. Once Flash Player begins enforcing the Premium Features license requirement, unlicensed content requesting use of the Premium Features will continue to run, and will automatically use software rendering (for more information, please review the release notes for the beta release of Flash Player 11.4).

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.