Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
It Looks Good
While I
ve all seen our share of hideous-looking Flash
content over the years, some of the best-looking and most visually
effectiveworkI
'
msurewe
'
ve ever seen on the Web was created in Flash.
Because Adobe is such a design-centric company, they are equally
concerned with tools that allow your work to look nice as they are
with tools that make it run well. This has a tendency to frustrate both
designers and developers from the hard-core ends of the spectrum,
but it is exactly this marriage of technology and design that makes
Flash unique.
'
Nobody ' s Perfect
For all that Flash has been doing, it is certainly not without its
flaws when it comes to producing games. Don
t get me wrong; the
point of enumerating these flaws is so you as the developer will be
aware of them, not to make a case against using Flash in the first
place. The good news is that most of these downsides can be
worked around with the right tools.
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Flaw: The Code Editor
Although the Flash ActionScript editor has definitely evolved with
the rest of the package over the years, it still lacks a handful of fun-
damental features that keep me from wholeheartedly recommending
it as the coding tool of choice. The most aggravating omission is
actually just a poor implementation: code hinting. As you write
code, Flash tries to anticipate what you
re going to want to type next
and offers you a selectable list of options to try and speed up the
process. The problem is that it only hints code when you get to the
end of a word, so if you start to misspell a variable or function and
don
'
t receive a hint for it, you have no indicator of where you went
wrong. With CS5, Adobe added the ability to introspect (look inside)
custom classes, but the code editor is still inferior to both competing
products.
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Solution: Use an Additional Tool
The simplest solution (and the one I use) to this quandary is to use
an additional application to handle all your ActionScript writing
and use Flash for everything else. The two best options out there
as of this writing are FlashDevelop, a free open-source code editor,
and Flash Builder (formerly Flex Builder), Adobe
scodingapplica-
tion based on Eclipse (another open-source editor). If you
'
'
re on a
tight budget or you don
tintendtousetheFlexframeworktocre-
ate Flash content, FlashDevelop is a great choice and what I use
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