October 14th 2010 | Jens C Brynildsen
Russian 3D engine makers Alternativa LLC recently changed their terms, making use of Alternativa3D version 7 entirely free. The 3D Flash scene has changed a lot in the latest years and the community is shifting from Papervision to other alternatives.
Only two years ago, Papervision3D was the rage among Flash developers wanting to get into realtime 3D. Internally there was some changes in the Papervision team and the former star of Flash 3D is now more or less dead as there's not been any new features added to the engine in more than two years. In the mean time, other engines such as Away3D and Alternativa3D have innovated vigorously. Some engines have disappeared and new ones have arrived.
With the recent announcement from Alternativa, the stage is set for the upcoming announcement of GPU accelerated 3D support in Flash Player 11! According to the press release from Alternativa, "... everybody can get and use Alternativa3D 7 absolutely free. The latest, improved and enhanced version of the engine can be downloaded with no charge. However, in case the technology is used in commercial project it is necessary to place the link to ... Alternativa". This is great news as it seemed for a while that Alternativa3D had gone from a general purpose engine to just be the platform for Tanki Online.
The updated Alternativa website is clearly targeting game development, but their showcase page is now also showing other kinds of content showing the width of the engine. Alternativa 7 is now faster than ever and has the ability to show 12000 simultaneous polygons. Other features are dynamic and static BSP, multiple ways of culling, Level of Detail (LOD), skeletal animation, collision detection and more. They also have a 3DS Max plugin and are working on a physics engine.
Alternativa3D is still closed source and provided as a SWC, but the announcement of "free" should make it even more approachable and easier to test out.