The last few weeks have seen a series of great announcements for the Flash platform and I thought I’d take some time to cover some of my favourites.

Stage3D and Unreal Engine

The most recent, was the availability of Epic Citadel, which demonstrated the Unreal Engine running within the desktop Flash Player. Using Stage3D to take full advantage of hardware acceleration, Epic Games were able to provide graphics that exceeding what their engine is capabale of producing on Xbox 360 and PS3. I’ve been getting to grips with UDK development recently and the prospect of being able to deliver 3D games of this quality via the browser is quite mouthwatering.

Stage3D for iOS and Android

With the AIR 3.2 release candidate we now have the ability to deliver GPU accelerated 2D and 3D graphics to both iOS and Android handsets. This is a significant step for the Flash platform as it finally opens AIR to more serious developers wishing to target mobile. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s possible but some of the initial demonstrations and apps that I’ve seen are looking really promising.

Nape Physics & ND2D

Something that’s caught my eye of late is the Nape physics engine, which unlike Box2D, seems to have been optimized for mobile. It’s gaining some widespread acceptance and Adobe Gaming Evangelist, Lee Brimelow, has released a great tutorial introducing the basics.

Jumping back to Stage3D for a moment, there’s been considerable focus on the Starling framework. However there are many other alternative 2D graphics libraries already popping up that you may want to consider for your projects. One that’s gathering a lot of support is ND2D, which is feature rich and also seems capable of creating very high performance apps.

If you still need convincing about the merits of each then why not take a look at some of these demos, which take advantage of both.

CreateJS and Flash Pro HTML5 Exporter

HTML5’s continuing march forward, and Apple’s refusal to support Flash on iOS has forced Adobe to scrap Flash player for mobile and instead conentrate on gaming via AIR. This decision however has left many speculating about the future of Flash Professional and also the future of the Flash platform. However the announcement of CreateJS and an HTML5 exporter for Flash Professional could very well see web developers once again using Flash Professional to create rich content for the web.

An extension will be made available along with Flash Professional CS6 (hopefully) that will allow graphics and sound content from Flash’s library to be exported to HTML5. You’ll then be able to use the CreateJS framework to interact with and manipulate the content. So okay, you’ll need to code in JavaScript rather than ActionScript, but personally I think this is a better solution as JavaScript is clearly ubiquitous and has an unrivalled number of amazing libraries for web developers to take advatage of.

I may have left this until last but in my opinion, CreateJS and the Flash Pro HTML5 Exporter, could very well be the two most significant things to come to the Flash Platform in the last few years. If it’s successful it should give Flash Professional a future, something which I think has been cast in doubt since Adobe’s decisions and disasterous PR during what many now refer to as black November.