I thought it would be useful to address some of the questions and concerns that I have been hearing over the last couple of days surrounding premium features.
So you’re charging people to make Flash games now?
No not at all. It is only the combined use of the domain memory opcodes in conjunction with Stage3D GPU that is subjected to the license. Tools that produce console-quality 3D games like Unity use this technology combination, so in that case, you would need a license. Rovio on the other hand, wouldn’t have needed a license to deliver the awesome Stage3D version of Angry Birds to Facebook as they don’t use the domain memory opcodes.
Why would anyone want to pay 30% to Apple and then another 9% to Adobe?
Nobody would do that, myself included. That is why none of this applies to creating AIR applications for the desktop or for mobile app stores. Use the Alchemy opcodes in conjunction with Stage3D as much as you want in AIR, license-free.
Do I need to pay to get the license to use the premium features?
No you don’t pay anything to get the license and it will enable you deploy content using the opcodes and Stage3D GPU to the release Flash Player. If your game is using this combination and it generates revenue over $50,000 then the 9% revenue share would kick in.
Let’s say my game generates over $50,000, will Adobe take 9% of that first $50,000?
No the 9% only applies to what you make after that.
So basically I have to pay Adobe to make my game not slow?
Again that is totally false. It is only the combined use of the domain memory APIs with Stage3D GPU that falls under the license. My question to you would be, can you not make a super high-performance game using Stage3D? Angry Birds uses Starling and Stage3D and does not use opcodes at all. In fact the overwhelming majority of games will never need this.
If I’m building a game for a client that uses the opcodes and Stage3D GPU will I have to transfer my license to them upon completion?
In this case you the developer would not need a license because everything will work as expected in the debug player. It is only the compilation to the release player that will require the license.
What happens if I don’t get a license but still use this combination in my game?
In the debug player everything will work fine but there will be a watermark letting you know that you’re using it. In the release player everything will work except you will be running Stage3D in software mode rather than on the GPU.
Is there an easy way to tell if a game is using premium features?
My colleague Renaun Erickson has a great post on how to do that.
Isn’t this what the open-source and standards communities have been warning us about?
If the concern is that Flash is controlled by a single company, then yes that is true. In my opinion that is also the reason Flash has been so incredibly successful. With that being said, we are making huge contributions to web standards and browser technology. A lot of these things will help the future of HTML5 gaming as well. But putting aside ideology for a moment, if you want to build the best game possible and put it in front of the most people possible then Flash is the best technology by far and it is only going to get better!
What if I use a library in my Stage3D GPU game that uses the domain memory opcodes?
Then you would need a license. The fact that it is a separate library does not exempt you. But let’s take Box2D for example. There is both a pure AS3 and an Alchemy version. In many developer’s tests, including Rovio’s when they were building Angry Birds, they find the AS3 version to be equivalent or even faster than the Alchemy version in many cases. What’s my point? Don’t assume you will need to use the domain memory opcodes. It is primarily for the console-quality games that come out of Unity and in the building of things like the Unreal Tournament 3 demo from Epic.
You guys suck at PR!
The Flash Player on mobile and the open-sourcing of Flex were not handled well at all and we have made some significant changes to improve on those failures. I personally think this announcement was made very well, despite what you may think of the actual content. We had lots of detailed information available from the start and have been very straight-forward. But I’m on the inside looking out :).