January 23, Sony released the 1.5 firmware update for the PS3. After the release, the Flash player in it’s browser dramatically changed.
In tests with the original player the performance was not consistent across resolutions. At 480p, it averaged around 30fps, where at 1080i it dropped to around 2fps. With the update, the player now runs consistently at around 50-60fps. It is a noticeable change, because video and sound both had cracking before, where now it is smooth playback.
In addition, the key inputs have been updated. Before, directional buttons only produced down events. Now they produce both up and down events. In the old version, there was a Key event for the X button which mapped to ENTER which seemed to be inconsistent in being triggered. It has been removed. Instead of using the Key event for X, you use MouseDown and MouseUp.
DEVELOPING AN INPUT STRATEGY
What is interesting is the PS3 controller is used for what traditionally would be split into two input devices. It has a joystick which acts as a mouse, but the directionals act as keys. The oddball is X, because it acts as a Mouse event. That being said, you have to ask your self how you want to navigate, either by mouse or key. The reason being is that if you try to create a dual input interface (one that works with both mouse and keys), you get conflicts. In typical Key driven interfaces on a PC you can use directionals or tabbing to move around the interface, but to execute a focused item you click ENTER. With the PS3 you can use directionals to get around the interface, but your execute is a mouse click. A conflict would arise when you can click items or use X to execute a focused item. At that point, how can you distinguish between the two. This is especially the case, if you leave your mouse in a place, your UI shifts and now your mouse is over a button. Are you clicking the button or are you trying to use it as a hot key? I would say this is mainly an issue for interfaces and not for games. Personal opinion would be go with Key based strategy as that is what the platform lends itself too.Overall, the improvement to the PS3’s Flash player is encouraging. With it and the Wii, new opportunities are starting to look hopeful for Flash developers. Personally, I’m excited. Especially considering, I’m headed out to Hollywood next week to present the prototype application, I have been working on with Sony and friends. If anyone is interested, I plan on modifying my presentation at FITC to include the prototype.