Category Archives: Device Central

Flash vs Unity vs HTML5 at Nasscom GDC

The Nasscom GDC 2011 ended in Pune yesterday making it one of the well attended events in India. Since we don’t have many conferences like these happening here, it was great seeing this one unfold connecting the Indian gaming community on a single platform. It was also encouraging to see gaming now being accepted as an industry with students taking it up as a career option – something which did not exist some years back.

The 2 days of the event had back-to-back sessions covering various aspects of the state of the gaming industry, gaming platforms and technologies and sessions for budding entrepreneurs.

I was invited as a part of a panel discussion covering Flash vs Unity vs HTML5 and it was a fairly well attended session (we had 2 very competitive sessions running parallelly so a well attended session is a compliment!). It was great to see that most of the audience were into Flash development at some level and keen to know what the panel had to say about the three most spoken about technologies in the recent times. The panel came with their expertise and spoke about the strengths of the platform they specialized in.

HTML5 is a platform that Zynga believes will be the future with social games. They are already looking into it; their Words with Friends being a classic example of a successful HTML5 social game going cross platform.

Cha Yo Wo on the other hand felt that HTML5 has it’s disadvantages and is better suited for enterprise applications rather than game development, especially when getting it across multiple platforms. They had some good talk to share about their engine allowing easy porting of code across different mobile platforms.

Glu Mobile belives in Unity and had some good points to share about using the platform to develop freemium games.

I spoke about my experience of working with Flash on different platforms, specifically devices. My thoughts were that Flash developers have the advantage of taking their ideas to multiple mobile platforms through the Adobe AIR runtime, but that can come with some limitations. The native platform for devices offer more polished APIs than AIR thus giving it an edge over Adobe AIR. With the introduction of native extensions, Adobe AIR can open up better development options but that will only be known in time.

However having said that, HTML5 is an new standard for the web that developers can be excited about, especially since Apple has been talking about it for a very long time, Adobe is investing heavily in the tools, and companies like Zynga believe that they can push the envelope of online social gaming with it.

The consensus was that a developer should never be limited with an idea because a technology is known and comfortable to work with, instead choose tools and platforms that best help bring the idea to life.

Flash vs Unity vs HTML5 Panel at Nasscom GDC

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Article launch on the new Adobe Game Technology Center – Developing games for Nokia S60 touch devices

I’ve authored a new mobile gaming article titled Developing games for Nokia S60 Touch devices. It covers game development details for Nokia S60 5th Edition devices using Adobe Flash Lite 3.1. The article was launched last evening to coincide with Adobe’s launch of the new Adobe Game Technology Center.

The Adobe Game Technology Center is a fantastic resource for Flash game developers across platforms.  It has articles, sample files, videos, tutorials – almost everything required to learn game development and enhance skills.

I hope that the article and new Game Center will prove to be a valuable resource for game enthusiasts like myself.

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Forum Nokia Flash Lite Components V2.0

Forum Nokia released a set of components last week which can be useful while developing applications for mobiles using Flash Lite 2.0 and higher. The components can be installed and used within the authoring environments of Flash CS3 and CS4.

There are ten components resources released with source files and component guides and include the Button component, Calendar component, Checkbox component, Contacts component, List component, Media data component, Messaging component, Pop-up component, Radiobutton component, and Scrollbar component.

Working Example of components (List, Button, Pop-up) on a Nokia 5800

The Forum Nokia component page mentions -
“The resource is closely related to Guide to Flash Lite Components. Please give feedback on the components through the Flash Lite Discussion Board. For possible additional components and guidelines from the community, check Forum Nokia Wiki.”

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Device Central CS4 Device Profile Update 5 Available

(via Mark) Device Profile Update 5 for Device Central CS4 is now available for download. This new update contains 36 new and some updated profiles bringing the total number of supported devices to 738.

Some of the profiles include Nokia 5530 XpressMusic, Nokia 5630 XpressMusic, Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Flash Lite 3.1 (great as I need to use it!), Nokia E52, Nokia N86 8MP, Nokia N97 and the HTC Hero for testing flash in the browser.

All new device profiles would be available through the Online Device Library in Adobe Device Central CS4. Check the complete device here.

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What’s new with Flash Lite? As it was revealed at FITC Mobile!

(Via Dave Yang) As FITC Mobile Conference completed its first day, it left a buzz amongst Flash mobile enthusiasts with its announcements and the next new releases of Flash Lite and Flash 10 runtimes.

Mark Doherty from Adobe spoke about the next release of Flash Lite, which would be Flash Lite 4.0. Apparently this version of Flash Lite would support Actionscript 3 and would be a browser plugin. Also, Flash Lite 4.0 would target slower, less powerful and memory-constraint devices.

Then there would be a Flash Player 10 for devices which would be a browser plugin as well, and would target powerful devices (such as the Android devices), possibly with hardware graphics acceleration. And then there would be AIR as a standalone player for mobiles.

Device Central 3 was also presented at FITC. This Device Central would support some hardware emulation such as accelerometer and geolocation and allow creation of custom device profiles.

SWFPack, a mobile packager (created in AIR) for S60 3rd edition and up, and Windows Mobile 5/6 was also part of Mark’s presentation. SWFPack would allow deployment of builds in both .sis and .cab formats for the two mobile platforms.

So what does this mean to a Flash Lite developer?

Well, if we are not already adept with AS3, we need to start doing that because there is no limiting with ideas and AS3. If Flash Lite 4.0 and Flash Player 10 both provide complete OOP / programming syntax we can write easy to port code.

However we would know the capabilities of both these runtimes only when their beta is out (during MAX ?)

And the new device packager would probably solve the device restrictions we face today as developers with the current version of Mobile Packager. It would help us target more devices in the market, which means less of our users have to deal with fragmentation of the player across handsets.

Looking forward to hearing more information on this.

Mariam

Upcoming Flash Lite/WRT eSeminars for January

Coming up this month are a couple of interesting eSeminars relating to Flash Lite and WRT technologies for mobiles. The eSeminars require prior registration and are being conducted in different time zones, so make sure you check your time.

Mobile Workflow in Adobe Creative Suite 4
Date : 21 January 2009
Time : 2:00pm to 3:00pm Australian EDT
Description : This eSeminar session will look at the various ways the new Adobe CS4 products work for mobile developers and designers, and show you how Device Central acts as a central piece of the workflow.

Flash Lite Distributable Player Seminar
Date : 21 January 2009
Time : 9:00am – 10:00am PST
Description : A presentation and discussion on the upcoming Flash Lite Distributable Player, everything you ever wanted to know but were afraid (or haven’t had the opportunity) to ask. The presentation will go through the plans for the player and how developers can get involved in the project, resulting in you having greater access to get your content to market.

Create Mobile Phone Wallpaper
Date : 22 January 2009
Time : 4:00pm to 5:00pm Australian EDT
Description : This session is for non-Flash designers who might use Illustrator, and learn how to create mobile specific artwork and test using Device Central.

Nokia WRT Plug-in for Aptana Studio v1.0
Date : 22 January 2009
Time : EMEA/Asia session: 7 a.m. London, 9 a.m. Helsinki, 3 p.m. Singapore/Bejing – Register>>
Americas session: 11 a.m. San Francisco, 2 p.m. New York – Register>>
Description : Join this webinar to learn about the Nokia WRT Plug-in for Aptana Studio, which provides features for using the Aptana Studio or Aptana Studio Pro IDE to develop Web Runtime (WRT) widgets. You can then use features such as full JavaScript™ code completion for the Web Runtime 1.0 API to write WRT widget code rapidly. Once you’ve coded the widget, you can use other plug-in features to preview, debug, package, and deploy it.

S60 Platform Services — Reaching Further with Flash on Nokia Devices
Date : 28-29 January 2009
Time : EMEA Session: 10 a.m. London, noon Helsinki – Register>>
Americas Session: 7 a.m. San Francisco, 9 a.m. Dallas, 10 a.m. New York – Register>>
Description : This webinar will look at the new S60 5th Edition Platform Services and how Flash developers can make use of them. Nokia will give an overview of the opportunities on offer and the techniques used to access location, sensor, calendar, contacts, and other functionality in your Flash and web applications. Join us to learn about some practical examples of how you can use S60 Platform Services to extend what Flash Lite can do on Nokia platforms.

GetJar and their Flash Lite content distribution solution
Date : 29 January 2009
Time : 12:00 PM EST
Description : GetJar will present their Flash Lite content distribution solution through this eSeminar hosted by the Boston Adobe Mobiles and Devices User Group.

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Flash Lite 3.1 Distributable Player – No need for Flash Lite player downloads, installs and updates…

Yes, the news is true.

Yet another awesome announcement made during the Adobe MAX 2008, San Francisco conference was the Adobe Flash Lite 3.1 Distributable Player for developers to distribute over-the-air (OTA) along with their content. This means, an end user will no longer need to check for the presence of Flash Lite on their handsets. The content itself (when installed as a .SIS or .CAB file) will check for the player version, download and install it using network connectivity. It couldn’t get simpler than this.

Flash Lite 3.1 has the same functionalities as Flash Lite 3.0, such as support for Flash Player compatible video, with some enhancements including improved security model for SWF file access. Please note that at this time h.264 video is not supported. Adobe’s goal is always to provide the latest version of Flash Lite for over-the-air (OTA) download through the distributable player solution. Flash Lite 3.1 Distributable Player will work on supported S60 and Windows Mobile devices. The Distributable Player is integrated with Adobe AppZone.

Currently this is supported on limited devices, namely the S60 3rd Edition, 3rd Edition feature pack 1, 3rd Edition feature pack 2, Windows Mobile 5 for Smartphones, WM6 Standard and Professional platforms (check the complete list).

UPDATE:

You can now download the Flash Lite 3.1 update for Adobe Device Central CS4 to author, test and publish Flash Lite 3.1 swf files.
Download for Windows here
Download for Macintosh here

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Flash Lite Development with Adobe CS4 and Nokia Platform Services API

Earlier this week, I attended an online webinar hosted by Forum Nokia and Adobe and learnt in depth about the new opportunities that will soon to be available for Flash mobile developers with the release of the Nokia Platform Services API.

Adobe’s presentation by Peter did a fine job of describing the features and workflow within Adobe Flash and Device Central CS4 with demos from their partners (coincidently the CS4 Design/Web/Production launch event in Mumbai happened on the same day, with no discussion on mobile designing/development :( ).

But the most interesting part of the webinar was Nokia’s presentation of their newly announced Platform Services API for Flash Lite technology. This Platform Services API was introduced with the S60 5th Edition platform, and the first device to support it will be the eagerly awaited 5800 XpressMusic.

Nokia mobile services such as the Application Manager, Calendar, Contacts, Landmarks, Location, Logging, SMS/MMS Messaging, Media Gallery, Sensors and System Information will now be enabled from within Flash Lite using the new set of APIs. These will definitely extend Flash Lite capabilities on devices and stimulate more ideas and flexibility in the creation of mobile content. And finally, these will be accessed directly from ActionScript with no dependencies on other programming languages.

There are various resources available to follow up on for this platform and API -

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Adobe Device Central CS4 Interactive Videos and SDK available on Dev Center

The Adobe Mobiles and Devices Dev Center today released the Adobe Device Central CS4 interactive videos in collaboration with lynda.com.

Introducing Adobe Device Central CS4
Automating testing of mobile content

The Adobe Device Central CS4 SDK is also now available.

The Adobe® Device Central Software Development Kit (SDK) allows you to create custom plug-ins that extend the tasks provided as part of Device Central’s project feature. The Device Central SDK is based on ExtendScript and XML.

The October 2008 release highlights the following: Enable developers to add additional export options to Adobe Device Central’s project feature.

Download the Device Central CS4 SDK here

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Device Central CS3 Update 7 for download

Via Mark Doherty, the latest Device Central Update for CS3 is now available for download. This seventh (#7) update contains 57 new profiles and updates to 204 existing profiles, taking the total number of device profiles to 525.

This update is supposed to be the largest profile update ever and can be accessed from this link

Cheers to the Device Central team once again!

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