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Adobe's Flash Player 11, AIR 3 To Support Hardware Accelerated Graphics In October
Adobe's Flash Player 11, AIR 3 To Support Hardware Accelerated Graphics In October
September 21, 2011 | By Kyle Orland

Adobe has announced that the October launch of its Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 platforms will include support for new features including hardware accelerated graphics on computers and mobile devices.

Adobe claims the hardware acceleration available in the updates will allow for "console quality games on Mac OS, Windows and connected televisions" with "1,000 times faster rendering performance over Flash Player 10 and AIR 2," and "millions of [animated] objects with smooth 60 frames per second rendering."

A new video demonstration shows the extent of these improvements, which the company says will allow for "a rich experience that's unparalleled on devices across the web."

"With this milestone release Adobe pushes the envelope of what is possible on the web with a typical PC and opens up a new world of immersive, high-performance gaming experiences," said Danny Winokur, vice president and general manager of platform for Adobe, in a statement.

While the new versions will be available on PC and Mac platforms next month, mobile platforms including Android, Blackberry and iOS (through AIR) will only see a pre-release version at that time, ahead of a full release promised "in the near future."

Flash 11 and AIR 3 also add support for 64-bit computer operating systems, easier social network integration in apps, and native use of external capabilities like in-app payments, device data, vibration control, light sensors and more.

The new environment will also allow developers to package AIR 3 with applications, eliminating the need for a separate download to run extensions or standalone programs on computers and mobile platforms.

Adobe recently expanded its support for the open, iOS-compatible HTML5 standard by adding export tools to its Adobe Flash Media Server 4.5 product line.

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Tom Baird
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So they are advertising Console Quality games for a system that is potentially drastically more powerful than current generation consoles? And then using a performance demo reel whose most graphically intense game looks like Diablo 1.

They advertise: "a rich experience that's unparalleled on devices across the web." but just look at the demo video they provided and compare it to the Live Demos on the Unity web site, or the Shiva demo to see some web demos that are more than comparative.

I know flash is seen as a sort of web standard, but they are trying to act like they are bringing brand new impressive technology when they are playing a slow game of catch up to what everyone else can do.

zed zeek
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I dont know if its unparalleled since 3d has been available on web devices for more than a year already

heres one of my ~10 games Ive written in webgl dlfaa?hc=search&hcp=main

Chris Melby
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It's called hype. An Atari 2600 is also a console.

And Diablo 1? That's a bit of an exaggeration. ;)

Anyways, console quality is really OGL-ES 2 level. So no where near the level I get on my GTX 580, but for one of the true consistent cross-platform options available, a pretty cool upgrade.

The best part of this releas IMO, is that 2D will have the option of full GPU acceleration.

Tom Baird
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Ok, Diablo 1 was an exaggeration, but it feels like an extreme level of hype they are using to advertise features that would have been unparalleled maybe 5 years ago, but definitely not today.

For cross platform consistency, I'd take Unity over flash any day, especially when trying to deal with how flash performs on iOS. And for performance you can look at Gaikai that's just popped up recently that let's you play actual recent console games(Dead Space 2 and Mass Effect 2) on a web player. While flash is showcasing the fact that you can run iOS quality games on your desktop and calling it unparallelled.

Maybe I'm being overly critical, but the only reason I see to use flash is the fact that most people already downloaded the plugin; While it's definitely nice they are increasing the performance of it, if performance on mobile and web was your concern, you probably still shouldn't go with the new 3D accelerated Flash given it's examples(not to bash the examples they gave, they could be fantastic games, they just aren't very good for a technical showcase).

Though I guess it is good that they are at least trying to step up and compete in the performance and capabilities department.

Jason Withrow
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Except Unity has the worst possible cross-platform consistency with Linux: no support at all.

Chris Melby
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Yeah, it's hype, something that seems to be rampant now days, especially with HTML 5.

The whole point of this upgrade is more for the sake of mobile performance than desktop -- even though mobiles won't see it until 3.1 -- which is why Adobe targeted OGL-ES 2. They're just better positioning Flash for how the market seems to be changing, so that it can reach the widest range of hardware/devices, most of which depend on the GPU for all of the heavy lifting and better battery life, like iOS.

I'm personally not interested in playing any heavy game in browser, weather it's via Flash, Unity, or one of these new streaming services. But the option to do so is pretty cool.

Anyways, I expect to see a ton of 3D product demos popping up in next few month, which might have used Java in the past, but now using Flash.

Chris Melby
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Here's a link to the StarlingFramework, which from what I understand was a collaboration between Adobe and the developers that make SparrowFramework for iOS;

Anyways, good times ahead with Flash.

Tyler Overby
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Tyler Overby
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To add to my previous comment, I wonder how similar to Unity in terms of development Flash is going to be. I can't imagine trying to script all the small nuances of a fully 3D game without Unity's specific style of implementing scripts and their dynamic sliders.

Mike Smith
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It's about time they added hardware support. Sheesh. But is it too little too late?

Chris Melby
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Considering hardware support is fairly new to the web, this it's about time statement really doesn't add up, especially when one factors in backwards compatibility.

And too little too late? No. There is still no viable alternative available to Flash, which is already an established standard, that comes close to what it can do. And despite one CEO throwing a fit for selfish reasons alone, Flash's market share has grown since last year and it's still the absolute dominante way of viewing video on the web, where it's also seen growth.