I’ve been playing video games for the better part of my life. I remember playing Pong and the first time I saw a Space Invaders machine. I spent hours playing Breakout (with it’s striped colour film overlay to give the impression there was colour involved). During my teenage years I spent time playing on my ZX Spectrum and because I grew up in a coastal tourist town I had access to new arcade machines as and when they hit the shores of the UK. For a few months I had the UK’s highest score for Gauntlet at a little over 21.5m on a single 10p and over 12 hours solid play – I only stopped because they shut the arcade for the night (spoil sports :p)
Suffice it to say gaming is probably what got me in to software development. In fact when I first came across Futurewave Splash Animator (that’s the original name of Flash to you youngsters :p) in 1996 my first thought was, “Can I build games with it?” Well, not so much with version 1 and 2 of Flash, but by the time I got to version 3 it was time to get gaming. During that period I created more games than I care to remember in Flash – adding logic was a lateral thinking game due to the lack of a fully formed language. State management was done by creating multi-frame movie clips and ‘parking’ them to hold the current state – as you can imagine this was a very left of field concept back then. Over the next decade I moved in and out of game development – I had a brief foray into casino game development on touch screen arcade terminals as well as fixed odds betting opportunities (that’s gambling machines to you and me).
Roll on to the present day and with AIR and Flash Player coming to various devices and hardware platforms as well as the preview of true 3D in the Flash Player. With all that this offers to game developers – both those familiar with the Flash platform and those from a gaming heritage looking for an environment that provides an established user base and the level of functionality and features that they need – I thought it was time to dust off my ‘little grey cells’ as Hercule Poirot so eloquently put it.
A lot has changed since I was developing Flash games; there weren’t any game engines or frameworks back then, so you had to do it all yourself. So with that in mind I started to have a look at what’s out there and who’s doing what. I’ve got a list of things to look at and try out but I thought I’d focus on Pushbutton Engine initially and see what I can get running not only my desktop but also on the various Android devices I have in front of me. With that in mind I thought I’d log my exploits getting to grips with PBE and post up thoughts, observations, and tips and tricks as I discover them.
So without further ado – Game On!