Blam!Blam! author's notes
[ August 07, 2003 ] by David Bishop
David Bishop has submitted a funny "Point Blank" clone (see the Games section). In this article he explains the use of actionscript in the different levels of the game.

Despite having worked with Flash since 1998, I’d never really got round to making any games which is something I wanted to do. The main reason for this being that I used Flash at work for creating websites etc. but I hadn’t had much time to develop anything that wasn’t necessarily going to earn some money for the company.
Eventually I had an opportunity to make something and being a big fan of the arcade game “Point Blank” (which cost me horrendous amounts of money whilst at university in Brighton), I thought I’d try and make my own version. It looked easy enough.
Because the game is a relatively simple concept, the actionscript involved wasn’t too hard. All I needed was to write some code for randomising a few parts of the gameplay to ensure that you couldn’t just learn where all the targets would be appearing (except for the fixed target shooting).

In “Point Blank” I liked the leaf shot and the apple shot, which were single bullet levels. If you missed, you failed the level, but the target always appeared in the same place so eventually it was easy to always hit it. To avoid this in my game, I simply randomised the X position of the leaf clip.

The level where the targets are thrown up in the air again uses actionscript to randomise the height and angle at which they are delivered as well as whether they come from the left or right. Ideally this section should deliver a fixed number of targets and a fixed number of bombs, but I hadn’t thought about this much when I made this game so at the moment the targets to bombs ratio is not always the same. There are five different types of target (blue, red, bomb, blue + bomb and red + bomb) These are frames in a movieclip. The frame is randomly selected when the clip is attached. This means that the level is sometimes more easy to complete than others. I’ve never had a game where there weren’t enough targets to reach the number required, but sometimes you definitely get a lot more bombs.

The fixed targets level as previously mentioned always has the same setup of targets, so once you know where they are it’s just a matter of being able to hit them in time. I’d run out of time to do anymore with the game at this point, but I wanted to finish it off, so this is the most basic level.

Finally, in order to ensure players got different scores (ie. if all targets were hit and all levels completed I didn’t want people getting a maximum score) I had to build in a bonus for each level based on the time taken to complete it. All that remained was to enable the player to choose a level and add up all the scores for a grand total. On the original version these scores were stored in a database by passing the variables out to a coldfusion page. That’s about it really.

Name: David Bishop
Location: Essex, UK
Age: 30
Flash experience: Started with Flash 3 in 1998 and been moving through the versions ever since
Job: Creative Director, Frontmedia
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