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I want to write some simple flash games (as a hobby). I have a lot of programming experience, but no experience with Flash/ActionScript.

My question is: As a beginner, is it a good idea to start with a framework like Flixel, FlashPunk or PushButton or would it be better to write my first games from scratch?

Also, if you vote for using a framework, which one would you recommend? What are the differences?

And another question: What about Flex, would you recommend using it?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I'd say you should start without a framework, just to get used to ActionScript and the core flash classes. Maybe write something very basic like Pong.

When you feel comfortable with ActionScript and the core concepts, feel free to use a framework like Flixel or FlashPunk (look here to get started). They are quite different from the usual Flash philosophy, since they don't use the flash display objects (like Sprite, MovieClip etc.). Instead they implement their own display classes and a bitmap-based rendering engine. This is especially nice/useful if you don't own Flash or don't want to use Flash to create game assets.

IMHO Flex isn't very useful for games. It's more of a Web-Application/GUI framework and would add a lot of bloat to a game. Use one of the more game-oriented frameworks like Flixel or FlashPunk instead.

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Just to clarify: you may use FlexSDK in flashDevelop, but it doesn't mean you will use Flex framework. –  Markus von Broady Oct 5 '12 at 9:02

I'd recommend you to start without any framework like flixel, flashpunk or even Box2d. They do really make life simpler to you by keeping in mind the ancient programmer philosophy "Don't always reinvent the wheel" If you start programming games with just flash, these would be your plus points

  1. You learn little bit about the essential computer graphics necessary algorithms, ideas and programming logic.
    1. You make a lot of mistakes and learn a lot more when correcting them.
    2. You do think of "making" the game logic, rather than allowing the framework to do it for you.

If you start with a framework, these are the plus points

  1. They provide you with a plethora of built in functions which help a lot in the game logic.
  2. They make life simpler.
  3. You would get more time to invest in building your core game logic.

But, If you start programming games in flash with a framework, these are minus points

  1. You wouldn't need/try to understand the algorithm behind the game logic implementation.
  2. You may/would find it difficult when changing to another language for a similiar game programming need if that particular language doesn't have similiar library features as the one you use.

To sum it all up, If I were a teacher I'd ask my students to start learning Game Programming without a framework.Using an SDK is recommended though.Flex SDK is useful if you were thinking of programming in FlashDevelop IDE or other Flash IDEs.

Best Wishes.

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Use a framework; I recommend Flixel because it's the one I'm familiar with. There's no real value in reinventing the wheel, and Flixel makes development much faster and easier, which means that you'll see results faster and you'll get experience more quickly.

Frameworks help to structure your game, so you'll make fewer rookie mistakes with regard to organization and architecture. Frameworks also tend to collect tutorials and example code. If you need something a framework can't provide, you can always learn the lower-level Flash techniques... but honestly, the difference between framework and non-framework is very small. It's not like comparing machine code and managed code.

Regarding Flex: use the free Flex compiler, but compile a simple AS3/Flash project. I wouldn't use Flex unless you wanted to use the Flex layout approach, and it's not especially compatible with more frameworks.

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I'm not a Flash/ActionScript developer, but as this is a hobby, what is do you want to work on most?

If you first and foremost want to makes games, then by all means use a framework to do all the other stuff you don't care about too much at the moment. You'll get yourself up and running much faster and you'll have something on the screen quickly. You can worry about how all the other stuff happens another day when that becomes interesting.

If you care more about how the whole thing works, plus love getting your hands dirty with all the behind the scenes stuff, then start from scratch and learn about it all as you go.

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Since you have a lot of programming experiences i could recommend you using one of the frameworks that are avaible, i have some tutorials and a template for flixel in my blog, maybe you should take a look at them.

However i think the most important thing in games aren't the tools, is the game design.

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If you are into game programming in Flash, then a framework would give you more power over functionalities. But these frameworks are not easy to work with, and you'll have to play around with them for quite some time before you can finally use them. So I'd recommend to first understand the basics of Flash and ActionScript and how they work before you think about using a framework.

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