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Game Development with Flash


  1. ROI: Why It Is Cheap to Distribute Online
  2. Breaking the Barriers with Flash
  3. ActionScript
  4. Don't Forget the Fun

Article Description

In this age of Internet gaming, Matthew David tells why you need only one tool for building online games: Macromedia Flash MX.

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The Internet is massively impacting how games are being designed. In this article, you learn why you need only one solution for building online games: Macromedia Flash MX.

Games are addictive. The game console industry is busting at the seams. The year 2000 was the first in which console games outpaced Hollywood movies in gross and net profits. This was immediately reflected in 2001 when Hollywood began to release movies based on games, instead of the other way round. The game industry is growing exponentially.

Flash has been proving itself to be the universal solution for rich, multimedia-driven Web sites. Flash MX now gives you the power to develop complex games, such as the one shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1 Figure 1 The classic Asteroids Collision game.

The sections that follow introduce ActionScript, the tool that enables you to build complex games, together with a couple of scripting tricks to add your personal touch to a movie.

ROI: Why It Is Cheap to Distribute Online

Ever bought a game? Of course you have. Console and PC games can range in price from $15 to $60, depending on the title. Games can also be sold on the Internet, often for much less than the CD versions cost.

The reason for this is that a CD or DVD printed game requires more costs and handling than a Web game. For one thing, it's necessary to print the CD, design a label and packaging for the CD, and mail the CD to the stores or buyers of the game. In addition, shelf space must be purchased in a store to sell the game. All of these steps add up.

A Web game, on the other hand, can be sold for less because it does not incur the costs of packaging and shipping CDs.

Immediate "Web Time" Results

The Web is a massive powerhouse of "I need it now" people. There is no waiting on the Web—things have to be immediate.

When you are developing games, you need to keep this in mind. Do not build games that will take hours to download; the people coming to play online games do not want to wait. Also keep your games simple. Complex games such as SimCity are fun, but they take too long for the Web. Generally, many of the people accessing your game are doing so over their lunch break.

If you change or update content, those modifications can be immediately reflected on the site. The huge benefit from Web gaming is that players do not need to wait for the publishers to print the game. It is immediate. It is live. It is now.

Accurate Tracking

Placing your games online gives you the unprecedented opportunity to see which games are successful. You do not need to infringe on you customers privacy in this process. Performing simple actions, such as checking usage statistics, will show you where the people coming to play your games are going (see Figure 2).

Figure 2 Figure 2 You should review your Web site statistics to see which areas of your site are receiving the most traffic. Here I am using Onestat.com to analyze the Web traffic.

2. Breaking the Barriers with Flash | Next Section