Adobe Labs has just released the beta of its Flash Player 10, code name “Astro”., and its time for us flash-developers to get stuck right in! Flash Player 10 introduces a number of new features and technical improvements to the exhaustive list of features and abilities of Flash 9, among them improved 3D effects and a enhanced drawing API.
For the full list of features please continue reading below the break…
Key new features
Among a great number of improvements and additions, these are the key features flash developers were looking out for:
Custom Filters and Effects – Flash Player 10 allows developers to create their own filters via Adobe’s Pixel Blender (those of you using After Effects CS3 will feel at home!) and to embed them into your flash movie. Since these filters are portable you can also share them with others (expect download sections for these filters to pop up everywhere once Flash Player 10 is in final release)
Enhanced Drawing API – drawing will be a lot easier in Flash Player 10, you can now use 3D APIs and re-styleable properties, and all that with a lot less code to use!
Advanced Text Layout – Adobe has been putting a lot of work into a new text layout engine allowing a lot more controls by providing support for more typographic elements, vertical text and right-to-left layout
3D Effects – This is where it gets interesting: Flash Player 10 allows a lot more flexibility and interactivity for objects through 3D space. The new motion engine will be a lot easier to get your heads around, plus APIs will extend your ActionScript 3.0 knowledge easily without having to rethink how you did 3D animations in the past. I am personally very excited about this part of the new features as up until now my 3D flash work was a code-mess (then again, who says it won’t be this time round!)
Visual Performance Improvements – Flash Player 10 will make a lot more use of your GPU when it comes down to rendering your animations. Thanks to that move, the CPU will be freed up quite a bit to allow more processing power for other applications – or your flash code.
Colour Management – an improved colour management system allows you to work more accurately to your client’s current website and brand without looking “out of place” or “a bit off”. Opt-in colour management allows you to convert SWFs into sRGB (standard RGB) and works with the monitor’s ICC colour profile, turning the entire SWF into a colour-managed object.
Rich media improvements:
Flash Player 10 will also improve your work on rich media applications and media streaming. Since bandwidth is a massive factor when it comes down to enjoying flash animations and applications to the fullest, you’ll be pleased to hear that Flash Player 10 will also feature dynamic streaming to change bitrate depending on the current network conditions. Through Quality of Service metrics via ActionScript’s network and CPU information detection developers will be able to take control of video playback and dynamically adjust playback. Have a look out for Flash Media Server updates soon!
Furthermore, the new Real time Media Flow Protocol (RTMFP) allows for a secure UDP-based network connection, allowing for an improved media delivery and real-time communication with your Flash Media Server environment. which helps protect media delivery.
My thoughts on Flash 10
So far I am enjoying Flash 10’s pre-release, and I am looking forward to learning more about the new 3D effects and Dynamic Streaming capabilities. With regards to the enhanced drawing API, what I would like to see at some piont is also a pressure-recognition for graphics tablets. Well, its still pre-release, let’s see what else Adobe Labs has in store for us 🙂