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Flash for Game Development

One big change I’ve made this session in my Games Development class is that I’m using Adobe Flash as the main development tool, whereas last year I used Blender. I changed for a number of reasons:

  1. there is a government-backed push to get more students to do programming. Making games with Flash requires quite a lot of programming, certainly more-so than Blender.
  2. students are very familiar with games made with Flash as there are thousands already on the web.
  3. there are more tutorials and books available for Adobe Flash than for Blender.
  4. the students use Flash in other parts of their course, so are gaining familiarity with the tool each week.
  5. Flash’s scripting language, Actionscript, is very similar to Javascript and it provides a stepping stone to learning Javascript for websites or apps.
  6. Adobe Flash can be used for making web based games, standalone games & mobile games (Android or iOS).
  7. familiarity – I’ve used Flash for over 10 years and know it better than any other game development tool.

This doesn’t mean that I’m giving up on Blender – it’s a great tool and I still intend to use it in other subjects. Indeed, I may well return to using it for Game Development in the future, and if I didn’t have Flash at college, then I’d still be using Blender.

Some might question my choice of Adobe Flash as there has been a lot of bad press claiming that ‘Flash is dead’. This isn’t the case – the Flash file format SWF is being supported less and less by mobile phones and tablet devices, but Flash can export in many more formats that can be used on a range of devices. Animation in Flash can be exported to Quicktime, GIF, AVI and other formats. Interactive Flash content such as games or apps can be exported to Air for Android, iOS and also to HTML5. So, Adobe Flash the authoring tool is alive and kicking, and still a very viable tool for a lot of digital media work.

  1. kungfu
    March 22, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    You can convert it to html5? Does that even work reliably? :O

    • colinmaxwell
      March 24, 2013 at 8:19 am

      There is an add on called CreateJS toolkit that allows exporting to HTML5 of animation and some interactivity from Flash. It can’t do a whole game yet – a lot of the more complex game coding needs to be done outside of Flash.

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