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Darkbouncer4689

Getting started with AS3

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Hey all,

I'm just getting started with actionscript3 and was hoping someone with some experience can give me a few pointers as to what can be done with AS/Flash programs.

From what I've found it seems like people use Flex Builder (now called Flash Builder?) I'm not exactly sure what Flex Builder is about and how it relates to AS3, based on Adobe's site it lets you make applications for multiple platforms including smart phones, tables, browser and desktop?

I think that AS3 is run in its own virtual machine. I'm not really sure how you make web applications with it yet, something similar to java applets perhaps?

I had always thought that Flash was just a method of getting graphics on the screen, but it seems like it's an entire scripted programming language? I may be using the wrong terminology here, is Flash just something that runs ActionScript?

Is it actually feasible to have a Flash application that will run in the browser and on smart phones that support flash?

Lastly, are there any free IDE/SDK out there for working with AS3? It seems like only adobe has anything, and they are greedy bastards!

Thanks!

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Hi Darkbouncer,

Yes, Flex Builder is one of the easiest ways to get started (it's how I did).

It's pretty much just a simple IDE.

It's pretty easy to use.

If you're making games, I'd recommend starting with a game library like Flixel, using Flex.

[url="http://flixel.org/"]flixel.org/[/url]


There are some great tutorials that will take you step by step through everything you need to do, and get you running building their demo games. If you know how to program, in any other language, AS3 is a breeze to pick up one you're set up.

[quote name='Darkbouncer4689' timestamp='1317513487' post='4868117']
I had always thought that Flash was just a method of getting graphics on the screen, but it seems like it's an entire scripted programming language? I may be using the wrong terminology here, is Flash just something that runs ActionScript?
[/quote]

You've got it. What flash does these days is interpret ActionScript. AS used to just be a tool to improve the usefulness of flash, but now, because it was so much more useful than their dev tools, it has pretty much *become* flash. I don't think I know anybody who actually uses the Flash program anymore, except maybe to import animations.

It's an interesting progression.

[quote name='Darkbouncer4689' timestamp='1317513487' post='4868117']
Is it actually feasible to have a Flash application that will run in the browser and on smart phones that support flash?[/quote]

Totally, but there are some limitations to flash, particularly in full screen mode (on key use). Also, flash is really pretty slow for more intensive applications (so consider carefully if you really need it).

[quote name='Darkbouncer4689' timestamp='1317513487' post='4868117']
Lastly, are there any free IDE/SDK out there for working with AS3? It seems like only adobe has anything, and they are greedy bastards![/quote]

I think so... but I'm not really familiar with them. I suggest you stick with Flex until you learn a bit more about AS3 and venture into other waters.

I do believe that Flex is all open source, though, so there's really no good reason not to use it just to spite Adobe if you're still using Flash anyway.

Hope that helps!

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[url="http://flashpunk.net/"]FlashPunk[/url] is another good AS3 library for games.

[url="http://www.flashdevelop.org/wikidocs/index.php?title=Main_Page"]FlashDevelop[/url] is a great free IDE for AS3 (and [url="http://haxe.org/"]haXe[/url] and [url="http://www.haxenme.org/"]NME[/url] which you might want to take a look at for cross platform development.)

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Thanks guys! I just have a 60 day trial of flash builder for now and am learning AS3. It follows the ECMAscript and I already know javascript/java so I shouldn't have much trouble learning it, I was just having a big problem even figuring out how to get my first program started and what IDE to use.. So far it seems like a JS/Java hybrid.

My main goal is to make a strategy 2D board game that I can throw up on the web as a free to play game. Flash is the best option for this right?

If people find the game to be entertaining I may also develop it for Android/iOS in the future. I'm not sure if it would be best to use Flex or to just start from scratch making java/objective-C programs specifically for the phones. The game isn't going to be too intense. There will be no physics, just rendering, lots of game logic and perhaps some AI and/or networking capabilities.

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Oh, yeah, FlashDevelop is a good one. I have used that! Really, just about anything will work to get your started.

I have no used FlashPunk, but it looks good.

[quote name='Darkbouncer4689' timestamp='1317536420' post='4868186']
My main goal is to make a strategy 2D board game that I can throw up on the web as a free to play game. Flash is the best option for this right?[/quote]

Flash sounds very nearly ideal for that kind of application. You'll have a wider audience with Flash than with Java.

However, you might consider JavaScript if you're up for the challenge. Since it's not graphically heavy, JavaScript should do the trick.

With regards to networking, though, are you connecting to (or through) a server, or do you anticipate a need for peer to peer connections?

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[quote name='driftingSpaceMan' timestamp='1317543444' post='4868202']
With regards to networking, though, are you connecting to (or through) a server, or do you anticipate a need for peer to peer connections?
[/quote]

I want people to be able to play against their friends, I was assuming I would use a server... I didn't even know peer to peer was a possiblity. Could you give any pointers on that? Thanks!

P.S. Do I have to worry about people being able to hack the game logic and cheat if it's all written in AS?

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[quote name='Darkbouncer4689' timestamp='1317580651' post='4868331']
[quote name='driftingSpaceMan' timestamp='1317543444' post='4868202']
With regards to networking, though, are you connecting to (or through) a server, or do you anticipate a need for peer to peer connections?
[/quote]

I want people to be able to play against their friends, I was assuming I would use a server... I didn't even know peer to peer was a possiblity. Could you give any pointers on that? Thanks!

P.S. Do I have to worry about people being able to hack the game logic and cheat if it's all written in AS?
[/quote]

Peer-to-peer is indeed possible, although you can't really have much control over it and it requires the use of an Adobe Media Server, at least outside of LAN.

These are the most promising options I have found:

[color="#1C2837"][size="2"]1. Use Flash Media Server on Amazon Web Services[font="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif, SimSun-18030"] [/font][url="http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/pricing/"]http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/pricing/[/url]. (Pay only for what you use)[/size][/color]
[color="#1C2837"][size="2"]2. Use open source (free) server, hosting it yourself.
a) Red5 [url="http://www.red5.org/"]http://www.red5.org/[/url]
b) OpenRTMFP [url="https://github.com/OpenRTMFP/Cumulus"]https://github.com/OpenRTMFP/Cumulus[/url][/size][/color]
[size="2"][color="#1c2837"]
[/color][/size]
[color="#1c2837"][size="2"]Here is a list of heaps more [/size][url="http://www.flashrealtime.com/list-of-available-rtmp-servers/"]http://www.flashrealtime.com/list-of-available-rtmp-servers/[/url][size="2"]. That guys blog is very handy for anything multi-player related with Flash, check out his video tutorials, he shows how to do a lot of useful things.[/size]
[/color]
[color="#1c2837"]This service makes peer-to-peer networking insanely easy which is very cool.[/color]

[color="#1c2837"]You can use a free server at adobe for testing purposes [/color][url="http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/cirrus/"]http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/cirrus/[/url]. But you can't make any profit off your game while you do so.

Good luck!

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