Author Archive: Thibault Imbert

SWF and AMF3 specifications update

SWF FormatWe are really happy to announce that we just updated the SWF (SWF19) and AMF3 specs with the latest information. I promised this to you guys a long time ago, this will give you the latest details if you are working with both formats. Some things were either missing inaccurate in both specs, so we fixed that. The AMF3 specification had some types missing like Vector and Dictionary that we introduced in Flash Player 10.

The SWF specification had some undocumented things like a new tag for Telemetry (Adobe Scout) and some other miscellaneous attributes that we now fully document.

You can find both specs at the following url:

http://www.adobe.com/devnet/swf.html

Introducing Flash Player 11.2 and AIR 3.2 beta4

A few months ago, we shipped Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 with Stage3D support, since we shipped we have seen great response from the developers and amazing content being developed. From Zombie Tycoon, the first Stage3D game available online, we have seen tanks and zombies destroying cities, cars doing rallysBen Franklin fighting the Dead Coats. Beyond games, we’ve also seen an amazing car configurator for Nissan, and tons of creative experimentations like the Evo Particles Engine. More recently, the famous birds have also been migrated to Stage3D. So far, we have been talking with a lot of companies actually developing Stage3D content, leveraging Flash Player’s penetration, and by the end of 2011, we anticipated that over 80% had Flash Player 11 installed.

How they’re doing it is they’re developing their games for Stage3D software fallback. And then they’re using progressive enhancement to add more complex models, textures, particle effects, etc. when they detect HW-accelerated Stage3D is available. With this kind of progressive experience, you can use Stage3D to deliver the best experience to the most users (even with only software fallback) and provide the best experience for users with hardware acceleration. In addition, we’re working with framework vendors to improve performance of frameworks built on Stage3D, which benefits all Stage3D users. There are a lot of optimizations that can be done on these layers above Stage3D. For example, the latest build of the open source Starling 2D GPU framework is 400% faster than it was just a few weeks ago. You guys can take advantage of these performance enhancements immediately, without waiting for a new release of Flash Player and AIR. Recently, Ville Koskela from Rovio, shared his excitement regarding Starling and its performance boost.
Today, over 50% of users with Flash Player 11 will enjoy full hardware acceleration for Stage3D content. This is based on actual site visit data and data we have collected from partners which also corroborates our penetration models based on data we have directly from OS vendors.
But there has been a lot of discussions regarding Stage3D hardware support and the reach that Stage3D gives you today when it comes to hardware acceleration. The current Flash Player available today (11.1 – shipped in November 2011) still uses a conservative gating model to ensure best stability. We took that decision when we saw how bad some drivers could be, with some horrible inconsistencies, some could basically reboot your computer when browsing a website. We just cannot allow that. If you want more details about the drivers and chipsets we do not support, you can check this technote.I want you guys to know that we are actively making changes to Flash Player and AIR to enable HW-acceleration for always more people. Specifically, with each release we are working with graphics card partners to test and identify compatible older drivers that are currently blacklisted. Upcoming quarterly releases of Flash Player will relax the blacklisting, we are lowering the restriction from drivers older than 1/1/2009 to 1/1/2008 with Flash Player 11.2 that we are about to release in the next months.The Flash Player 11.2/AIR 3.2 beta4 we are making available today introduces this change, you should check it out. This release does not have any changes from the previous betas related to Alchemy. However, as we’ve mentioned, we are working on a solution to address some of the concerns from the Flash community and will have more to share soon.

We also want to be more aggressive and lower this even more with the next release depending on the feedback you guys will provide during the public beta.

Note that Flash Player 11.2 ships with silent auto update on Windows, meaning that future versions adoption will happen even faster. Mac support for silent auto-update will be introduced in the next release. On a side note, we are already seeing games running at 60fps on the upcoming version of AIR for mobile with Stage3D support, we are excited to share more about this very soon! ;)

Focusing

As a long time Flash developer who loves Flash, I can tell you that what is happening right now is a good thing.

First, we are making bold moves like stopping the development of the browser plug-in on mobile browsers in favor of investing further in Flash-based apps packaged with AIR. Playing existing content sounds like a great idea on paper, but we know it doesn’t always work that way — you need to author for mobile and think for mobile, but from talking to customers and looking at content today, we realize that very few people are targeting the plug-in on mobile browsers.

Flash developers have always created some of the most stunning, immersive, emotional experiences on the web. They’ve always pushed the cutting edge, with few restrictions. But mobile is different, and developers need to adapt to different constraints and affordances. Flash lets you do that, whether you are taking advantage of efficient hardware accelerated video playback or native support for features like multitouch and accelerometers. But it’s costly to create beautiful experiences optimized for mobile browsers — a cost that doesn’t make sense if people using one of the most popular mobile platforms can’t see the content you create.

Existing content for desktops didn’t always look as magical on phones as people were used to seeing with Flash Player on their desktops. Content optimized for desktops with big screens and beefy processors can’t look as good on a phone or a tablet it was never designed for. This really had an impact on the trust that people had in Flash, and this perception made it hard to start new projects optimized for mobile browsers. There was just no appetite to even try doing this.

In contrast, you guys create super nice Flash-based apps packaged with AIR and delivering them to app stores across iOS, Android, and BlackBerry devices – by the end of this year, you will be able to reach over 350 million tablets and smartphones. Have you seen an article from a journalist saying that Machinarium, Comb over Charlie, or TweetHunt are horrible ? No, people love those games. Your work fits the trend the entire industry is seeing: even as we’re excited about improvements in mobile browsers, the most compelling, immersive experiences for mobile devices are delivered through apps, optimized from the ground up for mobile. We’re helping you guys leverage your talent – the same skills in ActionScript and tooling – to reach that huge, growing market of smartphone and tablet users with amazing apps. Flash makes it possible for developers who craft beautiful desktop experiences to deliver great mobile app experiences. We are going to really focus on that, creating the best solution to build stunning interactive content, games, and video apps across all screens.

Flash Player on the desktop continues to show a path for the consistent, super duper experiences that are impossible to deliver to over a billion people with any other technology. For example, Flash Player 11 was released only a month ago, and it now enables fluid, cinematic hardware accelerated 2D and 3D visuals for more people on the web than any other technology. Flash Player uniquely does for the desktop what apps do for phones and tablets: it helps ensure that what you imagine is exactly what your users will see. Flash Player remains the best technology for delivering premium experiences on the desktop, period. Focusing helps us make sure that we continue to drive that continued innovation.

We are not stepping out of the mobile space with Flash, we are just focusing on what makes sense and where Flash looks great.

In the long term, we’re actively working on an ambitious future for Flash. The implementation details may change, as we’ve been talking about today. We believe that the DNA of Flash doesn’t reside in those implementation details, but in our promise to make it easy to create and deliver the most amazing experiences everywhere. We’re focusing on fulfilling that promise, and we’re excited to see what the future – and our community – will bring.

Thibault Imbert
Sr. Product Manager | Flash Runtime

Introducing Flash Player 10.3 beta!

We recently announced the Incubator program with a preview of the next generation 3D GPU accelerated APIs (Molehill) coming in the Adobe Flash runtimes. As you know, features or builds from the Incubator program include features under development or things we are considering adding. But what about features coming in the next Flash Player release ? Well, we are happy to announce the availability of Flash Player 10.3 beta for Windows, MacOS and Linux.

Note : Note that the Incubator builds available in the Incubator program contain the features available in Flash Player 10.3.

Flash Player 10.3 will also be available in the future on mobile devices, we invite you to test the following features and let us know what you think through the Adobe Flash Player 10.3 beta forums:

Media Measurement – Measuring video just got easier. With Flash Player 10.3 and Adobe® SiteCatalyst®, developers can implement video analytics with as little as two lines of code for the first time.  Analytics solutions can use a new set of open APIs to easily implement consistent video analytics irrespective of implementation or delivery protocol.  Media Measurement for Flash allows companies to get real-time, aggregated reporting of how their video content is distributed, what the audience reach is, and how much video is played. For instance, using a very few lines of code you will be able to retrieve all the NetStream instances created in your applications, access any meta data (XMP) associated to media being played, and more through the NetDataEvent event. Make sure to check the NetMonitor API and the additions done to the NetStreamInfo API. We also improved the consistency over events dispatched by the NetStream API when dealing with progressive, HTTP or RTMP streaming. We also added helper APIs like pageDomain property on the Security object to expose domain of the current URL.

Acoustic Echo Cancellation – Flash Player 10.3 enables developers to create real-time online collaboration experiences with high-quality audio, such as telephony, in-game voice chat, and group conferencing applications. Developers can take advantage of acoustic echo cancellation, noise suppression, voice activity detection, and automatic compensation for various microphone input levels. End users will be able to experience higher quality audio facilitating smoother conversation flow, without using a headset. Make sure you check the new MicrophoneEnhancedOptions and Microphone.getEnhancedMicrophone() APIs.

In addition to acoustic echo removal, the following functionality will also be available through the MicrophoneEnhancedOptions API:

  • Noise suppression – Remove ambient noise from microphone input.
  • Automatic gain control – Compensate for level variation of microphone input (due to distance of speaker, etc.).
  • Voice activity detection – Provides information whether speech/voice is detected.

Integration with browser privacy controls for managing local storage – Users will have a simpler way to clear local storage from the browser settings interface – similar to how users clear their browser cookies today. Flash Player 10.3 integrates control of local storage with the browser’s privacy settings in Mozilla Firefox 4, Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 and higher, and future releases of Apple Safari and Google Chrome. See this related post we published in January.

Native Control Panel – The Global Settings Manager is currently a SWF residing on macromedia.com, Flash Player 10.3 provides users with streamlined controls for managing their Flash Player privacy, security and storage settings. Windows, Mac, and Linux users can access the Flash Player Settings Manager directly from the Control Panels or System Preferences on their computers. See this related post we published in January.

Auto-Update Notification for Mac OS – Flash Player 10.3 supports automatic notification of software updates on Mac OS, making it easier for Mac users to stay current with new capabilities in the latest version of Flash Player.

To download the beta release of Flash Player 10.3, visit Adobe Labs. We look forward to hearing your feedback, which will help us make Flash Player better for you. To log bugs about issues found in Flash Player 10.3 builds, please use the Adobe bugbase at bugs.adobe.com/flashplayer and select Flash Player 10.3 for the version.