Well, it was going to happen sooner or later, but i think most of us weren’t necessarily expecting it to happen today!

Earlier today at the Flash Gaming Summit keynote, Adobe announced its incubator program for the current Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 builds, which gives public access to the new features of Flash 11 as they are developed, including the current state of the GPU-accelerated Molehill APIs. After the announcement, Away3D 4.0 Alpha (codename Broomstick) was released on away3d.com, with all code and examples uploaded to the Away3D googlecode svn and mirrored source repositories appearing on Github. The Away3D Team have been  working very hard to get to this point, and all credit must go to them for the incredible job already done on the engine.

The above video shows one of the code demos (ShallowWaterDemo) published in the example sources in action. In order to compile and run these sources you will need to follow the instructions on setting up your development environment on the Adobe Labs Wiki for the Flash Player Incubator release. You can see this and a variety of other demos running live over at http://away3d.com/away3d-4-0-alpha-release-broomstick.

It is important to stress that at this point, both the Flash Player Incubator release and Away3D 4.0 framework are in an alpha state and are therefore only to be used for prototyping and demonstration purposes. However, with the Incubator program, Adobe have opened the door wide for user testing and feedback on the planned features of the next Flash Player, which should ultimately lead to a better developed, more stable release. So cheers go to Thibault Imbert and everyone involved in the Incubator program at Adobe!

More updates on Away3D 4.0 will follow on away3d.com and the Away3D google group in the coming weeks, so be sure to keep an eye out for new demos & resources.