Prefab3D 2: return of the turtle

Application, Flash, News

I’ve promissed a while ago that I would release Prefab3D for Flash 11/Away3D 4.0 once a minimum set of features would be up&running.
This morning, I was about to break it to add an extra functionality but then realized:
The day I can release Prefab3D version 2 has finally arrived!

Just before hit the link (top right button on the page) and try it, let me explain a bit why it took so long since the last Prefab3D 1 update and what kind of beast you will actually discover…

Process
It’s been a lot of work. simply because building a 3D app is, well, lots and lots of work!
At first, when the great Molehill project was still a secret prerelease program,
I thought: we have gpu now, we’ll have soon a new API, then I’ll port the v1 code and voila.

Yeah, right.

At that time, it was not possible to work on the app, as we first needed to rewrite from the ground up the early draft of what is now Away3D 4.0. Each new player drop releases were breaking or asking for new stuffs. I couldn’t get started properly on the AIR side either, because there was no AIR with Stage3D. The first beta SDK+runtime came 6 months later…

To be honest, it’s not about the player or the runtime: I had no idea of what having gpu access really means. Everything you do, needs to be able to handle loads of data. Prefab’s v1 internals were simply not built with this in mind. Oh sure, I tried hard to save the most code I could. Eventually, I got tired never see anything else but errors, (lots of ) code commented out or white screens. Short story: I decided to rewrite the entire app from scratch.
As the team focus was to get a robust Away3D up&running. I’ve restarted the work on Prefab 2 seriously only 4 or 5 months ago.

The Baby
So what do you get exactly for this kind of effort? Not that much actually. At least on the exposed side. Most work done was on the AIR side, app logic, exporters api and a few exporters, an extended selection api, material edits, lights edits, animation managers etc… If the app is relatively limited feature wise atm, It can already do lots and learning to work with it should keep you of the streets for a while!

Many features are “almost” done on my disk, waiting for small problems to be solved before I can implement them. Such as awd 2 (the format 2.0 was locked just 2 weeks ago) with materials and animation exports or Prefab’s own project files. You will notice for instance an md2 export option. This doesn’t make much sense without a vertex animator/generator…

There are probably issues here and there. (some are even known). Also with new things such as export to ThreeJS or the new behaviors “guys” api that is in very early stage. So please use the report panel so I can fix/improve or simply to give me feedback. If you are one of the 30k+ user of the first version. You know you can expect a lot of automatic updates in the upcoming months.
You do not have to uninstall the previous one, as both can work together. I would keep both, at least until older features such as path edits and uv edits are restored. V2 will no longer export to AS3 for Flash 9 and 10.

I hope you will enjoy this new version even in its “LE” state and that It will find a little place into your workflow.

Last but not least: I would like to thank a LOT the Adobe player & AIR teams for the work they did in the past 2 years.

Fabrice