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Flash on the Beach 07 / Day 1 / Sessions and Adobe Keynote

"Adobe Keynote" - Richard Galvan, et al., Adobe
"50 Reasons AS3 Kicks Ass" - Grant Skinner
"Intro to AIR" - Mike Chambers
"Make Flash Games, Retire Early" - Keith Peters
"Dynamic Abstractions" - Joshua Davis
"If it ain't broke -- break it!" - Brendan Dawes

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"Adobe Keynote" - Richard Galvan, et al., Adobe

Just like at FITC, I wasn't expecting Adobe to announce anything new with Flash or Flex, so I wasn't really let down when not much new was presented. Two things, however, are worth noting.

The first is that the onAIR tour for Europe was announced. It will be a 12 city tour over the course of 4 weeks in April/May of 2008. They will be traveling by train instead of bus like they did in America, but I think that is more fitting for Europe anyways! Be sure to keep checking http://onair.adobe.com for more information.

Secondly, a new feature that had previously been announced for Flash CS4 / Diesel, but never demoed, was shown: Inverse Kinematics will now be built into Flash, making it extremely simple to do life-like animations. Character animators should certainly be happy with this addition.

Update: You can view a video of the keynote on Peter Elst's blog.

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"50 Reasons AS3 Kicks Ass" - Grant Skinner

Grant's talks are always worth attending, and I was extremely happy to be kicking off the conference with such a wealth of information. I had previously seen the 'slides' for Grant's talk, but of course there is no replacement for seeing the talk in person (You can see the presentation slides for yourself here).

Most developers already know why AS3 'kicks ass', but the talk was still very informative, and I highly suggest you check out the slides linked above is you are a developer.

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"Intro to AIR" - Mike Chambers

I had seen Mike speak at the onAIR tour when it stopped in Portland, and I was afraid this session might be very similar to his talk there. Mike spent a few minutes talking about what AIR was and is capable of, and then dived into creating a simple HTML editor application. You can download the code and view a short description of the demonstration on Mike's blog.

One other item of note was that Mike mentioned AIR beta 3 would be out in early 2008.

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"Make Flash Games, Retire Early" - Keith Peters

Besides having a great title, Keith's session was really informative. Keith has recently been making a few Flash games and creating a yet to be released Flash game framework, GameBase. Keith spoke about how casual games is the best market to get into, and how it is a multi-billion dollar industry that often gets forgotten about.

According to Keith, there are four steps to making a good Flash game: Idea generation (usually easier than you think -- just ask at a party what people would like to see), coding (most under-rated as this can be difficult), promotion (Digg, StumbleUpon), and monetization (check out mochiads.com and Google AdSense).

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"Dynamic Abstractions" - Joshua Davis

Joshua Davis Session

I had first heard of Josh when I saw him speak at an AIGA event in Cleveland, Ohio about 7 or so years ago. At the time I was much more focused on design, but after seeing his presentation I started diving deeper into ActionScript and development in general. I saw his artwork and sat there wondering how he made it work, let alone how he thought of the ideas. With Josh being the reason I got into Flash development, I couldn't wait to see him speak again at FOTB.

All one can say about Josh's presentation (as is the case with several of the presentations I saw this week), is WOW. Josh is an extremely good presenter - extremely energetic and entertaining. One thing Josh mentioned was how companies in Japan are paying him to do artwork based on things he sees while there and just walking around, when they live there everyday and never see it. The main point Josh was trying to make is that we should just open our eyes and we can all be inspired by what is in our everyday lives.

You can download a lot of the artwork he showed, and some of the tips he went over on how to get print artwork and video output from Flash creations at http://workshop.joshuadavis.com.

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"If it ain't broke -- break it!" - Brendan Dawes

Brendan Dawes 01

Last time I saw Brendan speak it was at FlashForward Austin over a year ago, and I was looking forward to seeing the evolution of his work and what he has been doing since then. Bren did not disappoint and gave a very entertaining "Inspire Session" -- a new format at FOTB this year where you come back in the evening a few hours after the general sessions have ended and get a free beer and just sit back and get inspired.

One of the best parts was when he had a DJ come up on stage and 'scratch' the timeline of a video, making music with great visuals from a normal DJ turntable. I had read about this in his book (listed on the right under "Currently Reading"), but to see it in action was awesome.

Update: Here is the video as promised:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.jonnymac.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/brendan_dawes_video.swf" height="360" width="400" /]

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Overall an amazing start to the FOTB conference. I can already see why people from across the world have called this the best Flash conference to be inspired and educated. The passion of everyone here surpasses that of most conferences I have been to, and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that everyone here has been working with Flash for some time, so the conversations and sessions are more in-depth than those that I have seen elsewhere. I'll follow up with days 2 and 3 and a general re-cap within the next few days -- time to hop a flight back to Madrid before heading home to Portland this weekend.

Ryan Stewart said,

November 8, 2007 @ 9:20 am

Great writeup. It makes me even more sad I wasn’t there!

=Ryan
rstewart@adobe.com

g kut said,

November 9, 2007 @ 11:21 am

i was that scratch dj with brendan dawes! i’m looking for a copy of the video, so would be most grateful if you could email it to me please? thanks!

Jon MacDonald said,

November 20, 2007 @ 4:41 pm

@g kut: I have posted the video and also emailed you a link to a Quicktime version that is slightly better quality. Sorry it took me so long!

jonnymac blog » Flash on the Beach 2008 Schedule said,

September 24, 2008 @ 4:48 pm

[…] you’d like to see all my write-ups on last year’s FOTB conference, you can view them here: Day 1 Day 2 Day […]

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