Yup, that’s right. With all this talk of Stage 3D lately you could be forgiven for thinking that Adobe has given up on simple 2D games. However that couldn’t be further from the truth. It may not be obvious from its name, but the Stage 3D APIs are also perfect for rendering high-performance 2D graphics.
What? You don’t believe me? We’ll why not take a look at the Starling framework. It’s an ActionScript 3 API that harnesses the power of the GPU to produce 2D rendering performance never before seen in the Flash Player. I know what you’re thinking; it all sounds pretty complicated and scary but it really isn’t. Starling’s API closely follows Flash’s native display list classes, allowing you to quickly get to grips with it. You’ll be moving thousands of sprites around the screen and dazzling friends with impressive particle effects in no time all all.
What’s more, Starling is a direct port of the Sparrow Framework, which is a native iOS library. This is great news as it means you’ll have the potential to write blazing fast mobile games too! After all, Sparrow has proven itself in the field and there’s no real reason why Starling won’t perform similarly once ready for iOS. And while many of you will probably be eager to get your teeth into 3D, don’t forget that simple 2D games are not only cost effective but are typically more accessible. Just take a look at Angry Birds or Tiny Wings.
It’s still early days for GPU acceleration in Flash but I’d encourage you to start experimenting. And Starling isn’t the only 2D framework; there’s also ND2D, which is looking similarly impressive.