Time to update the panorama player.
If you hasn’t Flash Player 10 installed, get it here: http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/
Why Flash 10 is good for panoramas?
So, at first, Flash 10 has UVT-mapping support. This means that old problem of all Flash panoramas (“waving” effect or “segmentation” effect) can be forgotten now. In addition Flash 10 has advanced antialiasing engine with hardware support. I.e. Flash 10 renderer should be faster with antialiased image (quality=”medium”) than Flash 9 renderer with non-smoothed image (quality=”low”). Both these features ensure the absence of image quality degradation in Flash 10 panoramas. Now we can talk that Flash panoramas is the same as good or even better than QuickTime panoramas.
This is a “silent” update
You do not need to update plugins and XML files with parameters. You do not need to ask your site’s visitors to update Flash player immediately. It works gently: if the user has only Flash 9, the panorama player will use old good Flash 9 renderer (no changes), if the one has Flash 10, the player will enable new Flash 10 renderer (quality up).
The advanced hardware support in Flash 10 promises the increased performance (speed smoothness for panorama motion), but it’s totally true if the user has a modern and powerful graphic card. It can be even a bit slower for old and weak hardware. It requires more tests here…
Flash 10 has the keyboard support in fullscreen mode, but only arrows are working for me, zoom (shift/ctrl) is not working, maybe we should use another keys for zoom in fullscreen mode.
How to update
As usual, the update is free for all customers. This time you can download the update manually from Flashpanoramas Group (http://groups.google.com/group/flashpanoramas/). This is a private group, if you bought the player, but you never got the invitation to the group, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, we will fix it. Only one file to update (pano.swf), replace the old file with new pano.swf (or rename it if you has used a custom name like myPano.swf). That’s all, as I told already, the player has the full back compatibility and it works fine for Flash 9 and Flash 10. Current version of the player is “2.3″.
No new features except including native Flash 10 features and hardware support. All new features will be included to the next big update or some of them will be released with minor version releases.
Actually I added 2 new parameters “qualityStatic2″ and “qualityMotion2″. Use them to set the quality of the panorama image for Flash 10 users (this is useful if you want to set different setting for Flash 9 and Flash 10 users). By default these parameters are equal to “medium”. And another small thing: you can set now zoom_min=0.04 (equivalent to about 177?° FOV), for extreme panorama geeks only.
Sorry for the long period without updates. I’m not the good blog keeper… Some time ago I planned the new grandiose update for the player (v2.4 as I can see it now). And there is no rest for me since that time. I wrote the player with totally new architecture. But believe me, it’s a lot harder than Flash 10 support… But when I’ll finish it, it will be a really beautiful and useful product (several major feature was never be implemented in other panorama systems).
Incidentally, I can say, I don’t know how it works, but the panorama community collects only all the best people from the whole world. I found a lot of new friends. Some of them are famous, some of them are really genius. I have no chance to meet them without my small player’s work. I participated in several interesting projects based on FPP this year. It was great. And every day I’m answering 30-40 incoming e-mails. It takes a lot of time, but I believe that this my “invisible” work benefits to the panorama community too.
By the way
If you are tired of writing XML for Flash Panorama Player manually, check Flashificator (http://flashificator.com/). This is a GUI (graphic user interface) for FPP. This was created by my friend Trausti. And note, he’s updating it’s product often then me.
So, check this small update and tell me what you think. I’m still going to write some lines of code today and answer the accumulated correspondence.