For The Fancy Pants Adventures for console / World 3 FAQs, click here.
Warning: I’m pretty opinionated when I write, especially about Flash, video games, and Flash video games. If you work at Adobe, reading this page will probably make you hate me.
First and foremost: “How do you make games?”
I’m getting this question a lot, so it sounds like a great question to start out on. The actual program that I use it Adobe’s Flash CS3, you can find a trial of it here.
Now, there is a slight problem with me recommending to anyone using Flash as a means to create a game. See, Adobe really only cares about two things right now: web-based applications, and streaming video. Guess which one of those isn’t a saturated market? That’s right, neither of them. Flash used to be a tool in which to make interactive multimedia, but instead of making the internet better with Flash, professionals just used Flash to make annoying web advertisements. So now we have AJAX (OMG things can change on the web page without hitting the refresh button!), which isn’t anything new at all, it’s just doing what Flash should have been used for in the first place.
What I’m trying to say is, don’t expect Adobe to ever support independent game developers who create Flash content.
“Can you show me how to make a game?”
I may start writing simple tutorials on my site, but don’t expect me to be able to tell you how to make a game in just a paragraph…
“Are there any tips/tricks you can tell me?”
Hm… well, the most general advice I can give is this: more complex/realistic code does not make better games. Games are about fun, not imitating reality. A game should deliver feedback to the player that the player’s mind does not dispute, so, making sure a ball bounces correctly off of a surface is important, making a character’s limbs react independently to an explosion (like with ragdoll animation), instead of flailing comically about, is not.
Can I have your source code? / Are there any good tutorials you can recommend?
That code took way to long to write to just give out to someone, I’d like to think my time is worth more than that…
I really don’t recommend tutorials, or looking at other people’s code. Everyone’s going to have a different style of coding, and if you’re just pasting together pieces of other people’s work, you’re not going to understand how your game actually works, which will make debugging any problems a nightmare.
If you’ve just downloaded a Flash trial on a whim, and have no idea how programming works, or what variables are which, or anything like that, I would recommend the samples that came with Flash MX, which can be downloaded from Adobe.com from here (First click on the samples tile near the top, I would recommend the AS2 sample files, which are at the very bottom under ‘Legacy Samples’. That’s how I learned my _x and _y and finding rotation from speed and vice versa, and moving an object about based on thrust physics. After you understand what those formulas do, though, I recommend trial and error from there on. Maybe a few classes on advanced trig, but those types of games aren’t really my specialty…
“Are you still accepting freelance work?”
Probably not, unless the price vs. amount of work necessary is irresistible, I have a pile of games that I put on hold to get World 2 out the door that I can’t wait to dive back into.
“So what are you working on now?”
I don’t know when I’ll reveal my next project, but without going into specifics, it won’t be as huge as World 2 (mostly because it’s build on a tile engine), and it uses some incredibly fun (and entirely faked, FTW) physics.
Another warning: If you don’t know anything about Flash, the following won’t make much sense to you. Also, these rest of the questions are answered pretty much the same way I would answer them in real life. Yes, I rant.
Mainly, because while the web professionals were making ‘shoot the monkey, win an iPod’ advertisements, hoards of individuals were doing something with Flash that I consider to be far more important than terrorizing web sites: they used Flash to entertain me. See, anyone can make something in Flash, and because 99.9% of the internet can play Flash right from their browser, distributing a Flash production is ridiculously easy. You can draw something right into Flash, and you’ll have a .swf file with something in it. There’s no learning curve to creating the bare minimum. So, anyone can make crazy things that make me laugh, and upload them anywhere on the internet for me to see. Because of this, I definitely started out with a bias towards Flash.
There’s actually quite a few things that I like about working in Flash, though, mainly, the animation and code is tied very tightly together. It’s very easy to animate sprites within Flash, if you choose to animate your sprites within Flash. There’s no importing a series of bitmaps and writing code that tells them how to animate, you merely create a movie clip, then draw your animation right inside of it. Then you tell the character to go to the correct animation based on what he’s doing. This is one of the reasons why I was able to animate Fancy Pants Man so smoothly, everything was drawn right into the program, I could test any animation instantly, and tweak the animations until they looked just right to me.
“ActionScript 2.0 or ActionScript 3.0?”
AS2 is extremely easy to use. Thing is, when I make a game, I want to make a game, I don’t want to build databases or write algorithms. I enjoy making code work, but I certainly don’t enjoy the actual coding. AS 3 is closer to real C++ while AS 2 is more like BASIC, which is closer to holding a logical conversation with a computer. I’m not hear to write web based programs that can already be done in AJAX and have very little return when they run faster. Yeah, there’s a few things that can be done in AS3 that can’t be done in AS2 because of the speed necessary in running the game at a decent framerate. Like… um… well… incredibly complex physics engines that I don’t really care about? Yep, that’s right, all the physics in my games are faked. That’s probably why they’ll glitch out if you push them too hard, but a ‘realistic’ physics engine won’t make a game good, in fact, unless it’s one of those two-wheeled-vehicle-2d-platforming games, a realistic physics engine will probably take most of the life out of your game. Ragdoll physics usually look strange and unnatural, in 2d or 3d.