Away3D

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Away3D
Away3d logo.png
The Away Builder interface with a sample polar bear 3D model (center), and object hierarchy (left).
The Away Builder interface with a sample polar bear 3D model (center), and object hierarchy (left).
Original author(s) Rob Bateman, Alexander Zadorozhny, Fabrice Closier, Peter Kapelyan, Greg Caldwell, Andreas Engstrom, Stephen White, David Lenaerts, Richard Olsson, Cauê Waneck[1]
Developer(s) Away Foundation
Initial release 2007; 10 years ago (2007)[2][3]
Stable release
4.1.6 / January 24, 2014; 3 years ago (2014-01-24)[4]
Development status Active
Written in ActionScript 3, TypeScript
Operating system Web, Windows, iOS, Android, BlackBerry
Type Game engine
License Apache License 2.0
Website away3d.com

Away3D is an open-source platform for developing interactive 3D graphics for video games and applications, in Adobe Flash or HTML5. The platform consists of a 3D world editor (Away Builder),[5][6] a 3D graphics engine (Away3D or AwayJS), a 3D physics engine (Away Physics)[7] and a compressed 3D model file format (AWD).[8][9][10]

Development is managed by the Away Foundation, a UK-based non-profit focussed on building and maintaining free and open-source software resources for high-performance mobile games and applications.[10][11] The foundation is supported by corporate sponsorship (Adobe,[12] JetBrains[13] among others) and individual donors.[11]

Platform[edit]

Away Builder[edit]

Away Builder is an open-source integrated development environment for importing, refining, preparing and exporting 3D models and animations.[5] It can import 3D models from various 3D applications such as Autodesk 3ds Max, and can bake lighting into texture maps.[5] The primary purpose of Away Builder is exporting 3D model packages for the Away3D engine.[5] It supports the compressed AWD binary format, enabling smaller sizes for 3D models than ASCII-based formats such as OBJ.

The Away Extensions plugin enables exporting 2D and 3D content from Adobe Animate into Away3D or AwayJS.[14]

Away3D[edit]

Away3D is an open-source ActionScript 3 engine for developing interactive 3D graphics within Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR. Away3D runs on current web browsers utilizing the Adobe Flash Player, and uses Stage3D for GPU-accelerated rendering.

The engine can render 3D models and perform various other 3D computations. It supports hierarchical object transformation with features such as position, rotation and scaling, rendering of bitmap textures.[15][16] Real-time lighting and illumination is supported using Phong shading, Gouraud shading, point and directional lighting, cascading shadows, normal and specular mapping, global illumination and fog effects.[11][16] It also supports stereoscopic rendering, 3D sound, extrusion tools, particle animation and skeletal animation.[16] Post-processing effects may be used to enhance the quality of the graphics, and Away3D supports bloom, blur, depth of field and motion blur.[16]

Away3D 4 and onwards fully supports GPU-accelerated graphics using the Stage3D API introduced in Flash Player 11, freeing up the CPU for other computational tasks.[17] Since GPUs are capable of rendering many more textured triangles per second, it allows for much more detail and quality, and up to 100,000 triangles per frame instead of the typical 1,000 ceiling with CPU-based Flash rendering.[18]

Away Physics is a physics engine based on the Bullet physics library, for collision detection, soft and rigid body dynamics.[7] The engine is built jointly by the Away3D team and the JiglibFlash team, and is tightly integrated with the Away3D render pipeline.[7]

AwayJS[edit]

AwayJS is an open-source JavaScript 3D graphics rendering engine for HTML5 web browsers, and is a port of the Adobe Flash-based Away3D.[19][20] The Away3D codebase was ported to Microsoft TypeScript, a strongly-typed version of JavaScript that compiles to JavaScript files for compatibility with modern web standards.[21][22] AwayJS runs on current web browsers and uses WebGL for GPU-accelerated rendering.[19]

The engine can render 3D models and perform various other 3D computations. It supports hierarchical object transformation with features such as position, rotation and scaling, rendering of bitmap textures, and real-time lighting using Phong shading or Gouraud shading.[19] It also supports shadow mapping, particle animation and skeletal animation.[19]

AwayJS can render 2D and 3D graphical content using WebGL for GPU-accelerated rendering.[23] It enables developers to use the existing Away Builder toolkit for editing, refining, compressing and texture baking 3D models and animations.[24] AwayJS also supports the compressed AWD binary format, enabling smaller sizes for 3D models than ASCII-based formats such as OBJ.[25]

The AwayJS API is consistent with the Flash version of Away3D, enabling existing developers to migrate from Flash to HTML5 seamlessly.[19] To preserve backward-compatibility with Away3D, AwayJS enables developers to write GPU shaders in the Adobe AGAL language, or the standard OpenGL Shading Language language.[19]

History[edit]

Away3D was started in 2007 by Alexander Zadorozhny and Rob Bateman[2] as a fork of Papervision3D.[3]

Away3D saw active community involvement since its introduction in 2007, and superseded Papervision3D after it was updated to support GPU-accelerated rendering using Stage3D. Three guide books have been published on 3D content development with Away3D.[26][26][27][28]

The author states that the engine began as a spare-time project, and was created for fun. After large ad agencies and game publishers started it, they had to "evolve to keep pace". In an interview he further states:

In 2009, the Away3D community released Away3D Lite, a lighter version of the engine for Flash advertisements and other size-constrained content.[29][30] Away3D Lite was the fastest and smallest full-featured 3D engine built for Flash. It weighed in at 25KB and performed 4 times faster than the full Away3D engine.[30] No future versions were released.[29]

In 2011, a Flash book noted in the section on "3D with Flash" that "Away3D and Alternativa3D are currently the preferred solution for performance and features because they have a more active development community".[3]

In 2013, Adobe chose Away3D as the sole 3D engine included within the Adobe Gaming SDK.[31][32] Since then, Adobe has funded further development in Away3D and Away Builder,[33] and has updated the Adobe Gaming SDK with new releases of Away3D.[34][34]

In 2016, Away3D 1.2 was ported to the Haxe multiplatform language, enabling it to be cross-compiled to JavaScript and other languages that support 3D graphics.[35] This also enables Away3D to run on OpenFL, a runtime similar to Adobe Flash Player.[36]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Away3D Team, at the Official Website
  2. ^ a b Away3D project page, Google code
  3. ^ a b c Arnaud, Remi (2011). "3D in a Web Browser". In Eric Lengyel. Game Engine Gems 2. CRC Press. pp. 207–208. ISBN 978-1-56881-437-7. 
  4. ^ "Away3D 4.1.6 Release". 
  5. ^ a b c d Away Builder, Away Tools
  6. ^ Away Builder, GitHub repository
  7. ^ a b c Away Physics, Away Foundation
  8. ^ AWD Format Website
  9. ^ AWD Format, Away Tools
  10. ^ a b c Ganenkova, Elena (2013-10-28). "Interview with Robert Bateman, founder of Away3d, an open-source 3D engine for the Flash Platform". JetBrains. 
  11. ^ a b c Hu, Michael (2012-07-17). "Q&A With The Away Foundation’s Rob Bateman". Adobe. 
  12. ^ Away3D & Adobe, 17 Jul 2012, by Rob Bateman, Away3D
  13. ^ JetBrains partnership and interview, 28 Oct 2013, by Rob Bateman, Away3D
  14. ^ Away Extensions, By The Away Foundation, Adobe Add-on Marketplace
  15. ^ Away3D, FlashMagazine
  16. ^ a b c d Away3D Features, Away3D.com
  17. ^ Stage3D vs WebGL Performance, Airtight Interactive
  18. ^ Away3D 4.0 Alpha release - Broomstick, Away3D.com
  19. ^ a b c d e f Away3D Typescript Website
  20. ^ AwayJS, GitHub
  21. ^ Away3D makes its way to Typescript!, Adobe AIR and Adobe Flash Player Team Blog
  22. ^ Away3D Typescript 4.1 Alpha, Away3D Blog
  23. ^ Sperl, Daniel (2014-02-05). "Starling JS flocking to the Away Foundation". Gamua. 
  24. ^ Introducing AwayJS, Lanyrd, Rob Bateman, 20th May, 2014
  25. ^ Tutorial: Away3D TypeScript: Resource Complete, July 7, 2014, Grok Digital Designs
  26. ^ a b Away3d 3.6 Cookbook, Amazon.com
  27. ^ Away3D 3.6 Essentials (Community Experience Distilled), Amazon.com
  28. ^ The Essential Guide to 3D in Flash, Amazon.com
  29. ^ a b Away3D Lite Version 1.0, Away3D.com
  30. ^ a b Away3D Lite v1.0: fastest and smallest 3d engine in Flash, Rob Bateman, 11 Sep 2009, Away3D.com
  31. ^ Introducing Game Development Tools, ByteArray.org
  32. ^ Gaming SDK, Adobe Systems
  33. ^ 2013: Full Speed Ahead for Adobe Gaming!, Adobe AIR and Adobe Flash Player Team Blog, Adobe
  34. ^ a b Adobe Gaming SDK Updated, Adobe AIR and Adobe Flash Player Team Blog, Adobe
  35. ^ Away Foundation roadmap 2014, Away3D Foundation
  36. ^ away3d 1.2.0, Ported to OpenFL 2.x/Haxe, Haxelib

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]