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Adobe launches new cloud-based game development tools

Adobe is announcing today a set of cloud-based tools for game developers.

The tools take advantage of the new cloud-computing trend, where web-connected data centers host subscription-based software. Hosted in the Adobe Creative Cloud service, the tools enable developers to access a centrally located suite of tools for making their titles. The aim is to streamline the game-development process from creation to final deployment.

Adobe says that developers who use its tools can access an audience of 1.3 billion worldwide on PCs and more than 500 million on smartphones and tablets, 20 times the reach of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console.

Among the new tools is Adobe Scout (pictured below), a tool for profiling that “uncovers granular internal information in ActionScript-based mobile and browser content to unlock significant performance optimization opportunities.” In other words, it helps games run faster. Adobe Scout will be available for free to members of the Adobe Creative Cloud, a subscription service. Other tools include the Adobe Gaming SDK, Adobe Flash C++ Compiler, and trial versions of Flash Professional CS6 and Flash Builder 4.7 Premium.

Adobe Scout

A year ago, Adobe acknowledged that it would give up on a Web version of Flash for mobile devices. But Adobe allows developers to create native versions of their releases for those devices instead. More than 25,000 mobile versions of Adobe Air apps exist, and the majority are games.

In the past nine months, Adobe launched version 11 of its Flash Player, making the leap from 2D games to hardware-accelerated 3D games and its Stage 3D applications programming interface.

Diana Helander, group product marketing manager for Gaming Solutions at Adobe, said that 600 million people have chosen to opt in to a feature that updates Flash in the background. That means a game developer can issue an update for a title and get it to 600 million people within 48 hours.

“With these new tools, we’ve got a single work flow for game developers,” Helander said in an interview with GamesBeat. “The costs of developing games and acquiring new users are rising. We’re helping developers to deal with that.”

The Adobe Gaming SDK lets studios create and monetize both 2D and 3D ActionScript games on Web browsers and mobile devices.

The Adobe Flash C++ Compiler is a new tool that lets developers take a native game and recompile it for the Web. That is, it takes offerings coded for game engines on the PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and iOS and then converts them to run directly online across browsers using the Adobe Flash Player.

Meanwhile, Adobe Flash Professional CS6 is an authoring tool to create animations and games, and it includes support for delivering animated assets ready for use with the open-source framework Starling. Adobe Flash Builder 4.7 Premium adds support for the new ASC 2.0 compiler and the ability to test and debug apps directly on Apple iOS devices.

Those who pay for Creative Cloud memberships can use full versions of Flash Professional and Flash Builder, and they can use future versions of Scout following the introductory promotion.

Adobe argues that using Flash makes developers more productive when it comes to cross-platform experiences. Helander said that Flash has powered popular games on Facebook including SongPop, FarmVille 2, and Diamond Dash. Some of the top Flash implementors include Zynga, Wooga, Kixeye, Ubisoft, Northway, and Damp Gnat. Rivals (and occasional partners) include Unity Technologies, Epic Games, Microsoft’s Silverlight, and a variety of other game-development platforms.

Helander said some cool new users of Starling and Stage 3D include Incredipede and Smart Aliens. She said that Zynga used Adobe Flash and Air for its mobile version of Ruby Blast, and Rovio used Flash for the Facebook version of Angry Birds. Square Enix also released Crystal Conquest using Flash. Helander said Adobe is doing a series of game jams in different cities to support game developers.


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