Destroying… Flash MX

As a collective, we at Psync Interactive have destroyed an awful lot of things in the pursuit of stealing ourselves a little slice of computer gaming history. I’ve personally lost count of the number of hard drives, motherboards and graphics cards that I’ve had to replace. In fact one time I distinctly remember having to virtually replace the whole PC, processor and all! This is not a cheap business that we’ve chosen for ourselves…

That’s not the kind of destruction I’m talking about here though. I’m talking about the various game engines, and I use the term very loosely (as you’ll know doubt have seen in other articles), that have been unable to cope with the stresses we’ve placed on the poor souls and as they’ve failed, in turn our hopes and dreams have failed too. Oh yes, an awful lot of things have fallen to pieces just as they began to look like they could be our saviour.

The first time I can really recall this happening was during the first attempted development of Zip n’ West, when we were using Flash MX as a game engine. It all began so well, John was more than happy working out key frame animation and the like. I’d discovered that actionscript was essentially javascript and therefore very easy to code. There were also massive amounts of tutorials and forums that we could turn to if we ran into difficulties. I’d started producing a working prototype of the game and as time passed I coded more and more features to accompany the wonderful imagery that was coming my way from the other lads. We had a grand plan in place of how the game would play out from start to finish, that was admittedly probably far too grand for us to achieve at the time, but that was pretty standard so we weren’t worried about that at all.

During the development we found ourselves repeatedly asking the same question, “Why, if there are all these articles showing you how to do brilliant things in flash, hadn’t the people who wrote them made a game like we were instead of phaffing around on forums?”. Well, soon enough the answer became all too apparent. Whilst flash was wonderful at all the little features we wanted to use in our game, when you tried to put them all together it failed miserably.

Essentially flash was not designed to be used to create the kind of game that we wanted to. Our plan was quite simply far too grand for it. We’d pushed flash further than it should ever have been pushed at that time, and it had broken. It was the most productive we’d ever been at that point and although we’d learned a valuable lesson, it had been a painful way to do it. It left us with no choice but to abandon the game without really having anything to move on to, which was the first time we’d found ourselves in that situation.

My advice to you is the same advice that’s lead us to where we are now, there’s a reason people all over the world are out there making games the hard way, that reason is simple, because it’s the best way.

1 Comment

    Ah I remember it well. I remember being awe-struck that time you made the save work. Up until then in the days of power point, saving was just a fantasy. I remember moving the bouncy ball to some place, while picking up an item, saving, closing and loading it and the ball and item being where I left it, awesome! Nice article!

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