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FLASH! AAAAAAAHHHHH! SAVIOR OF THE UNIVERSE!

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johnhattan

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Heh heh. Now you're gonna be humming that stupid song all day.

I've got a minor contract to do a Flash version of one of my games for a German kids' site. It's basically done, which gave me a good chance to try out the brave new world that is Flash programming. Here are some impressions. . .

- While it's a neat animation environment, it doesn't work well as a programming environment. It seems that the scripting was tacked on. There's no nice "workspace" mentality like in, for example, VB. Instead, you work with frames of animation. The frames are supposed to work in constant time (usually 12 frames/second), but when you're scripting, you find yourself stopping frames to run your script. For example, my game takes about four minutes to play, but only takes up seven frames of animation.

- The programming language, ActionScript, is basically JavaScript. For a guy weaned on strongly-typed languages and rigid data types, it's something new to wrap your mind around. There's basically one primative data-type, which is internally represented by either a string, int, or float, depending on what the engine thinks you'll want. Variables are allocated on the fly, so you don't need to declare anything. Unfortunately, its guesses for types aren't always right. For example, if you've got the code:

X += 10;
X += 10;

X will be the string "1010". If you've got this, though.

X = 0;
X += 10;
X += 10;

Then, X will be 20, which is probably what you wanted.

Flash's biggest strength by far is its runtime engine and the game files themselves. My game's pretty big for a Flash game, and it's about 220k. Runs fine on Windows, Mac, or even Windows CE.
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