Tag Archives: flash

Thomas Was Alone sells more than one million copies

Sales of Thomas Was Alone have exceeded one million, Mike Bithell has revealed.

The figure is mostly accumulated from #bundles, discounts and #promotions, according to the #developer.

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© Mike Bithell

“ummm.. so… yeah.. Thomas Was Alone has now sold over one million copies,” Bithell said on Twitter, “not bad for a crappy little flash game.”

He added: “bulk of those sales were in bundles / discounts / promotions. So stop your 1mil x $10 maths right now.”

Originally released in October 2010 as a Flash-based browser game, Thomas Was Alone is available on PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita.

The title is featured in the latest Humble Weekly Sale.

Reblogged from: digitalspy.com

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Mozilla and Unity working together to rule Web Gameplay

Mozilla and Unity recently announced they have joined forces to bring Unity’s popular game engine to the web using WebGL standard and Mozilla’s asm.js.

Backed by a strong base of developers, Unity started in 2005 as a game development tool for the OS X and then grew to a multi-platform game engine that currently supports iOS, Android, Windows, BlackBerry 10, OS X, Linux, Flash, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Windows Phone 8, and Wii U. Until now, this engine was only available in the browser through a plugin, but soon this reality will change.

Last month, at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, Mozilla and Unity showcased a version of the 3D shooter Dead Trigger 2 running inside the Firefox browser, without the need of additional plugins while maintaining a smoothly gaming experience.

This is the culmination of the efforts made by Unity and Mozilla for the past 2 years and was possible because of two technologies supported by Mozilla. The first one, WebGL, is a JavaScript API based on OpenGL ES 2.0 and exposed through the HTML5 Canvas for rendering 3D graphics without the need of additional plugins. The second one, asm.js, is a strict subset and optimized version of JavaScript that allows a browser-based application to be written in other languages than JavaScript, such as C or C++, which according to Mozilla can help boost the performance of these applications to reach near-native speeds.

Mozilla said in their blog, that browser based games will work well in all modern desktop browsers that fully support WebGL, with improved performance in Firefox because of its asm.js support. The export to WebGL is expected to happen in the end of this year with the upcoming version 5.0 of Unity that will allow the creation of richer experience in web gaming using the popular game-engine.

This announcement follows a previous one where Mozilla and Epic previewed Unreal Engine 4 running in Firefox, and clearly shows Mozilla’s commitment of pushing technologies that can help users have a web experience with nothing more than a browser and near native-speed.

Another blow for Flash as Unity gaming engine kills support

Says Adobe ‘eroded developers’ trust’

Unity Technologies has announced that it has dropped support for Adobe Flash from its cross-platform Unity game development toolset, citing the declining popularity of the technology among developers and inconsistent support from Adobe.

“As of today, we will stop selling Flash deployment licenses,” Unity founder and CEO David Helgason wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. “We will continue to support our existing Flash customers throughout the 4.x cycle.”

Unity first announced that it was collaborating with Adobe to build a Flash publishing add-on for its platform in March 2012.

Around the same time, Adobe announced a revenue-sharing model for Flash content, in which Flash developers who took advantage of “premium” hardware-accelerated gaming APIs would have to pay Adobe a 9 per cent royalty, but only after their apps had earned $50,000 in revenue.

At the time, Unity saw the proposed royalty model as a positive development, comparing it to how app store operators such as Apple and Google also take a cut of developers’ proceeds.

But game developers were less sanguine about the move, with many arguing that the 9 per cent fee would cut into their already-thin margins.

“Honestly, Adobe just killed the idea of making 3D flash games, especially for independent game developers that don’t make that much money that they can afford paying Adobe taxes,” game developer Nicolas Cannasse wrote in a March 2012 blog post.

Adobe eventually bowed to such complaints, and as of January 2013 there are no longer any APIs in the Flash Player that require royalty payments. But the way Unity sees it, the whole debacle did irreparable harm to the platform.

“By introducing, and then abandoning, a revenue sharing model, Adobe eroded developers’ (and our) trust in Flash as a dependable, continuously improving platform,” Helgason wrote.

Furthermore, Helgason said, Unity doesn’t believe Adobe is truly committed to the future development of Flash. The Photoshop maker has been transferring developers off Flash to work on other projects, he said, despite recent versions of the Flash Player being unstable.

That, and the platform just isn’t as popular as it once was.

“Developers are moving away from Flash, and while Flash publishing has gotten little traction, our own Unity Web Player has seen unprecedented growth in recent months,” Helgason wrote, referring to the company’s browser plugin for Windows and Mac OS X that enables accelerated 3D graphics for web-based games.

Doomsayers have been predicting the death of Flash since even before the late Steve Jobs famously banned it from Apple’s iOS platform. But for as prominent a toolmaker as Unity to abandon the technology will surely deal it a heavy blow, given that Adobe has said that games are one of the key areas of focus for its Flash efforts.

While Unity will no longer support Flash development, however, Helgason said the company will continue its efforts to allow developers to bring high-end content to the web, both via the Unity Web Player and through other means.

“Work is also underway behind the scenes on an exciting new Unity web publishing initiative that we can’t wait to tell you about,” Helgason said. “We’ll be providing more details of this soon.”

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Adobe launches new cloud-based game development tools

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Adobe is announcing today a set of cloud-based tools for game developers.

The tools take advantage of the new cloud-computing trend, where web-connected data centers host subscription-based software. Hosted in the Adobe Creative Cloud service, the tools enable developers to access a centrally located suite of tools for making their titles. The aim is to streamline the game-development process from creation to final deployment.

Adobe says that developers who use its tools can access an audience of 1.3 billion worldwide on PCs and more than 500 million on smartphones and tablets, 20 times the reach of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console.

Among the new tools is Adobe Scout (pictured below), a tool for profiling that “uncovers granular internal information in ActionScript-based mobile and browser content to unlock significant performance optimization opportunities.” In other words, it helps games run faster. Adobe Scout will be available for free to members of the Adobe Creative Cloud, a subscription service. Other tools include the Adobe Gaming SDK, Adobe Flash C++ Compiler, and trial versions of Flash Professional CS6 and Flash Builder 4.7 Premium.

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A year ago, Adobe acknowledged that it would give up on a Web version of Flash for mobile devices. But Adobe allows developers to create native versions of their releases for those devices instead. More than 25,000 mobile versions of Adobe Air apps exist, and the majority are games.

In the past nine months, Adobe launched version 11 of its Flash Player, making the leap from 2D games to hardware-accelerated 3D games and its Stage 3D applications programming interface.

Diana Helander, group product marketing manager for Gaming Solutions at Adobe, said that 600 million people have chosen to opt in to a feature that updates Flash in the background. That means a game developer can issue an update for a title and get it to 600 million people within 48 hours.

“With these new tools, we’ve got a single work flow for game developers,” Helander said in an interview with GamesBeat. “The costs of developing games and acquiring new users are rising. We’re helping developers to deal with that.”

The Adobe Gaming SDK lets studios create and monetize both 2D and 3D ActionScript games on Web browsers and mobile devices.

The Adobe Flash C++ Compiler is a new tool that lets developers take a native game and recompile it for the Web. That is, it takes offerings coded for game engines on the PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and iOS and then converts them to run directly online across browsers using the Adobe Flash Player.

Meanwhile, Adobe Flash Professional CS6 is an authoring tool to create animations and games, and it includes support for delivering animated assets ready for use with the open-source framework Starling. Adobe Flash Builder 4.7 Premium adds support for the new ASC 2.0 compiler and the ability to test and debug apps directly on Apple iOS devices.

Those who pay for Creative Cloud memberships can use full versions of Flash Professional and Flash Builder, and they can use future versions of Scout following the introductory promotion.

Adobe argues that using Flash makes developers more productive when it comes to cross-platform experiences. Helander said that Flash has powered popular games on Facebook including SongPop, FarmVille 2, and Diamond Dash. Some of the top Flash implementors include Zynga, Wooga, Kixeye, Ubisoft, Northway, and Damp Gnat. Rivals (and occasional partners) include Unity Technologies, Epic Games, Microsoft’s Silverlight, and a variety of other game-development platforms.

Helander said some cool new users of Starling and Stage 3D include Incredipede and Smart Aliens. She said that Zynga used Adobe Flash and Air for its mobile version of Ruby Blast, and Rovio used Flash for the Facebook version of Angry Birds. Square Enix also released Crystal Conquest using Flash. Helander said Adobe is doing a series of game jams in different cities to support game developers.

 

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Interview: Unity 4

David Helgason and Joachim Ante discuss the

engine’s latest release

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Last month, Unity unveiled the long-awaited and highly anticipated fourth iteration of its popular games engine.

Including a wealth of new features for both triple-A developers and small studios, Unity 4 brings with a high-end character animation system named Mecanin, DirectX 11 support and the addition of Adobe Flash and Linux as new publishing platforms.

Develop spoke to Unity CEO David Helgason and CTO Joachim Ante about what Unity 4 means for the middleware outfit and its users.

You’ve said before that with Unity you are looking to level the playing field between the small and big studios, could you elaborate a bit on what that means?

David Helgason: In some ways, its kind of what we’ve been doing for many years. We’ve pushed really hard to bring all the very, very complicated technology to as many people as possible.

In the last year-and-a-half, we’ve really improved, what we call, the triple-A push, which is about really bringing as high a technology to today’s game developers as we can and take that very selectively so as not to spread ourselves too thin. So taking things like DirectX 11, which is now really relevant on modern PC hardware.



We’ve done a lot of virtual optimisations on mobile to make sure that we can really bring out extremely high-end games on mobile. With things like Mecanim, which is a next-gen animation framework and is also taking extremely high-end abilities, you can have 500 characters on screen with full animation that is an order of magnitude more than any other middleware out there including what is traditionally known as the triple-A stuff.



You can also combine that with workflows that allow you to take stock animation or easily take mo-cap data and apply it to characters.

Joachim Ante: In Mecanim there are a lot of very unique things. One thing that is making a big difference is the animation retargeting. In Mecanim, all animation can be retargeted onto any other character and we use a concept called muscle space and muscle clip animation footage.

Essentially, you set up all your animations once and then characters that are in similar shapes can just reuse those animations. That’s traditionally something that is a very big problem.

This can solve two problems. One of them is that we can put a lot of content onto the Asset Store where we can basically make huge mo-cap libraries available to people who previously didn’t have any access to mo-cap data because you would have to go through a lot of complex processes to get them into your game.

The unique thing we can do is make it possible to really put high-end character animation into the hands of people who previously couldn’t really use it effectively.

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Helgason: It’s a beautiful example of a triple-A Unity feature, which is combining the super high-end with efficiency and simplicity. It’s the first major release we’ve done in two years, but actually if you look back, 3.2 was big and 2.5 was massive.

We’re a company that doesn’t go into the lab for ten years and build something ourselves, we just integrate it because we want our stuff to be accessed as immediately as possible.

Unity 4 has been announced and we’re showing what’s in there. But of course there’s the deep pipeline of the stuff that we’re always working on.

Developers appreciate it and now there’s hundreds of thousands, or actually over a million developers who have been with us over the last few years and it really turns out they appreciate this kind of interesting approach and just getting access to the new technology as it becomes available.

Why has there been a focus on high-end graphics and animation? Why has that been identified as important to Unity?

Helgason: We have an extremely flexible toolset and every time we visit the studios using Unity we find that they create their own workloads and extensions and the community shares these with each other so I think we already have, by a very long shot, the most accessible and flexible toolset.



We wanted to make sure that people could make any quality game they wanted and these new features speak to that.

How do you see Unity 4 impacting the way developers work?

Helgason: Not that much because we’re a company that really thinks highly of backwards compatibility and making sure that things are really robust. The workflows that people have created for themselves in the last few years will keep working. So, it’s not too much about changing how you work but just about giving you more features and more flexibility.



We have a number of features that improve the workload. If you look at Mecanim and the response we got at GDC, we’ve been talking a lot to the studios that have been doing triple-A animation-centric games and when they see Mecanim, their jaws just drop to the floor because there’s a lot of technology in there that has never been seen before.



This is a team that has been doing character animation for 20 years and they’re definitely the most experienced team in the old-world to do character animation.

As one example, usually when you import an animation clip or mo-cap data into your game engine, what happens is that you go through Motion Builder and you process your data, you clip it into little pieces and so on.

This process, depending on how you set up your pipeline, takes an animator around two hours to go through.

In some cases, pipelines are set up in batched ways where basically the programmer or the designer sends something off and then two weeks later the animation clip comes back and they can use it. But with Mecanim and Unity, you can do this whole process in around one minute.



All the little things that you need, all the important stuff you keep on doing again and again are so streamlined that it’s only a couple of buttons. It makes everything lighter. It’s an insane improvement that we’re just focusing on because a lot of time is spent on repetitive tasks.

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What impact do you expect Unity 4 to have on the Asset store?

Helgason: The Asset Store already has a vibrant community with over a hundred thousand customers and lots of people making lots of money from it, but of course more importantly sharing title extensions and new pieces of workflows, libraries, art assets, shaders and everything you need so that’s a wonderful thing.

With 4.0, it’ll be much more relevant to sell animation there so we are working on making sure there is a lot of animation data. Once it’s live, we expect animators and mo-cap studios and so on to come and sell their data so that’s kind of a big thing in our world.

That’s the second time mo-cap has been mentioned so it really sounds like that is a core focus.

Helgason: It’s important that Unity can take the mo-cap data but what’s also extremely exciting out there is that now people are doing mo-cap with four Kinect cameras instead of professional grade mo-cap.

You can create all the technology in the world but if the pipeline out there and what people are able to create doesn’t really fit with it, it doesn’t really help. It’s really high time that Unity can do that so the timing couldn’t be better.

What about Unity’s plans, aside from Unity 4, how is the company evolving and changing over the next 12 months or so?

Helgason: We work in a very conservative company. We’ve innovated workflows, the engine and things like Mecanim and we’ve got the Asset Store and are helping people get their games to market with Union.

But frankly, behind that we are very conservative so we think that the engine and developers are the most important. Our primary and only goal is to support the developers to be successful and that includes big publishers like Electronic Arts, but also includes any sized studio, individuals and students.

You’ve heard the people and we’re very dedicated to that singular goal. We don’t want to change. We’ve got 200 people now and with offices on all continents.

Actually, that’s not true, not Africa, not Antarctica. We’ve opened up a lot of activity in Asia with our offices in Korea, Japan and China now, so that’s so we could be closer to the developers there but it doesn’t change our focus or change what we are trying to do. We’ve done some interesting things.

If you think broadly about what it means to really make developers more successful, they’ve got to have awesome tools, they’ve got to have the ability to work with the pipeline they want to work with, but it also means things like being able to get fed into the market.

One of the big things that we’re always doing of course is Flash exports so you could build different games, you can build a native for iOS and Android, you can build a native for the three current-gen consoles, you can build for PC and Mac, you can build it for our web player which has the distribution of 120/130 million currently but does 240 million more in China where we’re a cheap browser.

Soon we’ll have close to 400 million playing. But beyond that, there’s a plug-in that’s even bigger than ours, Flash. Adobe has over a million followers and over a billion browser users so we’ve been waiting for the last year and a half on making that work.

We’re currently on open Beta and we’ll be releasing that in a more formal way soon and that’s another way of getting developers to create their own games and getting them out to gamers more efficiently. But there are many more things that’s for sure

Flash deployment was part of 3.5 but is also an important part of 4 so how does 4 change things in terms of Flash?

Helgason: It’s been in an open beta so it’s a 3D release and we’ve had hundreds of thousands of people use that. There was a game contest around Christmas where 500 games were developed in a couple of weeks so it’s already fairly robust. But again it’s up to the protocol phase and actually released formally where we say its robust. Now you can do pretty much anything with it so that’ll be a big step for us.

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