I’m just throwing that question out there. Please don’t expect to find the answer to this or really any quandary from reading one of my blog posts.
Up until this past weekend I hadn’t really played around with the Papervision open source 3d engine in over a year. I remember Papervision being the new hotness back them. Seems like every other blog post was some sort of cool new 3D texturing globe component or amazing 3D navigation using it. Then Flash 10 came out with it’s own somewhat native 3D functionality and the Papervision buzz wore off.
So what became of this popular 3D engine?
Well, from what I can gather, Papervision is continuing to be used on various 3D projects across a wide variety of Flash application online. Check out the New York Times 3D rendering of the 15th hole at the US Open Golf Tournament here. Or check out the radical 3D navigation in this UFC promotional site here.
So why is it still being used, isn’t it native in Flash 10?
- Flash 10’s 3D capabilities fall short of the expectations for your client’s particular project. The new 3D capabilities of the Flash 10 are more of a distortion of a bitmap with perspective and not truly a 3D engine. In fact the developers of Papervision are activily looking at how to better take advantage of the new player to speed up and increase the performance of their 3D engine.
- The penetration numbers for Flash 10 aren’t there yet. While the Flash browser plug in is pretty ubiquitous among internet-enabled desktops, the latest version with 3D support is only being reported on about 87% of devices compared with Flash 9 at 99%.
Is the project still evolving?
Papervision’s blog seems to be pretty active and the source code continues to be actively updated. However the actual project download (swc or zip) is dated at March of 0, there hasn’t been an issue reported in a while and the project wiki hasn’t been updated for about half of a year. So it would appear that some of the hype has at least slowed.
I’m a fan of using some subtle 3D techniques to enhance an application. Flash player 10 provides me with enough resources to create some interesting transitions and navigation elements without the overhead of adding an additional truly 3D engine. And as for penetration, that would differ from client to client. So maybe Flash player 10’s 3D hacks are going to cover me for 90% of my needs. That being said, I’d still turn to Papervision for any project that actually had any involved 3D elements. I’m thinking of applications that would take advantage of spacial dimensions such as a cargo loading application or maybe a 3D product design application like a build your own wine bottle website.
What about you guys? Where do you draw the line? Do you think Flash 10 killed the Papervision 3D engine or maybe it’s momentum?