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Is it possible to make an MMO game in Flash CS5 with ActionScript 3.0?

I'm not asking how, but I'd also like to see some examples if it's already been done.

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If this isn't broad I don't know what is. –  Lohoris Nov 14 '11 at 12:36
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Do yourself a favor and program in HTML5 with JavaScript. –  akled Nov 25 '11 at 9:44
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4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

It depends what you mean by "MMO" it would be quite possible to build an MMO client in Flash.

The real question becomes what does your server side software look like? How real-time is this game going to be? Are you talking an MMO like World of Warcraft or something similar to a text-based-turn-based game like Kings of Chaos?

IMHO, you could make a very fun turn-based game in Flash. With the proper server software, you could probably make a real-time game as well, the problem you'll have is loading a big seamless world that many MMOs feature now.

I think you may be trying to shoehorn your existing skills onto game development (I say go for it). I'd recommend starting out with some fun, casual Flash based games. Once you have that under your belt, move on to something bigger.

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+1 Simplicity is key, don't try an until you have a lot of experience with developing single player and eventually lobby-based multiplayer games. MMOs have been done before (Dofus is one example: dofus.com/en) but there's a lot of work to do outside of the game client. Also, you'd probably want to work more with Flash Builder or FlashDevelop instead of the regular Flash IDE. Using the timeline editor doesn't offer a lot of benefits in this situation. –  michael.bartnett Nov 14 '11 at 7:53
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+1 Also. When you get to multilayer. You can design the client in flash, but have a main server to handling all TCP/UDP side of things. This could easily be written in C# or Java as a simple console application. –  Twitchy Nov 14 '11 at 8:17
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SmartFox Server is a technology used for building online games. It's got a good track record for small-to-medium scale MMOs. It allows you to write server-side ActionScript 3.0, so that you can code all your game logic, client and server, in that language; Flash CS5 is a given.

That said, I would quote the usual, "don't go for MMOs to start", because that's not sensible. Build a simple single-player game, then a simple multiplayer game, at least, before you even attempt something like this at home.

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Club Penguin is an example of a MMO in Flash (wikipedia), as is DOFUS which bearcdp already mentioned (wikipedia). Adventure Quest Worlds is yet another one (wikipedia).

You'll notice similar qualities in each of these games (as far as I know, from my limited experience in them): there are no "twitch" actions, combat is usually slow real-time or turn-based, and they're 2D or 2.5D. These are all artifacts of the Flash technology - it would be difficult to make a really real-time MMO or a 3D game with Flash (though this may be changing; I know recently Flash has been making headway in the 3D graphics space).

If Flash/Actionscript is what you know best and the above games are the kind of quality you would want to aim for, then by all means, clearly Flash is a capable technology for multiplayer games. There's certainly nothing wrong with innovation; if you were to utilize Adobe's latest 3D technologies to make a 3D MMO in Flash, you would apparently be the first and it could mean extra publicity, along with the perks of having a game that works in the browser. But if you are just surveying technologies, then weigh your other options against this; if you specifically want a browser MMO, also consider HTML5/WebGL/WebSocket and Java (we have a good number of questions about these two technologies on the site).

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Yes, but it depends on how you define “MMO”, and Flash has limitations — it won't be able to do everything you can do with native code, especially when it comes to networking.

Here's an example: Realm of the Mad God is real-time combat MMO written in ActionScript 3 on the client and C++ on the server. Watch this youtube video to see lots of people playing together — the green dots on the minimap are other players. (The retro graphics are intentional, as it was written for the TIGSource Assemblee competition.) (Disclaimer: I'm loosely involved with the team that wrote the game.)

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