From the book lists at Adware Report:

All information current as of 01:31:35 Pacific Time, Saturday, 5 February 2005.

Building Great Flash MX Games

   by Matthew David / Matthew David

    01 November, 2002


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Editorial description(s):

"...good, practical information...shows it strength when you start to build the sample games for yourself..." (Image Technology)

“…a detailed and interesting read…good value…”(Computer Arts, April 2003)

“…easy-to-understand…one of the rare occasions when a book truly does cater for professionals and amateurs alike…” (Practical Web Projects, August 2003)

"...good, practical information...shows it strength when you start to build the sample games for yourself..." (Image Technology)

“…a detailed and interesting read…good value…”(Computer Arts, April 2003)

“…easy-to-understand…one of the rare occasions when a book truly does cater for professionals and amateurs alike…” (Practical Web Projects, August 2003)

Book Info
Lavishly illustrated and filled with clear, easy to follow examples, it includes valuable code samples and tips from some of the great game gurus who share their insights through personal interviews. Softcover.

From the Back Cover
Here';s everything you need to create exciting, colorful, fast-paced games using Macromedia Flash MX. Lavishly illustrated and filled with clear, easy-to-follow examples, it includes valuable code samples and tips from some of the great game gurus who share their insights through personal interviews. Whether you';re a professional developer or a hobbyist eager to try your hand at game development, you';ll find this guide is a must-have resource-just add your creativity!

Part I explains the tools and scripts you need

Part II teaches you to build games

About the Author
Matthew David, a consultant and teacher of Flash, Fireworks, and Dreamweaver, has contributed to several books on Flash. He is also a regular contributor to various technical journals for Web developers.

Book Description
* Designed for both professionals and hobbyists, this is the most complete book on creating sophisticated games with Macromedia Flash MX
* Shows readers how to harness the full potential of Flash MX and Flash ActionScript
* Provides hands-on advice for creating commercial games, as well as games to boost a Web site's "stickiness," perk up presentations, or enhance educational materials
* Explains the tools, scripts, and other building blocks of Flash games tools and then shows how to put them together
* Companion Web site includes all source code and game artwork from the book as well as links to free game development tools and product trials

Reader review(s):

Terrible Chocie, February 2, 2004
After trying to cope with this chapter on collision detection for over two weeks, I have decided that this book needs to be revised immensely. On page 47 you give a chunk of code to "Define the ball". The chunk of code you give lacks any commenting whatsoever, and worse yet, when I turned to page 48 I was given ONE SENTANCE to explain SEVEN FUNCTIONS. The sentance wasn't even helpful. "The instnace of the ball mocie clip moves down the stage to collide with the rectangle movie clip". Great, I have no idea which one of these functions does each. I know JS and C++ but AS is still new to me so wading through it is a bloody chore. Later on page 48 you have a chunk of code, this time with a comment. More helpful indeed, I understood this chunk, but you told me to insert it into line 19. That did all of nothing. A friend and senior programmer had to look at my code, and implement it much farther down, more like line 39 if I recall, plus change some of the code. That is rediculous. 48 goes on more. Defining boundries. You give me this line of code:

gGameRect = [0,0,400,500];
gHMax = pGameRect[2] - 5;

You then explain gGameRect, the easies of all the variables to figure out, and omit to tell me the other two descriptions. I assume that BallBaseLoc is where the ball starts on screen and gHMax is the ceiling, but assuming isn't much good for me. Once again this code doens't work at the place you indstructed to put it in either.

What I'm trying to say is I got burned badly by this book. I am a college student, paying my tuition, transportation, and books on my own minimum wage part time job. I parted with my FIFTY DOLLARS [which is a LOT of money to me] for your book, and it hads caused me nothing but headaches. If this is only chapter four, I can't imagine what else lies in wait for me.

I'd think that I could solve my problems by looking at your downloadable source, but the truth is that this particular movie isnt even in your source. There are several games like pacman that you don't even mention in this chapter, but somehow the source is included, yet not this. I am upset.

The purpose of this email is to let you know that your integrity is comming into question from the poor work you have released. I recommend you revise this book ASAP, because your work is a reflection of you, and it isn't looking great to me. You did not respond to my earlier email, which is fine. I wanted to let you know that I am copying this email and putting it in every review of your book online that I can find, just to warn off other people in my situation. I hope you seriously consider the points I have brought up. Thanks,

-Zach Atkinson

Has potential but needs code fixes to work., April 27, 2003
This book has the potential to be a great book, but I keep running across several frustration factors that keep me from giving this book a higher rating.

First of all, in chapter 4, there are code typos, and the only way I could get the code to work was by trial and error until something clicked. He has source code and fla's available, but he doesn't have one for the "movieCollision.fla" that he keeps building on.

It works you step by step through a project, but there are SO many holes. You'll have a nice working first part of the project, then when it's time to move on, suddenly there are three layers and a bunch of keyframes, and he didn't explain what was supposed to go on which layer, and how even in the book he went from a single layer in the first part to three layers, actionscript, and several keyframes.

I've been developing in Flash since 1999 and am also a programmer, so it's not for lack of knowing the tool that I'm having problems with this book, it's the fact that his instructions are not as well fleshed out as I'd like.

This could all be fixed by posting "errata" on the website, but to-date none exists for the particular projects.

With a 2nd edition, maybe this book will get a little better editing, and a more thorough look at the code to make sure it's all viable. Otherwise, the book definitely has potential. I'd have paid more to have a CD with full source code on the book to check my work against instead of a website the doesn't have all the book examples available for download.

An absolute train wreck of a book, November 2, 2004
There are so many problems with this book it defies understanding how it made it onto the shelves in it's current form. While I do not claim to be any sort of Actionscript guru, I have done an appreciable amount of work in Flash MX and with actionscript. Still, now 3/4 through the book I have found myself frequently frustrated and disappointed.

First, there are numerous code errors. As an example, in discussing server side includes, the author states 'note that the file name is enclosed by parenthesis'. Then he presents the finished code as '#include ""'. In other places, variable names suddenly change. For example, in one place you are instructed to enter a line using the variable 'content'. Then a short time later when he presents the complete code, he has replaced that name with 'i'.

In addition to the errors are confusing omissions. In the section where preloaders are discussed, he gives instructions for creating the preloader graphics. Then finishes by saying the preloader is complete. Yet there is no actionscript to make it work - only the graphics are done.

I also feel there is not enough commentary on much of the most important code. Largish chunks are thrown out to the user to be used with little or no explaination. Any comments there are are so general that while you may know what the code does, you have no explainantion as to how it is doing it. In one section on databases, the reader is presented with two solid pages of asp code and no explaination whatsoever of why or how it works. I realize this is not an asp book, but at the same time, what good is a huge slab of code, which while it may work, you have no true idea how it works?

Overall, I feel the book was rushed and not well edited. It reads as though it was written quickly and shipped out with no real attention to making sure the information was accurate or well presented. Too much of the book talks about pleasant generalities, how great sound is in a game, how wonderful 3D is, etc., and not enough focused on actually creating the components or making it work.

Also, I strongly feel that there is too large a chunk of the book given over to "[X] in games is really great, but Flash can't do [X], so you need to buy [some third party software]". This sort of thing can be covered in 3 pages, max. I'd rather skip the 15 page ad for another software package (albeit which may be a great package) and hear more about actually working in Flash.

In the end I believe this book will be nearly useless to anyone with a general knowledge of Actionscript and Flash, telling them not much more than they probably already knew or suspected. If the reader has little or no experience, it will undoubtedly leave them more confused than before, and may even do them a disservice with the botched code they will be led to believe is accurate.

I'm not normally given to taking the time to write a bad review. However the obvious lack of care taken with this book coupled with the price was more than enough motivation.

Top ten Hall of Shame, June 25, 2004
A must not buy. Perfect example of juggling between poor dictating and bad spelling. Combined, it makes it almost impossible to understand what he means or figure out where you misspelled the non working scripts provided by the book.
Went halfway through it and knew I couldn't return it because of it's discount.
257 pages, binding included. Weights about 300 grams. It's printing process must have been way more exciting then it's content is.

0 ou of 10
#1 Hall of Shame

written in a hurry., August 21, 2004
I assume that's what happened anyway.
I am a decent flash coder - and this book confounds me.
Not because its too complex because the authors just try and make everything harder than it really is.

Multiple code errors - and often you just get snippets followed by plain language.

I never use this book.

Bad buy, August 5, 2004
There's not much to say. This book sucks! Many code-errors and bad explanation. I think that the writer of this book searched for popular flash-words and made a book out of these words.
There's a whole chapter on 3d... But not one sentense in the chapter is about making 3d. Well.. The author tells you what programs you make 3d with.

It's the same with the website to the book. A nice un-updated site!

But I'm impressed that such a book actually can be printed.

Where was the editor?, December 17, 2003
If you learn by following examples, this book is not for you. The author's enthusiasm for the topic seems genuine, but his instructions are haphazard. Unless you're two steps ahead of him (which, if you were, you probably wouldn't be interested in buying his book), you're going to have a hard time learning anything. Not surprisingly, there's a disclaimer in the front of the book that reads, "...the publisher and author...make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this book..." Definitely not a user-friendly experience.

Great introduction to game design in Flash MX, November 25, 2003
The code covers the basics of games and is great for the money. It does include some software introduction that doesn't come with Flash (Soundforge, Macromedia's communication Server and mentions 3D software like Swift 3D, etc). All of these seem like great packages to own if you are serious about making games.

I was having an issue getting the code from the site and the author replied with a valid explanation and information on major plans in supporting the book beyond pages themselves.

The book has a number of completed games to use as examples to learn from, as well as additional code on his site. If the reader has a basic programming knowledge of JavaScript or any C based language (Java, C++, C#, etc), the reader could learn and understand all the concepts within this book. It's definitely a good starting place.

Building Great Flash MX Games, July 30, 2003
This Book is GREAT!!! I come from an Art BackGround and Action-Scriping is my first attempt at Programming, this is the first book I have read, and used, that helped me to grasp the syntax and building blocks of Action Scripting. The Author Matthew David, lays out some step by step projects, and does well at explaining the process along the way, I had success early in the book and that kept me motivated. WELL DONE!!
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn action scripting to make games, with flash.

Very Helpful, May 10, 2003
I agree to an extent, with there being some mistakes, but none so big that I couldn't figure it out, and I am new to the action script world. The thing that was so great about this book, why I give it 4 stars is that it was very well explained, it made it easy to follow and know what I needed to do.

I am working on becoming a web developer, and have mastered several languages, as well I have worked with flash a lot before jumping into scripting. I did have an advantage of knowing the basics of flash, but I still believe that the book is very well written, compared to other computer books that I have studied. I don't think anyone who would want to learn game development could not understand.

I think that there could be a second edition with corrected material and that would be the perfect flash book, especially for beginners. Matthew, in my opinion has a way with making harder things simplified.

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