Adobe is following the roadmap they laid out for Flash by releasing a beta of their upcoming Flash Player “Cyril” release (Flash Player 11.3).
The 11.3 release seems to, once again, focus on adding a number of features that would make Flash a more attractive gaming platform. To this effect they have added support for streaming textures. Games running using Stage3D can now stream textures, starting with lower quality and increasing quality as the texture load.
Flash also adds support for keyboard input while in full screen mode. With this feature, games are essentially limited to windowed mode if they need any kind of keyboard control. Full screen input will ask the user for permission, since it has the potential for misuse.
A number of improvements to audio have also been made, with support for low latency audio in their streaming API. Low latency audio support has also been added to their Sound API.
Other interesting new features include FrameLabel events, now quality for individual bitmaps can be changed with support for Bitmap.drawWithQuality, the release outside mouse event is back, and finally, Flash Player now supports native encoding of bitmap data to PNG, JPEG, and JPEG XR. This last one will greatly improve the performance of online image editors.
While Flash Player 11.2 introduced auto-updates for Windows, 11.3 introduces auto-update for Mac OSX as well.
For this release of AIR, Adobe seems to have focussed on mobile. Over and above the enhancements to the Flash Player that automatically come to AIR, a number of new features have been added:
- AIR now supports USB debugging of applications running on iOS devices.
- For AIR apps running on Android 4.0, Stylus support has now been added.
- For those developing AIR applications for iOS on Mac OSX, the developer tools now support running AIR apps in the simulator.
- AIR apps now behave better while they are running in the background. They can perform network operations in the background and will get notifications when the app is about to be suspended.
Finally, for those developing AIR applications for Mac OSX, AIR now better adheres to Apple guidelines making it easier to submit AIR-based applications to the Apple store.
The next Flash Player release code-named “Dolores” will focus on performance, after which there is to be a major revamp of the core language and runtime, which might just mean Flash Player 12.
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