The number of tools and market avenues available to every game developer have grown exponentially over the last few years, long gone are the days where your only valid choices for programming games where C++ and Windows.
Over the years we experimented with several languages, frameworks and IDE’s, eventually settling with ActionScript 3 and Flash Develop for most of our current development needs. It allows us to rapidly prototype ideas and to target multiple platforms while keeping 99% of our codebase intact.
We wanted to give back to community, and one of the ways is a series of guides teaching how to code a game in AS3, our way. This guide, like all others in this series, is aimed at those with at least some experience in programming and a passion for making games.
Step one, installing the IDE.
Flash Develop is free (supported by donations), open source, stable and a joy to work with compared to other IDE’s (we’re looking at you Eclipse!).
However, before installing Flash Develop there are a couple of things you should make sure you have:
- Microsoft .NET 2.0 SP1 runtime: Needed for Flash Develop itself to run. Yes, you’ll need .NET 2.0 even if you already have 4.0 installed.
- Java Runtime Environment 1.6+ 32Bits: Required to run the Flex SDK provided by Adobe.
Download and install these first if you don’t already have them.
Installing Flash Develop
Now we can install Flash Develop. At the time of writing the most recent stable version is 4.0.1 RTM.
The default options “Install Flex SDK“, “Install AIR SDK” and “Install Flash Player” should be left alone as they will save you the trouble of downloading and installing these manually:
- Flex SDK is an Open Source framework provided by Adobe and used by Flash Develop as the actual compiler for ActionScript projects.
- AIR SDK allows you to compile your ActionScript projects as AIR , allowing you for example to publish them as Apps on Android.
- Flash Player is actually a debug version of the player, one that shows error messages instead of failing silently.
Given that it needs to download, unpack and install all of those extras the installer can take quite a while to finish. You could always use the time to brew some tea/coffee or grab a coke. Programmers are supposed to run on caffeine anyway.
If something is amiss, double check that you installed the correct version of both .NET and Java, that’s where the problem usually lies.
Next up, compiling your first AS3 program, the infamous “Hello World”.