What is “SSAO”? Screen space ambient occlusion is a post effect which shades pits, folds and corners.
We didn’t made the release which includes SSAO yet but you already can try it.
The core features of SSAO post effect were implemented quite some time ago. The problem is the effect does not fit in current engine architecture and was attached with duct tape. This doesn’t mean that SSAO or the engine is bad. They just don’t fit well enough to each other. Connecting them produces dependencies which would interfere with future development. Therefore, we decided that in this form we would not include the engine into the main version; first the engine would need to be reprocessed so that the SSAO and other post effects connected with it harmoniously. As this would take a while and as we can use the current version of SSAO as it is, we have decided to release a special version of the engine, known as “SSAO edition”. API in this version will not be supported in future and as soon as the engine is ready, we will implement the SSAO with the new API. The Alternativa3D “SSAO edition” is available through GitHub in a separate branch so you will able to keep it up to date by merging from the master.
After a long break we present release 8.32 in the form of SWC. All this time we have been committing changes on GitHub and have placed intermediate releases there. However, updating through GitHub does not suit all cases and now you can receive new version of the library in the form of a habitual archive with documentation and examples. You probably will want to update your projects right now and there are at least 7 reasons for doing this:
StandardMaterial has no more restriction on the number of light and shadow sources wich are visible on the object
If there is a big number of light sources, the object will be automatically drawn in several passes.
Shadows from OmniLight
Apart from DirectionalLight shadows, the OmniLightShadow class that projects a shadow from a point light source will now be available. You can manage quality and border smoothing options on all kinds of shadows.
Disabling of the light source impact on an object
You can disable the impact of a light source on an object or a hierarchy of objects using the Object3D.excludeLight() method.
Rendering optimizations and materials efficiency
Due to more optimal caching of resources, we have managed to increase our performance up to 30% on difficult scenes.
Mouse events disabling when they are not required
Now you can expect a performance growth in projects that do not use mouse events or use only clicks processing. Only those types of events will processed on which listeners was added.
Constrained mode basic support
The Flash Player 11.4 uses hardware acceleration on a much bigger number of videocards in this mode. For more details please read announcement FP 11.4.
Handling of the right and middle mouse buttons while interacting with objects
The possibility to subscribe to events of the right and middle mouse buttons appeared starting with the Flash Player 11.2 version; now this feature is also supported in Alternativa3D.
Adobe published a detailed plan of the entry into force of its licensing policy for game developers creating projects for Flash Player 11. The policy covers products using so-called “premium features” of FP11 with a net revenue of $50,000. The owners of such products will have to give 9% of their revenue to Adobe. But who shall actually be doing the sharing and in what cases?
Premium features mean the simultaneous use of the Stage3D hardware acceleration and the “fast” domain memory. It is noteworthy that separately both can be applied absolutely freely. Therefore, the new license policy first of all covers the projects built in complex development environments, such as Unity or ShiVa, as well as projects compiled from C/C ++ by means of flascc (code name: “Alchemy”). In this case the executable file for the Flash-platform obtained by non-ActionScript3 code compilation will depend on the domain memory.
However, all this does not concern AlternativaPlatform-based projects. Neither the Alternativa3D 8 graphic engine, nor the AlternativaPhysics physics library use the domain memory, so they are not covered by the policy. At the same time they allow the use of all the capabilities of the Stage3D hardware acceleration and the creation of a complex physics simulation on Flash Player 11. Nothing will change for companies that have chosen our technologies. AlternativaPhysics and Alternativa3D 8 are distributed free of charge, and, moreover, the Alternativa3D 8 source code is open.
Note. Adobe intends to monitor the observance of its rights in technical terms. On 1 November 2012 projects covered by the license policy requirements but not licensed will be forcibly switched to the Stage3D software rendering instead of the hardware one.
Alternativa3D 8.27 was released a long time ago. Many commits were made after that to our GitHub repository but we have not yet explained how to use the most important features of this release. The newly released issue of Software Developer’s Journal has an article about these features. This article contains a detailed description of how to use shadows and describes the basis of the problem with sorting of transparent objects.
It’s been long since we have written, and yet the work on the platform, including the Alternativa3D engine, is in full force. Now, for example, we are working on SSAO.
Screen Space Ambient Occlusion – this is an post-effect, increasing the visible detail of the scene due to shading of those places which are expected to have poor light penetration.
The screenshot below shows how it will look like at “Tanki Online.”
The aim of the algorithm is that we draw the scene in several different buffers – the color buffer, depth and normals. In the future we can in the post-effect shader (in the space of the screen) to restore the three-dimensional coordinates of the visible points and calculate their average shadowing neighboring points.
Shading is defined by two parameters – the distance between the points and the angle between the normal and the overlapping point of the object at a given location.
We were able to achieve high performance of this algorithm with good quality. This algorithm was realized in the experemental branch on GitHub and we plan to merge it to the master branch in the future.
Working hard on new Tanki Online features, we almost missed our appearance in the Top 25 Hottest Russian Start-ups. The list was compiled by Informilo portal, based on reviews of investors from Moscow, London, New York, Boston and Silicon Valley. Thank you, dear investors!
On Thursday, May 17, in the “Cosmos” Moscow hotel is to be held the FlashGAMM Moscow 2012 conference. This annual event is dedicated to the publishers and developers of Flash-, mobile and social games. We have traditionally been the sponsor of the conference (visit our stand in the “platinum” zone) and are preparing two cognitive reports.
The producer of the “Tanki Online” project and CTO of AlternativaPlatform Anton Volkov in the session “Mistakes story of a successful project” will speak about the inevitable problems in the life of an ambitious online game and about experience we got of them. You are invited on May 17 at 12:00 in the “Vecherny Cosmos” Hall.
And on the same day at 16:00 in the “Galactica 1-2″ hall there will be the “Flash 3D on mobile? That’s easy!” report. In it, Software Engineer Andrey Andreev and AlternativaPlatform Training Center Manager Michael Sukhoterin will share their experiences on the use of Stage3D on mobile platforms.
We got our 13 minutes of glory. The film crew of Russian educational TV project “Technopark” visited our office and discussed our achievements on air. We are grateful to everyone who is fascinated with our work. We appreciate your support!
AlternativaPlatform: Tanki Online (only in Russian, sorry)