Google and Unity3D (has Adobe missed the boat?)

Filed under: Flash — Wrote by Campbell on Friday, May 21st, 2010 @ 12:35 am

Back in August Google aquired On2, makers of the vp6 video codec used in the flash player in flash player 8. I noted at the time this had to be Google’s answer to the horrible codec wars the browser were all facing with HTML5, and opensourceing a codec would be the only answer. Today at Google’s IO event we got our answer.

So its time I pose another question. Today in Google’s IO event Unity3D played a small yet impressive part. Displaying native 3d in the browser (chrome of course) without a plugin, 3d on Android. Ill be blunt…. what are the chances of Google trying to aquire Unity3D to make an open 3d browser standard for others to adopt, in a similar way to the On2 acquisition.

Next question… Did Abode miss the boat. Roll back to december last year and some rather high profile flashers were saying Adobe should buy Unity3d. This stemmed from the fact they had been wanting 3D capabilities for so long and Adobe didn’t seem willing to offer them. I thought the same. I have seen clients consider 3d and try to achieve their dreams in the flash player but to be honest your dreams don’t have to be that big before the flash player falls short. But at the same time the Unity3D plugin didn’t have the install base for them to be comfortable. I saw at least a partnership as a perfect arrangement.

This is all based on that fact that the owners of Unity3D would be open to a partnership/acquirement, as I don’t think its a publicly traded company (correct me if Im wrong). Which may be why we see more of a partnering with google, but history shows, thats just not how Google rolls.

Regardless of all of this the guys at Unity3D have done an awesome job of bringing an awesome tool to the market, at the right time, with the right features. I am sure that if they continue to deliver the solution both developers and the people paying the developers want they will do fine on their own. If someone from Unity reads this please feel free to comment on your visions of 3d on the web past plugins.

Mustang update – now in color

Filed under: Flash — Wrote by Campbell on Saturday, May 8th, 2010 @ 12:21 pm

So I have been busy, despite my lack of posts. And I have been working on the mustang as well. I finally got it back from the painters yesterday and shes looking sweet! Now I just have to remember how to put the thing back together again lol.


I’m an Adobe Community Professional too :)

Filed under: Adobe, New Zealand — Wrote by Campbell on Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 @ 2:03 pm

Wow its been a while since my last post, but I hope can claim that is attributable to being busy in the community.

I got some great news that I have been made an Adobe Community Professional. This group is AKA Adobe Community Experts program which has been re-branded to make it a little clearer.

2009 was a good year and 2010 is shaping up to be even better. Feel free to ping me on twitter @campbell, skype:campbellanderson, or xbox (see to the left) as always ill do my best to help out, or noob tube you on Call of duty.

So a big thank you to Adobe for the privilege to be apart of this group, its a great honor!

Also of note congrats run out to my fellow Pacific based friends (even the Aussie’s in there :P ) :

Kai Koenig (@agentK) NZ
Dale Rankine (@dalerankine) AU
Justin Mclean (@JustinMclean) AU
Geoff Bowers (@modius) AU
Andrew Muller (@rebel) AU
Mark Mandel (@neurotic) AU

Air 2.0 – Codename Athena

Filed under: Flash — Wrote by Campbell on Thursday, September 24th, 2009 @ 8:17 pm

Ohhhhhh a few new tid bits given out at Flash on the Beach. Mike Chambers posted his presentation slides containing details outlining new features coming in Air 2.0. Its obvious that Chambers is also enjoying his new camera as the PDF presentation is 10mb and has some pretty cool texture backgrounds [ Download here ] [ Slide share version ]

But a simple summary:
“Athena” : StorageVolume APIs

  • “Athena” API
  • Monitors mounting and un-mounting of storage volumes
  • USB / Firewire
  • Cameras and Devices that mount as drives

“Athena” : NativeProcess API

  • New API in AIR 2.0
  • Can call and communicate with external applications
  • Requires application be distributed as native installer (no AIR files)
  • Cannot execute applications within application directory
  • Must add “extendedDesktop” to support profiles

AIR 2.0 : Launch Default

  • Allows files to be launched with default application
  • Works in any AIR application
  • File cannot be in application directory
  • File type blacklist

Update: Also Raw microphone access YAY:

Server side actionscript – Hacking Tamarin

Filed under: AIR, Adobe, Flash, Flex — Wrote by Campbell on Saturday, August 8th, 2009 @ 12:59 am

As mentioned in my previous post I have been on a short holiday. One of the things I slated to do at nights was to dig deeper into the Tamarin project.

“The Tamarin virtual machine is used within the Adobe® Flash® Player and is also being adopted for use by projects outside Adobe.” -

Just to start out, I highly recommend having a look through the source if you have any understanding of c/c++ and are working with the flash player at any level. Playing with it I have learnt so much about what really goes on under the hood. I can only liken it to being a mechanic and driver at the same time compared to being just a driver. Things are fine as a driver while everything is going as planned, but when things go wrong as a mechanic as well you can tell whats going on behind the scenes and can make fixes (educated guesses) very quickly.

I began by just extending the virtual machine in c++, and soon found myself adding database abilities. These could then be in turn called from actionscript. This ineviatably led me to looking into server side actionscript. I found the mod_actionscript project on Google code and used this as a rough guidline to do my implementation. I wrapped the virtual machine in a Fast CGI wrapper. This allowed the application to remain loaded inbetween requests and just start from an entry point in the actionscript. Soon I had raw compiled actionscript returning text from Apache. And wow its fast. I have now started building a bit of an actionscript core for fun, giving it activerecord (think rails) like capabilities.

Im starting to look at the different web focused frameworks out there and how they might fit with this. Google Web Toolkit is a really nice implementation, and I can see now why it is like it is. More of a javascript application than web pages. GWT allows the strongly typed world of Java to work well against tested javascript components, forming the larger application. Then theres the rails style. Convention over configuration, loosely typed objects etc. I really love rails but I also love the debugging of Actionscript, which requires the Strongly typed objects. So Im unsure where Ill take things, but for now I will keep playing.

It sucks that the development tools are very limited, jumping from Xcode, to eclipse, to textmate etc but still fun hacking. I have even given the little project a name; RedRocket. And I found a now un-used logo for it ;)


All this leads me to the question that has been bugging me for the past week. What ever happened to the examples we saw glimpses of during max last year. They showed actionscript sections inside of an HTML page, being executed on the server.

Does anyone have a link to this? Was it just some side project of the developers at Adobe? Did it get canned with the current economic situation. Was it killed as it competed with Cold Fusion to much? – Does anyone know….. does anyone care?

© Flex developer, Campbell Anderson, from New Zealand – xsive blog -