Sommarlov – konstsim för hajar

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Straight up and down request, build a game that does x,y,z.
That’s what we built.
Every project has a angle, a hook and dear goodness where those two fishing puns already.

And with this project we used Flixel – the little engine that should

okay this is more of a Flixel rant, than a post mortem of how the game was built and the underlying game theory, issues that play-testing brought about, design concepts, logistics of the production workflow.

So before we go further Alex Viksten graphics, Key Bjur UI/DB programmer, and myself doing that game thing.

From the beginning we KNEW Flixel wasn’t exactly a good fit for the gametype we were doing, since it wasn’t tilebased (platform game) and really it was basically a gigantic background and only one character that really needed to move, it could have been handled by simple moveclip commands.
So why go game-engine, why not build from scratch?

We thought the inbuilt “game” stuff, sprite management, kill, revive, sound management, acceleration, velocity, drag, loading in pictures, pre-loading, rotating blitted sprites, etc, etc – would be quicker and easier than instead of having to invent and debug those functions and code ONTOP of the game itself.

Not to mention we knew we had 2 more games in the production pipeline further down in the year – so we needed experience and to test engines.

We had aspirations to publish to iOS, and the game-engine framework Flixel had an inbuilt Blitting technology.
And It was free.
Flixel was the little engine that could!

HOWEVER being a 3rd party flash framework as written by one dude we did run into a few snags.

  • different revisions – basic code and functions changing name, and just not working from version to version
  • not so up to date documentation (see revisions)
  • conflicting help (see revisions)
  • code examples that didn’t work in the tutorials and forums (see revisions)
  • And bugs – literarly documentated features didn’t work as advertised (see the community collaboration of helping that one dude)
  • Not to mention loosing a chunk of native flash stuff because as with all game engines their sprite management worked outside of core flash display list

All of this stuff Literally stopped production for a couple of days, over a number of minor headaches (with buttons, camera and hit detection) that should have been easy and self explanatory to fix either with native flash or in-engine code.

Now I’m not debunking Flixel, we were honestly and still are in love with it.
Flixel is awesome and that one dude who built it is FAR smarter and better a programmer than I’ll EVER be.
We had a tight deadline, hardly any margin for error and it we didn’t have the experience of the engine was all.
And for all I know these were just issues that was localised do that specific time period and as historians stumble across this blog they think I’m totally wrong.

We took a risk, we were all vulnerable, like swimming all naked in the water and we got bit…oh another shark reference,

But we pulled through delivered on time, and are proud. Can’t argue. Flixel did it’s job. For all the headaches, it saved us a lot of time and effort and development time.
At the end and we had generated a bag of ideas that didn’t go in and exploit a ton of Flixel community features and plugins.
but they didn’t go in due to project time constraints and the above issues.

Chalk This one down to experience.
A free unlicensed gaming engine – great for personal stuff playing with ideas,
but professional products, on a tight deadline, go license an actual engine with documentation, they pay for themselves.

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