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Beginning Flash Game Programming for Dummies Paperback – 4 Nov 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 410 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (4 Nov. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764589628
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764589621
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 2.2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 298,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

You can start game programming in a flash Here′s how to create five different cool games — no experience necessary! Ever think you could come up with a better computer game? Then this book is for you! No boring programming theory here, just the stuff you need to know to actually make something happen, and all in plain English. Build a brain–teasing math game, go classic with Pong, create monsters and mayhem, and much more. Discover how to Build and control basic movie clips Make text appear and change Generate random numbers Add sound effects Create cars and space vehicles that move realistically Blow up stuff onscreen

About the Author

Andy Harris earned a degree in Special Education from Indiana University/Purdue University–Indianapolis (IUPUI). He taught young adults with severe disabilities for several years. He also taught himself enough computer programming to support his teaching habit with freelance programming. Those were the exciting days when computers started to have hard drives, and some computers connected to each other with arcane protocols. He taught programming in those days because it was fun. Eventually, Andy decided to teach computer science full time, and he still teaches at IUPUI. He lectures in the applied computing program and runs the streaming media lab. He also teaches classes in whatever programming language is in demand at the time. He has developed a large number of online video–based courses and international distance education projects. Andy has written several books on various computing topics and languages including Java, C#, mobile computing, JavaScript, and PHP/MySQL. Andy welcomes comments and suggestions about his books. He can be reached at

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LILY on 23 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
I bought it for my 11-year-old son. He planned and had read through it within one month. He started to program his own games, and let me and his firends play and test. I think the book works providing the knowledge of using flash. A good book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T W Tansley on 10 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like all Dummies Guides I have read (always as a Dummy rather than as an expert being reminded) I find the book clear and easy to comprehend. Time will tell if I actually find the time to master flash or not - but the book should help!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Mullen on 29 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easy to understand, excellent introduction to programming Flash.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 28 reviews
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
A diamond in the rough 28 Dec. 2005
By Daniel Fabulich - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is a really excellent *programming* introduction to Flash; apparently the only one of its kind on the market!

I consider myself a "programmer" type, and had been turned off by most of the other introductory Flash material that I'd encountered, which was mostly designed for graphic designers who wanted to avoid programming. Even the most basic introductory ActionScript books out there begin by assuming you already know how to make a pretty good Flash movie, which is really terrible, because you have to unlearn a lot of so-called "advanced" Flash-animation techniques to get good at Flash programming.

As a programmer, you should be able to read through this book in a day... Then spend another day or two working on the official exercises. You could then easily blow weeks on this book's ten "starters" (available for free on unfinished games whose final implementation is left up to your imagination. These are a fantastic resource; finishing the exercises and starters will prepare you to read the other Flash introductory in a new light.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Horribly Outdated 17 Sept. 2008
By James R. Ivie - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book teaches you how to program games using Flash MX 2004. Unfortunately, that product is no longer available and hasn't been for quite some time. Newer flash programming environments are very different, so many of the samples and techniques in this book will be useless unless you already have Flash MX 2004.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
A few things would make this book perfect 9 Aug. 2006
By Another Weekend Warrior - Published on
Format: Paperback
I've programmed for years, but actionscript was different enough for me not to be able to pick it up easily. This book helped immensely in learning basic concepts like the timelines, layers, movieclips, etc. I'm close to completing one game as I write this, as a matter of fact, so the book did it's job.

There are two things that need improving, however. First, the code for pong needs improvement. I noticed, when following the author's suggestions that the ball would sometimes bounce into imaginary walls. Specifically, near the top of the screen the ball would bounce within a tiny confined location in an up and down motion, even though there is no bottom wall at the point where it starts going back up. So I downloaded the author's code. Sure enough, he had the same problem in his code as well. I'm sure I could look through the code and figure out the bug, but this should have been caught by the author.

Second, since multi-player gaming is soooo hot right now, I feel that at least two chapters should have been devoted to this. I've searched and found out that you're supposed to use the XMLSocket object. However, the intricacies, like making sure that what one user sees on his screen is the same thing another user sees, network latency, etc, are subjects that would have been much appreciated.

The good thing with this book, however, is that for single player games the author whets your appetite enough so that whatever he doesn't show you you can at least google and find a solution.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Must make accommodations to use this book with current Flash CS3 15 Sept. 2008
By Randy Forgaard - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
IMPORTANT NOTE TO READERS: This book is not written for the current Flash CS3, so you need to make a few accommodations. When the book tells you to create a new Flash program, be sure to choose the option to create an ActionScript 2.0 Flash File, NOT the current ActionScript 3.0. In the very first line of game programming code described in this book (on p.38), it uses the "onRelease" property of a button, which is no longer available in ActionScript 3.0. The program won't compile or run, and right out of the blocks, the reader is stuck. However, if you create an ActionScript 2.0 program, it works fine, and then you can continue.

NOTE: I just noticed that Adobe is releasing their CS4 suite about a week from now, which will probably also update Flash again to CS4. Hopefully, Flash CS4 will still provide the ability to create ActionScript 2.0 files, so that Flash CS4 can still be used with this book.

This is as far as we have gotten in the book so far. I will update this review if we discover more things to watch out for when using this book with Flash CS3.

This updated version of the book is copyrighted in 2006 but was released in November 2005, and was written for Macromedia Flash MX 2004. Since then, Adobe has acquired Macromedia, and Flash has gone through two more releases. Flash 8 was released in September 2005 (two months before the book was released), and Flash CS3 was released in April 2007. Flash CS3 added support for ActionScript 3.0, but fortunately also supports ActionScript 2.0 files.

Except for this slight hiccup, this book is working well for us. I've started reading it, and it is very accessible, jumping right into the game programming topics to keep the reader interested. I am a software engineer by training, but I bought the book for my 15-year-old son because he is extremely interested in writing computer games. Flash is the best platform for game writing for teens, because it's fairly easy to use, is quite powerful, and it's incredibly easy to post their completed Flash games to web sites like Kongregate where zillions of other teens will find them and play them. My excited son took to this book like a duck to water, but then got stumped on the very first programming task, because of this ActionScript 3.0 issue. I figured out the problem and got him straightened out, using ActionScript 2.0 instead.

One significant issue, which I'm sure you've discovered, is that the Flash development environment is very expensive. Flash CS3 Professional costs $699 from Adobe, or $670 on Amazon. I was able to find a legal, new, shrinkwrapped copy on eBay for $499, but that's still a lot of money to allow my teen to learn how to program games. I'm sure we'll find other uses for Flash, though, in our web site work, and overall I think it is worth it to keep my son interested in software engineering as a career.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Great, but the code is dated 14 Feb. 2010
By The Great Khen - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Simply put, this book was published in 2005. That's over four years ago now, so the code will not compile. At all.

I highly recommend it if you're looking for a book that will give you examples that you have to fix, otherwise if you're no good at debugging then save yourself the trouble of buying it.
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