Saturday, January 21, 2012

Alpha 2 released!

I have released the second alpha of the SWIFT/Lightningbeam project! This release brings several new features, such as:

  • Full cross-platform compatibility: runs happily on Linux, Windows and Mac OS X without any dependency installation necessary
  • HTML5 vastly improved: framerates within 10% of Flash's, and a large subsection of ActionScript working
  • Shape drawing: Straighten and Curve modes are now usable
  • Text added (although you have to set the contents with ActionScript right now)
  • More forgiving of non-fatal errors, so you don't lose work if I make a mistake
  • And more!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

RENAME - and Alpha 2 announcement

What happens if you Google 'swift'? There are half a billion results. Mainly this is because it's such a common word. But I also wasn't the fist person to use it to refer to Flash software: Electric Rain introduced the Swift 3d plugin for Flash nearly 3 years ago. So I have decided to rename SWIFT to Lightningbeam.

Why Lightningbeam?
Lightning is the most dynamic thing encountered in nature, leaping miles in a fraction of a second. Lightning contains enormous amounts of power; the average lightning bolt produces 40 petawatts, or the equivalent of 100 million coal power plants.
But lightning is also known for being very hard to control. Thus, the beam indicates a focusing of this energy. It is the goal of Lightningbeam to provide users with this power for creation of animated content.

The second alpha of the SWIFT/Lightningbeam project will be released shortly. Along with the rename, the project has undergone a complete re-write from the ground up. This was allowed me to use a simpler object-oriented system, which made drawing and exporting simpler and more efficient, and to use a better GUI system for cross-platform compatibility.

Summary of notable changes:

  • Project renamed to Lightningbeam
  • Code re-written
  • Cross platfrom: runs without any installation on Windows, OSX (x86, x64, and PowerPC) and Linux (x86, x64, PowerPC and ARM [untested - awaiting screen for my BeagleBoard]). Further ports are in the works, such as a web app.
  • HTML5 animation runs much faster (it's actually usable now):
    Old version3-8fps0.3fps
    New version50+fps40+fps
  • HTML5 code re-factored to run ActionScript methods natively (in progress)
  • And more that I can't remember off the top of my head.
It is still in heavy development, and I haven't completely finished re-implementing methods (such as movie clip creation), but I will release the alpha 2 when I have. In the mean time, I will be moving this blog to