Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Flash Physics Game for Android Prototype

   Recently I abandoned a project I had been working on because I simply got tired of it. I wanted to make a physics-based puzzle game for my Inspire using Adobe Air for Android and while I've managed to build a prototype of sorts I've given up on doing anything more with it for now. I might come back to it later, but I just got so sick of working on it I decided to throw it out onto the net as it is.

   One of the problems with this project is that I had been trying to write it directly for the Flash API and work my way through the book Essential Actionscript 3.0 by Colin Moock. Reading that book was a colossal undertaking I've also abandoned. I had wanted to improve my AS3 by writing a game directly in the Flash API rather than using a framework like FlashPunk or Flixel. Not using a framework meant I could also work with QuickBox2D, a project to simplify Box2DFlashAS3. Perfect for a physics game, right?

   Turns out I hate working with the Flash API directly. FlashPunk has apparently spoiled me. It's so much quicker to get a game going with a good framework, especially if you're still a total noob like I am. FlashPunk makes it relatively simple to manage a lot of game objects and just get something playable running quickly.

   Learning more of the Flash API would help me better understand how frameworks like FlashPunk function, and would help me modify them if needed, but I'm the sort of person who would much rather work on making a game than mess with the underlying system. Having to go without the niceties of FlashPunk made the project frustrating to work on and I gave up.

   I did learn some things though. A useful bit of code I found was this squash and stretch function. It let me add a World of Goo style effect to the penguins as they bounced around the screen. I thought it was a nice graphical touch that surely would be appreciated in a better game. If only I had the energy to make a better game...

   The fact that QuickBox2D has been abandoned by its author didn't help my project any. The 3 part tutorial for it on tutsplus is incomplete as well. I guess abandonment is the theme for this week. Everyone gives up on one project or another at some point. Interests change, people get busy with other projects, things don't work out as we'd like.

   Anyway, here's a link to the Flash version of my incomplete Penguin Physics project if anyone wants to see what little I was able to accomplish, and here's an Android apk for phones with 800x480 resolution screens. Here's the hacked together ugly source code.

   I'm not sure what I want to try next. I had this crazy notion of just sitting down, drinking a lot of coffee, and quickly bashing out a bunch of small Flash games in a very short period of time. A sort of hack marathon to gain more experience. I'm also thinking about improving my Java programming by writing actual Android games. I could start by creating a real game out of my Avoider for Android libgdx project. I've already gone and dropped the $25 to get my Android developer's license. Maybe that will motivate me to do some actual work and finish a project? Probably not.

   I know the most important thing is to just get started on a project and work on it, but finishing the projects you start is all that seems to matter in the end. If there's nothing to show for your work, what was your work worth? I hope whoever reads this has more success completing projects than I'm having right now. This post on PhotonStorm was all that motivated me to even get as far with this project as I did. Good luck to any fellow noobs struggling out there.

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