05 Nov 2010

Away3D: Adobe’s new 3D API “Molehill”

by Peter Kapelyan

If you haven't heard the news, the next major Flash Player upgrade from Adobe will include a extensive 3D API that will support direct paths to OpenGL and DirectX-based 3D rendering on the GPU, as well as a new software 3D renderer fallback that will aim to provide the vast majority of computers with fast, reliable, 3D rendering in Flash. But how is all this achieved, and what does it mean for Away3D? Armed with "Molehill" (the codename for these new 3D APIs) performance is set to increase to around 1000 times what  can be squeezed out of the current Flash Player. Flash game makers, designers, and developers will finally have the option to use console-quality 3D graphics in their 3D Flash creations. The Away3D Team have been working closely with Adobe to create an easy upgrade path for the Away3D engine, providing the same easy to use framework at a high level, but plugging directly into the exposed hardware APIs at a low level. Rob Bateman and Richard Olsson presented some of the new capabilities being worked on at the recent Adobe Max conference in LA, at their session New 3D features for Flash. A recording of the presentation can be found at http://tv.adobe.com/watch/max-2010-develop/new-3d-features-for-flash/ or by clicking the link below. The presentation shows some amazing demos running realtime accelerated 3D from inside the Flash Player, with the help of our 4.0 prerelease build. The public beta of this player is planned for release in the first half of 2011, and will be complemented by a public release of the Away3D 4.0 engine, enabling the Away3D community to start developing faster, smoother and less processor-hungry 3D Flash content as soon as the capabilities are available. Because Molehill runs on the GPU (graphics processing unit) of desktop machines, CPU usage is minimal, allowing faster, smoother and less power-hungry Away3D Flash movies. If you can't wait for the public beta to get a glimpse of the possibilities, be sure to check out the high-quality videos below of two Away3D 4.0 demos. For up to-the-minute information on the progress of Away3D 4.0 and Molehill, please sign up to our mailing list. We will also be presenting an update to the progress of hardware accelerated Away3D at the upcoming AUG XL conference in Amsterdam on November 17th. Hope you can make it! The Away3D Team


05 Nov 2010 01:59 PM

RedDuck said:

Amazing! Wow!
What about Away3d 4.0 language sintax? And animated models? Everything is change?
Cheers ... wonderful work.

08 Nov 2010 06:47 AM

bastien said:

Wow smile I trust you to do a soft away3d api change or that wink

08 Nov 2010 08:33 AM

bartj3 said:

great demo's, looking forward to the augxl presentation

09 Nov 2010 01:56 PM

Kinsman said:

I was doing some reading about Molehill, and found an article that explained some details about it.

The article said that a new object called "Stage3D" was the wrapper for the hardware 3D, and it was separate from Flash's regular Stage and display list; so while it was possible to draw on top of a 3D display, it couldn't be mixed in with display list elements.

I can understand that, but I have a question; it is possible to make a Stage3D that's offscreen or non-visual, and render to a bitmap?

10 Nov 2010 05:26 PM

prankard said:

@Kinsman Perhaps there is an DisplayObjectContainer3D that could do just that?

This all looks incredible, again as RedDuck has said, has the API for our developer changed much at all?
Could we for instance make something that will work with Away3D 3.6 now and then expect to port it easily over to 4.0?

11 Nov 2010 07:47 PM

Latest in RIA: Flash Molehill (native 3D support) said:

[...] http://away3d.com/away3d-adobes-new-3d-api-molehill [...]

11 Nov 2010 08:20 PM

"Molehill" The New 3D API For Flash Play said:

[...] a came across an interesting blog post from the guys at Away3D covering the new “Molehill” API coming to the next major [...]

12 Nov 2010 04:33 AM

oos said:

Good news and good work!

I was wondering, say if I was able to get access to adobes prerelease program, would it also be possible to get access to nonpublic prereleases of the Away3D 4.0 engine?

Thanks in advance!

12 Nov 2010 06:59 AM

Trent Sterling said:

Holy crap. I haven't heard any news from Papervision3d about supporting Molehill, so I figure it's pretty much dead. I've not been looking forward to the switch to Away3d (I still get better performance from papervision, and I learned it first...), but it looks like I'll have to switch whenever molehill comes out!

15 Nov 2010 02:08 PM

Kinsman said:

I've done some additional research, and came across a French-language page that goes into technical details.


They mention that "Context3D" contains scene information separate from the "Stage3D" display; and that Context3D has methods such as 'setRenderToTexture' and 'drawToBitmapData'. So, there's my answer.

28 Nov 2010 06:04 PM

Carly said:

Well...guess you folks and Alternativa are the top dogs now. Congrats.

12 Jan 2011 11:31 AM

polyGeek.com » Blog Archive » Walkabou said:

[...] Away3D: Adobe's new 3D API "Molehill" [...]

27 Jan 2011 04:43 PM

copet80 said:

I second cos. Are we able to get access to non-public prereleases of the Away3D+Molehill engine? How different would the new API be from the current Away3D version?

20 Feb 2011 11:03 AM

arnokohl said:

[...] http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flash/molehill/ Away3D (gute 3D engine für Flash) zu Molehill: http://away3d.com/away3d-adobes-new-3d-api-molehill This entry was posted in Flash. Bookmark the permalink. ← Hallo Welt! LikeBe the [...]

12 Mar 2011 07:23 PM

davi costa said:

gotaria de saber como podemos ultilizalo.e por meio de- instal, ou o que.......

18 Mar 2011 03:43 PM

Paper3d Over « The Lab @ Neo-Pangea said:

[...] – The first thing that jumps out is that of the coming options, Away3D seems to be hands down the best option for open source implementations of hardware accelerated [...]

20 May 2011 11:55 AM

aschord said:


Only registered members can comment. Click here to login or here to register