Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Graphic design
Practically anything else!
In fact, I'll even allow you to say, “I hate computers,” or let you indulge in a fantasy of hurtling a par-
ticularly heavy blunt object at your monitor. Rest assured that I have shared exactly those same feel-
ings at some point or another!
It's all about programming
What most of the content of this topic deals with is how to write computer programs. Computer pro-
grams are like movie scripts that tell the characters and objects in your games what they should do
and how to behave under certain conditions. For example, suppose that you designed a game in which
the player must use the arrow keys on the keyboard to guide a duck through a pond infested with
hungry snapping turtles. How will the duck know that it must move when the arrow keys are pressed?
You would need to write a program to tell the duck to do this.
ActionScript is the name of the computer programming language that you'll be using to write the
programs for your games. It's a very sophisticated and powerful language, closely related to Java.
ActionScript is currently in version 3 and is known as AS3.0 for short. It's a wonderful language for
learning to program because of the following:
It is completely integrated into Flash's graphic design environment, so you can create visually
rich games much more quickly than with most other programming languages.
For the same reason, you can often see the results of your programs on the screen right away.
This makes the experience of programming very concrete, very satisfying, and far less abstract
than learning to program in many other programming languages.
Adobe has done a lot of work to make the experience of programming with AS3.0 extremely
user friendly. It has simplified the technical hurdles to getting programs up and running as
a one-click process.
AS3.0 is a “real” programming language like Java or C++. It's been in development for many
years and complies with an open source programming language called EMCAScript. The great
thing about learning to program with AS3.0 is that the skills you learn will be directly applicable
to the study of other programming languages, and you'll be able to build on these skills for
years to come. ActionScript is here to stay, and you can grow with it.
Games and programs created with AS3.0 are cross-platform , which means that they run on
any computer operating system (Windows, Mac OSX, or Linux) as long as that system has
Adobe's free Flash Player software installed. The Flash Player is one of most widely installed
pieces of software in history, so you're guaranteed a potentially huge audience for your games
without having to rewrite the programming code from scratch for each system.
There is a huge community of friendly AS3.0 developers on the Internet who have devoted vast
amounts of time to writing tutorials and helping others in online forums and discussion boards.
If you get stuck while writing a program, just ask a question on one of the many Flash and
ActionScript discussion boards, and you'll surely get a helpful reply.
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