Last week the latest Away3D release was launched – the FP10-only 3.6.0 version which added some much needed memory and speed optimisations to the main branch of the engine. Now, these updates have been transferred to an interim 3.5.2 version (one that requires no code refactoring) and an equivalent FP9 2.5.2 release, both of which try to includes as many of the bugfixes and optimisations from the FP10 trunk code.
The announcement of the new release appeared alongside a new Away3D demo called BattleCell, the result of a recent collaboration with Influxis which uses both the extra power of the new engine and the peer-to-peer capabilities of Flash 10.1 to produce a realtime 3D multiplayer prototype. Special thanks must go to Influxis dev Sean McCracken, as well as Away3D coders David Lenaerts and Fabrice Closier, and 3D designer Federico Selmi for their hard work on the project.
The demo uses a newly developed API for multiplayer games over RTMFP (the new P2P protocol available to Flash 10.1 users). What this allows is many live data connections directly between clients with little to no latency, creating the perfect environment for some serious fragging fun! BattleCell is the name given to both the demo and the underlying AS3 API, the latter written by Sean in order to easily connect multiple users and pass data between clients.
The BattleCell demo is a typical FPS Deathmatch-style game, complete with room allocation, choice of weapons and a large play area for you to roam. Obstacles in the game include lifts, teleport windows, acid baths and secret tunnels to assist your attacks… but be careful who is lurking round the corner!
The new 3.6.0 version of Away3D has a completely remodeled core to take full advantage of all native 3D APIs in Flash 10, which results in more stable and less memory-hungry apps. Performance has improved also, and we expect framerates to increase still further as we continue to optimise the new framework. There have been some older class replacements that you need to be aware of when upgrading: both custom classes MatrixAway3D and Number3D have been replaced by the native Matrix3D and Vector3D classes respectively for added speed and stability.
The Battlecell demo is kindly hosted by Influxis and can be accessed online at http://www.influxis.com/battlecell. Type in a room name for your friends to join, and a user name so that others can identify you in-game. The game URL can easily be copy-pasted for fast access to a room, and any user leaving the game automatically frees-up their slot for a new user to join. As the APIs are still being tested, a maximum of 4 users can join a single room at once, but we hope to increase this limit in future versions of the demo.
As usual, all updates can be downloaded from the googlecode svn, or from the downloads section of away3d.com.Â For those of you just interested in upgrading your FP10 library without having to worry about existing code breaking, there is a specially tagged 3.5.2 version of the code that includes all enhancements up to the point where external API adjustments are made. This version is recommended for developers in the middle of a project, who don’t want the hassle of changing their code. A full breakdown of the API changes for 3.6.0 will be posted on the Away3D mailing list in the next few days.