by Glen Rhodes
Creating games with Macromedia Flash MX 2004 is a rewarding endeavor for aspiring and seasoned programmers alike. With its quick download time, cross-platform deployment, ease of use, and power, Flash is quickly becoming the program of choice or online game development. The use of vector graphics also makes the games scalable for any resolution from full screen to cell phone.
Intended for both game and Web developers, Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Game Development teaches developers how to maximize Flash for the creation of online and standalone games. The entire development process is covered, from design, story and character development, to the physics and motion of a game, audio issues, optimization, and deployment. As you work through the book, you’ll create eight fun games as you learn and apply the tools of Flash. After completing these projects, you’ll be ready to produce your own high-quality games, and you’ll have the skills needed to take on more complex games.
- Covers the essential elements of good game design, including challenge, reward, plot, story, and motivation
- Explains advanced topics in an easy-to-understand way, such as physics, collision detection, and more
- Provides specific tricks for game optimization including bitmaps versus vectors, and details game performance enhancement ideas
- Details the various issues of multi-platform development for the PC, Mac, and handheld/ wireless devices
- Teaches how to develop standalone games with executables stored on the local hard drive
- Explains how to develop games for mobile devices such as the Pocket PC
- Teaches a variety of enhancement topics, including adding sound, saving data, and 3D graphics
- Uses eight games to teach the essentials skills and tools of Flash game programming, including Whack a Capsule, Block Breaker, Moon Fighter, Sound Hunter, Word Search, Mars Racer, AA Bomb, and Asteroid Run
- Includes an ActionScript for games primer
THE FLASH GAMING BOOK
Reviewer: A reader
Flash MX 2004 Game Development is the perfect book for developing games with Flash. It’s not too verbose and takes the Flash Developer right to where they want to be, into the meat of the code behind the games.
The chapters follow a natural progression from simple games and concepts, as in Whack A Mole, to very advanced gaming. Mars Racer offers probably the best collision detecting code that I’ve seen in Flash. And Asteroid Run offers some really good concepts in developing games with 3D in mind.
There is a great deal of Actionscripting covered. The code behind the games, as with the chapters, follows an increasing curve in complexity. I found that as a Developer, I learned a lot from not only WHY the code was written, but HOW it was written. There is a great deal of knowledge to be garnered with good form and syntax in the code as well. And, I found the code was really well written and very easy to understand with good explanations throughout all of the chapters. The algorithm used to make the Word Search game is really well thought out.
The book does make the assumption that the reader is familiar with Flash. If you would consider various “how-to” operations in Flash, such as the creation of movieclip symbols, buttons, and adding layers. These processes are covered in earlier chapters, but are assumed to be understood later on. Focusing most of the writing on the code and developing. I’ve found that in previous Gaming books, the description of various “how-to” tasks become repetitive, and as a result, make the book unnecessarily longer. Not the case with this book.
Personally, there is a great deal of knowledge to be learned. As mentioned before, the collision detection code is simply some of the best code I’ve seen. The chapter on Optimization will save the Game Developer hours of troubleshooting to get games to perform fast even on slower machines.
The games themselves are fun. You’ll probably play them many times on their own. Each chapter covering a new game starts out with a description of the game. The goals and premise of what is needed. Very important when learning the game development process.
An excellent book and a simple MUST HAVE for your Flash Library.