Flash 11 bringing GPU-accelerated 3D in October

The world of browser games is soon to be all shook up with the launch of Flash 11, which adds a new GPU-accelerated rendering API named Stage 3D.

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The world of browser games is soon to be all shook up with the launch of Flash 11, which adds a new GPU-accelerated rendering API named Stage 3D (previously codenamed Molehill).

Adobe claims that Stage 3D's GPU acceleration will render 2D and 3D games up to a whopping one thousand times faster, allowing for shiny 3D games at 60fps. Older computers without suitable 3D cards get a boost too, as Adobe says software rendering will be 2-10 times faster than in Flash 10.

This won't be the first usable browser-based 3D, mind, not by a long stretch. The Unity engine has allowed proper 3D browser games for years now, but the Unity plugin can't hope to match the reach of Flash. Developers can be reluctant to make games which require a special plugin, when they know that the vast majority of users will already have Flash installed.

According to Adobe, "nearly half of the web" updates to a new version of Flash within four weeks of release, so very soon, enough Internauts will be able to play 3D browser games for developers to feel far happier making them. Unfortunately, we can probably look forward to a bumpy transition phase when many developers start making terrible games and hoping the novelty of 3D is enough to carry them, as we saw when in the early days of PC 3D accelerators and 32-bit consoles. Still, exciting times!

As for Unity, it's rolling with the punch, viewing Stage 3D as a new opportunity rather than strictly a competitor in the browser games space. An upcoming version of Unity is adding the ability to publish games to Flash, wrapping them in Flash so they don't need the Unity plugin. As Unity is a full game creation tool rather than simply an engine, it hopes developers making 3D games will do so in Unity.

There are, of course, other Flash 3D game engines and frameworks, but Unity is well-established, especially with indie developers.

Here's an example of a polygon-tastic 3D Flash game, a Flash version of Frima Studio's PSP game Zombie Tycoon:

Adobe announced yesterday that it'll arrive in "early October," along with its standalone counterpart AIR 3.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    September 21, 2011 10:15 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, Flash 11 bringing GPU-accelerated 3D in October.

    The world of browser games is soon to be all shook up with the launch of Flash 11, which adds a new GPU-accelerated rendering API named Stage 3D.

    • reply
      September 21, 2011 10:15 AM

      Finally.

    • reply
      September 21, 2011 10:28 AM

      Been using the 64-Bit Release Candidate for awhile, it's nice. Nobody is really gonna notice much difference though for casual browser use.

    • reply
      September 21, 2011 10:33 AM

      Cool

    • reply
      September 21, 2011 10:39 AM

      flash is dead.

      • reply
        September 21, 2011 11:09 AM

        How is flash dead when probably 75% of all websites use flash content?

        • reply
          September 21, 2011 11:21 AM

          Apple wants people to believe Flash is dead.

          • reply
            September 21, 2011 11:30 AM

            Not just Apple. It won't work on IE10 if you're in Metro mode, either.

            • reply
              September 21, 2011 11:36 AM

              I'm sure people will go back to the Desktop version when they want to see Flash.

              • reply
                September 21, 2011 11:46 AM

                People don't "want to see Flash", they just want stuff to work. If you don't think having to switch will cause a major change in usage, at least on tablets, you're wrong.

            • reply
              September 21, 2011 11:53 AM

              Funny ... most Metro people I know have tons of Flash!

        • reply
          September 21, 2011 11:51 AM

          Apparently the number is 30-40%. I'd question how many of those use it just for ads though.

          • reply
            September 21, 2011 6:38 PM

            100% of Flash usage for my browsing in the past year has been either YouTube or ads. Sadly, HTML 5 will replace all of that, and I'll still have to deal with video ads on webpages, even after Flash dies off.

        • reply
          September 21, 2011 11:56 AM

          [deleted]

          • reply
            September 21, 2011 11:59 AM

            I can see flash on my Asus transformer just fine!

        • reply
          September 21, 2011 12:41 PM

          Because it's actually under 30%, and falling.

          http://w3techs.com/technologies/details/cp-flash/all/all

          Flash filled a niche for a decade, but now offers little added value as built-in browser support for media playback, dynamic content, and asynchronous communication has matured to fill almost all of that niche.

          Combined with the fact that high-profile platform vendors are refusing to support it, the SWF file format and Flash Player plugin are doomed.

          Even Adobe themselves recognizes this. They're focus is now on migrating:

          * the Flash development toolchain from a focus on generating SWF's to generating HTML5 and native apps, and
          * the streaming server platform from delivering FLV to h.264 and other common codecs.

        • reply
          September 21, 2011 1:43 PM

          lol! where'd you come up with that number?

        • reply
          September 21, 2011 1:44 PM

          I don't see how it remains an essential plugin in the long term as html/js continue to advance and as native apps become more popular than web pages on mobile devices.

        • reply
          September 22, 2011 10:30 AM

          maybe it's not dead but obsolete.

          there is html5 and webgl. you can do amazing stuff without that crappy layer of flash in between.

      • reply
        September 21, 2011 3:17 PM

        With Microsoft, Apple, and Google seemingly arrayed against it, yeah, its days are probably numbered.

    • reply
      September 21, 2011 10:59 AM

      Wait! They forgot to tell you how it will stream more ad's to you quicker and slow you computer down even more. I hate flash!

    • reply
      September 21, 2011 11:29 AM

      Can't wait until Flash actually works well.

    • reply
      September 21, 2011 11:31 AM

      [deleted]

    • reply
      September 21, 2011 11:31 AM

      HTML5 > all this mumbo jumbo

    • reply
      September 21, 2011 11:32 AM

      I just wish there was a solution to the potential for security issues with WebGL.

    • reply
      September 21, 2011 11:36 AM

      Awesome...so poorly programmed flash can now hijack your video card as well as your cpu!!

    • Ziz legacy 10 years legacy 20 years
      reply
      September 21, 2011 11:48 AM

      Pfft give us Flash 12 already.

    • reply
      September 21, 2011 12:20 PM

      can they go back and fix the part where it chews up CPU and causes my fan to kick in?

      • reply
        September 21, 2011 12:24 PM

        No. That's now officially been grandfathered in as a feature.

      • reply
        September 21, 2011 1:48 PM

        I never noticed how bad it was until yesterday when I was watching GiantBomb play SNES games through Chrome (using Flash) on my MBA. The fan came on, which is super rare. I switched over to Safari and the "HTML5 Theater" mode on GiantBomb and resumed playing the same video, at the same resolution, but with no fan noise.

    • reply
      September 21, 2011 1:38 PM

      Can't believe this took this long- Macromedia had full 3D working in Shockwave, their own competitor to their Flash product, about 10 years ago. It wasn't even very hard to use so I incorporated it in a research project I did in college. Even use the Havok physics engine they made specifically for Shockwave. Can't believe Flash lived on and Shockwave died.

    • reply
      September 21, 2011 6:23 PM

      Cant believe this article doesnt mention WebGL or HTML5

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        September 21, 2011 6:31 PM

        HTML 5's nice and all, but not in the same league as this or Unity for games. WebGL doesn't seem to be used for much either, though I might just be out of the loop on that. I don't know how suitable WebGL is for games, but none of my developer chums have been excited about it in the same way as Flash 11 and Unity.

        And besides, both of those require a browser upgrade and standards compliance. People quite happily use browsers that are hugely outdated, not knowing/caring that there's something newer. They're far less reliable and useful for this reason. Adobe sez half of their Flash folks upgrade to a new version without four weeks--that's far more reliable, and therefore usable.

        For better or worse, Flash is The Browser Game Thing and most probably shall be for quite some time.

        • reply
          September 21, 2011 6:46 PM

          Our graphics guy is not a fan of WebGL at all.

    • reply
      September 22, 2011 10:46 AM

      As a iPad user whom is selfish. I hope this sucks and HTML 5 becomes the standard :-)

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