NME is an impressive crossplatform technology particularly appropriate for 2D games development. And by crossplatform that mean:
- Windows/Mac/Linux and iOS/Android/webOS – at full, native, C++/OpenGl speed,
- and Flash so you can also compile it for the browser.
Activity & contributions around the NME project has increased a lot recently and it seems to have become mature enough as a few companies have started using it to develop (fairly impressive casual) commercial games. If you have an iPhone I warmly recommend trying Ponon Deluxe (free) – it’s incredibly slick and a clever variation on the Tetris theme.
If you know Flash and AS3…
…you’ll be up and running in a few hours:
- this is most feature complete implementation of the Flash API that you will get your hands on – more complete than what Starling will ever be, and more complete than the subset of AIR you can use to keep performance decent,
- development is in haxe, a clever language with increasing IDE support that you can however code like AS3 90% of the time.
With the Flash Player 10, Adobe added a new set of instructions allowing to compile C/C++ in a way the AVM2 could execute. By wrapping a little bit of glue code in C, Alchemy allows to reuse some of the numerous open source C libraries available.
And when you appreciate the speed of Alchemy-compiled C code, you can wonder how it can possibly be so much faster than AS3. Unfair!
What makes Alchemy code so fast? The main secret is a faster memory management, because obviously C/C++ is all about pointers & malloc’ing. ByteArray in AS3 is kind of slow so Adobe had to hack the AVM2 to remove this bottleneck or Alchemy would have been pointless.
And the good news for us AS3 geeks is that it is possible to use this fast memory in AS3…
The haxe community has been buzzing about it for some weeks, and a few days ago you could read in haxe 2.0.4 release notes that the experimental C++ compilation target was now included.
You probably know that haxe can be used as an alternative to AS2 and AS3 for Flash development, but you would definitely be missing something if you limit this powerful language to “just Flash”…
So how did haxe get to be able to compile as C++ and why is it a big thing?