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By David R. Lorentz
 There were two sessions at FITC Toronto about cool Japanese Stuff, entitled “Cool Japanese Stuff: Side A” and “Cool Japanese Stuff: Side B.” There was cool stuff at both, but for now I’m going to focus on side B.

The first speaker was Tomohiko Koyama, who works at Katamari Inc. His full presentation, as well as links to all the awesome stuff he mentions, are available here. Tomohiko is responsible for FLARToolkit, a truly amazing implementation of augmented reality in AS3. I really can’t believe this works so well in quaint little Flash. (It definitely wouldn’t have worked in AS2.) What it does is attach simulated 3D objects to real-time images fed in via web-cam. The user holds a telltale post card or something he printed out with distinct visual characteristics, and the Flash movie will attach to that object and render 3D objects on top of it in real time. For some amazing implementations, see this or this.

Tomohiko explained that AR has been huge in Japan for the past few years, mainly on Nico Nico Douga, Japan’s answer to YouTube; unfortunately the previous incarnations of AR did not run in the browser, so Tomohiko set out to achieve browser-based AR. FLARToolkit is actually a port of a C++ framework called ARToolkit. ARToolkit was ported to Java, which in turn was ported to AS3 by Tomohiko and his friends at Katamari Inc. It can be used with a variety of popular Flash 3D engines, including Papervision, Away3D, and Sandy.

Tomohiko went into a quick code demo, showing how it’s extremely easy to code something up. He’s able to attach a cube in just two or three lines of code. Wow! I for one am definitely going to make some games out of this. You should too. You can download an English-language starter kit with everything you need at http://saqoosha.net/en/flartoolkit/start-up-guide/. FLARToolkit is available for free GPL license if your code is open source; otherwise there’s a (pricey) commercial license available from ARToolworks.

The other speaker was Yoshihiro Shindo, from BeInteractive. Yoshihiro is responsible for Spark Project, “Japan’s largest AS3 community.” Yoshihiro, 20 years old, was introduced as the youngest FITC speaker ever. He says that he would rather code ActionScript than eat.

Spark Project is an open-souce Flash community, public svn repositories and all, whose motto is, “Be happy by sharing source code and knowhow with everyone.” A nicer sentiment I did not encounter in all of FITC. Spark Project has over 200 open-source AS projects currently shared, which go all over the map in terms of functionality. FLARToolkit, for one, is on there. Yoshihiro also demoed Sazameki, a powerful-looking audio processing library that both generates and processes waveforms; Frocessing, an AS3 drawing library that behaves like Processing; and BetweenAS3, an impressive new tweening engine.

BetweenAS3 appears to be powerful, fast, and lightweight—the holy triad of tweening engines. BetweenAS3 offers tween processing (reverse, slice, faster/slower, parallel tweening), complete tween control (freely move beteeen “frames” of the tween), action integration (execute commands within a tween), great performance, and low memory usage. Yoshihiro demoed a particle tween simulation with tens of thousands of pixels tweening simultaneously, and BetweenAS3 blew the competition (Tweener, TweenMax, several others) out of the water, in terms of frame rate and memory. I salivated. Unfortunately, BetweenAS3 hasn’t quite released yet, but you are welcome to access the svn repository here. Check it out, branch it, check in fixes—all is encouraged! You gotta love that.

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1 Response to "FITC Day 3: Cool Japanese Stuff"

said this on 13 May 2009 8:32:26 PM CST
and some samples here for BetweenAS3


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