[FAQ] Making Games. READ FIRST!

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Note: this has not been updated for some time, so information may be substantially outdated Check out the new Making Games thread!!

I know how helpful resources can be when you are trying to improve your Flash skills, and since this site is all about developing I’ve decided to consolidate some links and info to help.

I’m going to start small and add to this when I have time, so here are a few. If you have suggestions, post them and I’ll add them here if they are helpful :)

This thread has been updated with some questions that have been asked frequently.

How do I make games for Kongregate?

Games on Kongregate are made in Adobe Flash.

A great way to get started for beginner game designers, or for free, is Stencyl.

There are some additional free alternative tools for Flash development, check out www.osflash.org.

Where do I get Flash?

Go to Adobe’s Flash page here and download the 30 day trial of Flash CS3 (you will need to register with Adobe). After 30 days, you have to buy it. Prices vary, but the full version of the latest edition will run you about $700. If you wish to make games, its a worthwhile investment.

Please, do not post discussions or links regarding pirating Flash on these forums, or encourage others to obtain Flash illegally.

I can’t afford Flash. Are there any free tools?

Probably the best place to start for free, especially for developers who aren’t as focused on coding or are new to game creation, is Stencyl. It’s a powerful game-creation tool that creates Flash files, is free, and is very beginner friendly.

There are other free tools available too. They can sometimes be more difficult to set up or use for certain tasks (especially for newbies), but at least they are free.

Check http://www.osflash.org/projects for a list of other free tools. FlashDevelop is a great tool to start with, if you are looking for something free.

What is an .fla file?

An FLA file (eg pong.fla) is a Flash document file that has to be opened in the program Adobe Flash. It is your main project source file, and is used to create .swf files.

What is a .swf file?

An SWF file (eg pong.swf) is the file you get when you compile your Flash project (.fla file) and is the file that you upload to run on Kongregate.

Where can I get these .swf files?

You make them, with Flash – plain and simple. You do not get them from other sites, as that is stealing. See the Uploading section in the FAQ for more info.

What code do I need to learn to make a Flash game?

You need to learn a coding language called ActionScript. You cannot make a Flash game without someone who knows how to code in ActionScript, so you will have to learn it or enlist the help of someone else.

ActionScript is often abbreviated as “AS”. There are 3 main branches of ActionScript: AS 1.0, AS 2.0 & AS 3.0. If you are new to programming, you may wish to start with ActionScript 1.0 and work your way up as it is the easiest to learn and the most forgiving, albeit the most unrefined.

Is there something like a ‘Flash Game Creator’ that will make it easy for me to create Flash games?

No. Flash itself is the tool that makes web game development easier. Still, Flash games take work and skill to create, and you cannot simply ‘point and click’ your way through game development without actually learning anything. Flash is one of the easiest coding environments to learn initially, so if you want to build games: go through some tutorials!

I make games with Game Maker, can I upload those to Kongregate?

Nope. As mentioned earlier, they have to be made in Flash or Director and run on the web. Game Maker games cannot run on Kongregate.

Can I convert my games with an .exe extension to .swf so they can be Flash and run on Kongregate?

No. You cannot just change the file extension of a non-Flash program to magically change it to Flash. You cannot convert them with a program either. The game must be built using the Flash format from the beginning.

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Best Practices

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Recommendations anyone?

Suggestions so far:

Flash Game Programming For Dummies

Essential ActionScript 3.0

Essential ActionScript 2.0

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Posting Code on the Forums

To post readable code on the forums, use the html preformatted text <pre> tags around your code. HTML <code> tags are often used as well, but in this particular forum the <pre> tags seem to work best. For example:

function doStuff () : Void
	this.gotoAndPlay ( "stuff" );


Flash Player Penetration Statistics

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Here is some more resources:

Flash Wiki is a wiki for flash games and flash programming.

Fuse Kit is a great tweening tool, and much more!

Flade is another interesting thing I haven’t tried yet.

Phong has a great tutorials section for Flash and Photoshop

W3 Schools is a really good comprehensive reference for Web-stuff in general.

GotoAndPlay has some interesting articles on Flash game stuff.

And don’t forget Metanet Software Tutorials from the makers of N!

(updated 4/8/07)

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Newgrounds Flash Tutorial Collection

YouTube Video Flash Tutorials Group

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I also like http://www.flashkit.com/

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I just got a book, Flash Game Programming For Dummies. It’s great, because I am new to Flash. Later in my life I hope to get more into Flash, possibly making it a career choice.

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And anyone interested in messing with some pre-existing code can try out my opensource game/game-add-on by visiting <a href = “http://www.kongregate.com/forums/4/topics/523&#8221;&gt;this forum post.

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The Newground’s forum’s AS: Main is pretty darn helpful, it covers pretty much everything, organised in an alphabetical list, and by difficulty.

Also, anyone who needs help with the simpler side of AS2, feel free to ask me and I’ll try my best :)

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all that stuff is too hard for me xD

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so far, this is the most helpful thread ive seen. i had never even heard of action script before, and once i get back home, the first thing im doing is tutorials.

i cant wait

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Thanks for the post, I’ve often kicked around the idea of learning Flash and this thread will put me closer to that idea!

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@IndieFlashArcade: What book did you use (if you did) to teach yourself ActionScript?

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This looks great, all those links will take me forever to get through.

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I suggest you add www.tutorialized.com
and www.good-tutorials.com also if you are willing to pay for tuts i suggest www.cartoonsmart.com

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Retron → I used the Flash 8 ActionScript Bible… Since I was already familiar with OOP when I started Flash, it was a great book to brush up and get all the good specific info I wanted.

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A few Basic questions:

1. Whats the standard Flash display size used ? (ratio will be fine) scaling non vector graphics in flash means a processor hit as well as being less “clear”

2. I noticed exclusive games get two archievements. How do you get these added to your game as it means a attracting a lot more gamers to play you games

3. Excusive games ! How much would the code have to be changed before a new version of your game can be released ?
I noticed that Towerdefence 1 and then 1.5 hold probably moderate differances and count as two games.

cheers look forward to making some games

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alexthagrate79 wrote:
I just got a book, Flash Game Programming For Dummies. It’s great, because I am new to Flash. Later in my life I hope to get more into Flash, possibly making it a career choice.

I am going to have to check this book out.

It seems like a good first step but I’m not sure I want to shell out $800 for Adobe flash. If I’m still interested after reading this book, I’ll check out some less expensive alternatives to dabble in it a bit before I flop down $800 bucks for a passing interest.

I’m not looking for a career, it’ll be more like a hobby.

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I don’t think this one’s been mentioned before, but I’ve found it exceedingly useful. It’s a free, open-source “game” that shows you a lot of the basics of programming, timing, and user interaction. Check out this Game Sheep tutorial for both online full commented explanations and to download the .fla file. I know this is no later than Flash 8, but I’m not sure exactly which version it is (it opened fine in my copy of Flash 8 Pro). Hope this helps! It’s a great way to learn to program games if you know some basics of programming but haven’t worked much with Flash/ActionScript.

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So when making a flash game are there any boundaries that make designing a game hard or even frusterating? What determains it the game looks like a crappy drawing or a ginuenly awesome game?

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So when making a flash game are there any boundaries that make designing a game hard or even frusterating?

Learning how mostly. Then after that.. finding time.

What determains it the game looks like a crappy drawing or a ginuenly awesome game?

Honestly, nothing but people’s opinions. Ask someone what they think. You can only hope people will like what you can come up with. With games, everything is opinions

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The only place I can find Flash 8, the Adobe Site only has CS3.

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Hi guys, great post! I’m new to flash game development and those resources posted are really fantastic. As said before by alexthagrate79, it’s kind of possible that my carrer choice will be flash too.
See ya.