ForumsProgramming ForumGood Programming Technique 101

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LonLonRanch
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LonLonRanch
173 posts
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Hey Guys, I'd say I'm still fairly new to the forums but I'm checking more and more often, and one thing I have noticed is that the Programming Help section isn't very active. So I thought I would add my 2 cents and share some of my AS programming experience.

I've been programming actionscript for about 3-4 years now and have even been through 2 ArmorGames challenges. I've been asked by a lot of people for some coding help over my time and, well, I see a lot of times that I code quite a bit differently then they do, and a lot of that is because they are:
1.Still new to Actionscript
2.Have learned only from online tutorials
3.Are used to coding with what works instead of what works best.

So, what I decided to do here is to share with you what I have learned over the years to be Good Programming Technique. So before I start this first one off take note:
This is being coded is Actionscript 2.0 (I still have to fully embrace AS3 although I highly encourage learning it)
Also, this is what I have personally learned from my experience, you may disagree, that is fine, actually if you think I'm wrong let me know so that we can all learn because there is no reason to code ONE way.

Ok so after that intro this is what I have to share with you.

Coding on the Main Timeline

The more complex your game gets, you're going to have more MovieClips, Layers, Frames, lines of code, etc. And with that, it will be harder to organize everything. Which is why it is always good technique to code on the main (or _root) timeline. Now some of you may not even know it, but you can actually control every aspect of your game by coding into the the first frame (not movieClip, frame) of your game. For example, on my latest game I had right around 2000 lines of code on the very first frame.

2000 lines on the same frame!?

Yes. You may be thinking right now, How? Well, there are 2 very very important coding methods I use when I program and they both make use of that frame. The first one, which I'm going to explain on this post is calling movieClip's (onEnterFrame) method from the main timeline instead of on the instance of the movieClip itself. I'm sure you are very used to coding with:
onClipEvent(enterFrame) -What I'm telling you is that I don't do that.

You can do onClipEvent(enterFrame){ outside the movieClip?

Yes, yes you can. And here is how:

on the main timeline for a movieClip with the instance of myClip you would have something like:

myClip.onEnterFrame = function():Void{
Which would be the same doing a onClipEvent(enterFrame){ on the myClip movieClip, you just have to make sure you have the instance name (in Properties) set to 'myClip' and that it is on the main timeline.

-If it is not in the main timeline, lets say its in a movieClip called 'otherClip' you simply have to add a bit of code:
otherClip.myClip.onEnterFrame = function():Void{

Umm ok, but I still don't see why you do this...

Fine fine, I understand this might be a little confusing at first, but in time I'm sure it will make sense, it might take a little trial and error. The reason I say it is good technique is that having all of your code on the main timeline makes it very easy to keep your code organized and easy to locate. If you have several movieClips/Frames/Layers in your game that you want to apply code to, it going to get confusing. Where did I put that clip? Where is the code that deals with the hitTest? What frame is it on? etc, when you code in one place you don't lose, forget, or repeat code. Its all in the same place so it is easy to work with, and if you ever code with with someone else it will make their lives a lot easier because they won't be looking all over for code they don't even know exists.

Alright, so just a few notes to end on: (gosh this post long, sorry)

It is always a good idea to code on the main timeline.
You can save lots of lines of code and better organize your code by calling .onEnterFrame functions (functions are a very very big part of coding as well, if you don't know about them I'm sure I'll make a topic on it someday)
Even if you code AS3 you can still practice this.

Let me know if something doesn't make sense, I'm sure it may be quite confusing.

  • 82 Replies
haxxattack
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haxxattack
3 posts
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And a hefty barrier it can be to those new to programming, but great design 'aint worth a **** without the ability to execute it in a manner fitting your vision.

ExplosionsHurt
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ExplosionsHurt
251 posts
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This is only for AS2, right?

barky02
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barky02
1 posts
20

hey man your advice is REALLY good you explain it in really good terms

Awesomeyi
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Awesomeyi
125 posts
300

Nice work. Your guide helped me a lot.

Xinito
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Xinito
111 posts
140

This is only for AS2, right?


I think it is for AS3 too.
ExplosionsHurt
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ExplosionsHurt
251 posts
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Just wanted to say that coding in the timeline is not recommended in AS3. In AS3, it's better having all your code in class files (*.as).

WhiskeyedJack
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WhiskeyedJack
81 posts
1,455

I personally like having the separate files, if only so that I know where each bit of code is. One of the main ideas behind OOP (object oriented programming) is that your code works in neat little chunks, independent of the other chunks. Doesn't help if you can't find your code in the first place.

ExplosionsHurt
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ExplosionsHurt
251 posts
40

It is OK to run simple code in the timeline in AS3 though...

stuff like stop(), etc.

Darkroot
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Darkroot
2,799 posts
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@ExplosionHurt Yeah you could or even larger functions if you really don't want to make a class out of something so trivial. But by OOP standards you could make it a class too.

Ilovelegosalot
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Ilovelegosalot
2 posts
70

I geuss this will work good, Well, I hope!

mjrommel
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mjrommel
7 posts
295

can you give me the download link???

xShiftedHD
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xShiftedHD
62 posts
85

Thanks for the tip!

Ratateous
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Ratateous
13 posts
580

At first ... i want to make a game ... but after this ... I QUIT !!
It's too complicated for me ...

manny6574
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manny6574
923 posts
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I just looked at the original post, and well, in AS3 you should really have no code on the timeline.

mindlesscoolman
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mindlesscoolman
4 posts
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hey i am trying to start a game myself but i dont have anyone to help me cause i dont know how to code but none of my friends would help me so i want to know if you can help me?

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