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The Essential Guide to Flash Games: Building Interactive Entertainment with ActionScript [Paperback]

Jeff Fulton , Steve Fulton
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 39.49
Price: 34.54 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

17 Mar 2010

The Essential Guide to Flash Games is a unique tool for Flash game developers. Rather than focusing on a bunch of low-level how-to material, this book dives straight into building games. The book is divided into specific game genre projects, covering everything from old classics such as a Missile Command-style game, to hot new genres such as retro evolved. The chapters build in complexity through the book, and new tools are introduced along the way that can be reused for other games.

  • The game projects covered start simple and increase in complexity as more and more tools are added to your tool chest.
  • Ten full game projects are discussed in detail. Each solves a very different game development problem and builds on the knowledge gained from the previous project.
  • Many advanced game development techniques are covered, including particle systems, advanced controls, artificial intelligence, blitting, scrolling, and more.

What you’ll learn

  • Flash/Flex ActionScript 3 game development
  • How to apply object-oriented game development techniques
  • How to solve a wide variety specific Flash game programming problems
  • How to develop a game engine and set of tools that can be reused
  • How to implement ten different games (in styles ranging from retro to modern Flash games)
  • How to optimize various games

Who this book is for

This book is for intermediate Flash developers, Flash game developers, game developers looking to move to the Flash platform, and experienced web developers who want to learn how to make games.

Table of Contents

  1. The Second Game Theory
  2. Creating an AS3 Game Framework
  3. Creating Super Click
  4. Laying the Groundwork for Flak Cannon
  5. Building the Flak Cannon Game Loop
  6. Laying the Groundwork for No Tanks!
  7. Creating the Full No Tanks! Game
  8. Creating the Color Drop Casual Puzzle Game
  9. Creating the Dice Battle Puzzle Game
  10. Blit Scrolling in a Tile-Based World
  11. Creating an Optimized Post-Retro Game
  12. Creating a Viral Game: Tunnel Panic

Product details

  • Paperback: 664 pages
  • Publisher: FRIENDS OF ED (17 Mar 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1430226145
  • ISBN-13: 978-1430226147
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 19 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 942,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Steve Fulton and Jeff Fulton are twin brothers who have worked in the web game industry for the past 10 years. Together they have designed, programmed and developed over 200 Flash games of every imaginable genre for the corporate, indie and viral Flash game markets. The brothers run the popular and influential Flash/Retro game development site They update the site daily with news, tutorials, games, and musing about Flash and the viral Flash game world.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I finished reading the whole book a couple of weekends ago, and I finally feel ready to code something on my own. I wanted to wait until I'd read it all to give a review of the whole book, and not just the general feeling I got from the beginning.

Essential Flash Games is a really well structured book! The authors show you how to iterate and build your game up in stages, and write re-usable frameworks and code, but also how to keep things simple and meet deadlines -- which is quite a hard balance. It's a good example of using object oriented code without labouring the point, and even better -- not doing things in an overly oop approach for the sake of it (all the code is object oriented, but there's no mention of design patterns or anything too academic). Their code doesn't try to be too clever or show off, it's clear and simple.

It's quite a practical book, I feel like I've been given some tools and been shown how to use them to build something of my own, and not just what they showed in the book. They never preach, and instead will guide you through different phases of learning, showing you different approaches as you learn that achieve the same things in alternative and often better ways, and encouraging you to experiment and go back to re-implement things the way you prefer them.

It's about 600 pages long, but I managed to get through it in a couple of months reading it in spare time in evenings and on the weekend -- typing out all the code and fixing mistakes I made myself as a learning exercise. It's not for absolute beginners though, it's not going to hold your hand and tell you what a for loop is, or explain what a class is -- everything is taught by example, which I found works really well.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Riddled with errors! 25 Jun 2010
This is my first title within Flash games; I am, however, not new to Flash or programming (Java + AS3). This book is so completely riddled with errors, omissions and extremely bad practices to the point of being completely useless!

The very first project resulted in 15 compiler errors! Including faulty syntax and references to several classes that don't even exist!

This is not at all intended at the beginner or result oriented developer who wants to have fun with it. This title is intended for hardcore bug hunters - if that audience exists.

I can not in any way possible recommend this title to anyone, whatever their background. This title is simply very, very, VERY bad.

A total and complete wasted amount of money for a very expensive book; someone should be ashamed of releasing this title.

Simply the lowest quality title I have ever seen.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book But VERY Poorly Edited 29 Aug 2010
By David Brady - Published on
This book has some excellent educational content. If you can get past a staggering amount of typographical errors (some of them in source code!), it is a fantastic resource. If you are familiar with programming and want to learn how to program Flash and Flex games, I highly recommend these authors.

Their editor, however, needs to be shot. There are words missing from sentences every few pages, typos in the source code, and function names that change each time they are referenced. There's even a paragraph (on page 125) explaining a snippet of source code from the previous section... but the previous section of code has been totally rewritten, so the paragraph is worse than meaningless, it's totally confusing. There is an Errata section on the authors' website, but it doesn't even begin to cover the errors in this book. It is painfully apparent that the code in the book was typed in as text and then tested and debugged later, as many examples are inconsistent or have obvious syntax errors.

If you are just starting out with programming I do NOT recommend this book UNLESS you download the accompanying source code. Otherwise you will spend too much time wondering why your program doesn't work when it's an error in the book itself.

I hate to give this a crappy review. I am learning a lot from this book and I *WANT* this book to be as great as its subject matter could be. If the authors release a Second Edition or even a corrected version, I'll be first in line to pick it up.

All that said, I still recommend this book. Their design principles are sound, and the code examples from their website actually work without any fussing or debugging. (There are some mispelled class names, but they are consistent, so the code DOES work.) If you are an experienced programmer who can spot typos in source code, and are patient with a debugger, the book will teach you exactly what you need to know to get your game off the ground.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In serious need of better proofing. 15 Oct 2010
By Ben Fischer - Published on
On the positive: I am learning a lot from this book. The authors have an excellent approach to presenting the material, and at least for me, I feel the broad brush concepts they present, especially in organizing game code are very good. What is absolutely mind boggling is the number of typos in the constantly referenced source code. You are supposed to be building your code on previous exercises (good idea), however there are often changes to function and variable names, forcing you to debug code that is presented to you as an example. Perhaps it wouldn't be as glaring if they hadn't preceded every source sample in the book with the phrase 'we have highlighted the code that is different from that game.', when as it turns out there are often dozens of other subtle changes you'll need to catch yourself.

Inconsistent, or inaccurate information presented in source code presented as educational reference is a complete fail.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fast delivery, good book but poor edition 3 Oct 2010
By Yohai - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book itself is good and the delivery was fast but. It seems like the book I got is an early edition. there's many mistakes and typos.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful 9 May 2013
By real7a - Published on
The book was really useful for me. Bought it at Apress, so not verified again %)

I've made casual game for browser, iOS and Android with one book's tutorials and modified framework with FlashDevelop and FlexSDK. The most interesting for me were game development history, lots of different games and old school programming style that helped games run properly on mobile, recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview of game programming 30 Mar 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's nice to read a book by someone who knows what they are talking about.
The Essential Guide to Flash Games by Jeff and Steve Fulton is a complete overview of 2D game programming. These guys obviously have some real-world experience with game programming, and their book reflects that. From the very beginning it teaches stuff that a game programmer actually needs to know.
Chapter one builds a simple pop-the-balloon game that demonstrates how to get an application window, display some graphics, run a timing loop, get and respond to user input, play sounds, and keep score. That's all in chapter one.
The next couple chapters finish a simple game engine by adding game states - intro screen, gameplay screen, game over screen, etc. By the end of chapter five you have made a simple Space Invaders style game. By the end of chapter seven, you have a fully functional tank combat game that is actually fun to play! The rest of the book covers tile-mapping, optimizing bitmap graphics in Flash, optimizing frame rates, and getting the 2.5D look.
Check out the source code from the Apress website to see what I mean.
The text is well written and authoritative. All of the basics of game programming are presented in a mature and thoughtful manner. The ideas presented are not limited to Flash programming, making this a good introduction to game programming in general.
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