Stage3D in Flash

Adobe Flash Player 11 introduced a new architecture for hardware-accelerated graphics (processed by GPU = graphics processing unit) rendering called Stage3D (codename Molehill). This set of 3D APIs brings 3D to the Adobe Flash Platform. The book Adobe Flash Player 11 Stage3D (Molehill) Game Programming Beginner’s Guide, written by Christer Kaitila, shows you how to make your very own next-generation 3D games in Flash. Christer Kaitila is the curator of a popular news website called www.videogamecoder.com which syndicates news from hundreds of other game developer blogs.

The following frameworks and libraries are available for Stage3D :

Flare3D Studio and Mixamo’s online animation service have been integrated into a smooth workflow, allowing Flash developers to easily leverage the Stage 3D API and its capabilities. Stage3D content can be embedded in AIR 3.2 to deploy applications on mobiles, including iOS devices.

The Stage3D API includes a low level shading language, called AGAL (Adobe Graphics Assembly Language). Shaders are programs that run on the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit).

Tutorials and additional informations about Stage3D and related frameworks are listed below :

Virtual Chumby

Chumby is a content platform that serves flash-based apps across mutiple devices. Current chumby devices include :

  • Chumby 8
  • Classic Chumby
  • Chumby One
  • Sony Dash
  • Insignia Infocast
  • Chumby for Android

The Chumby Dashboard allows to create channels and to add apps to the channels. The display time per app can be customized (from a few seconds to a few minutes or forever). The channels can be selected on the Chumby device and the apps are shown sequentially.

A virtual chumby is a chumby that plays on any computer like a real chumby — except it’s doing it in cyberspace. The only difference with the virtual chumby is that it won’t show certain apps to protect your privacy.

The following virtual Chumby shows the channel marco from my Chumby account.

 

Google Swiffy and Adobe Wallaby

In July 2011, Google announced a new online tool called Swiffy to convert .swf files to HTML5. The converted html5 content can be viewed in any modern browser without needing a flash plugin to play.

Swiffy currently supports a subset of SWF 8 and ActionScript 2.0. Swiffy uses a compact JSON representation of the animation, which is rendered using SVG and a bit of HTML5 and CSS3.

Adobe Flash .fla files can be converted into HTML with Wallaby, an installable tool provided by Adobe as an experimental technology.

I tried to convert several .swf files, without success. The following errors occured :

  • The ActionScript function clearInterval is not supported
  • The ActionScript function setInterval is not supported
  • The #initclip pragma is not supported
  • Shape tweens are not supported
  • The ActionScript method MovieClip.getBytesLoaded() is not supported
  • The ActionScript method MovieClip.swapDepths() is not supported
  • The ActionScript method MovieClip.getBytesTotal() is not supported
  • The ActionScript method MovieClip.loadMovie() is not supported
  • An unsupported ActionScript instruction was encountered

 

Disable Flash in web browsers

To test new web applications, it’s sometimes useful to disable the Flash Plugin in web browsers. The procedures to do this are quite different in the latest versions of the common browsers :

  • IE 8 : Menu Tools > manage external modules > disable Flash
  • Firefox 3.6 : Menu Tools > Modules > Plugins > disable Flash
  • Safari 5 :  Menu Settings > Preferences > Security > disable external modules
  • Chrome 8 : enter about:plugins in address bar > disable Flash in plugin list

Thoughts on Flash by Steve Jobs : go to HTML5

Recently, Steve Jobs published his thoughts on Flash on the Apple website.

Steve Jobs explains why Apple does not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads.

  1. open standards : Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary
  2. full web : most videos are available in a modern format, H.264, and viewable on iPhones, iPods and iPads
  3. reliability, security and performance
  4. battery life
  5. touch : Flash was created for PCs and mice, not for mobile devices with touch interface
  6. Apple wants to provide the most advanced and innovative platform to the developers

Steve Jobs recommends to use the open standards HTML5, CSS and JavaScript for mobile devices.

One on the first to follow this idea is the developer of the JW video player, Jeroen Wijering. Even if he thinks that there is still a lot of work to be done before HTML5 reaches the maturity level that Flash has for delivering video content to the users, he released the beta version of the HTML5 JW player two weeks ago.

JibJab starring you : online humor with Actionscript 3

last update : January 30, 2013

JibJab Starring You Skating

JibJab, an online humor site with original and user generated jokes, live videos, flash and other animated videos, is run by the digital entertainment studio JibJab based in Venice, California. Founded in 1999 by Evan and Gregg Spiridellis, the company achieved international acclaim during the 2004 US presidential election when their video of George W. Bush and John Kerry singing  This Land is Your Land became one of the biggest viral video hits in history. More details are available at Wikipedia and on the JibJab Blog.

The HeadCut Tool of the video application JibJab Starring You, with which the user can cut head and jaw, and generate relevant graphic files, was produced by Filippo Gregoretti, an italian born ActionScript developer and New Media consultant. His blog pippoflash.com was developed to showcase his work, but especially to provide help or give inspiration to all those out there who love the creativity allowed by ActionScript and Flash.

Filippo Gregoretti’s other love of his life is the Piano, he perform internationally as pianist.

To start with jibjab, yoiu can subscribe for a free membership. In order to personalize and send exclusive content, you will need to purchase a Membership (12 $ per year). With a Membership, you get access to exclusive eCards & videos!, make unlimited Starring You! movies, share unlimited JibJab Sendables eCards, get discounts on digital downloads,  are the first to know about new releases and  support great artists!

The videos are available in two formats for download (1,99$ per video for members):

mpg:

video : MPEG-PS, MPEG Video version 1, 425 x 319 pixels, 24 frames/s, ratio 4:3,  4.985 kbps;
audio : MPEG Audio Version 1, Layer 2,  44,1 KHz, 2 channels, 160 kbps;

mp4:

video : MPEG-4 (Base Media),  Visual Simple&LG1, 425 x 319 pixels, 24 frames/s, ratio 4:3,  2.275 kbps;
audio : AAC (Version 4 LC),  44,1 KHz, 2 channels, 152 kbps;

Combine Flashdevelop and TortoiseSVN

Flashdevelop has no integrated CVS or SVN file management. To do this is a huge task. The core FlashDevelop team can not start such a project and suggest to use Tortoise.

TortoiseSVN is a Subversion (SVN) client, implemented as a windows shell extension. It’s intuitive and easy to use, since it doesn’t require the Subversion command line client to run. The  version 1.6.7.  was released on january 23, 2010, the most recent version is 1.6.9 released on june 21, 2010.

Away3D source checkout with Tortoise

Dowloading svn files with Tortoise

Flashdevelop : open source Actionscript editor

Flashdeveloper screen snap

FlashDevelop is a popular open source ActionScript 2/3 and web development environment designed for Windows systems. FlashDevelop is built on the Scintilla editor component and is a Microsoft .NET 2.0 application. FlashDevelop was developed by the members of FlashDevelop.org in 2005 as an alternative to Adobe Flash.

FlashDevelop project is runned by two active members Mika Palmu (aka Meychi) and Philippe Elsass. Other developers like Nick Farino and Alessandro Crugnola have also contributed to the project.

The current version is 3.0.6 RTM was released on november 4, 2009.

Tools for Flash 3D engines

The following tools are available to import and animate objects or to add other features to the 3D Flash engines :

Cast 3D

Cast3D is 3D animation framework library for Adobe Flash in ActionScript3. The foundation is a multi key-framed geometrical animation. Cast3D supports geometry and texture morphing, skin animation, 3D sound, animated movie and video. A number of animation interpolation splines is implemented to provide smooth and natural motion, like Bezier, TCB, Hemite(cubic), Cosine and Linear.

Cast3D does not have it’s own rendering engine. So for 3D graphics rendering Cast3D currently is ported to popular 3D engines, Sandy3D and Papervision3D. Version 0.98 of Cast 3D was released on august 12, 2009 under MIT licence.

AwayBuilder (PreFab3D)

The PreFab3D tool (AwayBuilder) simplifies common tasks, improve the workflow and greatly enhance the visual quality of the Flash 3D productions. It’s a small but powerfull tool that can add visual quality to low polygon models using a nice bag of tricks thanks to the advanced rendering capabilities of Away3D.

JSAway

JSAway, created by fellow Away3D team member Stephen White, brings the capability of the Away3D Flash 3D graphics API to the web and exposes it’s capability to JavaScript for rich interactive 3D web development.

JiglibFlash

JiglibFlash is a open source Actionscript 3D Physics Engine. FIVe3D support for JigLibFlash has now been added to the JigLibFlash SVN library.