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Posted by jrjellybeans on Nov 16th, 2010
Learning to use Flash has been an interesting ride. It's quite different from Game Maker and I've had a lot of fun using it. More importantly, marketing and promoting online Flash games has been an exciting challenge that has taught me a lot.
With all that nostalgia, I was recently thinking about stuff that I wish I knew before finishing Earth Tower Defense, my first game. I came up with the following list:
1. The Mochi network isn't available everywhere.
I really like using the Mochi service to power my games. It's a fun and easy way to add a lot of stuff to the game. Unfortunately, there are a number of Flash game portals that don't allow outside networks.
For example, there are a number of online portals that don't allow advertisements in their games. On the other hand, some allow portals advertisements, but only using their own system.
It isn't such a big deal, but the only way around this issue is to have separate builds of your game and it's kind of an annoying hassle. More importantly, you have to PLAN on how the game should flow depending on whether Mochi is available or not...
2. Mochi Live Updates is kind of a pain.
I've mentioned this before, but I want to reiterate just how BAD I think Mochi Live Updates is.
Now, the service works the way it is supposed to and it's very easy to set up. It's just that once the game is set up to use this feature it makes added other APIs kind of difficult; in the case of Kongregate's API, I never got the two to work together AT ALL!
In the end, it probably would have been better for me to just hard code all of the Mochi stuff into the game. I would have learned a lot and it would have allowed me to make small changes easier.
3. Flash doesn't like large individual files AND lots of Actionscript files.
If you've familiar with this blog because you were searching the term "error 5003 in Flash" or something like that, then you're familiar with what I'm talking about.
I had a problem with compiling Platform Explorer - CS5 would randomly just shut down after displaying the "compiling" bar for some time. After doing research for a day or two, I finally found out that it was because I had a large Actionscript file in the game (it was around 1.25 MBs I believe). Shrinking this down caused the game to finally compile correctly.
After thinking I had fixed the error, I ran into the same problem a couple of weeks later. THIS TIME I got rid of some Actionscript files that weren't needed, and the game finally seems to be compiling fine.
So, overall, Flash doesn't seem to like large files and lots of .as files when you have a crummy computer...
4. You have to embed your fonts if you dynamically create text fields.
This is something that I never even knew about, but, if you don't embed your text fonts, there's a chance that the text in your game will look messed up.
This happened in Earth Tower Defense. Basically, if you don't have the fonts you used in game installed on your computer (Helvetica in this case), Flash automatically changes the font to Ariel (or some other default font). That pretty much makes all of the text boxes out of whack...
5. Micro transactions are important.
Well, I guess I don't know this yet, but I suspect that Micro transactions are going to become a more significant part of people's earnings. With sponsors being more selective with which games they fund, I think it's important to try to consider MTX as a viable source of funds.
I really regret NOT putting any type of MTX in Earth Tower Defense. I think it would have helped earn a small amount of change here and there.
Overall, from here on out, I plan to insert some sort of MTX in my games NO MATTER how bad I think it is. I figure anything is worth a shot...
There are a bunch of smaller things that I learned, but those aren't really worth mentioning. The ones on this list are things that I particularly remember as important.
If I can think of any more, I'll just add them here. In addition, if you have any you'd like to share, please let me know :)