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How to Not Fail at Making a Flash Game

2014-01-23 18:00:17 by WarpZone

How not to fail at making Flash games

Every now and then I see another game that makes me want to shake the developer and scream.  I'm sick and tired of people posting these games with highly-polished graphics and gameplay that just break and fall apart the moment you play them for more than five minutes in a sitting.  Sometimes I'll rant about programming best-practices in the review itself, give the programmers some terms to Google, but by then it's always too late.  Everyone knew this shit back in 2004.  What happened?  These bugs are inherent to Flash itself.  If you don't know how to work around them by now, you need to educate yourself.

So here.  Here's an image showing exactly what happens when you develop something the quick-and-easy way in Flash and then just trust Flash not to fuck it up when the game's been running for a while.  Also, a general overview of how to fix.  These are the mistakes I keep seeing so-called professionals make over and over again here on Newgrounds.  They make your game break, slow down, freeze or just plain start behaving strangely beyond some point.  They are show-stoppers.  They are mission-critical points-of-failure.  You will not anticipate them, because they are caused by weird shit internal to Flash.  You can only stress-test for them, or engineer around them by coding things the hard way.

To learn how to fix, Google all of the following search terms and read, read, read:

  • AS3 bitmap display programming
  • AS3 delta timing
  • AS3 object pooling
  • AS3 performance optimization
  • AS3 garbage collection problems

Good luck.

Slaughtergun. Coming soon.

2012-10-21 09:14:01 by WarpZone

Because you can't spell slaughter without laughter.

Slaughtergun.  Coming soon.

I used to think you were pretty classy, but lately I've realized just how dull you are. I realize you've been going through my mail. That's not the issue. You're pretty to look at, but useless in a fight. You're always cutting corners, or at least edges. The facade is wearing paper-thin by this point, and I no longer seek your stamp of approval. There was a time when I would have enveloped you in my arms. But I can no longer seal my lips. I knew I was never the only mail in your life. Consider our relationship cancelled.

An open letter to my letter-opener

Oh yeah! My first commercial game! XD

2009-11-01 20:17:09 by WarpZone

It's not a flash game, but it IS a commercial quality action game using 3D hardware.

Perhaps more importantly to you guys, though, the music was done by NG's very own Rig!

So how's the gameplay? It's just a simple shooty thing where you blow shit up, right? Download the free demo, give it a try. Let me know what you think.

If you've ever made a flash thing that got panned by me, this is your chance for revenge. :D

Have fun. The free demo is pretty long and it never expires.

Oh yeah!  My first commercial game! XD

Don't vote below 8!

2009-08-18 01:57:44 by WarpZone

I saw a review recently, and it annoyed me enough to burn a Frontpage:

"To the people who voted below an 8: Do you understand the programming it takes to make a game of this scale? Of course this game has glitches! EVERY GREAT GAME DOES! I mean look at Halo, Gears of War, COD series, those games are the best right now and they have alot of glitches in them! So lay off him for the small glitches in the game! This is a programming master piece!"

Really? So every game no matter how bad automatically deserves an 8/10? Just for being a game? *Really?* By that logic I suppose every game should get at least a 4.0. After all, they're hard to make. That means it's okay if the game isn't fun or isn't playable, it's still at least 80% perfect.

No. I'm sorry. I review stuff all the time. There are games which deserve an 8, and there are games which deserve a 6. Hell, I've MADE some games that deserve a 6. And guess what? They get 1's and they get 10's and they get all kinds of numbers in between.

Yes, the game was just as hard to program as a good game would have been. No, that doesn't mean I should get the same score as someone who made a good game.

(Speaking specifically of Witching Hour and Linear Assault, here. That other game doesn't count. It was a freak situation, and the voting criteria were unusual at the time when it got most of its hits.)

Everyone's taste is different, and everyone's gameplay experience is going to be different. If I make a game, and one guy can blast away at the same stupid enemy over and over again for 20 minutes and not get bored because he LIKES that sort of thing, and another guy takes one look at the game and goes "Oh god it's just the same thing over and over again" and quits, and the first guy gives it an 8/10 and the second guy gives it a 2/10, guess what? THAT'S FINE.

This is friggin' Newgrounds! We don't give out Gold Stars for participation here!

The only number that matters is the game's final score. And YES, I'm aware that everyone just gives out 5's and 0's just to increase the weight of their vote by a marginal amount, but that DOESN'T MATTER, because lots of people voting 0's and 5's leads to everything from blams to high 4's. (Nothing ever gets a pure 5.0, because guess what? NOTHING'S EVER PERFECT.)

As of right now, the highest-scoring submission EVER on newgrounds has a score of 4.39. If that were an average of review scores-- of impulsive people reviewing with either a 1 or a 10 instead of a 1 or a 5, it'd probably look like 8.78.

That's a little over 8 and a half. In other words, 8 is the HIGH end of the scale. Not the low end.

I don't know where you got the idea that everyone deserves 8/10. If everyone starts counting at 8, and your submission GETS an 8, then guess what? You really got a zero out of two. Congratulations. Enjoy your 8.

I think the content of a review is more important than the big shiny number next to it, anyway, but that's another rant for another day.

300th review

2008-08-10 16:40:49 by WarpZone

Wow, I do not know when to shut up. :P

It's hard to believe I've already written 300 of these overly-wordy reviews. Big thanx to everyone who's flagged my reviews as Helpful, and every flash artist who's taken the time to respond to one of them. I'd say you make it all worthwhile, but let's face it, I'm not doing this for the feedback. I'm doing it because I'm an opinionated blowhard. :D

Here's to 300 more reviews! :)

What FPS do YOU get? Help test my Flash!

2008-02-08 10:42:36 by WarpZone

The latest version of my Flash normal-mapping experiment seems to be (just barely) fast enough for a realtime game. Check it out, let me know what you think, and post your FPS, either here or at the DA site.

Remember, you need to click the button to see it with and without the normal-mapping. I guarantee you will see two different numbers.

What FPS do YOU get?

Thanks! :D Hopefully by getting feedback from Newgrounds throughout the development cycle, I'll be able to avoid the mistakes I made with my last NG game.

Update: Okay, it looks like this just isn't going to work out. Big thanks to everyone who participated. Flash just isn't the right format for this kind of thing. It's great for generating the normal maps, though. Maybe I'll take another crack at this using Unity...

What FPS do YOU get?  Help test my Flash!

God dammit...

2008-02-08 10:29:41 by WarpZone

Whoops, forgot to check the little "Front Page Post" button.

Oh well, no biggie.

God dammit...

Realtime... technically.

2008-02-08 07:30:17 by WarpZone

I'm experimenting with normal mapping in Flash. Click here to help me stress-test this bad boy.

Warning: when you turn on the 3D effect, it may get very slow!

I'm currently seeing around 5 FPS on my computer. Hopefully I can double that somehow. We'll see...

Realtime... technically.


2008-02-07 10:36:02 by WarpZone

I slapped together a quick technology test using normal maps in AS3. You can check it out here. Gameplay is still a ways off, but hopefully a realtime graphics demo will be availible soon.

Yes, it uses a variation of the technique pioneered by UnitZeroOne, so don't worry. It's fast. In fact, it might be faster than his realtime demo, since his demo used AS2 and MovieClips, and mine uses AS3 and BitmapDatas.

I did end up using a lot of fullscreen Draw commands, though, so it may lag a little on slower machines. I guess we'll find out once I get an animated demo cobbled together.

Don't worry, though, I fully intend to make it possible to turn off all the normal-mapped goodness and just enjoy shooting monochromatic vector baddies on a simple textured background.

If you have any suggestions or ideas, please post them here. I intend to work closely with the Newgrounds community to develop this game and refine the gameplay.

Witching Hour sucked. Mostly it sucked because the gameplay was weaksauce. I was rushed to get it done in time for the competition deadline, and I only had a few people helping me playtest it, and they weren't very into video games, so they were easily impressed and din't expect much of a challenge.

We don't want a repeat of that. So help me out a little, and make your voice heard. :)

I wish NG Alphas was working.