Poll

Were you familiar with ActionScript before using flixel?

Yes
12 (41.4%)
No
17 (58.6%)

Total Members Voted: 28

Author Topic: Were you familiar with ActionScript before using flixel?  (Read 4674 times)

cai

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Hopefully the question doesn't need any further explanation... ;)

If you were familiar with ActionScript, how familiar were you?  Perhaps you used it years ago, perhaps you even work for Adobe.
If you were not familiar at all, how much programming experience did you have?  Is the syntax something you picked up easily, or is different from anything you've seen?

I'm putting together a tutorial, and I'd like to gauge how much I should explain syntax and such.  It seems to me like a lot of people start using ActionScript just because they found flixel, but I'd like to get a more measurable response.

Thanks!
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L_O_J

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Short answer: Yes
A bit long answer:
I came from C++ background, then I know AS3, goofing around with it, than move to haXe, then back to AS3 again, then found Flixel :D. AS3 Syntax is easy, if your programming background comes from C like or ECMA based languages (C/C++, Java, JS, etc). The hard part is actually understanding the quirks, like copying array (by reference, by value stuff), GC stuff, etc.

Just a suggestion, if you want to make a Flixel tutorial, don't bother explaining AS3 syntax, at most just provide reference link to AS3 Doc at adobe. Just focus on what you are trying to teach. Unless your target audience is a complete newbie in programming.
« Last Edit: Thu, May 27, 2010 by L_O_J »

cai

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Unless your target audience is a complete newbie in programming.

Well, that's what this poll is for! :)

I'm not going to go into depth, definitely, but I think I'll have to at least touch on the subject.
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KillaGouge

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I use Lynda.com and tried to follow their ActionScript 3.0 in Flash CS3 Essential Training.  Was largely useless unless you plan on purchasing Flash after the trial period.  Before that I tried to use XNA Game Studio, but it was a little daunting as the only experience I had before trying C# with XNA, was some C++ command line programs.

I find Flash and Flixel a little easier to get my head around, and since it is an Object Oriented Language, the "skills" and knowledge I pick up will transfer to other languages.

Cai, if you can manage to write a tutorial explaining things the way you did to me, it would be helpful for anybody using Flixel.

Also if you browse through the Help section, you could grab some of the most asked questions and add them as little ProTips
« Last Edit: Thu, May 27, 2010 by KillaGouge »

tliu

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I'd fooled around with AS2 with the flash IDE many years ago but I'd never touched AS3 until flixel.  That being said, I had a lot of experience programming in general and as such picking a new language wasn't hard at all.

I guess I'd say that if the tutorial is targeting beginners with absolutely no experience programming it would be wise to talk a bit about syntax.

-Thomas

Hectate

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As above, short answer: No.
Long answer: The truth is that I didn't even know what AS3 was until after I had already started learning what Flixel did with it! I've piddled in all sorts of different programming and scripting languages over many years, but never took time to sit down and dedicate myself to learning something. Happily, my exposure to such a variety of programming languages prepared me to at least understand the basic concepts and utility of AS3 and how Flixel (and FlashDevelop and Flex) works with it.

Lots of daydreaming and game modding - combined with a love for 2D games (not that I don't like 3D) - put me in a position to WANT to learn. Flixel makes it easy to learn and use AS3. Granted, I have trouble at times because my inexperience (yesterday I spent a couple hours trying to figure a bug out that I eventually discovered was as simple as poorly designed if/else statements) but I work through it. Searching forums and google is my friend. There's a lot of good AS3 tutorials out there that aren't flixel specific but they get me on the right track to solve a programming concept.
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sopesope

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No. I have barebones experience with HTML, and way before that with BASIC and PASCAL, but Flixel is what pushed me to learn more about OOP languages. I consider myself in the noob stage :P but I haven't had any major trouble understanding syntax and structure.

To be honest, my interest in learning how to program right now is to someday be able as a designer and artist to collaborate with an experienced programmer and not look like a fool who is asking for impossible or really difficult things. :)

Richard Kain

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I started learning Actionscript 3.0 because a job I had taken required me to create a 3D interface for their homepage using Flash. I was already familiar with using AS2, but I knew I wouldn't be able to squeeze the performance out of it that I needed. So I picked up two AS3 books and learned how to code for Flash player 9.

I ran across Flixel less than a year ago. I was already quite familiar with AS3 before picking it up. I had worked on some personal projects using AS3 before I tried Flixel. (mainly involving 3D) I adored the way that Flixel provided an actual framework for producing games, rather than just a rendering engine. It gave me all of the basic structures, and even provided effective examples on how to use them. I used Flixel to produce an entry for the Zero Punctuation game contest in about a month and a half.

Since then I relaxed a little and just played around with integrating various features into Flixel and producing small tech demos with them. Now I'm working on a Flixel port. Once I'm done with that I plan on moving back into developing full-on games using Flixel.

Jon

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I come from a Java-heavy game programming background and never programmed in ActionScript before, so I had the fun task of learning both a new language and a series of new libraries. Learning the syntax was trivial - but all those little "gotchas" snagged me, as I made the transition from Java to AS3. If you'd like me to elaborate on those gotchas, let me know!

That said, I have worked with a lot of game libraries in the past, so after a while, you start to see the common bits that engines have and apply those concepts to understand new ones.

For reference, my primary work is developing a game creation toolset/platform that outputs Flixel-based (+ Box2D) Flash games.

lithander

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If you'd like me to elaborate on those gotchas, let me know!

Please! :)
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication ~Leonardo Da'Vinci

PlayOrDie

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Re: Were you familiar with ActionScript before using flixel?
« Reply #10 on: Fri, May 28, 2010 »
Yes, since Actionscript 1.  I made a turn based strategy game in Flash MX 6 years ago, and my own blitting engine in Actionscript 3 last year.  I also develop FTP Flash slideshow galleries and web sites for clients.

Most of my games programming knowledge actually comes from using Amos on the Amiga, after years rewriting Space Invaders on the ZX Spectrum.

Flixel and its great community has definately filled in some gaps in my knowledge though, and helped me consolidate the OO principles I first learnt 10 years ago.
« Last Edit: Fri, May 28, 2010 by PlayOrDie »
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Jon

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Re: Were you familiar with ActionScript before using flixel?
« Reply #11 on: Fri, May 28, 2010 »
If you'd like me to elaborate on those gotchas, let me know!

Please! :)

On the surface, Java (and similar languages) seem syntactically similar to AS3, but I ran into a lot of subtle differences that threw me off. Some of these apply to Flixel, but others are about the language in general.

- Primitives you don't initialize don't get default values. For example, your integer will become NaN rather than 0, which can throw off everything.

- null and undefined are not the same thing

- Getters/Setters are very cool but take some getting used to, especially since you think that a.member = 2 could be doing more than just assigning that value to 2 and could do other things.

- Dynamic property binding on all Objects that the ramifications of that.

- for vs. for each to iterate over properties (for iterates over keys, for each iterates over values)

- There is a lot less exception handling for things that ought to have it. For example, dividing by zero appears to give infinity, but in Java, you get a DivideByZeroException

- If you cast a primitive badly, you can end up with null or 0, which can throw you off. Java would scream and stop with a ClassCastException. Admittedly, you won't run into this with Flixel, but if you're doing something like parsing XML, you can run into this more often than you'd like.

- Arrays are sparse.

- The Array class is weak in functionality compared to Java's ArrayList.

- You can't define the same variable twice within a function, even if they are both in a lower-level scope than the function. For example, if you have 2 for loops that have the variable i.

- I like default values, but the inability to have two functions share the same name hurt. I know why that is (because functions are properties), but still...

hima

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Re: Were you familiar with ActionScript before using flixel?
« Reply #12 on: Fri, May 28, 2010 »
I do not know anything about ActionScript3 at all until I start learning flixel. Before that, making games using Flash is like a voodoo mystery to me. I used to believe that I need Flash IDE to make it, not knowing that you can

However, I have been programming in other languages before so learning AS3 isn't that hard to me. So I'd say, I don't really need syntax explanation, unless it is something very special or is featured in AS3 only. OO concepts like class, inheritance, overriding etc isn't really necessary for me.

Also, I like a tutorial that teaching by doing. Guiding through a process of making one game as well as explain the reasons behind the solution or the way you choose to do it would be ideal for me.

Geti

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Re: Were you familiar with ActionScript before using flixel?
« Reply #13 on: Sat, May 29, 2010 »
I only really knew Lua inside and out before finding flixel and learning AS3. In reality I've not yet finished learning it, I still have quite a few "wtf" moments when debugging things :P
Before getting good at Lua I had some experience with cpp and java, but ever really got into them. I'm liking AS3 inthusfar though.

For any sort of tutorial, if you're doing anything syntactically interesting it could pay to explain what little trick you've incorporated, but I'd say you'd be better off covering more flixel related stuff than ActionScript, if I get stuck with something I can always google it.

zez

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Re: Were you familiar with ActionScript before using flixel?
« Reply #14 on: Sun, May 30, 2010 »
My programing knowledge was basically nonexistent.
I had played around with AS2, and pretty much hated it, Did some minimal Java coding stuff in highschool (so 7 ish years ago) along with a fair amount of HTML, and some PHP stuff, but nothing more then basic web design stuff. (I guess a little CSS too, but that isnt super applicable.)
I also had been playing around with clickteam products sense I was in elementary school, and by around the time I got halfway through seifer tims basic tutorial figured out that 'if' was basically the same as event in any of those, and for was basically a loop in MMF.
Im pretty darn sure you can write a good tutorial for newbs and veterans alike tho Cai, you have probably helped me along more then any other person on these forums (and thats a great deal, seeing as I went from checking a tutorial or the board every 4 or 5 lines of code, to basically writing AS3 stream of consciousness style and having it play out exactly as it does in my head.)

Super lookin forward to reading what you have to say on the subject XD.

kacamac

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Re: Were you familiar with ActionScript before using flixel?
« Reply #15 on: Mon, May 31, 2010 »
I did some C++ and Java way back when I was in college, one class each. I was surprised at how much alike they were. I haven't touched either in 8 years or so though. Later I messed around with Flash making cartoons but the only coding I ever did in actionscript was making a "Play" button. I came to flixel with next to no knowledge of ActionScript, I was surprised how much I could do with it considering but it does still feel like a big hurdle I need to overcome. I keep hearing how ActionScript is super easy baby level programing but damn does it have me confused a lot of the time.

potan

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I'm not familiar with actionscript "at all", but i know a little bit of javascript.
I'm about to learn flixel in the next couple weeks ;D,
hopefully it's not too hard.

The more tutorial available the better :)

evilliam

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I grew up with Flash, one of those developers who came up in the sweet spot of flash development. We all started out as graphic designers and then to be able to push flash to do a bit more (flash 4, flash 5) you had to learn a bit of scripting, the basics etc. And then when Flash started it's gentle jog towards being a proper oo language we went along with it. (AS2, AS3).

A couple of years ago I put my head up and looked around and realised my as3 experience meant I could fairly easily transition to Java, C++ and objective C (pointer dereferencing notwithstanding) and that's what I've done.  Flash is still my bread and butter though and I picked up Flixel a couple of months ago to use as an engine for one of three games I was writing.