Week 1 – Welcome to Flash Game Programming

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Introduction

I have been using Flash since 1993, and since that time the Flash player has been the main technology for delivering dynamic multimedia content over the web. Today, there are new web technologies like HTML5 that are making headway in delivering multimedia content over the web. {loadposition adposition5}Even with its detractors, Flash is still the most versatile multimedia tool on the web. It is an amazing vector animation and graphics tool, an excellent video delivery tool, and has an extremely powerful object oriented scripting language for programmatic interactivity as well.

In this class, we will learn how to make games for the web using Flash and Actionscript. We may also experiment with HTML5, Javascript, and other scripting languages as well.

Class Materials

The content of this class is designed to help you learn the basics of game programming and Flash. The class assumes the student has beginning level knowledge. Along with this website, we will utilize video tutorials hosted at http://youtube.com/danscourses 

Class Schedule and Policies

This class is offered as both a Self Directed Learning (SDL) course, and an online course. SDL students are required to be in the computer networking lab (GMB133), a minimum of 2.5 hours per week. Here is a list of common questions:

  • When can I come to the Lab?
    I am in the GMB133 class/lab over 30 hours per week, for my exact lab times click on Lab/Classroom Hours.
  • Can I work in the Lab when you are not there?
    Yes, if the door is open you are welcome to come in and work. If the door is locked you can also enter through the Flex Lab, GMB130. The Flex Lab has its own hours.
  • Can I work with Flash in the lab?.
    Yes, in the lab, the HP desktop computers have Flash and other Adobe products installed.
  • What if I am an online student, and I can’t work with Flash in the lab?
    If you are an online student you will need to work with Flash on your home computer. In order to do this you can purchase Flash either directly from Adobe.com or through an educational discount reseller like http://creationengine.com or the http://academicsuperstore.com . As a college student you can get an amazing price on Flash. You will need to provide proof that you are a student by attaching your current class schedule and to an email and sending it to them. The general public also has the ability to try Flash for free for 30 days by downloading the 30 day trial from Adobe.com  
  • When should I come to class?
    As soon as you can you should stop by the Lab in GMB133 and introduce yourself. Remember SDL students are required to be working in the lab 2.5 hours per week. It is up to you to decide exactly what your schedule will be. For both the online students and the SDL students, I will be hosting online class meetings using the Collaborate/Blackboard online conferencing tool.
  • How can I assure that I will be successful?
    The students that show up regularly, week by week, both online by logging in to DansCourses and in person by coming to the lab are the ones that will be successful. To finish this class, I recommend you sit down and create a schedule of times that you will work on the class and its assignments.

  • Is there a syllabus?
    The syllabus outlines the course, please download it and save it for your records: To be posted shortly
  • How will I turn in assignments?
    All assignments will be turned in as email attachments to dan.alberghetti@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view itThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • How will I be graded?
    I grade on a point system. Every week you will have the opportunity to earn points by doing projects. This class is about project based learning. Each week you will be asked to complete a different game programming project. To earn full points on a project or assignment, you will need to follow my instructions and accomplish the task presented to you as well as add your own creative process and individuality. If you follow the instructions and apply yourself in a thoughtful manner I am sure you will receive full points! Ultimately your final grade is based on scale of total points earned to total points possible. 
  • When is the end of the week? – Regarding when to turn in assignments, the end of the week is midnight Sunday evening.

Week 1 Overview

If you are an online student you will need to secure a copy of Adobe Flash to work with at home (See above: What if I am an online student, and I can’t work with Flash in the lab?). At http://creationengine.com type the word "Flash Professional" into the search box, press search and you will find the current version and price for Flash. Make sure you specify either the Windows or Apple platform. Currently, with a student discount, the cost of Flash is approximately $180, which is pretty reasonable.

Week 1, Assignment 1 – Introduce Yourself

  1. Acquire Adobe Flash –  The 30 day trial version of Flash Professional is available for downloading at http://adobe.com. Copies of Flash are available for student use in the GMB133, computer networking lab, at Sheridan College.
  2. Introduce yourself – Create a user account on this website. You will need to verify it through your email. Once your user account is activated, login to the website, go to the Forum area, and post an introduction, under the introductions topic under Flash Game Programming.

Week 1, Assignment 2 – Animate a Puppet Character Using Keyframes. Create a simple puppet character like a robot and make a short animation of the puppet character. Make the character do either a dance, a jump, a kick, or any other kind of simple movement. For this assignment, I would like you to create your own character from scratch, even if you draw only very simple graphics. To help you with this assignment I have created some introductory Flash tutorials: 

1. The Flash Interface

2. Drawing with Vector Graphics in Flash CS6

3. Create a Cartoon Penguin in Flash CS6

4. The Flash CS5 Timeline, Keyframes and Frames

5. Create a Flash Puppet with Movieclips 

These tutorials use an older version of Flash, but are still a valuable learning tool:

puppet1.wmv
puppet2.wmv

Example files:
puppet_start.fla

puppet_finished_demo.fla

Due Date: Due by the end of week 3.
Zip your finished Flash file and Flash movie and post it to the Flash Puppet Topic in the Danscourses Forum

Week 1, Assignment 3 – Create an Armature for your Character Using the Bones Tool, then Animate it.
Using the same character or maybe even a new one. Create an armature for your character using the Bones Tool. Note: All of the pieces of the puppet need to be movieclip symbols,  you may need to convert grouped objects to symbols to successfully link the armature to the skeleton. After the character is rigged with an armature skeleton create a short animation by adding frames and moving the movieclip pieces. I have created a tutorial to help you with the assignment:

Character Armatures with the Bones Tool 

Due Date: Due by the end of week 3.
Zip your finished Flash file and Flash movie and post it to the Flash Puppet Topic in the Danscourses Forum 

 

Author: Dan

Dan teaches computer networking and security classes at Central Oregon Community College.

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