Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
the games industry. Because it is available on machines running
Windows, Mac OS, or Linux, it also bridges the gaps between all
the major consumer platforms. Most game designers and develo-
pers that produce big-budget, retail titles have to settle for a
much smaller demographic and have to make the conscious (and
often costly) decision to include platforms other than their main
target. This ubiquity is quickly spreading to other devices besides
desktop computers; phones and tablets of all shapes and sizes are
quickly adopting various flavors of Flash to enhance the user
experience.
Flexibility
Flash is capable of being many things at once. You can create
cartoons, postproduction effects, presentations, banner advertise-
ments, all kinds of Web sites, Web and desktop-based applications,
and, of course, games. Developers use Flash for any and all of
these functions, and some may only be familiar with the one task
they
ve learned to do. Because it is a very visual environment,
Flash is also much more approachable to novices than most devel-
opment packages. Unfortunately, this immense flexibility comes
with a price. By not being designed specifically to do any one
thing, Flash tends to take a very generic approach to its toolset and
includes functionality that is useful to a number of applications,
not just one niche. You can create additional tools, scripts, work-
flows, etc. that will help you in your particular task, but that is all
up to your individual ingenuity. I
'
'
ll cover some of these additions
in a later chapter.
Speed to Market
Flash makes many tasks, which would require a great deal of code
in other languages, much easier. Tasks, such as simple animation,
basic playback of video and audio, are very streamlined in Flash
and allow developers to get their products to market much faster
than other solutions, with arguably more power. For instance,
because of its animator heritage, Flash makes it very easy to display
visuals on the screen. This may sound like an obvious statement,
but compared with other development environments, this is a big
advantage. C++, Java, and other languages render everything to the
screen programmatically, so drawing a simple rectangle on screen
requires many, many lines worth of code. All it takes in Flash is
selecting the rectangle tool and placing one on the Stage, or writing
a few lines of ActionScript. Flash takes care of rendering everything
under the hood,
so you as the developer don
'
t have to worry
about it. Well, not too much anyway.
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