Here are some highlighted features of the new player (a list by Adobe can be found on their labs page)
- Adobe has finally made noise (read introduction material parts 1, 2, 3 by Adobe Engineer Tinic Uro). Keith Peters (who is one of the lucky few to have a version of Adobe’s upcoming authoring tool) has posted a sample application showing dynamic sound.
- Native 3D effects! Interesting to see how Away3D and Papervision will react. While the native 3D addition will be great for vector graphics, Astro doesn’t support texture mapping or 3D model importing from 3rd party software while current open source projects like Away3D and Papervision do.
- Multi-column layouts/tables for textfields.
- Ability to change bitrates for streaming video on the fly.
Here are some demos by Adobe.
My reaction: After a survey showed some astronomical 98% of online videos use the Flash Player, Adobe seems like they are trying to cater to those needs. There are HUGE additions to video with Astro, and while I don’t see video portals such as YouTube or Google Video using the native 3D engine (unless it’s for some visualization), I do see web designers smiling as they can now deliever unique features for their clients. It’s only a matter of time before a 3D navigation using video is released by some design firm for a client.
There are also some… somewhat random… additions to the Flash Player. For example, inverse kinematic support with a new “Bones” tool. Is this feature really necessary? What was wrong with just using one of the many 2D physics engines?
Unfortunately, Adobe hasn’t released LiveDocs yet… But that will come soon. Understandable since much of the syntax is subject to change.
I wonder how long now before AS4 and the new ECMA features…