LD14 Baby!

Posted by
April 13th, 2009 10:22 am

I am pretty sure I’m going to make a go of LD14 this weekend.  I will be voting in the theme rounds all week long and take a look Friday to see the theme that is picked.  I will make up my mind then for sure.  Why the hesitation?  Well, I have a lot of things I’m already working on game wise so I have to make sure working on ANOTHER game is the best use of my energy… 😉  I do love the LD compos though.. it’s what got me back into game programming again so it will always have a lot of pull on my heart.  It is just so much fun as many of you know to participate in this event.

As far as programming tech and libraries go I will be making a change for the first time in all my LD experience!  Previously I was rocking the Ruby language and using the excellent Gosu game dev library (which I still highly recommend!)

This time I’ll be using Flash / ActionScript 3.0.  I have spent the past couple months learning ActionScript (first used AS2 for one game) and then another game I did in AS3 to work on my knowledge in that.  Plus I’ve cranked through a couple really great books I picked up that I also highly recommend to anyone looking to make the leap.  Essential ActionScript 3.0 (O’Reilly), ActionScript 3.0 Animation (Keith Peters), and Flash CS4 Professional  (Katherine Ulrich). The Kongregate Shootorials were also a great place to start for AS2 and they have an AS3 version of the finished tutorial to learn from the code (it is well commented.)  I learn good from books so I had to grab a few to help out.  Anyway, I’ve been having a blast with Flash / ActionScript!

I’ve been very impressed by how quickly you can rough out a game prototype using the Flash authoring tool and some simple ActionScript classes.  I used to think that I’d be hard pressed to find as rapid a dev environment than what I was already using with Ruby / Gosu but all I can say is DAMN.. flash is fast.  :)

Plus, the added benefit of having both rapid playable cross platform versions for compo feedback as well as not worrying about the various builds after the compo and I think it builds a strong case as rapid prototyping tool geared for quick compos like this one.

Tool Set I want to use:

Flash / ActionScript 3.0

Libraries I want to use (if this seems ok par the rules?):

GreenSock’s tweening engine TweenMax / TweenLite

Looking forward to a great theme and a great compo everyone, take care!

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12 Responses to “LD14 Baby!”

  1. GBGames says:

    My only concern with Flash is that when someone hands out an FLA file as “source”, it’s in a proprietary format that can only be read in the Flash authoring tool. I have a game on Facebook that is partially Flash-based, and I have yet to see the source code because I haven’t paid Adobe for the privilege of being able to read what my contractor made for me.

    Otherwise, yeah, it sounds awesome, and I will probably have to shell out the money for it eventually, if only so I could use it for my business.

  2. HybridMind says:

    Well, true about the fla aspect. I hadn’t thought much about that end of things yet. So far I’ve just been doing stuff for myself so I haven’t had to share any flash source.

    One option is that you can make something with just actionscript *.as files and compile that using some of the free flashdevelop tools to turn it into a swf. You don’t really need the whole proprietary flash stack if you don’t want it. Here is some info on free alternatives: http://disruption.ca/archives/actionscript-and-mxmlc/

  3. HybridMind says:

    Here is a free as3 vector editor to use as well: http://musprite.sourceforge.net/

  4. dertom says:

    Hmm,…so that mean Flash is excluded from now on? There were flash-projects in the past with fla-source (e.g. GirlFlash).

  5. HybridMind says:

    I don’t think it means flash is excluded. I think you may have been confused by the phrasing that GBGames used that makes it sound odd.. 😉 He was talking about a project outside the scope of this compo.

    In order to use Flash and /or action script for the LD compo.. you would simply post all your resources just like any other tool / language used here.

    In my case, I would post my FLA and AS files.. The FLA would basically contain the ‘library’ which will have all the art and sound assets.

    As long as someone has a way to view FLA files (Flash tool, Flex, etc) then they can check it out. They can always look at the AS files to see the code if they are still curious.

    Hope that helps!

  6. GBGames says:

    Hah, no, Flash is fine for the compo. I am voicing my frustration that a game I made and paid someone to port to Flash for me is not exactly accessible by me.

    And I was really interested in using open source tools, which are definitely available. If I create new Flash games, I’d go that route. I still need a way to get at the existing game. Do you know how much gets tied up in the FLA that couldn’t be separated from it entirely?

  7. HybridMind says:

    @GBGames: I am not certain about that question regarding assets tied up in the FLA. I believe you could do everything with AS files and external assets (pictures, vectors, sounds etc) and just do loader calls to them.. I believe the problem to be solved would be how to get them all into the SWF when it is compiled. A FLA is basically just a big archive and that is it. I think it even uses the ZIP format but I may be mistaken. Anyway, this is just me thinking aloud here trying to remember things I’ve read along the way.. you probably wanna search around a bit for people that have been using Flash longer than I as well as people who haven’t been using the Flash authoring tool in the first place. I’m guessing they’ve solved this! :)

  8. GBGames says:

    True. I am just wondering if the Flash authoring tool JUST does what anyone can do with the CLI tools, or if it does special, exclusive stuff, meaning that if I wanted to take my Facebook app and find a way to convert it to AS files and external assets, I couldn’t.

    Either way, what a pain. B-)

  9. hamburger says:

    What you are looking for, GBGames, is FLEX. Flex is basically AS3 severed from the Flash IDE; instead of the Flash stage, you have XML files that define the layout and movie properties. Assets are imported in code, and all of the code is in ActionScript 3. Adobe offers the Flex framework and compiler for free and open source, and there are open-source tools to use for Flex development, most notably the wonderful tool called FlashDevelop.

    In my ordinary life, I’m a Flex developer, and that’s definitely the way to go. Here at LD though, I’ve been working in the Flash IDE, because it allows for much faster mockups and prototyping. In my view, Flash is the world’s best prototyping tool, but Flex is a better alternative for larger projects.

  10. HybridMind says:

    Hey hamburger.. thanks for that clarification. I know I could probably go and research this up… but wanted to know if when you say “Assets are imported in code” can you still create one final SWF file? I like when everything ends up being contained at the end rather than creating a SWF that is loading assets in the same (or relative) directories. Anyway, good point about Flex. I mainly use that to do remote profiling (memory and performance) of Flash games. Here is a great link for anyone that wants to learn who to use Flex to profile their Flash games while still using the Flash IDE. http://www.zedia.net/2008/using-the-flex-profiler-with-a-flash-website-or-application/

  11. hamburger says:

    Yeah, if you use the “embed” tag in Flex (which works on pretty much any asset format you can think of), the asset gets bundled into the SWF. So from the player’s perspective it’s simply a Flash game, and there’s no way to tell whether you used Flex or the Flash IDE.

  12. HybridMind says:

    Thanks for the info hamburger! That is really good stuff to know. As this weekend approaches I am definitely getting psyched for this event and feel I’m fairly likely to participate. Most of the final themes today looked good to me. Maybe 10-15% looked like ones I’d be disappointed in so that is good odds for something working out!

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