As some of you might be aware, I've been busy for quite a while now - Which is mainly because of two things:
First of all, I'm in the middle of my final school exams - I should be studying right now but meh, and secondly, I've been really caught up with my current extension projects, all of which were requested, so I barely have time to work on anything else. My three biggest projects right now are Box2D (the flash port), OpenAL (sound extension with surround and effects and stuff), and the one I'm going to tell you about right now - Sorry for the long explanation of my situation
This extension is will be available in Flash - it will also support the standard runtime and it works in HWA (although, of course, not optimized) - What it does is basically render maps that are made up of tiles. There are two core entities: Tilesets, which each contain an image and some minor parameters such as tile spacing within the image, and layers, which contain a rectangular map area made up of tiles.
Layers each can have different scrolling speeds for parallax effects and the extension interacts with the MMF scrolling system quite well. You basically have a couple of layers, as many as you need - you could divide rooms into layers and give them different offsets, for example, or just use one huge layer for the foreground, and some for the background etc.
The point of this extension is efficiency. You can have a huge map, say, 1000x1000 tiles, with a tilesize of 32x32, and the app will still run at 500 fps at 640x480 in the standard runtime - my goal is to reach the very same performance in Flash, and there is a huge trick that allows me to do so: The map is stored as a huge grid, there is no "list of tiles", as there would be with levels made up of single Backdrop objects. And this is crucial. So basically, you will be able to create huge, detailed maps in Flash without having to worry that adding one more tile here and there will cause a slowdown, because only what is visible on the screen is even processed at all. I'm pretty confident that a game with a magnitude of Knytt would be possible in Flash with this extension. There will of course be support for collision detection, which we haven't exactly decided on yet - I will probably offer the standard "is overlapping" routines, and let you set a collision flag for each layer or so. Who knows! I just wanted to let you know that this extension is coming, and anybody who has planned to make a big game in Flash might want to consider it - but of course, small games are possible as well - For example, you can use the extension for wrapping layers (which are directly supported) or parallax effects, and there will be and already are some handy editing functions to fill the map with complex structures without a lot of hassle.
Woah, long post. Well, that's all I have to say for now - a screenshot will not reveal much, not even a program would, I suppose - So until the Flash runtime is working somewhat, I do not plan to release a preview of the extension because I can't use the feedback right now, there is so much in my head to change and add that half of the things you'd suggest would already be planned out anyway. I just felt like writing this post for you now, so if you're interested, keep coming back here to see if I made any progress. There's not really a need for you to comment, unless you have specific questions which I will be glad to answer - Thanks!
Ah what the hell: Here's a stupid screenshot that shows a 30,000 x 30,000 frame completely filled with tiles while I am moving around at 500 fps. http://i44.tinypic.com/34skrdc.png Just try to imagine that this will be amazing once it's ported to Flash