the free tools of the trade...
I've been working with Flash for a few years now. But I didn't switch over to programming with ActionScript 3.0 until earlier this summer. And I have to say, I've found AS3 to be so much easier to work with than AS2. I'm glad I switched.
Here's where to start if you want to make Flash games with AS3. If you do it this way, it's all free, and you don't need any prior experience with programming, or Flash.
If you forget everything else I'm about to tell you, just remember these two words:
So, where do you start?
Step 1: FlashDevelop
Start with the Making Games in ActionScript 3 using FlashDevelop tutorials! They'll tell you everything you need to download, how to install it and get it all set up, and walk you through all the basics of a typical Flash game.
Here they are:
- MGAS3FD 1: The Setup
- MGAS3FD 2: The Beginning
- MGAS3FD 3: Getting on with it
- MGAS3FD 4: More embedding
- MGAS3FD 5: Enter the frame
- MGAS3FD 6: Click it like it’s hot
This tutorial will assume some basic familiarity with object oriented programming, a graphical tool of your choice and general computer literacy.
If you have any questions, you are welcome to post them here - I'll do my best to help. :)
But first, I'd recommend having a look through the Understanding Classes in AS3 tutorials!
If you’re stuck in an ActionScript 2 rut, or you’re new to ActionScript 3 and it’s blowing your mind, this should help ease you in a bit better.
Here they are:
- Understanding Classes in AS3 Part 1
- Understanding Classes in AS3 Part 2
- Understanding Classes in AS3 Part 3
- Understanding Classes in AS3 Part 4
Have you gone through the Making Games in AS3 tutorials? Have you gotten FlashDevelop all set up, and maybe made a simple program or two?
If not, then go back and do it!
If yes, then you're ready to move on to the next step! :D
Step 2: Flixel
Don't bother making games from scratch. Make them with Flixel.
flixel is a completely free collection of ActionScript 3 files that helps organize, automate, and optimize Flash games; an object-oriented framework that lets anyone create original and complex games with thousands of objects on screen in just a few hours.
It's the same game engine that was used to make Canabalt.
Start by downloading the latest version of Flixel, then follow these instructions to get a something showing up on the screen. If it works, download this example game and follow these quick instructions to run it:
- Making a simple brick breaker game with Flash and Flixel
- Making a platform game with Actionscript and Flixel
Then you can try this more in-depth tutorial on how to make a spaceship shooting game from scratch using Flixel:
To help you in your journey, there is the Flixel documentation, the Flixel wiki, and the help forum where you can ask questions and find answers. Also, the Flash Game Dojo. And of course, Google is always helpful.
If you get tired of using Flixel, for some strange reason, and you want to build your own game engine, you can give this tutorial a try. For experts only!
Flixel has changed a lot since I first wrote this post, so I recommend you check out this more recent guide on How to Learn Flixel if you're just getting started now.
Lastly, here are a few tools that may come in handy.
Unless you're making games for blind people (which is awesome) you'll probably need some way to make graphics and animations for your games. I'd highly recommend using the free image editor Paint.NET for this purpose. It's great for pixel art, and easy to use despite having a lot of nice features in it.
Similarly, you'll probably want to have sounds in your game. For general sound recording and editing, try the free sound editor Audacity. Again, it's easy to use and is capable enough for recording and modifying sounds. I use it mostly to clean up recordings or save sounds into different formats and file sizes.
If you're not interested in recording your own sound effects, you can generate them, with the amazing free tool called sfxr. Just click a button to get a randomized game sound, or change the settings manually to get the sound you want. It's perfect for games.
The creator of sfxr has also released a free tool for making game music, called musagi. I haven't tried it yet but I hear it's pretty good.
There are quite a lot of nice, free tools out there if you know where to look. Here's one list that you might find useful.
That's all I have for you! Now go make some awesome games with FlashDevelop and Flixel. And let me know how it goes. I'm here if you have any questions. :)