Skip to main content

Adobe Flash 11 beta offers new 3D features

Adobe has made the first public beta of Flash Player 11 available, bringing new 3D functionality and improved performance on 64-bit platforms to those who don't buy into the 'Flash is dead' mindset.

The latest version of the company's rich media player comes with full support for both 64-bit and 32-bit browsers, building on the work that Adobe did with its Square Player alpha code. As a result, it should work fine on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems where a 64-bit browser has been installed.

The main feature of Flash Player 11 - aside from the long-awaited 64-bit support - is 'Molehill,' the first trial of a set of application programming interfaces called Stage3D. Designed to provide low-level graphics acceleration, they provide the framework for Flash developers to get more creative with 3D animation while also providing a welcome boost to 2D playback on selected platforms.

Flash Player 11 also adds support for encoding video into H.264 and audio into G.711, which should mean higher-quality and lower-bandwidth video chatting, while bezier curves can be created without custom Actionscripts, JSON is now supported, and vector printing is now included across all platforms. Interestingly, Adobe has also included a new and more secure random number generator, suggesting that it's concentrating more on secure-by-design coding than has previously been the case.

During our testing, we found performance to be slightly improved over the Square alpha that we had previously installed. A framerate-crippling full-screen bug on Linux that we'd encountered appears to be a thing of the past, too.

The Flash Player 11 beta comes at the same time as a public beta of Adobe Air 3, which offers the same technology found in Flash in an offline format. Sadly for those waiting for a 64-bit Air build for Linux, only Mac OS X and Windows are currently supported.

The Flash Player 11 Beta and Adobe Air 3 Beta are both available now.