Real-World Flash Game Development: How to Follow Best Practices AND Keep Your Sanity Paperback – 25 May 2011
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"The book could be used as a course resource for advanced undergraduates or as a reference for experienced programmers who want to use Flash. The excellent companion website supplies all the code needed to build the examples, as well as a forum where questions can be posted and answered. The author frequently inserts commentary about best programming practices (what to do and what to avoid), which differentiates this book from many similar titles. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through researchers/faculty, two-year technical program students, and professionals/practitioners."-- E. Bertozzi, Long Island University, CHOICE
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This book isn't any less technical, but many of the chapters have been revamped to take "lead ins" into account for late beginner/early intermediate developers. If you are just getting into a game programming career, or finishing school or an apprenticeship, you need to consider that in the next 15 years virtual worlds (such as second life) will become a very important aspect of all gaming-- MMO's, whether social or gaming, are about where the Atari and Pacman were years ago-- on the verge of an exponential explosion.
How much, in that context, will Flash skills matter? With pros creating Avatars with Poser, animating with Maya or Blender, and tying the Track-Render-Display sequences together in Unity... does Flash really have a chance? YES! If you look at a very mainstream MMO server like Fox, you will notice that their early deep support for ActionScript now includes Unity3D. If Adobe keeps up (and it appears that they are doing so in CS6), you'll need Flash (especially for handhelds), along with the Kinect SDK, and XNA if you want a shot at the big leagues with Microsoft's awesome developer opportunities, as compared to the "big boys only" at Sony and Nintendo. Speaking of letting smaller programmers and developers in: also check out Amazon's new contests for web TV, animations, etc. in the new Amazon Studio venture-- it is INDIE friendly just like XNA!
Digressions aside, if you take the "bible" of flash (AdvancED Game Design with Flash), then compare it with this new edition, you will find that Real World has done a wonderful job of pulling out many of the most important "must know" details from that 760 page behemoth:
-- Advantages of tile-based designs
-- Irregularly shaped object collision secrets
-- Pathfinding (a must for MMO's)
-- Interactive authoring (designs that can be recreated, modified, etc.)
-- Management of bigger designs that have thousands of interacting variables, objects, avatars, etc.
In addition, there is very good coverage of physics, vectors, particles etc. and all of the code we've tried so far is glitch free (astonishing for a book with plenty of new code to catch up to CS5+).
The big CON: if you have ZERO Actionscript experience, this book (like Van der Spuy's advanceED) will have a very steep learning curve, and you'll need to spend a LOT of time on online tutorials, or break down and get Foundation Game Design with ActionScript 3.0 or one of the other intro to AS volumes/ courses.
The big secret of Flash/ AS Pros: libraries of reusable code. Very few folks start from scratch converting Line of Sight AI from Python, importing OpenGL and DirectX, etc.-- the foundation Flash/AS is available all over the web, and both Van Der Spuy and RWF give numerous web references. Amazon won't allow us to repeat them here, but we can say that this edition has numerous resources on the web to help you not waste time reinventing the wheel. When they say real world (practical) they MEAN it!
Even if you're just getting into AS, this is worth buying now, as you'll catch up to it, and it is so timely that with CS6 coming out as we type, the catch up game is ever so Satchel Paige today.
If you liked the first edition, you'll love this one. If you haven't read the first, this one has smoothed out many of the rough edges that left beginners a bit scruffy with the first, particularly its tendency to jump right into ActionScript without giving "whys." The authors didn't try to dumb this down for beginners, but they did provide a little more reasoning that will help (late) beginners and early intermediates catch up with less outside research. Unlike tutorials or even texts, this book has one advantage we haven't found in hardly any others: a problem-solving approach that makes the book as much a reference as a learning tool for secrets and cheats. If you're really advanced, you'll love that as well as the more strategic tips on Verlet, MVC, Euler, embedding assets, optimization, speed, screen management and much more.
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