Minko “Shader Lab” Alpha Preview 1

Working on shaders might be one the most complicated – and yet most essential – tasks when it comes to the new Stage3D API features in Adobe Flash 11. This is why Minko features ActionScript 3.0 shaders. This feature makes it possible to do GPU programming using nothing more than good old ActionScript. You can already try this feature and start working with Minko today.

But today I want to present an early alpha preview of one of the tools we will release with the next version of Minko: the Shader Lab. The idea is simple: provide a visual environment to create, test and debug shaders without doing any programming. The tool will feature a lot of higher level operations to make it possible for artists to work on complex shaders and materials.

You can see the Shader Lab in action in the following video:

In the last two examples, we show how sound can be sampled and streamed to the GPU to tune the geometry without any actual programming skills.

NAO AS3 API released as open-source

Long time no see! As you can imagine I’m quite busy with Minko and Flash 11 stuff right now. Still, I would like to introduce some related work. Do you know Nao?

Nao is a quite impressive humanoïd robot. It has a lot of features, from text-to-speech to face recognition. And of course, it can walk and look around… seeing it in action is actually completely amazing! As I introduced Aerys‘ work to Aldebaran, they asked me to work on an ActionScript 3.0 wrapper for Nao’s remote APIs as a part of a bigger project I will speak about soon.
Technical details and code samples after the jump…

funanbulle, our #air24h application!

The Adobe 24H Challenge was last friday and the application the 14 teams created are already online. You can see all the available applications on the official website.

Our application is called “funanbulle”. The goal of the application is to allow families to create their own micro virtual world and gather. We wanted to show what such virtual worlds would look like. The idea was to enable people to share and chat in real time with a fun and engaging user experience.

funanbulle, Aerys' #air24h challenge contribution

The application is nothing more than a proof of concept. If we had enough time, we would have added lots of feature like:

  • Audio chat
  • Photos and videos sharing
  • Interactive objects to trigger applications (games, sharing applications, etc…)

In the end, we had just enough time to build a 3D chat. But I think it was a lot of fun and it looks really nice! Here is a quick video to show what funanbulle is about and how it works:

This video was made by Michael Chaize to show the 14 applications created during the contest.

Click here to get setup instructions and special features.

AIR 2.0 HTTP Web Server

AIR 2.0 brings a lot of new features. Among them is the new ServerSocket class. The Socket class exists since Flash 9 and enabled a lot of new client/server applications. But it has always been limited to client side sockets as long as AIR (and the Flash Platform as a whole for that matter) is concerned. Therefor, this new server socket feature makes it possible to build actual server software using AIR!

Rich of this new and incredible ability, Christophe Coenraets posted a small but yet very powerful code snippet to build an HTTP web server using AIR 2.0!

Voice Recognition in Flash 10

The following video demonstrates a new “voice gesture” library targeting the Flash Platform. As you might have guessed, those “voice gestures” are pretty much like “mouse gestures” but they are activated by voice only. I guess it uses some kind of voice learning/recognition algorithm. I can’t stress enough how trhilled I am to see this kind of new and powerful software coming to Flash. This enables a whole new kind of usages and applications…

Voice Gesture from didier.brun on Vimeo.

Rich User Interface design with Balsamiq Mockups and Napkee

Creating a rich and efficient User Interface (UI) is the Saint Graal of every Rich Internet Application (RIA) developer. As Michael Chaize said it in his RIA introduction conference he made this year at EPITA, we call it “Rich” Internet Application because the software takes advantage of a rich User Interface and offers a rich user experience.

Flex developers can use the “Design” view of Flash Builder to design their UI. But this method requires to already have the components you want to work with and make sure they are full MXML. Because the WYSIWYG editor of Flash Builder does not interpret ActionScript components, it is more of a “What You See Is ore Or Less What You Get”. If you need more than the Flash Builder WYSIMOLWYG editor — and I certainly hope you do 😛 — here are two awesome tools to create and export UI mockups.

More details right after the jump…

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