Jul 29 2009

Barnstormer– Postmortem

This is the postmortem or after-action review post for Barnstormer. (Postmortem being the game industry term, and After Action Review being the Army term for a discussion of what went right and wrong in a project you’ve just completed). The original version of this post was fairly formally constructed and went into great detail about how and what I did… but if you’re reading this you already know all the techniques I used and consider them basic, or you don’t really care and wouldn’t understand even if I went into detail. :)
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Jul 26 2009

Barnstormer– Whirled edition

Actually, I like the implementation as it plays on Whirled, but this wrapper doesn’t do it justice. :(

Anyways, you can play this version (which has no ads, but will bug you to sign up for whirled) if you want to see the achievements and trophies as implemented there.
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Jul 26 2009


Fly through barns! Avoid Geese! Collect stars!

The game gets progressively harder. You score more points by flying faster. Flying through barns scores about 50 times as much as collecting a star. Other relevant instructions are in the game.

Whirled version will be posted momentarily, I’ll try to have a postmortem up later in the week.

Jul 23 2009

Whirled API: Keyboard Focus

One of the most vexing issues with implementing the Whirled API in your single player game is keyboard input. With a standalone .swf deployment (such as a normal game), resetting the focus to the stage periodically is sufficient to keep keyboard inputs going to your handlers. However, due to Whirled’s security model, you are not allowed to add handlers to the stage directly, and instead must add your handlers to _control.local. (Assuming you named your GameControl object _control!) stage.addEventListener(KeyboardEvent.KEY_DOWN, KeyDownListener) will through security errors.

Unfortunately, stage’s focus can only be set to an InteractiveObject. Therefore stage.focus = _control.local does not work to regain focus when it is lost.
This is because _control does not inherit from InteractiveObject.

There are at least two situations where your game is going to lose focus when running in the Whirled platform.

  1. The player clicks outside your game. (ie: to type in the chat window)
  2. The player clicks a button which you then remove from the stage. (ie: Start New Game)

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Jul 23 2009

Whirled API: Setting Game Dimensions

Whirled is a somewhat interesting gaming platform backed by Three Rings, the makers of Puzzle Pirates. Games played on Whirled are Flash (.swf) files, which are played inside the platform’s wrapper which is itself a large swf file. Unfortunately, Whirled’s dev forums are located inside Whirled and have poor search functionality. Additionally, because Whirled itself is similar to an open MMO and every in game object is coded by someone in flash, many of the people on their forums are not focused on building games– they’re building toys and avatars and furniture.

That’s not a problem, but sometimes it is very difficult to find information about fixing simple problems. Particularly when the technique you need is one you haven’t run into before at all. Read more »

Jul 05 2009


Almost a year had passed since Daytrader, and I had shut down the Alaskagameworks site.

I don’t remember which retail game I had played, but there was something about it which caused me to say to myself, “There is no reason this couldn’t be done in Flash.” So I started poking around and found out that people were still playing Daytrader. Somehow this encouraged me to start writing games again. (But not to re-open a website… see my post Why for that) Read more »

Jul 05 2009


Daytrader was my first attempt to make a game which would actually be successful. Several people released ‘stock market’ games around the time I released Microbe. I played them all, since I was simultaneously looking for content for the portal aspect of Alaskagameworks.

They were all TERRIBLE. Read more »

Jul 05 2009


This was my second game.

I don’t particularly remember what my goals were. There are several genres of games which are common, if not popular, in flash and which are relatively easy to make. I knew I was still polishing my skills, so I made a simple mouse avoider. At the time, using a bacteria as a character seemed unique compared to other games being released in flash… Read more »

Jul 05 2009

Square Shooter

This was the first game I attempted in AS3.

(AS3 by the way, is a scripting language which can be compiled into a .swf which can be understood by the flash player plug in in your browser. If you want to make .swf files without actually purchasing Adobe CS4)

This is a very simple game. The WASD keys control the player, and the IJKL keys control the point that the player is aiming at. On very old home computer systems (Atari 400/800, Commodore 64, etc) IJKL were accepted as movement keys because arrow keys weren’t present on the keyboard… They’re not really accepted as movement keys by today’s audiences. There is a lost version where the mouse controls the aimpoint which was easier (required less coordination). Read more »

Jul 05 2009


So the Alaskagameworks games all had advertisements embedded in them through a service called Mochiads. My intent is to continue embedding my games with Mochiads until and unless I have a good reason not to.

Flash games are distributed as .swf files. Although there are nuances, if you’re playing a game you like in your browser (assuming it’s Flash rather than Javascript), you can save that game to your hard drive. You can post it to your site. No one can stop you. Popular games end up on thousands of sites because of this copying mechanic. In the downloadable software world, this would be piracy.. with ad supported games, you can just accept it’s going to happen or even encourage it. The culture of flash gaming basically ensures your files will spread on their own.

Look, I know, advertisements in games are annoying. Read more »