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Book Review – Flash Game Development By Example

Another week, another really good game development book to review!

This time the book in question is ‘Flash Game Development By Example‘, by the prolific game dev’ blogger and self confessed ‘Italian geek’ Emanuele Feronato.

If you’ve ever read any of Emanuele’s game tutorials you’ll already have a fairly good idea of what’s in this book, as he takes you by the hand and leads you through all the steps required to create 9 complete well known games from start to finish.

Each game gets a chapter to itself and they build in complexity and upon the concepts taught in previous chapters as you work your way through. This is an interesting way of tackling what is quite a daunting range of subjects and works well. Although zero experience is assumed the first chapter dives straight in and has you making things from the start while still explaining basic concepts such as how to set up your Flash movie size and working with Arrays.

The games you will make are…

Chapter 1 .. Concentration (teaches basic Flash setup, classes, arrays, mouse interaction, random numbers etc)
Chapter 2 .. Minesweeper (teaches multi dimensional arrays, loops, returning values from functions, logical operations etc)
Chapter 3 .. Connect 4 (teaches coded animation techniques, triggering events, managing display objects, basic ‘AI’ etc)
Chapter 4 .. Snake (teaches display object ordering, calculating distances, point class etc)
Chapter 5 .. Tetris (brings everything you’ve learnt over the previous 4 chapters together in one game)
Chapter 6 .. Astro-Panic! (not as well known as the others here, but teaches some basic trigonometry, vectors, filters and shared objects)
Chapter 7 .. Bejewelled (the last thing the world needs is another Bejewelled clone, but here you’ll learn about do while loops, string manipulation, using the ‘with’ statement etc)
Chapter 8 .. Puzzle Bobble (teaches keyboard listeners, display object manipulation, drawing operations etc)
Chapter 9 .. BallBalance (ok, not a ‘classic’ game this but one Emanuel made himself and slipped in. It’s a bit like the indi game ‘Chains’ and teaches you how to go about creating a game of your own design)

Overall it’s quite an amazing book if you are looking to get started making games in Flash, you can start from the beginning with zero knowledge in the subject and by the end of the book have a fairly solid grounding in the basics as well as 9 complete and working games in your portfolio.

It’s not really a book for more experienced Flash devs, you’re unlikely to learn much new here if you’ve already got a few games under your belt or been doing Flash work for any length of time, but as a starter book or if you’re doing this stuff in Flash for the first time you really can’t go wrong.

It won’t necessarily teach you all the ins and outs of Flash itself, but there’s loads of other books that will do that, this is all about making games and it does that admirably.

You can buy the book in both eBook and dead tree versions direct from Packt here.

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