Even if this book is not much related with "game development" techniques it is one great resource for all beginners who would like to quickly learn the basics of Flash MX 2004 (and Pro).
Personally I started playing with Flash when version 4 was out and I remember I bought a book for beginners that really confused me even more than I was.
It would have saved me a lot of sweat and pain if I could have a book like this at the time. I particularly liked the way the authors guide the reader step by step in every activity trying not to leave anything unexplained. Also the many pictures show exactly where you should click and what you should do when you're in front of a dialog box.
For example in chapter 8 there are some very simple and effective examples on how and why using masks that will immediately help the reader
grasp the concept being explained and its applications.
The book is made up of 18 chapters that will cover a wide range of topics from the basics of the Flash interface to tweened animations, masking,
basic event handling and interactions, sound and video, actionscript and a lot more.
Here's the complete list of those chapters:
1 > Flash movie essentials
2 > The Flash Tools panel
3 > Flash Symbols and libraries
4 > Managing content
5 > Working with color and Images
6 > Motion Tweening
7 > Shape Tweening
8 > Masks and Masking
9 > Advanced animation commands
10 > Actions and interactions
11 > Intelligent actions
12 > Multimedia: sound and video
13 > Optimizing
14 > Publishing
15 > Intermediate actionscript part 1
16 > Intermediate actionscript part 2
17 > High level site design
18 > Futurescape
At the end of each chapter you'll find a "Case Study" section which will guide you through each step of a full website design project in Flash.
I would also like to mention the two chapters dealing with actionscript as they stand out for their clarity and immediacy.
In about 60 pages you'll be presented with important concepts such as variables, events, conditional statements, loop structures and the basics of the object oriented programming paradigm.
Highly reccomended to beginners and intermediates who want to discover all the new features of Flash MX 2004 and MX 2004 PRO.