360|Stack 2013 – Session Videos

Looks like all of the session videos from 360|Stack this year are FREE. Check them out over at the video site. My session on Starling and Feathers is embedded, below:

JOSEPH LABRECQUE – BUILDING GPU-ACCELERATED MOBILE APPLICATION INTERFACES WITH STARLING AND FEATHERS

Apache Flex is great for application UI… but it isn’t GPU-accelerated :( New versions of Adobe AIR perform quite spectacularly on mobile and really blaze when tapping into the device GPU. If your mobile application requires this sort of performance – there is a solution to be found in the Starling framework along with Feathers (a fully-skinnable, open source component and layout framework)! This session will demonstrate how to use Feathers to create great, performant mobile interfaces for not only games but applications as well!

2012 Retrospective

I was very tempted to forgo my usual end-of-the-year rundown with just a big middle finger to end 2012 off… this year was terrible on a number of levels; industry uncertainties around Flash and related tech, growing pains with new technologies and products, a lot of bad news from the community both in people’s personal lives and work, suicides, major illnesses, and far too many national and world tragedies.
2012
It seems that a lot of good stuff actually happened along the way as well though… so here is my portion of that for 2012.

Publications

2427EXPsmI was fortunate to ahave a lot of work published this year. 2 books and 5 video courses. I really need to take it easy on this stuff as it takes up a lot of my time. So much time that I won’t elaborate on them any more. Here they are:

Books Written:
Learning Adobe Edge Animate
Adobe Edge Quickstart Guide

Videos/DVDs:
Edge Animate Intensive
Edge Animate Power Workshop
Adobe Flash Professional CS6: Learn by Video
Getting Started with Flash Professional CS6
Adobe Flash Professional CS6: New Features Workshop

Tech Review:
The Game Jam Survival Guide
Adobe Edge Animate: Classroom in a Book

Music

FVM007_250I had a few music-related projects underway this year. After contributing to February Album Writing Month early on, I took the material produced to create the album blootletshadows under the new project name of shivervein. The idea behind this new project is that it doesn’t have any of the baggage that An Early Morning Letter, Displaced does – so I can express myself in different ways.

I’ve been working on a few other tracks as well – at least one of these will make it onto the upcoming Emergent Collective Two release next year. I’ll be taking submissions of tracks and artwork up until the final hours of 2012 – so if you are considering a contribution… get cracking!!!

Lastly, I did a few remixes for other projects which should also see the light of day sometime in 2013. I haven’t done any remixes in about 10 years so that was quite fun for me.

Gaming

BABBY MUST NEEDS SLEEP!This has been a weird one. Back when I was just learning ActionScript in 1999/2000, many of my small projects were game/goal based works. Fast-forward to 2005 and I found myself teaching a game development course at the university. This was ActionScript based and quite fun… up until this year, this was my last foray into the world of game development. With Adobe focusing runtime engineering on gaming, it made sense for me to get back into things and it’s admittedly been a slow start. One method I’ve used to jump start my learning is to participate in game jams. This has worked out really well for me so long as I don’t have anything else going on during the development window. Hope to continue this in the new year.

Speaking and Posting

Demo requires Flash Player 11.2 or above!Close to 20 major speaking engagements over the past year! This may be too many for me. A lot of time is put into research and testing, authoring examples, getting slides together, making sure the flow is right, final tweaks… it’s a lot of work to prepare a presentation. Perhaps in 2013 I’ll be a little more reserved in this area.

One thing that turned out nicely this year is my ActionScript Quickies series of example posts on new things (and some old things) in the Flash runtimes. They seem to be helpful for others and they are absolutely helpful for myself when getting to grips with new features. I plan to continue this.

What Else?

A ton. Way to much to write about here – so I wont go on. I’ve touched upon the major points that remain with me right now, during this brief recollection.

2013

MAX 2013 is coming... with CATS!Curious to how this year will play out. A bit of uncertainty for me… but I have high hopes. One definite positive is that I will be relocating my office at the university from temporary space and into a renovated academic commons building. A huge upgrade in comfort, convenience, and technology that should occur in February. Also looking forward to MAX 2013 – after not having a MAX in 2012… I’m feeling it. Otherwise, I plan to work on more personal projects and less contract work – though I’ve said the same over the past number of years.

Happy new year, all.

Flash Builder 4.7 beta and AIR Technology Previews

Adobe has dropped a number of tech previews onto Labs last night, including a beta of Adobe Flash Builder 4.7 featuring the new Falcon compiler and also some interesting AIR SDK previews.

Adobe Flash Builder 4.7

Flash Builder 4.7 beta is the first version to be offered as a 64-bit application. While there is support for Adobe Flex 4.6 and the new Apache Flex 4.8 SDKs – many of the enhancements are focused upon productivity and lean ActionScript. This is likely to be a theme with the Flash-based tooling to come; performance, foundation, and a generally stripping away of outdated or little-used features (like data wizards) to make room for a better authoring experience. Adobe has told a similar story when speaking publicly about the upcoming “HellCat” release of Flash Professional; rebuilt, lean, modernized, 64-bit. Awesome.

Important things to note…
Some new compiler features require that you target AIR 3.4. The new compiler will only work with ActionScript projects – MXML will be compiled with the legacy compiler. Also – no more design view and those awful data wizards are gone [some bitter with the sweet].

Here’s what’s new:

  • Support for Apache Flex SDK
  • New compiler support for ActionScript projects
  • Support for creating ActionScript workers
  • Apple iOS on-device (USB) and simulator testing and debugging support
  • Configuring multiple build targets for multi-screen projects
  • Support for customizing ADT and ADL
  • Enhanced Developer Productivity Feature – Organize Imports
  • Enhanced Developer Productivity Features – Quick Assists
  • Real time error highlighting using the new ActionScript compiler

Adobe AIR Technology Previews

There are also a few other tidbits up on Labs alongside Flash Builder. They are grouped under the heading of Adobe AIR Technology Previews and target specific developer use case: standalone compiler and Apple iOS6.

AIR 3.4 SDK with ActionScript Compiler 2.0

This is the new compiler used in Flash Builder 4.7! One would imagine that Apache Flex will get its hands on this soon.

AIR 3.4 SDK with iOS6 support

For those who with to target iOS6 specifically – this is what you need.

Adobe Education Leader Institute 2012

I’m gearing up in preparation for the Adobe Education Leader Institute [JULY 23-26, 2012] at Adobe’s San Jose offices. That’s two weeks from today! Always a great opportunity to connect with Adobe and others working in both higher education and K-12. This will be my fourth institute and I’ll be presenting a talk on the persistent value of the Flash Platform in education, doing a workshop in Flash game design, and also a few smaller things throughout the week: including a 5 minute talk based upon one of my AS3 Quickies.

Major session details are below – and I will be uploading slides, game assets, and any other materials in a future post following the conference.


What’s Going On with the Adobe® Flash® Platform and why it is still Relevant for Education
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 – Adobe Headquarters

With the recent rise of web technologies like HTML5, it is important that the Flash Player continually evolve to remain the ideal technology platform for advanced interaction on the Web and beyond. Flash has always been an important enabler for education, and remains so. This session details the various enhancements, new functionality, and general improvements available in the new versions of Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR®.

It includes the following topics:

  • What’s new in Flash Player 11 and AIR 3
  • New ActionScript® classes, methods, and properties
  • When it is appropriate to use Flash Technology, HTML, AIR—or something else entirely
  • What we can expect in incremental releases of Flash Player 11—and within the entire platform ecosystem

Game Design with Adobe® Flash® Professional CS6
Thursday, July 26, 2012 – Adobe Headquarters

Joseph Labrecque shows you how to build a simple game for mobile devices that teaches concepts. You’ll assemble components into a mobile game that can be deployed to multiple mobile devices. We will cover Timing, Mouse Interaction, Character Movement, Object Rotation, Scrolling Backgrounds, Obstacles, Collision Detection, Game Loop, Scoreboard, Player Health, Asset Skinning, Sound Managers, Game States, Movement Constraints, Packages/Classes, Randomization, Garbage Collection, and Game Cleanup!

Prerequisites: Basic Adobe Flash Professional skills
Software to Install: Adobe Flash Professional CS6 OR Creative Suite 6 Design & Web Premium OR Master Collection