Blender to .as3 Exporter for Papervision 3D, Away3D and Sandy3D Updated

If you are exporting from blender to actionscript directly so you can get your models into flash as script you can use the Blender to .as3 exporter which so kindly supports all flash 3d engines currently Away3D, Papervision3D and Sandy3D.  Dennis Ippel made the Blender exporter a while back but the update supports papervision 2.0.

The benefits of COLLADA are nice but there are so many differences that you can run into trouble.  With the exporter it is a direct faces and vector export without all the bloat of DAE/COLLADA xml.  This works if you are only developing for flash and dont’ need to use the models in other platforms/systems/engines that aren’t in flash.

AS3 Papervision 3D Debugging/Stats with PV3DDebug

I have been doing lots of Papervision 3D for a project recently and needed to debug some placement and camera issues.  I did a quick search and found PV3DDebug by Jason Bejot and it worked out great and is a pretty sweet utility I thought I would mention when you need to debug Papervision or even for inclusion as a debug console in all your papervision apps and games. It is a good base for your own consoles or debug panels. It is also a great tool to help out with focus and zoom issues and understanding with camera placement.

The code is really easy to drop in and you can get lots of info on the PV3D scenes and camera manipulation.

Hardware of the Casual Gamer Revisited from Unity3d Creators

A few weeks ago the makers of Unity3d released some really valuable information about casual gaming and general hardware of users that play online games.  It was an interesting report and very beneficial to developers on the Unity platform and others.  We wish other plugin makers would do the same in such a thorough method.

Unity 3d creators listened to the market and have now posted updated numbers and information as well as a page that quarterly stats will be updated. Check the new, quarterly, hardware of the casual gamer stats.

I would have seen this earlier but I have been deep in a Unity 3d project myself :).  I am a big fan of all web based gaming platforms and Unity is almost a dream come true for 3d web gaming.  For the company to be this open that is a very good sign.

What can you do with Unity3D?  Here is a list of games made with Unity3D on the web.  The one great thing about this platform is that is was made for gaming specifically from the start.  Simulations and game development with Unity3D is very fun and productive. I still love Flash, Director etc but Unity3D development is now very much in my rotation.

Games made with Unity3D:

Hancock Movie Games

Tennis Stars Cup

Duckateers

Temploe (ninjas attack you)

RC Laser Warrior

Urban Race Star

FlashBang studios

TraceON

EPIC Tower Defense

InvinciCar

Besmashed (multi)

Global Conflicts

Phoenix Final

Doom Siege

Mario Galaxy like run (third one down)

Zombie Drive

Pocket Piglets

ChickenDemo

Castle Conquest

AS3 Zupko’s Reflections and Shadows with Raycasting in Papervision 3D

The Zupko show continues with reflections in Papervision 3D [demo].

Be sure to check out the shadow demo that this is based on:

After posting my shadow experiment, Patrick Matte posed a question wondering if I would be able to do real-time reflections in a similar manner. The next day I had it done, along with some nice iterations along the way: orthographic and perspective projection (I can release those later if anyone really wants them). I’ve been sitting on it every since and finally decided I would take the time to write a little description into how its done and give the code to those who are interested (and I fixed up some code for backface culling in the reflection this morning).

AS3 New Tween Animation Engine Called gTween from Grant Skinner

There is another new Tween engine from Grant Skinner called gTween, further demonstrating the fun in coding with AS3.  Frameworks and kits are duplicating much like the Python community because the language and platform are quite empowering.  Do we have too many Tween engines, maybe but be glad the flash community has this many and share, it only makes each iteration better.

Additional Features

gTween has a lot of additional features. I’m not going to write about all of them, but here are a few:

  • autoHide, sets the target’s visible to false when the tweened alpha is 0
  • autoReverse, reverses the tween when it ends (and plays it backwards if autoPlay is true).
  • smartRotate, rotates in shortest direction
  • supports using setSize for tweening height and width on components
  • support for updating properties like matrix and colorTransform automatically during a tween.
  • jump to any point in a tween by setting position.
  • loop a tween by setting nextTween equal to the same tween.
  • determine the state of a tween with the state and paused properties.

Download (Beta 1)

To access the API documentation, and download the latest build of GTween, visit the GTween page at gskinner.com/libraries/gtween/.

Here is a list of all open AS3 Tweening engines and base kits

More Creative Flash AS3 Papervision 3D Games

Here are some really stylish and well done uses of Papervision 3D to make fun games. The people at Bloc recently launched Meta4orce, a unique interactive sci-fi TV show site with some great and numerous uses of papervision 3d.  My favorite is the tron like style and the tower defense game called shock to the system.

Shock to the system

Mako User Interface

Deadsphere Pt. I

and many more check them out at Iain Lobb.

Hardware of the Casual Gamer

Making great games, applications and tools using flash, silverlight or other tools that are emerging such as Unity3D takes great style, effort and knowing your target. We need to know what the end-user machine has at hand.  The Unity 3d guys put together a great post on the capabilities of casual gaming machines. With all the talk about flash 3d, unity3d and silverlight what level are you targeting and what group of people can actually PLAY your games as you envision.

Pretty much everyone knows Valve’s hardware survey – it’s a very valuable resource that shows what hardware the typical “hardcore PC gamer” has (that is, gamers that play Valve’s games).

However, the “casual gamer”, which is what Unity games are mostly targeted at, probably has slightly different hardware. “Slightly” being a very relative term of course.

Lo and behold – we have a glimpse into that data.

How? First time the Unity Web Player is installed, it submits anonymous hardware details (details in the EULA). This happens only once, and contains no personally identifiable information. It’s much like visitor statistics trackers on the websites that gather your OS, browser information and whatnot.

Remember, all this data is from people who installed Unity Web Player (most likely because they wanted to play some Unity content on the web). Hardware of standalone game players might be different, and hardware of your game’s players might be different as well. The data set is well over a million samples at the moment.

Check out the full stats here.

The most interesting stats to me:

OS Platforms

Windows 96.8%

Mac OS X 3.2%

CPU Core count overall

1 54.7%

2 44.1%

4 1.1%

8 .1%

Wow this one is surprising, but with the type of gamer that will play and download a quality new plugin to get to a game, maybe not.  They need to have the latest and greatest.  Multi-core processors have been selling for about 2-3 years so this is a continuing trend that will make Flash 3d and even plugins like Unity 3d better over the short term.

Also when you check it over at Unity Blog note the top cards, it is a bit painful if you are a casual gamer developer.  Not a decent card in the top 10-15. But that is changing rapidly over the next 1-2 years in this regard. But this also vyes well for flash based games that rely on dual core software rendered results right now as a decent constraint for developers to keep content painfully accessible to all states of machinery out there.

I wonder if this information is available on the flash player and public? This is specific to the Unity 3D plugin that is also a bit of a different market that is willing to install a plugin for better experiences.  With Flash it is usually preinstalled or auto updated for a casual user and might be different as Flash has a 98% penetration rate.  Or for that matter the Director users which would be more gaming focused which amout ot about 40% of internet users.  But as with the case of Unity it is specific to games right now and a small penetration rate, Flash is also apps, ads, tools, demos, interactives in addition to games.  Having this information on Flash or Director would be nice.

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