Posted by Philip Bulley | Filed under Uncategorized
NOTE: This article was first posted on the Blue Barracuda blog.
Flash On The Beach 2010 opening titles by Nando Costa
I’d like to extend my sympathies to the residents of Brighton. Not only has this week seen hoards of drunken students returning to the city (it’s Freshers’ Week!), but also the annual geek onslaught that is Flash On The Beach! To the unacquainted, it’s a 3-day conference featuring some of the world’s most prolific talent to have successfully combined the (all too often) polar opposites of ‘creative’ and ‘developer’.
There’s so much to talk about (although I’ll leave out #blowjobgate!) including a couple of advancements for the Flash Platform. Most notably, during the Adobe keynote, @thibault_imbert demonstrated GPU-based video rendering, where in a live demo, he showed full HD 1080p video playback dropping from ~50% CPU usage down to 6% after the new feature had been activated. What’s more, this was on a Mac, the platform where Flash video playback has long been criticized for being less than acceptable due to Apple not having done this sooner.
Also announced was incremental compilation in the Flash IDE (a feature that Flash Developers have enjoyed for a while when compiling using mxmlc and fcsh). Meaning that when a SWF is published, only the elements that have been changed since the last publish will require re-compilation. This will be of huge benefit to Flash Animators with FLAs containing assets of a large file size (ie. embedded audio/video/large bitmaps) as re-publishing will become to be lightning fast.
We definitely saw an emphasis on producing content for mobile this year, and rightly so, as Laura Jordan Bambach (@laurajaybee) pointed out: Mobile internet access is rapidly overtaking fixed line access, a trend particularly prevalent amongst those in developing countries along with the youngest and the poorest demographics. Sounds fairly obvious right? Obviously not, as we, the content creators have so far clearly demonstrated!
- Using “cacheAsBitmap” and the new “cacheAsBitmapMatrix” to force the player to composite display objects on the device’s GPU for significant performance increases.
- Using CTextureUploadTracking on iOS to visually show where display objects are being uploaded/re-uploaded to the GPU (reminds me of “Show Redraw Regions” in the Flash Player debug version). A very useful feature, although not yet available on Android.
- Using traditional optimization techniques such as Object Pooling; avoiding MouseEvent.MOUSE_MOVE; and using MouseEvent instead of TouchEvent where possible.
Mike also pointed out Thibault Imbert’s paper on Optimizing Performance for the Adobe Flash Platform which I’m sure will make for a great read.
There was, of course a lighter side to the conference, with top inspirational presentations from Brendan Dawes (@brendandawes), Jared Tarbell and an outright mentalist session by Cyriak Harris (@CyriakHarris) – the gifted madman behind those cows & cows & cows!
But of course, that’s only scratching the surface of what was a memorable (after all that £1 beer, I’d say ‘hazy’ is a more appropriate term) three days. For more in-depth coverage, I can only recommend the FlashMagazine.com reports: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Elevator Pitch.