Game Development Reference
Programming? But I'm terrible at math!
So is the author of this topic! One of the biggest misunderstandings that nonprogrammers have about
computer programming is that programming is some kind of math. It's not. It might look the same
on the surface, and some of the syntax has been borrowed from mathematics for matters of conve-
nience, but the whole underlying system is completely different.
That's not to say you won't be using any math in these lessons—you will. How much? You'll use addi-
tion, subtraction, multiplication, division, and some very basic algebra (the kind you might remember
from fifth grade). That's as complex as the math gets, and AS3.0 actually does all the calculating
It can get as complicated as you want it to. In a later chapter you'll use a bit of trigonometry to achieve
some specific motion effects. However, you won't need to necessarily understand the mechanics of
how trigonometry is achieving those effects—just how to use it in the context of your game. This topic
is written largely from a nonmath point of view, so mathophobes of the world are welcome!
Although you certainly don't need to use much math to start building great games
right away, acquiring a deeper understanding of the mathematical possibilities of pro-
gramming with AS3.0 will definitely give you many more options as a game developer.
Two very comprehensive and highly readable topics that cover this area in much more
detail than the scope of this topic allows are Foundation ActionScript Animation:
Making Things Move! , by Keith Peters; and Flash Math Creativity , by various authors.
Both topic are published by friends of ED and are perfect companions to Foundation
Game Design with Flash . You can apply all the techniques they discuss directly to the
game projects in this topic.
I already know how to program!
This topic has been written to be as accessible as possible for beginners and doesn't assume any pro-
gramming background. However, many of you might be experienced programmers who are reading
this topic to find out how you can use your existing AS3.0 skills to create games. Don't worry; although
the earlier chapters are definitely geared toward people new to Flash and ActionScript, later chapters
deal with fairly advanced areas of object-oriented programming that provide quite a bit of meat for
you to sink your programming teeth into.
What I recommend is that you flip ahead to Chapter 5, which is the first chapter that uses program-
ming techniques to build a complete game from beginning to end. If it seems a bit complex or there
are some terms and concepts you don't understand, step back by a chapter or two until you find your
comfort level. Otherwise, if Chapter 5 seems like a good level for you, go for it! From a programming
point of view, things get quite a bit more interesting from that chapter onward.
Many of the techniques involved in game design are quite specialized, Even though you might know
quite a lot about ActionScript or programming, it's not always obvious how to use those skills to build
games. The focus of this topic is on the architecture of game design instead of the specific nuts and
bolts of programming. If you have a lot of programming experience, this topic will show you how you
can use those skills within the context of completely developed games.