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Its **Object Oriented Programming**. Its used to make programming easier since it focuses around using objects in your application that can inherit and modify properties and methods. Using it makes your code more flexible, modular and maintainable, especially when the scale of your application increases.
Google OOP and you will find tons and tons of resources on it. Kirupa.com for one has some articles on OOP and OOP in Flash.
Sure, you can live without it. But once you learn it you wont want to. It makes coding easier and more fun. Its the kind of stuff you code and then feel proud that you coded that way. It will limit the growth of your programming if you dont learn it though, as larger and more complex tasks become more of a headache (or perhaps impossible) without OOP.
To an extent the concepts are already used in flash. Just like you attach and manipulate a movieclip as an object (and perhaps put code inside that clip) so too OOP with classes follows the same pattern, except your code is in more manageable actionscript class files. It also eliminates use of the messy prototype method (though it compiles to the same thing).
Additionally, you will be stuck with AS 1.0-2.0 without OOP, as AS 3.0 relies a lot more on object oriented practices and even disallows some of the old sloppy practices.
If you enjoy coding, I recommend it. A person can live without a car as well, but life is not quite as enjoyable. OOP is one of those things that just makes coding easier :)
I’m not really a coder, but I loves some OOP. Greatest thing to ever happen in the history of programming. It simply makes sense, and it’s pleasure to work with.
Especially in games, it really makes sense. You have monsters? Make a monster class and define their behavior! You have weapons? Make a weapons class for them, and maybe some sub classes to define melee vs ranged. Everything stays so neat and compact.
Now I miss programming :/