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Macromedia Flash Professional 8 Game Development

Well, the new book is out It’s called Macromedia Flash Professional 8 Game Development.

Paperback: 528 pages
Publisher: Charles River Media; 2 edition (June 1, 2006)

It’s not a “brand new book”, it’s a “Second edition”. For those who don’t have the original, it’ll be all great and new to you. For those who have the original, you’re going to find a few updates and items for Flash 8 (and that’s especially what Flash 8 is good at; games)… To me, the entire tile-game engine in Flash 8 is worth its weight in gold.

It’s a great book, and I hope people enjoy it – it took a bit of work to put together.

Click here to order!

I’m really excited about it, and it covers some of the best things that Flash 8 has to offer in relation to games. It’s currently being used as curriculum material at many educational institutions around the world.

We cover full tile game development (like Super Mario) making use of the BitmapData object in Flash 8, and you’ll get to learn all sorts of amazing things and effects that can be specifically applied to games.

Flash MX 2004 Game Development

fmx2004gamdevby 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. Continue reading Flash MX 2004 Game Development

Creating a Cool Flash Intro

pwpcoverFor Practical Web Projects, December, 2004.

Creating an animated intro for the hypothetical “Mash and Grab” website.

When creating the intro for the Mash & Grab website, it’s important to grab the attention of the visitor right away, with relevant motion graphics that make use of the branding that has been developed thus far. To that end, we’re going to create something that follows the tradition of television style motion graphics done with After Effects (think TV show intro) and eventually finish off at the Mash & Grab logo. We want to convey excitement and movement, while at the same time indicating that this is a high-tech venture.
We’ll start off with a black screen, into which will drop dollops of mashed potatoes, filling the screen from bottom to top, until the entire screen is white. Then the pieces of the logo will fly on, settling into proper position. Once in position, they will all begin to pulse and “dance”, gradually settling down to the final logo form. At the end, a “diner floor” background grid will fade in, and will continually pan from right to left, giving the appearance that the logo is moving. Almost everything will be controlled by ActionScript.

All the while, there will be music playing. This is custom music written for the job by Glen Rhodes, and the music too follows the progression of the motion graphics. It begins as a simple jazzy piece to indicate the traditional roots of popular take-away. The music will, however, begin to morph gradually into a more modern sounding piece to reflect the nature of Mash & Grab being an online and relatively high-tech experience.

Once the action has settled down (and the song has finished), we will automatically forward the user to the main index page, and if they so happen to click anywhere on the intro movie at any time, we will be good enough to forward them at that exact moment.

Creating an Audio Mixer in Flash

wdcoverThis was a 3 part series for Web Designer Magazine, October, November and December 2004.

How to create an audio mixer in Flash, first looking at the task of drawing the graphic assets.

One of the things that Flash handles really well is audio. Flash has the ability to play up to 8 stereo audio channels at the same time, with independent volume and pan controls over each channel. This means that we can get 8 concurrent audio loops going at once, and using volume and pan, we can create our own mixes, and in essence build our own songs. Continue reading Creating an Audio Mixer in Flash

Flash MX 2004 Games Most Wanted

fmx2004gamesmostwantedby Sham Bhangal, Anthony Eden, Brad Ferguson, Brian Monnone, Keith Peters, Glen Rhodes, Steve Young, Kristian Besley (Editor)

Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Games Most Wanted is the latest title in the popular ‘Most Wanted’ series from friends of ED. This book presents the definitive selection of game design techniques using the latest version of Macromedia Flash – now the industry standard for creating multimedia applications, used by over one million professionals.

Each chapter covers a distinct area of online gaming, describing the design and development of a finished Flash game. The book delivers as many complete example games as possible and is packed full of the most wanted tips, tricks, and techniques to demonstrate exactly how to produce exciting and interactive games. This is an inspiring sample of all the very best techniques that professional Flash game designers are using today.

Drumming to a steady beat in Flash MX 2004

pwpcoverPractical Web Projects, September 2004

Using the built in sound timing in Flash MX 2004 to create a rock solid interactive drum machine.

Macromedia Flash MX 2004 is a powerful tool, and it allows us to do some amazing stuff. One of its catches, however, derives from the fact that all timing is frame based, and that actual, achieved frame rate is determined by something akin to luck, rather than the actual document frame rate setting.

In truth, Flash attempts to attain the frame rate you have requested, but often will fail, as external processes, or even animation within your movie take over and cause the playback to skip and sputter.

This does not engender much hope for a drum machine, which relies on rock solid timing. In fact, if you look at drummachFrames.swf, and try inputting a drum beat, you’ll see this effect in full swing. It sounds OK, but you occasionally hear the “drummer” lose time, and play a beat late.

Note that in years since, the audio timing has become better and better, and now things like drum machines, dynamically generated audio and effects are easy with AS3.0

Animating an Interface

wdcoverFrom Web Designer Magazine, August 2004

Displaying an interface at runtime using motion graphics code to animate the elements in to place.

One of the best things about Flash is the fact that it allows for interfaces to be created in a very short period of time. We can easily open Flash, drop a few elements on to the stage, and voila, our interface is ready. In today’s Internet, however, that’s simply not enough. Visitors have come to expect dynamism; they want things to move, fly and zip into place. Traditionally, this would be accomplished by carefully animating the interface on a timeline with dozens of keyframes.
However, that’s not the only way (nor is it the best way). Thanks to the scripting power of Flash’s language Actionscript, we can create dynamic websites with fully animated interfaces with only a few lines of code, and some very simple motion graphics programming.

Think of a website where you arrive, and interface elements begin flying in from off-screen, coming from all different locations only to settle neatly into position. Once in position, they create a cohesive whole to the entire interface. In this tutorial, we’ll be looking at how to create such an interface, and how to integrate Actionscript to create robust motion graphics effects.

Making a Robust Flash Player Detector

wdcover1Web Designer Magazine, Making a Robust Flash Player Detector, June 2004.

Overcoming the differences in Flash version, and creating a single player detector SWF that works for Flash players 4 on up to the latest version.

Often, we want to indicate to website visitors and users of our Flash applications what version of Flash player they currently have installed on their computer. The usual reason for this is to specify to the user when they don’t have an adequate version installed, and then redirect them to the Flash player download site. If we’ve spent months creating a killer Flash site with the latest version of Flash, then it’s important that people with anything less than the latest Flash player are told to upgrade – otherwise our site may not perform properly, and, even worse: it may appear broken.

One of the challenges is, paradoxically, that we must create this player detector so that it runs in Flash 4, 5, 6, 7 and beyond. We cannot create a detector that will not actually execute in the versions we want to detect. What this means is that we must create a detector that ultimately runs in the lowest common denominator, Flash 4. This means that many functions are off limits to us, levitra india. However, with a little bit of planning, and intelligent design we can make a cool detector that spans a stretch of four versions, and works the same in all.

Flash MX 2004 Demystified

fmx2004demystifiedby Shawn Pucknell, Brian Hogg, Craig Swann with John Cowie, Glen Rhodes, Grant Skinner and Glyn Thomas

Written by a trio of interactive design pros and published by the folks behind the software, this guide is the place to turn when you’re ready to move beyond the manual and leverage all of Flash MX 2004’s power to solve real-world problems. Through a combination of straightforward explanations and hands-on exercises, you9ll learn about such key topics as accessing external data sources, publishing in various formats, and creating elegant and effective ActionScripts. Best of all, the authors share their inside knowledge of Flash MX 2004’s newest features: essential ActionScript 2.0 commands and standards, expanded support for rich media, a streamlined user interface, new Timeline Effects and Behaviors, and more. The companion CD includes all of the files you need to complete the book’s lessons. So what are you waiting for? Get this book and start getting flashy with your dynamic, interactive Web sites.

Flash Math Creativity

fmcby David Hirmes, J. D. Hooge, Ken Jokol, Ty Lettau, Lifaros, Jamie Macdonald, Gabriel Mulzer, Pavel Kaluzhny, Kip Parker, Keith Peters, Paul Prudence, Glen Rhodes, Manny Tan, Jared Tarbell, Brandon Williams

Forget school math class, Flash math is about fun. It’s what you do in your spare time – messing around with little ideas until the design takes over and you end up with something beautiful, bizarre, or just downright brilliant. It’s a book of iterative experiments, generative design; a book of inspiration, beautiful enough to leave on the coffee table, but addictive enough to keep by your computer and sneak out while no one’s looking so you can go back to that Flash movie that you were tinkering with ’til 3 o’clock this morning. In “New Masters of Flash” the designers told us about themselves and deconstructed their finest effects. This time we’ve gathered the best in one book and simply asked them to go away and do what they do best: play. We give you the code and explain the essence, then you take your inspiration and run with it.