Game on: The new Adobe AIR 3.2 + Flash Player 11.2

Copyright Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge. Reproduced by permission.

Launching AIR 3.2, Flash Player 11.2, and
Premium Features for Gaming

Exactly 60 years ago, the first graphical digital video game — tic-tac-toe — was played on one of the world’s earliest computers, the room-sized EDSAC. It was a breakthrough, but it wasn’t exactly popular: only a handful of people could play because there was one box like EDSAC in the entire world.

Wonderputt

Wonderputt, Independent Games Festival 2012 Finalist / Flash Player

Today, some of the popular social and casual games on the web are each played by hundreds of millions of people and together generate billions in revenue each year. Bringing the largest audience in gaming, Flash Player powers these experiences, including 9 in 10 of the top games on Facebook, many of the most popular web games in China and Japan, and inspired and acclaimed indie games.

Flash Player is the game console for the web — the only technology that ensures a beautiful game on a developer’s machine can run consistently — without friction or fragmentation — on over a billion other boxes around the world. We make it easier for you to build great, breakthrough games. And like no other technology, we help bring more people to your games so that people can enjoy the wonderful experiences you create.

Gaming has come a long way. And today we’re taking two leaps forward:

Lume, Independent Games Festival 2012 Finalist / AIR

First, we’re launching Adobe AIR 3.2 with Stage3D hardware accelerated rendering for iOS and Android platforms, which allows you craft cinematic, stunning games for 500 million mobile devices and over 1 billion computers with one codebase that lets you leverage native capabilities and blazing fast, native GPU performance.

Second, we’re launching Flash Player 11.2 with premium features for gaming. This new tier of capabilities will allow game developers to publish premiere console-quality, next-generation games with frictionless reach to more people than ever before – an audience 11 times larger than that of the best-selling hardware game console. These capabilities also allow us to support a broad ecosystem of popular game middleware and development tools.

Plays well. Plays everywhere: AIR 3.2

Mobile games on devices like iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, Kindle Fire, and Nook tablet are bringing fun everywhere, and they make up over half of the most popular apps in mobile app stores. But developing mobile games hasn’t been fun. It’s meant fighting fragmented mobile platforms, settling for lowest-common denominator experiences, and choosing between missing out on the growth of mobile apps or missing out on the growth of web games because nothing does both well. That game is over.

Spaced Away for iPad / AIR 3.2 + Stage3D

Adobe AIR 3.2 is a milestone release that brings the most advanced Flash technology to iPhone/iPad (iOS) and Android phones and tablets, making it easier than ever to create uncompromised experiences everywhere. AIR 3.2 introduces Stage3D graphics technology for iOS and Android, enabling jaw-dropping visuals with efficient, 1000x faster native GPU rendering performance in your pocket.

Use the same code and Stage3D APIs as you can use to build desktop browser games with Flash Player. Create tailored, optimized experiences with native support for mobile capabilities like multitouch, camera/mic, and accelerometers. Add support for anything from NFC to in-app payments to iOS Game Center with native extensions.

Build a Flash-based game that runs beautifully across iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac faster than you could build one Android application that might work on different versions of Android. Enjoy the best of all worlds with AIR 3.2, so you can spend your time and energy on crafting even better game worlds.

State-of-the-art is the state of the web: Flash Player 11.2

Angry Birds: One of the fastest growing games on Facebook is built with Stage3D

Angry Birds on Facebook, Rovio / Flash Player 11 + Stage3D

Six months ago, Flash Player 11 introduced Stage3D on the desktop, and it already brings breathtaking, cinematic 2D and 3D graphics to more people than any other web technology, without fragmentation or friction, whether they’re using Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari. Today, Flash Player 11 is installed on over 80% of connected computers, and Stage3D technology powers wildly popular social/casual games like Angry Birds for Facebook, which is enjoyed by nearly 20 million active users after just six weeks and is one of the fastest growing games on the web.

Building on that innovative foundation, Flash Player 11.2 adds key new core features for gaming, including mouse lock, relative coordinates, and right and middle –click support. Combined with Stage3D, you can now build fully immersive games in the browser, whether a first-person shooter or a real-time strategy game using infinite map scrolling. It also extends hardware driver support back to 2008, enabling full hardware acceleration on more computers than ever.

To make life on the web easier and safer, Flash Player 11.2 adds automatic background updates for Windows, so that hundreds of millions of people can benefit from having most advanced capabilities and security updates in new versions of Flash Player, hassle free. And we’ll continue to provide update notifications for major new releases to highlight advanced new capabilities. Finally, this release includes a new multithreaded video decoding architecture, enabling even more seamless, smooth playback of full HD video.

Level Up: Premium Features for Gaming

In addition to new core features in Flash Player 11.2, today we’re announcing a new tier of Flash Player premium features for gaming. These premium features will allow you to deliver unprecedented, console quality games to over a billion computers – enabling a whole new class of social gaming experiences. These also allow us to open up Flash Player to a supported third party ecosystem of gaming middleware, bringing together best-in-class specialized game development tools with the unmatched reach and richness of Flash Player.

This premium features tier will allow you to publish graphically sophisticated, next-generation games by taking advantage of two features in combination:

  • Stage3D hardware acceleration (Stage3D.request3DContext)
  • Domain memory (ApplicationDomain.domainMemory)

Domain memory helps advanced compilers such as the upcoming new Adobe “Alchemy” compiler enable high-performance, sandboxed execution of cross-compiled C/C++ code in Flash Player. If you’re an ActionScript developer, take advantage of hundreds of millions of lines of existing optimized C/C++ code libraries in your games. If you’re a C/C++ game developer, easily bring your entire native game or game engine to the Flash Platform so that a billion people can play what you’ve made directly in their favorite browser. Starting today, you can apply to join the new Alchemy prerelease program.

Flash Player Premium Features for Gaming

Using premium features – Stage3D hardware acceleration in combination with domain memory – allows premiere console-quality game engines to run across browsers with high performance in Flash Player. The premium features also allow developers to take advantage of specialized game tools to build their great games for Flash Player. For example, the collaboration with Unity Technologies that we announced today means that Unity customers will be able to license premium features to publish web-based 3D games with the reach and power of Flash Player and Stage3D.

With today’s release of Flash Player 11.2, we are making premium features available free of charge for content published prior to August 1. Starting August 1, these features will be available for use with a license, and there will be no charge for the first $ 50K in application revenues. The use of premium features within Adobe AIR, including for mobile applications for iOS and Android, will be royalty free.

APEXvj for iOS and Android / AIR 3.2 + Stage3D

We’ve designed this pricing to encourage the creative experimentation that sparks great ideas and great games. This also allows us to invest in and support innovation in Flash technologies that benefit an ecosystem of game middleware and development tools, beyond Adobe’s own first party tools. You can learn more about premium features by visiting adobe.com/go/fpl.

We expect many amazing games won’t need premium features. Games and applications using either Stage3D hardware acceleration or domain memory individually do NOT require a premium features license. For example, you can independently leverage Stage3D hardware acceleration in Flash Player to bring your breathtaking, high-performance game to the most people on the web – at no charge. The rich core platform capabilities of Flash Player will continue to power remarkable games, and we’ll continue to innovate rapidly on our core platform.

You can install Flash Player 11.2 today to see the amazing content the community is creating and start your own development. You can also immediately publish apps to app stores using Adobe AIR 3.2, joining other gorgeous Stage3D –based iOS and Android apps that have already launched. We’re excited to see what you create. And we’re thrilled to help games continue to push the boundaries of imaginative, breathtaking play. Visit gaming.adobe.com to see more of what’s possible when you can bring delightful, remarkable experiences to the most people on the planet.

Let’s play.

Tom Nguyen
Sr. Product Manager, Gaming / @tomng

Learn more about the launch of Flash Player Premium Features for Gaming and Adobe’s collaboration with Unity Technologies.


“tech” via Pdemo in Google Reader