All these things that I’ve done...
• 50+ professional games.
• Bazillion awards.
• Cool sounding job titles.
• Internet celebrity.
• But not one bit of work I can point to
and say: “That’s the best thing I can
Alice, Beyond the Looking Glass
• Abandoned after 1 month of
– Too many ideas to fit in a reasonable scope.
– No single core mechanic.
– Flash performance not adequate to realise vision
– Bad fit for portal market.
– Doubts about monochromatic styling.
• Engine tech recycled into Super Gun
Super Gun Kids
• Theme chosen for better match with
– Guns, Zombies, Ninjas, Vampires, Robots.
• ...but also my nostalgia for toys.
• Lay groundwork for future games.
• Learn how to make bigger games.
• Setting / game-world over story.
• Save “Kid City” from zombies, vampires
• Mission text and in-game set pieces.
• Villain characters, but the hero is “you”.
• Cut-scenes and set pieces are really time
• Vector cartoon characters in front of
• I really wanted to do the art!
• Really glad I brought Amanda in to do the
backgrounds, logo etc.
• Last time I do the art for a big project – but
I did learn a lot.
• Characters and levels based on Fisher Price /
Lego / Imaginex play sets and 80s GI Joe.
• “Kid City” is based on modern Dutch / Danish
• Castle level is based on haunted house rides.
• Factory level is based on Tate Modern /
Cathedrals / Warhammer 40k.
• Map screen is inspired by theme park maps.
• Games should have “second-to-second”,
“minute-to-minute” and “hour-to-hour”
– Tight platforming “kinaesthetics”, with lots of
running, jumping, shooting and collecting.
– Keep interest through environment, enemy
and weapon variety.
– Provide closure through story progression.
3rd Party Libraries
• TweenMax by GreenSock
• AS3Signals by Robert Penner
• Mochi / Google analytics
• Mochi / CPMStar ads
• Kongregate API
• Doomsday Console by Andreas Rønning
• “The Miner” code analyser
Choosing a renderer
• Display List
– Integrates with Flash Professional
– Slowest performance
– Scales well to full-screen
– Integrates well with pixel art
– No “scene-graph”
– Only available for 50% of web gamers
• Don’t use Flash!
– Unity, HaxeNME, Corona, Cocos2D, XNA etc etc
• Entity vs World
– Phase 1 - Axis-Aligned Bounding Box (AABB)
– Phase 2 – HitTestPoint
• Entity vs Entity
– Hitbox can be point, circle or rectangle.
– Fast-moving objects perform multiple tests
Thoughts on level design...
• I hate it.
• Original concept was to have an open-world to
explore, with multiple missions in each area.
• But level design gets exponentially harder as
levels get bigger.
• So switched to a traditional levels.
• Start with a concept on paper.
• Flash sort of works as a level design tool, but an
in-game system would be better.
• Get someone else to do it.
Amanda’s Digital Art Tips
• Do lots of stuff on paper.
• Get the biggest Wacom you can afford.
• Work big and shrink down.
• But think about how lines will look scaled down.
• If working to someone else’s vision, ask for a doodle /
mood images to work from.
• Use references images!
• Work in greyscale for lighting then add colour with a
“Color Burn” layer.
• Study human anatomy and practice a lot!
• Practice copying other artists’ styles.
How I make animations
• Timeline animation of named body parts in
• Export SWC.
• Parse animation data.
• Re-animate bones.
– Vary speed of playback including slow motion
– Multiple simultaneous animations on same
Results of 1st play test
• Inventory hotkey was really awkward.
• Controlling menus with keyboard was
• Inventory was confusing.
• Players expected mouse aim.
• Felt like an arena shooter with platforms,
not a platform game.
• Guns felt underpowered.
Reduce your overheads
• Cycle instead of driving.
• Shop at Aldi.
• Don’t rent an office.
• Don’t have employees.
• Move somewhere cheap.
Do freelance work
• Don’t work for fixed fees.
• Work on-site if possible.
• Price at market rates (£200-£500+ per
Should I make a “big” game?
• Yes, only if:
– You have already made lots of small games.
– You have already created a successful game.
– You have a steady income or cash in the
– You have tried your idea out as a small
– You are not working on your own.
What should Flash game
developers be doing right now?
• Cashing in on freelance work while it exists.
• Building a portal audience.
• Diversifying into mobile.
• Working out what you do and don’t enjoy.
• Finding a good partner.
• Making polished 1-4 week games with a
• Local co-op.
• Fully keyboard-driven navigation.
• Full screen support.
• Character customizer.
• 24 weapons.
• Baroque weaponry.
• Characters on map screen.
• 3 separate zones.
Code in the bank
• Countless framework improvements.
• Robust character customizer.
• Flash level editor.
• Robust platform physics.
• Bones animation system.
• Platform Astar pathfinding.
Changes for next big project
• Hardware rendering (with fallback).
• Unified art style.
• In-game level editor.
• Work with a composer & sound designer.
• More scope control.
• Sell the game to players rather than