Archive for the ‘ Adobe ’ Category

Molehill might become a fun, usable mountain

[tweetmeme source=”neoRiley” only_single=false]So, essentially, Unity has entered the Flash 3D world.  While 3D api’s (Away3D is doing an excellent job, btw) might provide a way to bring 3D to life via Molehill, Unity brings a kick-ass IDE with it.

And considering that they’re going to support AS3 right out of the bag (which they practically already do with UnityScript) as well as the other languages you can already use (I’ve become a c# fan myself), I’m hoping the resulting project from Unity will allow for maximum integration with flash projects.  I have no idea what output they intend to target (swf or project to yet be compiled by flash), but I do hope they output a project we can work with on the FlashBuilder or Flash IDE side of things.

There have been quite a few discussions about this move, and as usual, there’s 2 camps – the yay’s and nay’s.  I see it as a positive for Unity overall – they’re in the business of making tools, and they do that extremely well, and without a doubt, their developer base will broaden drastically if the resulting Flash is what people expect and need to get their work done (reference Adobe’s output for iPhone compared to Unity’s – case closed).  Case in point, I’d created a Papervision3D component for the Flash IDE a while back – it was downloaded over 450,000 times).  That tells me that people want visual solutions to 3D problems and that there’s a huge potential user base for a good Flash3D IDE.  Bringing Flash3D to the lower common denominators in the development food chain is a “good” thing.

But without a doubt, Adobe is the massive winner here.  IMO, they are walking away with much more of a win.  The one thing I’d complained about early on was that Molehill left 3D to the egg-heads who loved being the only ones who could use it.  As I’ve said before – until you bring it to a state of usability by the masses, it’s pointless and will largely be fruitless.  In other words, I felt that if the new 3D capabilities weren’t put in the hands of us lesser-folk through a common interface and language, it wasn’t going to go anywhere except for demoscene reels on YouTube.

Enter in Unity, and you just fixed all of that.  All of what I was saying and telling them they needed to achieve, they received from Unity3D (Merry Christmas Adobe).   I do wonder how Unity’s physics, Beast Light mapping and shaders will translate, but I’m guessing those are the fruits they intend to dangle in front of even the most hardened Flash 3D developer 😉

Check out the official release statement:
http://blogs.unity3d.com/2011/02/27/unity-flash-3d-on-the-web/

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Anti-Trust investigation officially launched on Apple

Apparently, the anti-trust investigation is official – thanks to Andy for pointing this out on the Unity forums:

“Not speculation any more. FTC and Justice Department now acknowledge that they have, in fact launched an anti-trust investigation specifically targeting Apple’s new TOS. Slot that one right next to the already ongoing investigation regarding alleged collusion with other major tech firms over not hiring each other’s developers in order to depress wages. Disappointing from what was once an admirable company. Between them and Google, I guess they’ll have to learn the hard way that being Shiny Cool and Not Being Evil doesn’t give you a free pass to do whatever you want. At least Microsoft was always despicable….

Between the two investigations, it’ll probably only cost Apple, what, $50-100M, which will be nothing but a footnote in their annual report three years from now, but it will definitely be good for the us developers. By the way, DOJ said their move was in response both to claims by Adobe and others as well as complaints from numerous developers. So for those who were yelling loudly on our behalf, hats off to you.”

I don’t think Keith realized HOW much popcorn we’re going to need for this showdown…

Do developers drive the market?

[tweetmeme source=”neoRiley” only_single=false]I’ve heard several different ideas over the past week about what we might do and what we ought to do as developers (and consumers) to teach Apple a lesson about section 3.3.1.

Everything from “post everything you have to the app store” for approval, to purchase every app known to be made by a 3rd party app, to stop developing for iPhone / iPad all together ( as I type this out on my new iPad ). Personally, I don’t think the first 2 are going to make a difference that apple would see or much less care about.

So I was thinking about what Mike Chambers posted about yesterday. He states that he’s going to focus on android and is looking forward to the tablets coming out later this year. He then goes on a bit further about not going forward with any iPhone development to the point of not even maintaining the apps he’s already put out in the apps store.

While I can certainly appreciate where Mike is coming from and his reasons, I think that it’s premature for one, and I think ultimately we as developers should never burn technical bridges so to speak. Not that I have any idea whether or not Mike will ever do OC work again or not, that’s beside the point. And to be fair to Mike, his job doesn’t require him to keep OC in his back pocket – that’s not his job.

My question is: what drives the mobile market anyway? Is it the will of the developer community? Or, is it based on what the consumers want? Simple enough, right?

If you think it’s driven by the developer community, you’re wrong. It’s driven by the fanboys and fangirls who have no clue what’s going on behind the scenes – they see new toy, they buy new toy as long as the experience is good. And right now, the iphone IS the best mobile phone experience out there. This is mainly to do with the fact that Apple IS so anal. Just look at every other phone being developed these days. The phone makers are responding to a public that loves the experience of the iphone. Look no further than android for an example of that ( case in point Nexus one which looks like your dad’s old palm pilot compared to an iPhone IMO )

Bottom line – there’s a need and market for iPhone and iPad apps right now, and this means we have a demand. As long as there’s demand, someone’s going to step up to the plate, take the gig, and make the money. Simple as that.

So with that, I would encourage any developer out there to not abandon technology for ideology. What comes around goes around, and we’ve seen it way too many times already in our short history. Today’s hypocrite is tomorrows hero and in the end, whatever the consumer wants, the client needs. And whatever the client needs, the developer should be able to provide to stay competitive.

Apple doesn’t like Flash…

There’s been tweet after tweet after tweet about Apple’s new little clause in their developers agreement:

3.3.1 — Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

Essentially, the first reaction is that if you don’t write it in Xcode, you can’t do it.  That’s at least what the first reaction was to the verbiage.

Now’s its speculated that maybe it means products that create an IPA file without creating an Xcode project are subjected to this new rule.  Leaving products like Unity3D in a safe spot so to speak.  But who knows at this point.  It’s all speculation until summer time 2010.

So, since nobody really knows for sure what that means yet, and so, as Keith Peters put it:  Grab some popcorn, sit back on the couch and enjoy the fireworks for the next couple of months – it’s going to get interesting 😉

I guess my general reaction to this, after having a night to sleep on it is this:  If Apple is thinking that the flash output is less than ideal in terms of performance/packaging on their devices, then we might be able to see where they’re coming from (not that I agree, or am saying that Flash’s output is inferior, I’m not saying that at all). But, if you’ve done any iPhone development, you know  that they’re so anal about experience in their SDK/agreements that this shouldn’t surprise anyone.

IE ( and let me put it in terms of what THEY’RE likely thinking ): They know they’re going to get a HUGE influx of flash apps from virtually ANYONE (hacks/babysitters who make banners/12yr olds who like pink ponies, you name it) making content for their devices, and they’re probably not to happy about the prospect of it lowering the standard of what they want for their devices.  It think you get the point.

NOTE: I’m not saying people using Flash for iPhone content are necessarily hacks or poor developers – not my point at all.  I’m pointing out that Apple is VERY ANAL about experience on their devices – right down to the use of icons and UI experience and performance.

Case in point: the trench run.  We were asked to pull a warning from the app that showed the very first time you played the game.  It simply said, “Please restart your device for best performance”.  Apple had us remove that as it insinuated that their device was the problem, not our app.  In reality it IS their device’s problem – you SHOULD reboot your device for any high performance game, but they’re not going to let you point it out.

my 2cents on the matter.  thoughts?

Merry Christmas! ( and a little Unity Christmas card )

Merry Christmas from RockonFlash.com!

Merry Christmas from RockonFlash.com!

Merry Christmas everyone!  I figured since I’d just went and blasted everyone about Unity3D, I should put my money where my mouth is. Click on the image to see it in the unity web plugin (you’ll have to install it to see it 🙂

So, this isn’t Winterwonder land from last year, but for about an hours worth of effort, it was cake to get smoke, snow, 3D model (text, which is over 15,000 polys) and the entire scene together.  Like I was saying, it’s very attractive and easy for Flasher’s to get into!

Anyway, Merry Christmas, hope you guys have a great one with your families!

John

Unity3D \m/’s – Adobe should buy them.

I know it’s been a while since I last posted, and I have a REALLY good reason for it 😉  You see, Andy Zupko had been dropping comments here and there about how he’d wanted to do Unity3D work.  First couple of times I heard him say it, I was thinking “yeah yeah flash master Andy, what’s this unity thing anyway?”

Well, I finally asked him what Unity3D was and he pointed me over to http://www.unity3d.com and then showed me their Tropical Paradise demo and my jaw began to hit the floor.  This was a web plugin?  holy polygons/lighting/shaders batman!

Tropical Paradise - Terrains, streamed terrainse

With OpenGL and DirectX support, this little web plugin ROCKS.  It’s a complete game development tool that allows you to code in JavaScript, C# and a dialect of Python called Boo.  The JavaScript is strictly typed and compiles to native machine code – it’s just as fast as C# or Boo.  Not to mention 20x’s faster than Flash’s ActionScript.  And for me, getting into Unity took practically ZERO time.  I was up and importing FBX (you can export as FBX from 3D Studio Max) models and practically doing what I do in Papervision3D with very little effort!  In fact, moving some of my classes over to Unity for this game that Andy and I are working was a matter or some simple refactoring to accommodate Unity’s api.

Now, before we start getting totally OHH and AHH over this, let’s take a look at the discussion that’s already on your mind probably at this point in the post:  Why can’t FLASH/ADOBE have this?!?  I know, cause I was thinking the same thing 😉  The answer might be something like “I don’t think there’s a good reason anymore”.  It USED to be a really big discussion about player size.  I remember back on Flash6 beta, I was begging for w3d support since you could use those files in Director at that time, and they were fairly lightweight.  But the argument was around hardware support and player download size.

But check this out:

Flash player download = 5.5mb
Unity3D web player download = 4.5mb

Ding.  Round one over.  The winner?  Unity3D.

Ok, so is that a fair comparison?  No, not really, but in the argument about the player growing in size seems to be greatly reduced from the days of a 700k Flash player plugin download.  I realize that 5.5mb + 4.5mb = a bit more of a struggle to convince people to download, BUT, I’m SURE there’s a conversation that could be had about loading and running SWF’s into Unity3D like Director does.  Yes?  Did I mention Unity3D is cross-platform compatible?  Publish standalone builds for Mac OS X (Universal Binary, or specific, smaller Intel/PPC-only builds) and Windows 2000/XP/Vista – OH and then put it on the web…cause you can.

If that wasn’t enough to sweeten the pot on Adobe buying out Unity3D – Unity3D does iPhone apps with a single click ( watch the Demo Movie of the iPhone development setup – that’ll sell you right there ).  Hmmm I love me some iPhone 🙂  Not enought??  How about Wii Development?!  BAM!  NOW WHAT?

Terrain, Shaders, Physics, Lighting, Cross-Platform, multi-depolyment option, multi-lingual, Game churning tool!

Have you ever found yourself saying: ” I wish Director used Actionscript – if it did, I’d move right on over to it and develop there!” Well, ok, maybe that’s too drastic and silly, but Unity3D gave me more power than Director and it was extremely easy to get into – the “power” here is that it is realized and made available to *me*.  I’ve had access to Director for nearly 10yrs now, and not once did feel like I could get into it easily.  I realize you can do Javascript now (Lingo was an abomination), but after my bad experiences in the past, I wasn’t willing to get into the the Director mess again.  I saw Unity for 5 minutes and downloaded it instantly. Unity’s IDE rocks – flat out.  It’s fairly easy to understand, and debugging 3D scenes at runtime is awesome.  You can have the scene up top with the game running below and you have access at runtime to really dig through and manipulate all objects and properties at runtime (hmmm… where have I heard that before…XRAY 😉

Unity3D IDE

One of the other nice things is that you can configure TextMate with a Unity3D bundle for editing.

I think I’m a fairly good indication of what *could* happen when other Flashers like me get a hold of Unity3D.  I hope Adobe’s listening 😉

With all of that, combine the fact that SilverLight is working hard to compete with Flash and they have access to DirectX – it won’t be long until Adobe see’s they need a kick-ass solution.  THIS one actually works cross-platform with a ton of speed, easy adoption rate by the development community and a smaller player download size than Flash.  Either they’re already looking at Unity3D as I type this post or they soon will be.

One other thought I had is that, I’m not sure the Flash player is going to keep up or IS keeping up with the abilities of hardware that have been out for a while now.  I can see where they’re going with Pixel Bender etc, but I know I wasn’t the only one disappointed with what came out in FP10 in terms of hardware acceleration etc and so on ( I don’t need to restate what others have already said ).  I think that’s exactly what draws me to Unity3D – total frustration over speed/performance.  With Unity, it was like a massive breath of life for me in terms of developing games and playing in my own time.

Avert Fate - Particles, physics, ragdolls, image effects and custom shaders

So, let’s put our money where our mouth is, shall we?

By now, you know I work for Infrared5 with a ton of great developers.  If you want Flash / Flex / Red5 work done, we can do it. Duh.  But what about iPhone development?  what about serious game development?  What about product/marketing efforts that need more than what the Flash Player can give us in terms of power?  Where would we turn?  Well, we’ve officially added Unity3D and iPhone game developement to the list of services BECAUSE of Unity3D.  Considering that any one of our developers can get up to speed in a matter of an hour or less, it’s a no brainer to expand our service base.  SO, if you’re in the market for iPhone game development or app development, let me know, and I’ll get you in touch with the right people 😉

Given how well many iPhone / iTouch apps are doing in the app store with Apple, I think there’s a bonanza of opportunity there – HUGE.

Ok, so the payoff for even posting this…post, is that I wanted to FINALLY show a few screen shots of a game I’d story boarded 4yrs ago and promised I would produce wayyyyyy back in 2002 (8/16/2002 to be exact) when I released my first Star Wars game – Escape of the Falcon.  I’m not going to show too much, but you guys and gals need to see I’m serious about what I just typed above.

Escape of the Falcon

Original Star Wars game: Escape of the Falcon

Web Version of the Trench Run

Web Version of the Trench Run

And Since Keith was showing off his iPhone Gravity fun, I wouldn’t feel right not sharing since he mentioned a Star Wars game 😉

iPhone Trench Run - low poly trench model

iPhone Trench Run - low poly trench model

I have to thank Andy for getting into Unity though! I don’t know that I would have heard of it or gotten into it if he hadn’t pointed out the obvious to me 😉  To say the least, he’s in hog heaven with real physics, custom shaders and streamed terrains!

I seriously suggest that if you’re into 3D, Gaming and Flash right now, you should try Unity3D.  And yes, I fully expect that I’ll drive SO much traffic their way that they’ll give me a license 😉  Thankfully, IR5 got me one !  LOVE YOU CHRIS/REB/DOMINICK!  LOVE you.  Man love.

And Finally:  Adobe – if you’re reading this, you guys should seriously consider buying out Unity3D.  I can’t say it any more plain than that.  If you don’t, I don’t know how you’ll COMPETE with them.  As soon as they’re able to support running SWF’s in Unity, i’m going to be doing alot more work over there 😉

microsoft: Did they have a hand in it? I’ll say…probably.

I was just heading over to Hank’s article on the situation with EcmaScript 4.0. The short of it is: it’s been drop kicked for good, leaving Adobe with decisions to make. As you read, Adobe had put alot into being standards compliant with AS3 and for obvious good reasons. The speculation is, however, that microsoft has had something to do with it’s death. As I read through Hank’s observations, I have to say, it seems pretty obvious, but I’m sure there are other factors. When you consider Silverfish (microsoft’s attempt at being a flash competitor), this makes almost too much sense.

One of the replies to the post suggested that Adobe seriously consider adopting haXe. I have to say, I see some real reason behind that at this point. Its already open source and has a great community behind it.

What’s interesting to note is that, when Nicolas emailed the open source flash list and introduced the concept of haXe (over updating MTASC to be AS3 compatible – thus creating his own language), I *got* the concept and even understood his reasoning, but didn’t necessarily feel like this would happen like it did (ie: es4 being tossed out). I literally thought it was a standard, but apparently, I wasn’t paying attention. Looks like Nicolas was a bit of a visionary I’d say, and now we’re actually living out what he suggested could happen.

And dood, that’s some serious apples right there – write your own language?? are you kidding me? And there’s only 2 people I’ve ever told on this blog who have big apples 🙂

Anyway, some interesting developments for sure are coming down the road – it’ll be very interesting to see what pans out. Personally, I’d love to see haXe adopted and basically hand microsoft their ass later on. Who am I kidding anyway, WHATEVER Adobe does to call microsoft’s move, I think i’ll be right there to support em’.

What’s even funnier is: it seems that both microsoft AND apple have it in for Adobe and Flash – what the hell gives with Apple and iPhone/iTouch not supporting Flash? The funny part is that Job’s used to be the leader of an underdog with ideals that matched his gear, and now he’s showing signs (and getting reactions btw) of the company he sought to dethrone (yes, that would be microsoft). Remember this ad? He might soon find himself as “the man behind the glasses”

PS> if you’ve been emailing me or im’ing me, and I haven’t replied, it’s because I finally contracted pneumonia – Dr says “you have a touch of it” – whatever that means. I feel like crap. But this got me mad enough to sit up in bed and say something

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