March 7th, 2013 HTML5 Games Meetup: Adobe Presents: Multiplatform Game Development Using Adobe Gaming SDK

OLC attended HTML5 Games Meetup's event, Adobe Presents: Multiplatform Game Development Using Adobe Gaming SDK featuring Lee Brimelow, a developer evangelist at Adobe currently focusing on Flash gaming and HTML5 on Thursday, March 7, 2013. Brimelow presented on developing multiplatform games using Adobe's new gaming tools. Adobe AIR and Stage3D were covered and CreateJS as well as PhoneGap was discussed.

Lee Brimelow started by describing Adobe's place in the gaming sphere. "Over the last two years, Adobe has focused specifically on gaming," Brimelow said. "The best place to get more information is going to Adobe never had a concise place to see a place where it congregates all of the Adobe-made games. It also features Creative Cloud, a subscription software and you get all of the software that Adobe makes. From here, there's a section called Game Development tools. Everything you need to get started is there," he said.

The Adobe Gaming SDK has a variety of features built in. AIR SDK allows users to compile apps. Starling is a 2D-based framework and Feathers is a UI framework that is also an extension to Starling. Away3D is a 3D framework and there are native extensions within AIR SDK that are mobile specific.

Starling targets the GPU instead of the CPU to provide the "best performance in a flash-based game." Because all of the graphics run on the GPU, it is quick and fast. Feathers is an extension for Starling to create games for mobile. "All options are optimized for mobile devices," Brimelow said. "All are GPU accelerated, so it's very quick." Away3D is a longtime 3D renderer for Flash. "It's the easiest way to get 3D on Flash," he said.

Brimelow introduced Adobe Scout, a profiling tool that connects release versions of Flash Player and inspects all Flash content. "Scout automatically captures data and it's all profiled. It's a great place to debug problems through action-call script stack. You can look at Stage3D rendering frame by frame—you can see what's being drawn on the screen," Brimelow said.

"Everything coming out of Adobe is web standard now," Brimelow said. "On the standard side of things, it's taking traditional Flash Player models and putting them in browsers. Contributions by Adobe are CSS Regions, CSS Custom Filters, CSS Exclusions, CSS Compositing and will continue to contribute more."

Brimelow showed the CSS Filter Lab and said that it gives users the ability to do hardware-accelerated filters. "You can add custom CSS filters," he said. "And all are rendered by GPU." He briefly discussed Edge Tools and its services. "Edge Animate is kind of like Flash Pro," he said. "It's vaguely an animation tool—CSS-based animation. Reflow is a responsive design tool. Edge Code is a code editor. With Edge Inspect, you can see simultaneous codes. PhoneGap Build uses cloud to compile service for mobile and Edge WebFont and Typekit are web font services," he said.

Brimelow also mentioned that Flash is not being phased out. "Adobe is commited to not only working on both Flash and AIR, but it's also continuing to innovate with them," he said. Brimelow also cautioned that developers not focus on one technology. "It's important to not focus on one technology. Learning JavaScript is important to stay current," he said.

Adobe's plan is to help developers building games in JavaScript. "Reality from Adobe's perspective," Brimelow said, "is to create tools for creative people to make it easier for them to make these games."

"Language needs to change," Brimelow said. "It needs to be better." He said that Ecmascript 6 is going to make things a lot easier. "Microsoft developed Typescript, it's a language that allows you to code using Ecmascript 6 syntax and compile it down to readable JavaScript for today's browsers," he said.

He briefly discussed PhoneGap, a technology that allows users to take JavaScript, CSS and HTML and package them up for distribution across all mobile platforms. "It hasn't been seen as a gaming developing platform," he said. "But it can be used for simple puzzle games."

Brimelow explained CreateJS as a JavaScript framework with Flash-like API. "The performance is good," he said. "It also has support in Flash Pro." CreateJS is a wrapper king of project in that it has other apps within it.

He demoed Hellcat as well, explaining, "Designers and animators love Flash Pro, so we're going to make Flash Pro less about export format and more about being able to focus on more animation techniques. Hellcat lets you export directly to CreateJS."

On multiplatform game development, Brimelow simply listed: desktop browsers, desktop apps, mobile browsers and mobile apps. He explained that Flash is the best option for delivering desktop browser games today. "The question is really about tomorrow," he added. However, regarding mobile platforms, Brimelow said, "There's no point in creating Flash games for mobile browsers. Regular people like apps. If they want to play a game, they'll use an app, not the mobile browser."

"Mobile apps present lots of possible technologies," Brimelow said, "including Adoble AIR and HTML5. But, no single technology is the best. It all depends on the type of game you are developing."