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Is Actionscript worth learning?

Posted Jul 1, '13 at 10:36pm



531 posts

It seems like everyone from Steve Jobs to some random person on the internet seems convinced that flash is on the way out and HTML 5 is going to lead the way.

I really have no programming experience but I would like to get into web games. I feel like they're some of the best games out there and I think they would fit my style of concentration.

So, will action-script still be a viable option in the next 5-10 years or has it already gone past its used by date?


Posted Jul 1, '13 at 10:42pm



4,299 posts

AS3 is still used a lot. I don't think AS3 is on its way out at all. I think the world of coding is just becoming more diverse. I took a class on it last winter, so they're still teaching it; and in the class we built fully functioning oscillators. I think it's worth it, but you may be better off learning an iOS-based language or a C variant. It just depends on what you want to do. As for HTML5, it can't do much by itself. It needs something extra to make it work. I don't know much about it, but my friend has an internship where he uses both HTML5 and a few other languages to build websites. He's told me that if he didn't have to, he wouldn't use HTML5.


Posted Jul 2, '13 at 12:31am



3,964 posts

While HTML5 seems like a new and awesome technology, let's face it, Flash is still much better than HTML5, and probably will be for a while. I've been working with HTML5 for a few weeks now, and though I've not worked much at all with Flash or AS, based on some of the games I've seen in flash and the capabilities I'm exploring with HTML5, I feel I know enough to tell you that HTML5 probably won't be even an equal to Flash for a few more years, at least.

JavaScript is exceptionally easy to learn - almost deceivingly, for it lacks many of the great features that Flash can utilize within ActionScript itself. On an HTML5 canvas, which is basically how you make HTML5 games, drawings/shapes don't have objects. You have to create an object for it yourself, have it draw it anytime you need it, and manually define the attributes and triggers it needs to operate like you want it to. While I haven't really worked with Flash much, it sounds like it is much easier to work with. JavaScript's syntax is easier, but it takes a lot more work in the long run.

And that doesn't include compatibility. Flash is generally considered inconsistent since people either don't have or can't get the latest updates, that sometimes have technologies vital to function. However, in HTML5, everything you have to do you have to back up and make sure will work on every browser. Sometimes browsers need specific or different codes from others, and audio formats are pretty inconsistent across the board - you need at least two copies of each sound file in order to hear the audio across each browser. But that doesn't even consider the audio API itself - while many new HTML5 audio APIs are being pushed to be called the audio API for HTML5, most are still fighting the battle to the top, and it might be a couple of years before the situation brightens. Right now, you can only load sound files in an object on the spot, and you can't mix sounds, which makes audio for games rather revolting. You can always append them to a divider that can stack audio tags, but preloading them (which you need if they're large) and playing them without extensive code is a daunting task.


HTML5: easy to learn, compatibility issues, horrible audio API (vanilla, at least)
Flash: extensive, powerful to the developer who knows what he's dealing with

While JS might be a better start for a beginning programmer, if one doesn't fully understand the science behind gaming technologies, Flash would be a much better place to start and stick with. We'll see what comes about in a few years, but for now, Flash is definitely the running technology.


Posted Jul 2, '13 at 11:24am



572 posts

I feel that it's once again worth pointing out that HTML 5, by itself, won't let you make games because it's not a programming language (it's a markup language that essentially tells the browser how to display a webpage).

In that sense, if you actually want to learn *programming* then you'll have no choice but to choose something else or learn a programming language as well as the HTML 5 syntax. More importantly though, just pick *something* that seems easy and stick with it until you learn the general basics.

Once you learn yourself some programming 101, you can still change languages later. So there's no real need to force yourself down any particular road.

JavaScript's syntax is easier, but it takes a lot more work in the long run.

On the other hand, Unity supports Javascript. And while that's still not something I'd encourage a complete beginner to pick up right away, it's something to work towards.

Otherwise, I don't have much else to add, because the thread has fairly solid advice already.

Posted Jul 3, '13 at 10:12am



369 posts

I personally think As2 is worth learning. For one reason, I just think it's fun to do. Another thing is some sites will pay you if you make exclusive games for them, like this one (I think)

If you want to make something really advanced, go for As3. But if you just want to make a fun game, go for As2. I don't recommend As1 for anything, it's just too old, and newer Flash players might not support it.

So yes, Actionscript is worth learning.

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