- Paperback: 456 pages
- Publisher: Que; 1 edition (September 8, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0789737027
- ISBN-13: 978-0789737021
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 54 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,762,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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ActionScript 3.0 Game Programming University 1st Edition
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From the Back Cover
About the Author
As a youngster, Gary Rosenzweig was allowed to play video games whenever he wanted, as long as his homework was done first. His parents got him an Atari 2600 and an assortment of games. He loved to play Adventure, Asteroids, Pitfall, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and even that dreadful E.T. game.
At age 13, in 1983, his grandmother gave him a new TRS-80 Model III. The first thing he did with it was learn to program. And then, make games. He made some text adventure games, and then some RPG games, and then some arcade games. He was allowed to stay up all night making games, as long as his homework was done first.
In high school, Gary got to play with the Apple II computers pretty much whenever he wanted, as long as his schoolwork was done first. He made space shuttle simulators and spreadsheet programs. And some games.
Gary went on to study computer science in college, at Drexel University. There he was told that with his degree, he could go on to be a programmer at any high-tech firm making business applications. But he wanted to make games, even if it was on the side, after he got his work done first.
After a side trip to get a Master's degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, Gary ended up getting a job where he could make games for kids using Macromedia Director.
Then, they invented the Internet. It was soon followed by Shockwave, a way to play Director content in web pages. Gary started making his own games for his own website in the evening,
after his work was done first.
In 1996, Gary started hiw own company, CleverMedia, to produce games for the Web. He was soon creating both Shockwave and Flash games with some of the most creative people he ever met. CleverMedia and its sites grew over the years to become the single largest collection of web-based games by a single company. Gary has created more than 300 games in the past 12 years, most of which can be found at CleverMedia's main game site, www.GameScene.com.
Gary also likes to share what he knows. His sites http://FlashGameU.com, www.Director-Online.com, and www.DeveloperDispatch.com contain information for other developers. He has also written many books, including Macromedia Flash MX ActionScript for Fun & Games, Special Edition Using Director MX, and Advanced Lingo for Games. Gary wrote this book mostly on evenings and weekends, after his other work was done first.
Gary lives in Denver, Colorado, with his wife, Debby, and daughter, Luna. Debby and Gary also own The Attic Bookstore, an unusual used bookstore in Englewood, Colorado. Luna is only 5 years old, but is already playing games on her Macintosh computer, after her homework is done first, of course.
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The code itself isn't exactly as object oriented as I would like, but thats true of all the other game books out there too. It does have enough object oriented content to show some amazingly different, and simple methods for making game characters, detecting collisions, and managing objects that are possible with actionscript 3.0. I value this book as a 'how to upgrade' from 2.0 to 3.0.
The games themselves are pretty good and there is a nice variety of game styles to appeal to a wide audience. For a basic game programming book, it omits or glosses over a few important topics such as caching vector objects as bitmaps, pseudo 3-D and optimization in general.
All in all, I suggest this book if you are upgrading skills to actionscript 3.0 or want to write flash games. If you get this book, I also recommend Foundation Actionscript 3.0 Animation: Making Things Move! to round out your collection.
While I am not a AS3/Flash developer, I am using an API (StageXL) that almost exactly replicates the AS3 API described in this book, and have been able to follow along with Gary as he shows how to build successively more challenging games, starting from simple card matching and Simon, all the way to 3D racing and dungeon crawling games (think of the original Wizardry). This book is literally a treasure trove of game developer information and inspiration which you can use to start creating whatever project you can dream in a very short period of time.
All books covered much of the same ground, but 'University' covered a bit more. In addition to timeline-based animation, the author shows how he uses timers to allow games to operate at the correct speed regardless of the kind of computer or connection they are running on. All books had examples, but 'University' does more, showing the best approach and configuration for programming Flash games. Only 'University', I feel, was sufficiently complete to stand alone. Plus it is fun, easy to read, and succinct, using only a fraction of the space to explain common concepts. The examples are complete games in themselves, and the author grants permission to use them as a basis for your own games.
In addition, this book is supported by a Web site, [...] with source code, active forums, and frequent participation by the author. The author clearly has a committment to this material and the Flash community.
Pitched at beginning programmers (if you understand variables, conditionals, and functions, you can understand this book), I recommend this as your first book for Flash game programming. You probably won't need another.
The actual games are surprisingly varied and complete, but not so complex that they become difficult to understand. The code that I downloaded from the website works well. It is written in a practical concise manner with proper use of classes and other object-oriented techniques as required by AS3. However, as other reviews have noted, this book is not for advanced programmers that prefer a pure object-oriented style.
I recommend this book if you are moving from AS2 to AS3, even if you are not interested in writing games. Gary does not claim it is suitable for beginners without any programming experience but it is more suitable than Moock's "Essential ActionScript 3.0" (which does make such a claim). However it is not for web designers that don't want to learn programming and it is not for advanced programmers that appreciate Moock's AS3 book.