So after an explosive end-of-year work schedule (none of which i can talk about yet, always the way…), followed by a collapse-in-exhaustion-rather-than-actually-do-any-proper-holiday-stuff extended Christmas break, things have woken back up and I realise there is quite a bit of housework to do on the whole online digital presence update thing. This is like the time i had to physically place my driving license renewal form in the doorway to my office to force myself to complete it. And it didn’t work straight away either, i just stepped over it for a couple of weeks…
Ok so its not quite like the driving license but it’s definitely time for an update. I thought I’d start with the Adobe Max conference as it’s the last major event i attended in 2011 and boy was it a big one for 3D.
So you may or may not know that Away3D had a session at Max. We shared a room with the guys from Flare3D and did a joint presentation on our respective frameworks. Thanks to the wonders of Adobe TV, you can watch the entire session in the player above (or if not, from the direct link here). I love the guys from Flare3D, they are some of the most upbeat, creative, generous guys and I know I’m far too serious to match their relaxed and jovial style. As a result, Flare3D CEO Adrian bagged quote of the session in reply to someone asking how they should choose between frameworks. The answer was simple “How do you choose? In the same way that you choose a woman when you go to a disco – try everyone!”
Our finale for our half of the session was a demo done specifically for the Adobe Max conference and a second time collaboration between Away3D and the Finnish demosceners EvoFlash. As well as the video (above), you can read a ‘making of’ post-mortem from Simo Santavirta, one of the EvoFlash coders on the project. Once again, the result was the work of many different pieces coming together and from it you can definitely see how far the engine has come since the last time we got to do this in 2010. As a side note, you can see these and a load more Away3D related videos on our very own YouTube channel now up at http://www.youtube.com/away3d.
While there were many sessions on 3D this year, Adobe saved their biggest announcement for the big room – Flash is going accelerated and if that wasn’t enough, here’s Tim Sweeney and a gollum-like helper of his to introduce you to the single most impressive thing done in Flash to-date: The Unreal engine running with Stage3D. OK, so not the full Unreal engine, but still a large portion of it… hold on, are those realtime volumetric lights… how many particles are coming out of that… WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!!!!
It transpired, of course, that Unreal has a trick up their sleeve – access to some new Alchemy opcodes which allow significant speed increases for runtime CPU calculations in Flash. In general use, processor intensive calculations are compiled from C code using Alchemy and then run inside their own FastMem buffer (for more info on the existing Alchemy tool, take a look at the Alchemy Labs page on Adobe.com). Of course, in the case of the Unreal engine, they had managed to use a newer Alchemy compiler to convert their entire library in a matter of days. This next version of Alchemy is not due for public release as of yet, but is something many of us are looking forward to seeing – certainly we hope to be able to bring you even faster performance with it for certain 3D effects and enhancements in Away3D, including the Away Physics engine which currently uses older Alchemy opcodes.
As a finisher for the year, i wanted to mention my appearance at the dotBrighton meetup in late October 2011, after all the commotion and madness from Max had dissipated. The group down there are great hosts and the entire evening was very relaxed and friendly, despite my slightly flustered demeanour (this was deep in crunch month at work). My thanx go to Nicola for looking after me and Influxis for the live streaming of the presentation to who-only-knows lurking on the web . I only wish I’d got a recording as that was the last ever presenting of my GameTime session and could have meant I’d have something to link to. maybe if i ask them very nicely…