03 Jun, 2004 reviewed by Bax

Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Games Most Wanted
by Kristian Besley, Sham Bhangal, Anthony Eden, Brad Ferguson, Brian Monnone, Keith Peters, Glen Rhodes, Steve Young

(visit the publisher's site)

Did you ever dream of being a great game developer (honor, glory, fame, money, women...)???
Well, Flash can be a good starting point for your career!
What? You never heard of Flash as an environment for game development, or you don't know where to begin from?
Then "FLASH MX 2004 GAMES MOST WANTED" is probably the best book on this matter you could stumble upon.
In eight detailed chapters (plus a special bonus chapter available on the publisher's website), authors cover the main aspects of Flash games design & development, with many useful examples (also available online for downloading), tips and techniques that can make the difference if you want to create high quality games.


In the first chapter Glen Rhodes explains how to implement logical rules and a decision-making process inside the games. The reader is taken by hand in the development of three games of increasing complexity.

In the second chapter you won't find a single line of ActionScript: it's all about character animation and personality development. Brad Ferguson gives to the reader some guideline on the basic principles of animation, character design and also optimization.

Chapters number three and four, both written by Keith Peters, deal with some real-world physics principles: friction, collision, gravity, magnetic attraction/repulsion and brownian motion. The reading will lead you in the development of a billiard game and a sort of remake of the old "Bill's Tomato Game". The concepts are explained in a very simple way, with examples, drawings and a detailed ActionScript code.

The following chapter is related to user interaction in games: Steve Young discusses about the meaning of "simple" Flash games and about some criteria which make a game successful, like having intuitive and effective controls. In this chapter you will develop a game which re-creates the experience of dance-mat games.

Chapter six is all about sound: Brian Monnone explains the importance of sound in games. Brian shows how Flash MX 2004 manages sounds through the creation of a “sound-box”.

The next chapter, written by Sham Bhangal, covers the topic of retro-gaming providing many informations and tips, plus an example of game development (the classic “Defender”). This chapter is particularly interesting because there’s a good parallel between those old-time games and today’s Flash web games: as Sham says “Early game programmers had slow processors. Today we have fast processors, but […] the Flash player doesn’t see all that much. We might have gigabytes of memory, but we’re limited by how much data we can get to the end user through a web connection […] or we can save by the Flash Shared Objects”.

Finally, in chapter eight Anthony Eden explains the fundamentals of creating a top-view racing game engine: scrolling and scaling techniques and basic artificial intelligence for path-following.


Let’s start from the negative aspect (yes, only one!): if you are looking for a book that will teach you game development techniques using ActionScript 2.0, the language introduced by Macromedia with Flash MX 2004, then you will be disappointed. In fact, the title is misleading because most of the code is not AS2 specific (the main exception is Brian Monnone’s chapter). Anyway, it doesn’t mean that this is a bad book! In fact this a very complete book, the perfect starting point for someone who wants to enter the world of online games with a good, thorough grounding. The only requirement to start the reading is a basic knowledge of Flash: it’s tools and ActionScript fundamentals.

"FLASH MX 2004 GAMES MOST WANTED" is highly recommended!
Well done, friends of ED!!!

» Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Games Most Wanted
by Kristian Besley, Sham Bhangal, Anthony Eden, Brad Ferguson, Brian Monnone, Keith Peters, Glen Rhodes, Steve Young

266 pages; no CD-ROM

Friendsofed, 39.99 USD

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