Unity has been picking up a lot of steam lately for it’s simplicity and ability to quickly prototype impressive 3D visuals and games, but has been locked out of several platforms because it requires the Unity Player. That may change soon, however, thanks to a newly demonstrated feature that allows you to export Unity projects directly to Flash.
While we are not quite ready to ship with Flash support yet, we just couldn’t resist sharing this video with you, as this has been a major milestone for us. We’ve taken the project, changed the build platform to Flash, hit build; magic happens…and the game runs in the Flash Player.
Performance is great and things are looking very promising. Keep in mind, this is a sneak peek; many things are still rough around the edges. Rest assured we are working hard to ship this, there is nobody who likes to see this in your hands as soon as possible more than we do.
I believe Unity already has an iPhone exporter, so adding a Flash exporter pretty much brings Unity to every single computing/gaming platform out there.
Last week at the Adobe MAX event they announced “Project Molehill”, a collection of 3D Acceleration APIs that take advantage of GPUs for high-speed and high-quality rendering.
Today, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, renders thousands of non z-buffered triangles at approximately 30 Hz. With the new 3D APIs, developers can expect hundreds of thousands of z-buffered triangles to be rendered at HD resolution in full screen at around 60 Hz. Using the new 3D APIs in Flash Player and AIR will make it possible to deliver sophisticated 3D experiences across almost every computer and device connected to the Internet.
While this will open up a new world of flash-based Gaming to the masses, it compete directly against existing WebGL functionality, which Adobe addresses as such:
In terms of design, our approach is very similar to the WebGL design. However, we offer a consistent, browser-agnostic solution that will enable advanced 3D experiences on almost every computer and device connected to the Internet. Additionally, GPU-accelerated 3D in Flash Player will build on all the expressiveness features that exist today in Adobe Flash Player.
They will also be integrated into Adobe’s desktop solution Adobe AIR, possibly opening the route to cross-platform gaming via Adobe AIR (something many companies have tried and failed to pull off). At the event, they demonstrated a racing game built with an updated version of Alternativa Platform.
While they surely don’t hit the performance of native solutions, massive improvements in processor and GPU speeds may not make that necessary. Who knows, maybe Doom 4 will run in Adobe AIR?
The 3D Flash-based gaming engine Alternativa3D is now free for all to use, requiring only a link to Alternativa Company even in commercial projects. In addition, the new version utilizes new Flash3D API’s.
Second, Alternativa works on Alternativa 3D 8 engine based on new Flash player with the next generation 3D API’s. It’s all what is possible to say about it before Adobe MAX. Till new Flash player is in a work-in-progress stage and barely be ready earlier then in a year we offer to use A3D 7. More than likely it’ll be possible to port projects based on the seventh version to A3D 8.
If you want to check it out, you can hit them up at Adobe MAX where they’ll be presenting in area 515B.
They’re mum on what “next generation 3D API’s” means, but I’m pretty sure you can make an educated guess. Afterall, they’ve been adding GPU-acceleration on video playback over the last year.
Update 2:57pm: At request of Alternativa, corrected some language up above.
Johannes Luderschmidt’s final master’s thesis was the creation of a multi-touch capable visualization tool to be used in law enforcement that he called ‘Vispol’. Targeted for ‘special situations’ like hostage scenarios or bank heists, the system is meant to work as a centralized data consolidation and analysis platform for the multitude of data sources police have access to.
In Vispol a person is represented by a circle and an object is represented by a square. Persons can be connected with other persons and objects and vice versa. A person consists out of a central circle and ten wedges around this circle. The central circle contains information about the type of person (culprit, victim, not involved), the sex and the name of the person. The upper five wedges can hold information represented by an icon about the age, the health state, the armature, a potential criminal file and the whereabout of the person. The lower five wedges can hold various information like notes, questions or photos of the person.
Beyond creation of the tool, the remainder of the project is in use case analysis and user evaluation. No word about that on his site, but hopefully something will be released soon.
The war of words and technology wages on between Apple and Adobe about getting Flash and Flash-based technology onto the iPhone and iPad, but the intertwined history of the two companies can make it a bit difficult to separate the reality and the rhetoric. A new infographic from Enrique Serrano tries to break it down for us.
Since so much has been said about not having Flash support in the devices of Apple (mainly the Apple iPhone and the iPad) I put together as much facts as possible about Apple, Adobe, the iPhone and Flash, plus some on video codecs including Theora, H.264 and HTML 5 video.
I hope these infographics help you better understand the big picture with the current situation of these technologies and companies.
Adobe has recently delivered a beta version of Flash 10.1 that enables GPU acceleration under the OS X operating system. This is a feature that the Windows operating system has had for several months now. AnandTech takes the new beta flash player for a spin to see how much it truly helps, and finds some interesting results.
While hardware acceleration doesn’t appear to work on Hulu’s website, there’s definitely an improvement in CPU utilization when scaling to full screen. YouTube is a different story however. CPU utilization is cut roughly in half.
Today I ran across Flare, which is a data visualization tool for the web that utilizes Adobe Flash. Flare can do animations, tree graphs, bubble maps, stacked time series, scatter plots, bar graphs, and more. For example, the image to the right visualizes the changing labor force in the United States over the past 150 years by using a stacked time series. Of particular interest is Flare’s demo page, where you can see all the different features in action. From their web site:
Flare is an ActionScript library for creating visualizations that run in the Adobe Flash Player. From basic charts and graphs to complex interactive graphics, the toolkit supports data management, visual encoding, animation, and interaction techniques. Even better, flare features a modular design that lets developers create customized visualization techniques without having to reinvent the wheel.
I was checking out some of the big indie gaming hits, and came across PuzzleBloom. A fun little web-based flash game, it’s a clever little mind-control game where you take control of various creatures and move them around to your goal. The interesting part, to me, was the fully rendered 3D world, running quite smoothly in nothing but Flash.
Beautiful visuals, 3D graphics, sound, and more. Check it out for yourself at www.puzzlebloom.com and post your thoughts in the comments.
Update: Well, I’m confused now. Yesterday when I played it (And wrote this initially), I could have sworn it was flash. It wasn’t full-page, just a small box in the middle of the page, and running Flash. Today, it’s Unity based. Sorry folks, I’ve got no explanation other than that.
Infosthetics.com just celebrated its fifth birthday, and one enterprising fan constructed a great interactive flash visualization of all 1,950 posts that appeared on the site.
Here is how it works: The little tiles on the left represent the individual posts, with color stripes representing their categories. You can find a color legend in the category filter on the right. In addition, you will find filters for the number of comments, year and author. Clicking one of the filter entries will display only matching posts, and also update the number of items for each filter accordingly. If you click a post, you can see its details on the bottom, and visit it by clicking the preview. In addition, the filter values that belong to this post are marked with a grey background.
Lest you think that NVidia is the only GPU provider implementing acceleration for Flash video, AMD has just announced that they are also implementing hardware acceleration to be available on the same timeline at the NVidia offering.
AMD’s informed us that it plans to support Adobe Flash Player 10.1 at the same level and in step with the beta release later this year.
“AMD is committed to making the video usage scenario — playback, editing and transcoding — a focal point for AMD platform innovation, smartly using the full CPU + GPU assets of our platform to enrich and accelerate the experience,” an AMD representative told us.
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