Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Figure 2.1 Flash logos from
previous versions, all the way
back to Flash 5.
Fast forward to the newest release, Flash CS5.5. Since the
version CS3, Flash users have had access to a powerful new version
of the language: ActionScript 3 (AS3). Redesigned from the ground
up, AS3 much more closely follows the standards and guidelines of
modern programming languages (such as Java or C#), with a well-
defined road map for new functionality in later versions. Flash CS4
introduced even more amazing new features to exploit games, such
as basic 3D transformations, inverse kinematics (for realistic
character manipulation), and an all-new animation toolset. In Flash
CS5, Adobe delivered the ability to deploy to mobile platforms, a
nice new version-control-friendly file format, and a number of nice
workflow improvements to the IDE. CS5.5 has continued these
improvements and fixed a number of stability and workflow issues
with CS5.
Because Flash CS5/5.5 is our development environment of
choice, AS3 is what we will cover in this topic. If you
re still making
the transition from AS2 to AS3, or have yet to start, don
t be discour-
aged. Where a programming convention or technique has changed
significantly from AS2, I
ll note it off to the side. AS3 can take some
time to get used to, as some of its syntax has changed dramatically
over AS2. However, before long, the changes will become second
nature and you
ll wonder how you ever got along without some of
the best features of AS3. If you
ve already got AS3 development
experience, you
re a step ahead and should feel right at home in the
language. And if you
re coming from a game development back-
ground outside of Flash, you
ll find some things familiar and some
things very different from what you
re used to.
The Case for Flash
The first thing to know about Flash is that it was never designed to
develop games. There are a number of absent features that up to
this day frustrate even a fan of Flash, like me. I
ll further outline
these strikes against it shortly, but first let
s see what Flash has
been doing.
Player Penetration
Roughly 98% of users on the Internet have some version of the
Flash player, and usually within a year of a new version being
released, about more than 80% have upgraded. The sheer size of
the audience accessible to Flash developers is unprecedented in
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