Actionscript programming - outside of Flash?

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by KNau, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. KNau

    Original Member

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    Hi,

    I normally develop in Blitz Basic but I'm executing a contract where I have no choice but to develop in Flash. The syntax of actionscript is simple enough but I'm really unhappy with the way I have to enter it in the program, making crap in the editor, linking actions to it, making buttons ,etc.

    I've heard mumblings that "professional" Flash game developers do their coding outside of the Flash editor, more like traditional programming. I'm wondering if anyone can confirm this and if possible, link me to any resources (software and / or books and websites) on this method.

    Don't get me wrong - I like Flash but I'm used to a more typical way of programming and I can't imagine doing a complicated game project using the methods I've learned so far. Thanks in advance for any advice!
     
  2. BinaryMoon

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    you can use includes like in blitz. You still need to work within the movie clip system that flash uses, but you can do it all in a single text file if you like.

    I use SEPY ActionScript Editor (it's free, grab it here - http://www.sephiroth.it/python/sepy.php) for coding. Actionscript takes a bit of getting used to, especially when you come from blitz (as I did) but it can be surprisingly powerful once you get the hang of things.
     
  3. bignobody

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    Your experience will also vary depending on the version of Flash you are working with. At my day job we recently upgraded to Flash 8 professional which allows you edit external .as files within the editor (finaly! I hated having to use to seperate apps in order to keep the ActionScript external).

    I've never worked with Blitz Basic so I'm not sure what the environment is like, but it could be that you're just not used to working with Flash yet. I have used it on complicated games and as long as you keep things organized it's not a problem.

    Just out of curiosity, where have you learned your "methods so far" from?

    Regards,
     
  4. ErikH2000

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    An approach that works pretty well is to just have a little bit of calling code in your Flash events, and all the other code in external files. Then find a nice editor for the external files. If you don't like that SEPY editor, try PSPad. It's a nice editor that follows conventions of the Microsoft Visual Studio IDE. You can set it up for Actionscript syntax highlighting pretty easily.

    The compile-time syntax checking is terrible. (Almost nonexistent.) Putting your methods and variables into classes helps. Installing the debug version of the Flash player that logs missing references at run-time is very helpful.

    -Erik
     
  5. BlueWaldo

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    Normally I put all my classes in .as files and try to put as much of the code in there as possible. Then I put a little code in the .fla to make a new instance of a couple classes to get things started.
     
  6. KNau

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    I took both the basic and advanced game development tutorials at cartoonsmart.com. They're really good tutorials for getting you up and running in Flash 8 fast, but you can tell the author comes from a web development background because his game projects are pretty disorganized. Beyond that I've been doing a lot of online tutorials and experiments.

    All I figured I needed was controls (mouse / keyboard), hit tests and event / timeline manipulation. I have all of those at a basic level but I have some fairly big projects to work on and I don't want to shoot myself in the foot by having picked up bad habits. I'm still looking for a good book on Flash game development that goes beyond beginner level stuff.

    Thanks for the link and advice!
     
  7. Storm

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    Maybe you could try Eclipse along with FDT or another plug-in?
     
  8. Bmc

    Bmc New Member

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    Essential Actionscript 2.0 by Colin Moock
     
  9. HairyTroll

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    Any good book on Ecmascript or Javascript programming will give you a good grounding in Actionscript. Because that's what ActionScript is, Javascript with extensions.
     
  10. StGabriel

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    I'll second the recommendation of Essential Actionscript 2.0.

    I only put a few calls into frames which reference the rest of my code which is located in various classes (I usually have a Game class and then one or more sprite or tile classes). Classes must be written in .as files which can be edited outside of Flash itself. I use Emacs personally.
     
  11. maular

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    Yes, you can do all of your Actionscript development outside of the actual Flash IDE. I am a full time Actionscript programmer (casually browsing these gamedev sites :p), and now I don't write a single line of code inside Flash.

    I personally use the Eclipse IDE with ASDT (FDT is better, but expensive - ASDT is free), and I use MTASC to compile my code into a SWF made in Flash. So all the graphics and interface are made in Flash, but all of the code is external. This is done entirely as OOP Actionscript 2, and is done by basically binding external classes to movieclips in the Flash Library.

    I don't check these forums often, and a full discussion is somewhat off topic, but I definitely recommend you have a look at http://osflash.org , and look at the archives (and even join) the FlashCoders ( http://chattyfig.figleaf.com/mailman/listinfo/flashcoders ) and OSFlash ( http://osflash.org/mailman/listinfo/osflash_osflash.org ) mailing lists, they have had these kind of discussions many times before.

    Good luck!

    Oh, and bignobody - how did editing external AS files change in Flash 8? I have certainly edited external files in 7, and I am fairly sure it works fine in 6...
     
  12. svero

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Im using Flashdevelop.. Its great. Comes with all the standard opensource tools you need as well.
     

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