Away3D: Recording of Adobe Max pres & forthcoming AUG XL presentation in Amsterdam

Posted by rob on November 15th, 2010

The Max conference in LA was a memorable high point this year – not only was Adobe’s hardware-accelerated intentions for the next Flash Player made clear, but the Away3D Team got their first chance to air some demos of the forthcoming Away3D 4.0 release that will be supporting these new capabilities.

If you haven’t heard the news, the next major Flash Player upgrade from Adobe will include an extensive 3D API that will support direct paths to OpenGL and DirectX-based 3D rendering on the GPU, as well as a new software 3D renderer fallback that will aim to provide the vast majority of computers with fast, reliable, 3D rendering in Flash. Armed with “Molehill” (the codename for these new 3D APIs) performance is set to increase to around 1000 times what can be squeezed out of the current Flash Player. Flash game makers, designers, and developers will finally have the option to use console-quality 3D graphics in their 3D Flash creations.

A large number of the Away3D Team have been working closely with Adobe to create an easy upgrade path for the Away3D engine, providing the same easy to use Away3D framework at a high level, but plugging directly into the exposed hardware APIs at a low level. A recording of our Max session New 3D features for Flash (which was jointly shared by myself & Richard Olsson, alongside fellow 3D coder Anton Volkov from Alternativa) can be found at or by clicking the link below.

The presentation shows some amazing demos running realtime accelerated 3D from inside the Flash Player, with the help of our 4.0 prerelease build. The public beta of the new Flash Player is planned for release in the first half of 2011, and will be complemented by a public release of the Away3D 4.0 engine, enabling the Away3D community to start developing faster, smoother and less processor-hungry 3D Flash content as soon as the capabilities are available.

I’m also pleased to announce that we have been offered an opportunity to present content from our Away3D Max session at the upcoming AUG XL conference in Amsterdam on November 17th. This time I will be joined on stage by another key Away3D developer in the new engine upgrade – the extremely hardworking & talented David Lenaerts.

If you can’t wait for the pres (or the public beta) to get a glimpse of the 3D possibilities unfolding, be sure to check out the high-quality videos below of two current Away3D 4.0 demos.

Away3D at Max 2010

Posted by rob on October 18th, 2010

Myself and the Away3D team are currently beavering away on the final preparations for our presentation at Max – this will be without a doubt one of the biggest events of the year and we feel extremely privileged to be a part of it. If you are interested in what the future holds for Away3D and are lucky enough to be attending the Adobe Max conference yourself, then be sure to sign up for our session: New 3D features for Flash. The talk will not exclusively pertain to the Away3D engine – we will be sharing our slot with 3D Flash veterans and general all round smashing chaps from Alternativa, so there will certainly be a lot to pack in! Seats for the session sold out early last week, but I’m told that room capacity has since been increased so more seats are now available. My advice would be to get them while you still can – you will not want to miss this show…

A little too vague? Maybe. But seriously, you won’t want to miss it. trust me. ;)


I’ve also been told that i will have an opportunity to show some of the more esoteric uses of Away3D at this year’s FITC Unconference. This is a collection of exclusive sessions from the FITC crowd, bundled into a special room at Adobe Max. Each slot is a 30 minute mini-session that can be a little more relaxed and participatory than the usual Max circus, aided by free beer supplied by the generous peeps at My session is titled The evolving Away3D platform – hope you can make it!

Away3D at FITC San Francisco

Posted by rob on June 30th, 2010

I’m extremely honored to be speaking at the FITC conference in San Francisco this August, along with a bunch of big names with whom I am not worthy to share a stage… am i imagining things or has it been two years since any international Flash event in SF? What the…?!

My presentation will cover some of the latest developments in Away3D, sprinkled with some new demos from the demomeister that is Fabrice and finishing off with a glimpse of the future… or at least a potentially possible one. I’ll also be giving out a few copies of my book The Essential Guide to 3D in Flash, as long as i remember this time. Someone! Remind me!

Later in the conference, I’ll be at the Influxis Voodoo Lounge presenting a special 30 minute in depth look at some experimental 3D goodness in collaboration with those awesome dudes (i think thats how they’d put it) at Influxis, who have also been kind enough to sponsor my exceedingly long trip out. Drinks rider notwithstanding, a thousand beers to you!


Away3D: International training events

Posted by rob on April 15th, 2010

Because the Away3D community is an international entity, it seems only right that training events should become more international, which is part of the reason why i’ll be embarking on an Away3D tour (ie. more than two locations ;) ) towards the end of April.

First stop will be Sao Paulo, Brazil on Tuesday 27th April for a single day – there is no training planned for this particular stop but there will be an evening event arranged for any Away3D community members who would like to meet up. The more the merrier!

Next location will be Buenos Aries, Argentina where i will be arriving on Wednesday 28th April to give a full two day training course over the 28th and 29th. The course is being arranged by the ARFUG group, and full details of the event plus venue and prices can be found here. Huge thanx to Max and the ARFUG team for helping to arrange this, should be a lot of fun!

After Argentina, i will be enduring a grueling 17hr flight to Sydney, Australia, arriving in time to give a special one-day condensed training course at the WebDU conference on Wednesday 5th May, details of which can be found here. I’ll then be hanging around for the conference itself and presenting my new session: the many faces of Away3D on the Thursday afternoon. Its currently looking quite sunny here in London, so i’ll be looking forward to some of that Sydney autumn fog…

Finally, after many more hours of dvt inducing hardship I will be back in London, UK to give the headline event of the Away3D training calendar – a two day intensive course over the 20th and 21st May at the LFPUG. This will be limited to a maximum of 14 people, so please book early if you are planning on going! Full details can be found here, and thanx go to Tink for arranging the venue and free pub lunches.

LFPUG presents Away3D & Unity

Posted by rob on March 17th, 2010

I can’t believe its been nearly 3 months since my last post, but unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) there have been fairly pressing reasons behind the silence, more on which will follow…

Anyway, I wanted to take a much needed time out to let you all know about next week’s LFPUG meeting, which will be a bit like a two sided 3D coin of debate. On one side there will be Bartek Drozdz all the way from Stockholm, who will be revealing the wonderful console-shiny world of Unity, and on the other there will be me, showing how Away3D still has its place in the 3D web world, honest guv! Hope you can make it, and if not you can always catch up with any presentation by watching the videos at

Presentation notes: TFO3D in Flash

Posted by rob on July 24th, 2009

As the new release of Away3d approaches, it’s time to clear out the old and bring in the new! This year’s presentation starter has run it’s useful course, so it seems only fair to make it available after having a good run at FITC Amsterdam, Multi-Mania, FlashBrighton, FlashCamp Birmingham and the LFPUG.

Over the first half of this year, we’ve had some exciting additions to engine that made it into the presentation (some of which never got seen as I would inevitably run out of time!). Needless to say a new presentation will be forthcoming later this year, although exactly when remains to be seen.

The full presentation complete with all links can be accessed online here, or you can view the source of the slides and download a zip (warning! 73 megs) of all demos from here. Use your cursor keys to navigate between slides.

Thanx goes out to everyone on the Away3D Team for assisting with the demos, and of course, continuing to produce some of the most fascinating Flash 3d content on the planet! You guys rock :D

Multi Mania 2009

Posted by rob on May 1st, 2009

I’m pleased to announce that Away3d will be hosting a session at this year’s Multi-Mania conference in Kortrijk, Belgium. Multi-Mania is an annual two-day event that focuses on the multimedia community in Europe and the great work being done on all sorts of platforms for Mobile, Video, 3D, Web and more. But the best thing about it is the price, which is free for all that attend!

The Away3d session will concentrate on the best features to become available in recent releases, look at some of the 3d production techniques used by our company Away Media in recent projects, and have the obligitary sneak preview of some of the features currently being developed by the Away3d Team ;)

Hope to see you there!

*** UPDATE ***

You can now now register your seat for your session selections on the Multi-Mania site here.

FITC Amsterdam 2009: The march begins (at the end of Feb)

Posted by rob on January 9th, 2009

I am extremely honoured to be doing a presentation slot at this year’s FITC Amsterdam. This is one of the coolest conferences on the calendar – I’m kinda worried I’ll be out-cooled by the other presenters. Luckily the event is about friendly cool people rather than the far more annoying pretentious cool people, so I should be ok!

My presentation is called Away3d and the Future of 3d in Flash. Bit long-winded but has a kind of Harry Potter inflexion to it… or maybe i just imagined that? Anyway, in it I’ll be talking about a whole range of new potential Flash 10 has to offer – from native 3d tests to HaXe implemented opcodes… it’s going to be a very exciting exploration, and one that i’m slightly panicky about as a lot of the content is still in a state of flux, making it hard to determine exactly what will be ready in time! Although with 42 days to go, I think we’ll be ok. If you plan to attend but haven’t booked your ticket yet then I’m told they’re selling out fast (last years was completely sold out a few weeks before) so I would urge you to register ASAP. Unless you’re simply too cool for the coolness…

Adobe Max 2008: After the event

Posted by rob on December 19th, 2008

It seems fitting to start this with a picture of the conference entrance in the dark, because Milan in winter  seems to exist in some kind of perpetual twilight! I only have two memories of being out in sunlight: traveling to my new hotel on the second day (I had an unfortunate case of missing hotel when I initially arrived, which meant a hurried and slightly botched arrangement with a few other hotels at very short notice and great expense), and my taxi ride back to the airport, where I was actually trying to sleep off the night before but kept getting woken up by the charming city center motorists ;)

Still, once inside the dimly lit and slightly tradesman-like entrance, the venue was an immense spectacle of Max banners and video screens, with the main auditorium one of the largest I’d ever seen at a Flash conference (Of course, someone had to point out that the American one was waaaay bigger..)

Truth be told, I didn’t get a huge amount of time to see presentations, as the first day was largely spent sorting out hotel arrangements, the second preparing my talk, and the third socialising with the group of 3d flashers formed after our Birds of a Feather panel on the first day. We had an interesting mix of engines on the panel (Alex and Anton from Alternativa3D, myself from Away3D, and Carlos from Papervision3D), which I have to say turned into a fantastic discussion that continued with an impromptu 3d Flash dinner later that evening, along with a few enthusiastic attendees!

I’d never met the Alternativa guys before, but they were great company and have the same dry sense of humour that Russians seems to share with Brits these days.. although I’m not sure where that comes from – maybe it’s the shared outlook of not taking life too seriously following the history of a failed empire… who knows?

The end of the second day held witness to the obligatory Max par-tay, which had a distinctly average feel to it – a style that only large corporate companies seem to be able to pull off. When the beer ran out I feared the worst, but to their credit the organisers had an ace up their sleeve… give everyone extremely alcoholic cocktails with mysterious flashing ice cubes.

Strangely, a new game started to break out, replacing the previous one of who could go without a wee the longest before having to face the mile long queue for the gents: who could pocket the most flashing cubes? Later on people could be seen comparing hauls, trying to work out who’d won – certainly many participants would never be lost for amusement at their kid’s birthday parties again.

So the final day beckoned, and it was time to get serious. First of the day was the Alternativa talk which was a stunning presentation. Anton the chief flash developer had apparently stayed up all night making sure every detail was in place, and it certainly showed! Alternativa is not just a 3d engine, but an entire game development platform with backend services for multiuser applications, a frontend component framework for application UIs, but truth be told, I was really there for the 3D. :)

The highlight of the session for me was when Anton wheeled out new demos such as their rigid body physics system, and a new bunker fps which can now be seen in their latest blog posts. Makes me think we have a little catching up to do…

…And then of course, it was my turn. I may have slightly overdone it with the gadgets on this occasion, but in the end most things worked (sadly, my wiimote batteries didn’t!). The impression I wanted to get across with the session was how Away3d can apply itself to many different tasks, and how the framework has matured to offer a lot of useful, time saving features for generating 3d content in the Flash Player.

I’ve managed to upload the entire session for anyone who didn’t make it, which you can access from here. Use left-right cursor keys to advance slides, and up-down keys to reveal points. Unfortunately some of the demos may take a while to load – there was not much time for web-optimising! even so, I hope you find them useful.

Flash on the Beach ’08

Posted by rob on October 29th, 2008

Well, i finally got round to writing this. Better late than never etc.

I really felt like I needed to put something up on the conference, because this year’s felt like a completely new level. We had cool video intros, cooler hotel room interiors, slick evening inspired sessions and a pub venue for the first night’s mixer that didn’t completely suck! Plus the usual dome theatre venue which is a beautiful space in which to soak up the collective knowledge of what was a stellar speaker lineup.

I really tried hard to prepare a lot of my talk in advance this time, but as usual, many things were left undone (despite a frantic code marathon on the train journey down) so a fair amount of the initial stages of the conference were spent inside a hotel room. This was in part thanks to the new version of Away3d released the day before, the usual frightening emails reporting errors started coming through a few hours after i arrived in brighton which didn’t help my composure or coffee consumption. If I came across as a little wired on the first day… now you know why!

But enough of that – what of the conference? There were a few special highlights for me – the first being James Paterson talking about, well, himself, on the first day’s ‘inspired’ session. James delivered the entire presentation as someone might their holiday snaps, adding an extra level of surrealism to the proceedings. I especially liked the Mr. Sub commercials, not just for their content but in the gleeful way James described the horrified reaction of the company execs after receiving the first two shorts. I’m delighted to say the entire series of commercials can be found on Youtube if you feel like reliving the lunacy. Another big hit for me was the sonic wire sculpture (actually the work of his occasional co-conspirator Amit Pitaru) and a very interesting looking 3d drawing tool called Rhonda that James had used in his usual style to draw hundred of characters with varying degrees of boob appendages. Like i said, inspirational.

The second standout presentation for me had to be The Robert Hodgin and his Magnetoshpere demos ITunes 8.0 visualiser. Congrats are in order, but Robert being the modest kind of guy that he is almost seemed embarassed by this recent success. Although he did add a small tribute to Steve Jobs in his ‘people who inspire me’ section, which was a nice touch.

The demos on offer here were part of a large back catalog built up over the years, and do seem to nicely illustrate the point Robert often makes about his work – if you do the same thing for long enough you will get good at it :D . His latest visuals are something quite different it seems, being a collaborative effort for a music festival whose names escapes me, assisted by a hardcore 3d coder friend of his whose name also escapes me. I should really try to write this down in future. Anyway, the results looked fantastic, and i’m sure will feature on Roberts blog flight404 very soon.

Finally I have to say something about the closing presentation of the conference by Johnathan Harris, partly because because it has generated so much reaction already, much of it negative. Johnathan managed 90% of his talk with the calm measured and highly effective approach seen in many of his past works – including Wordcount, 10×10, We Feel Fine and The Whalehunt. All of Jonathan’s work seems to incorporate some deeper analysis to a collection of data that occasionally reveals unexpected results, while maintaining a human connection to the subject matter. Clever stuff I have to admit.

However, that last 10% of the presentation was where all the trouble started. Johnathan seems to be labouring under the misapprehension that designers and coders are all empathic artists who have just lost their way. Wrong. A typical web creative is someone who does what they do because they enjoy it. There is no drive to create masterpieces, which is why none are being created.

I guess Jonathan’s point was really to try and address this situation – try to encourage thinking on a grander scale. However, it may still be a little too soon for this – these days the majority of creatives at the most senior level of web companies (and therefore the ones with the power to take a different direction with their work) are the ones who were part of the whole dot com boom of the mid-nineties. Is anyone really trying to suggest that these people need to have their inner artist cajoled out of them? He might as well have delivered his speech to a room full of bankers. Rather than encouraging deeper thought, Johnathan has inspired an endless discussion on how he came across as someone who is out of touch with what it means to work in the web industry today.

So to end, I suppose I should mention a little of my own presentation and how it went. The majority of content showcased can be found elsewhere on this blog and, so no slides I’m afraid. The nicest surprise was getting to what i thought would be a graveyard shift at 9.00am on the final day to find a full room of expectant faces, so thanx to all who attended – you did a better job of dragging yourselves out of bed than I ever would!

Sadly, I still get the feeling Away3d is a rubix sphere in a world of cubes. Slightly missunderstood, and seldom seen. However, once discovered you wonder why you’d never heard of it before! And fall for it’s smooth charm and slick good looks…

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