FIVe3D: first impressions
I downloaded the FIVe3D engine in AS3 a couple of days ago and started to play with it a bit.
The first thing to notice is its simplicity. What I liked in particular is that the structure of classes corresponds exactly to the structure used in standard AS3. Where in AS3 there is a Sprite, in FIVe3D there is a Sprite3D. And you can use a special property Sprite3D.graphics3D to draw 3d objects exactly as you would use classic Sprite.graphics to draw 2d objects. Of course, all the methods like lineTo, curveTo, beginFill or drawRect are there. So if you ever worked with the drawing API everything will look very familiar in FIVe3D. And there is a Shape3D too…
Another nice feature is that the class Sprite3D extends a regular Sprite. As a consequence, all the features of a Sprite are available in Sprite3D, including event handling. It basically means that adding interactivity to you 3d objects works exactly the same way as with regular Sprites – just use listeners and the MouseEvent class!
However, the most impressive part of the package is the way fonts are handled. Font outlines are transformed in FIVe3D into special classes that hold all the coordinates needed to render each character. At runtime, they are rendered as shapes drawn using the Graphics3D object.
From a designers point of view the nice thing about FIVe3D is the quality of the rendering. Flash has always had very good antialiasing support for vector graphics, and FIVe3D takes full advantage of this.
The last big pro of FIVe3D is the size of the files. An animation with a few simple shapes and lines probably will not exceed 10KB. Isn't that nice?
As a final note, be sure to download the updated version 2.0.1 available now on the project page. The initial 2.0.0 version was throwing some errors when compiled under 'Strict Mode' in Flash IDE. Now it is fixed.
Also, remeber to come back here some time, because I will be definitely posting more on that subject.
UPDATE MAY 12th 2008 I posted the source files of this demo. You can download them here.