So I’ve had a bit on my proverbial plate of late, what with Ismia (designing, play-testing, illustrating and coloring), Dungeons & Dragons adventure mod design, Maya work, gaming and blogging, but just to make sure I don’t have a shred of free time, I figured I’d learn how to design games in Flash.
It’s an idea that’s been kicking around in my head for quite some time. I loved designing Ismia. I revel in the problem solving and logic that goes into developing game mechanics. It has always been just a matter of time before I tried my hand at my other love — video games. The logical first step for me is learning Adobe Flash.
No problem, I thought. Just look up some tutorials on line and get to work. I found my first tutorial, designed for beginners like me, started reading it and was a bit disappointed with what I found: gobbledegook. Turns out I was more than a beginner. Back to square zero. I have some rudimentary knowledge of HTML and I knew my way around a DOS prompt back in the day, but a programmer I am not. I would really need someone to hold my hand. Luckily, the next tutorial was ready to do just that, and it had been hiding under my nose on my favorite flash games site.
Kongregate has a section of their site devoted to a series of very well made tutorials or “shootorials” that hold your hand through the development of a very simple side-scrolling shooter. The author has a knack for divulging the right information at the right time, and assumes the reader has absolutely zip knowledge about Flash. He explains not only the code but other basic Flash jargon like the “stage”, “variables” and a “class.” Terms that the other tutorials assumed I knew.
The tutorials quickly get more advanced but never feel too difficult. There were times that my version of the game didn’t work even though I had done the steps exactly as they were laid out. By that point the author had already instilled a level of competence that allowed me to look at my code and find out why it wasn’t working, then move on with the tutorial. In this way, the author slowly lets go of your hand and off you go.
The upshot is, two days later, I have my first playable game. When I encounter a problem, I am able to read through my very basic code and find the mistakes. I am even able to write code that I think should work based on the logic of the program as I understand it and sometimes it actually WORKS!
With a book on Flash game design in the mail, and a burning itch to keep learning this fun and complex program, my first online flash game doesn’t seem too far off in the future!