Adobe Flash has been around for over 10 years now (wow, has it been that long?) and until recently has been mainly focused on creating online games. Now that in recent versions of Flash have evolved abit, it is being used not only for game design, but also for online video, and RIA applications.
Though for the most part Flash is best suited to create online animated games because it is very efficient for download size, is fast, has a very robust programming language (AS 3.0) and has many tools for quick and easy animation using the timeline.
This book is one of the few books focusing primarily on game design with Flash as opposed to other books focusing on specific topics such as animation or coding or component creation, etc. The author assumes no previous knowledge with Flash or programming but it would be helpful in speeding up your learning curve if you had a little experience in either programming or Flash.
The author starts at the very begginning of the book in explaining the basics of Flash and the components involved as well as the interface with the timeline. The author goes into how to program with ActionScript and how it differs from other languages. Then more basic topics are discussed such as how to create symbols (buttons and movieclips) and a basic template for the first game is discussed.
More ActionScript basic topics are discussed such as variables, using objects and methods, and how to code events. Then the next chapter (chapter 4) one of the more important topics are dicussed which focus on movie clips. Movie clips are the foundation of creating Flash games (let alone almost everything else). Anything in a movie clip (image, video, sound, animation, object) can be controlled via ActionScript which is why its so powerful.
The author gives a great explanation to these important topics and helps the reader understand what will be involved in creating Flash games.
The author then discusses other fun and important topics in game design such as how to use AS to control the player characters in the different keyboard and mouse events. Understanding how to control your characters movement in your game is very important.
I really enjoy the way the author explains the topics discussed because he describes everthing in a relaxed, easy to read format without too much technical jargon (unless needed, of course). It doesnt sound like a technical book, but sounds like a book that someone really enjoys what they are doing and that comes across from the book.
A really fun chapter (chapter 7) is the discussion of how to program collisions with your game character and teh environment you create for it. The author talks about the AS objects hitTestPoint, Collision, etc.
The rest of the book focuses on more somewhat advanced techniques such as object oriented game design, game physics, and advanced charcter control.
Its a very in-depth book and will take you awhile to go through it all but it is done very well and a highly recommeded if you want to really understand flash game design and development.
A great buy!