Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
alpha channel, so parts of the video can be transparent. For larger
videos an alpha channel can begin to drag down the performance,
whereas at smaller dimensions it is a lifesaver for both the perfor-
mance and file size (which we will discuss momentarily). The final
and the most recent addition to Flash is H.264 (or MPEG-4 based)
video. It is by far the best-looking video available in Flash and riv-
als the quality of either QuickTime or Windows Media Player. The
not support an alpha channel, so you can think of it as more of an
upgrade to Spark than a replacement for VP6. I would recommend
it for cutscenes in games in which the target machine is relatively
new; the quality cannot be beaten. In addition, in some current
and future iterations of the Flash Player, H.264 video will be hard-
ware accelerated, meaning it will utilize the end users
GPU on
their video card to deliver lightning fast performance and leave the
CPU free up to run your code and other rendering tasks.
External Video Uses: Cutscenes and Menus
With console and commercial computer games reaching awe-
inspiring levels of graphical sophistication, the bar is naturally
raised on even simple Web-based games to look polished and
This feel can be achieved through the use of cutscenes
in games that are story driven. When used wisely (and not over-
used), such as between levels or as a payoff at the end, they add a
very cinematic quality to a game.
Another way of effectively incorporating video is in menus. Most
players of Flash games are used to just static buttons and text on a
menu screen. By utilizing even a simple video loop created in Adobe
After Effects (or even created in Flash and then exported as a movie),
Figure 9.1 Video cutscenes
can add a very immersive
element to a game and can
make Flash games look more
polished and modern on a par
with commercial games.
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