Posted on Feb 19, 2011

Flash to Unity, part 1

Since I’ve learned Adobe Flash and ActionScript 3 in 2008, I always had in mind multiple ideas about games or other experiments. My midterm creation was featured in my teacher’s, Kévin Trépanier from Small Is Beautiful, best-of: Student Escape 2008 as Escape the Moon. Not a big fan of theses puzzles so I tried to find a way to achieve Mario Bros’ platformer or physics games – they weren’t that popular at the time. I began toying with Box2D AS3 port for my full-term project and build a pretty neat game named “Gerny Snowblower” that was lost in a computer crash about 2 days after the deadline. The game was graphic-heavy and was unplayable on older computer, plus Box2D is a CPU hog. Why was it that of a problem? Coming from an application-driven background, it wasn’t clear how to optimize game-mechanics, AS3-memories allocations, etc. Afterward, I rebuild from scratch everything with simpler graphics to tear down the problem.

Box2D experimentations with behaviors

This was all build from Flash IDE pretty much like World Construction Kit does now. Everything run at 30fps except Stage #3 with different render; it becomes unplayable on older computer. So Box2D runs fine with only 2-8ms steps. Is Flash that slow at rendering vector shape? Definitely. It’s a bit sad because Flash was originally made for animation purposes. That’s why display engine like Flash Punk and Flixel are so popular among game developers.

What about Flash as a platform for mobile development? In a future post, I’ll discuss how I’ve evolve from Adobe Flash to Unity 3D.

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