appMobi Releases directCanvas SDK

appMobi has released a software development kit (SDK) and detailed performance specs for its directCanvas technology, which includes rendering acceleration, multiSound multichannel sound playback, and directBox2D physics acceleration. appMobi says it created the technologies to eliminate performance and capability barriers that have hampered the growth of HTML5 and the open Web as the ultimate platform for mobile games.

The iOS version of directCanvas was released as open source in November. Today’s SDK release supports the use of directCanvas for HTML5 game development. In the first quarter of 2012, appMobi will release directCanvas for Android, which will speed HTML5 games on a range of new Android devices, such as Amazons Kindle Fire, Barnes & Nobles Nook Tablet, and the HTC EVO 3D.

“We’ve switched all of our iOS games over to use appMobi’s technologies,” says Henrik Dalsgaard, CEO of HTML5 game developer, TweenSoft. “directCanvas really does allow HTML5 games to perform like native games, even on older devices. The other advantage to us is that with HTML5 and appMobi, we can use the same code and build for iOS, Android and for the open mobile Web.”

appmobi says that directCanvas Delivers a 10x speed improvement in frame rate for HTML5 Games. An accepted rule of thumb in the gaming industry is that animated games must refresh the screen at least 25 times (frames) per second to create the illusion of smooth motion. To accurately characterize directCanvas acceleration on iOS-based devices, appMobi ran a comprehensive battery of tests on a variety of devices and OS versions. The test results easily exceeded the company’s previous claims of a 5x speed improvement.

Using iOS Version 5, directCanvas provided an average 1800 per cent acceleration on an iPhone 3GS. On the iPhone 4, 1124 per cent improvement was noted. The dual core iPad 2 and iPhone 4S experienced slightly less acceleration, 728 per cent and 1032 per cent, respectively. On older iOS versions, directCanvas provided up to 2000 per cent frame rate acceleration. Without directCanvas, none of Apple’s devices were able to deliver 25 frames per second using the unaccelerated Safari WebKit browser.

With appMobi’s directCanvas acceleration, iPhone 4S and iPad2 delivered 35-40 frames per second, while displaying up to 70 animated entities. directCanvas allowed the older iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 to deliver over 25 frames per second while animating 50 entities.

On the audio front, multiSound provides low latency, multichannel sound for HTML5 Games. The HTML5 specification was not created as a game delivery platform, and it has a key limitation that has vexed mobile game developers – it can only play one sound at a time. appMobi’s multiSound API gives HTML5 game developers the ability to play as many simultaneous sounds as they wish, limited only by available memory. multiSound caches sound data in memory for instant playback.

Finally, says appMobi, directBox2D dramatically accelerates physics calculations. 
Physics-based games perform many calculations to simulate gravity and inertia, and to perform collision detection. HTML5 games use JavaScript physics engines such as Box2D to perform these calculations. Because JavaScript is an interpreted language (rather than a compiled language), the extra interpretive processing slows frame rate and reduces the number of possible entities in a game. appMobis says that directBox2D accelerates these calculations 20x by using a high performance compiled physics engine in place of the interpreted one.

You can download the directCanvas iOS SDK and get more information on high performance HTML5 game development, here. And you can get full details of the tests and results here.