Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Another day, another IDE...

My Flash/ActionScript books finally arrived, so now it's time to check out the shiny new (to me) toys. I like to have dead tree copies of computer books, even if they're guaranteed to be out of date by the time I see them. It's much easier for me to read and understand stuff when I can spread physical books out on the bed or desk, flip between them easily, flip between different sections easily, and compare examples. (I love my Kindle, but it just sucks for technical material: slow, and the screen is too small.) Then once I get a handle on things, I can search the web for more up-to-date and specific details (and cut and paste!).

So yeah. Flash. Flash Develop. Woo-hoo. Gah. At least it's a little easier on newbies than Eclipse, where it took me forever to find the simplest things (how do you display line numbers!? Why did it erase my files!? Argh!) And it's free. Awesome! So, a few days to learn a bit of ActionScript, then time to focus.

Flash: much easier to deploy than Java! Everyone watches youtube videos, so they all have some Flash plugin installed and enabled. Far less of this "WARNING! DANGER! Are you sure you want to let this program run on your computer? Are you really really sure?" security messaging, which always puts me off when I look at websites. And Flash doesn't seem to have too many security holes. I hope. Also, you can just stick everything in a single swf file. I can post it on my own website for testing. Convenient! (To be fair, you can stick everything into a jar file for Java, but it looks like in some update coming soon, a jar file (and web applets) from a random-private-individual will no longer be executable by other people. I'd have to buy a certificate from Oracle. That's one thing if I'm making money from doing this, but as a hobbyist? Bleah. Aren't people spreading malware for profit likelier to invest in a certificate, since they think they'll make money from it?)

Java: better for bigger games. There's a limit to how much people are willing to download in their browsers, and a limit to how long they'll wait for your game to load before clicking the "x" and doing something else instead. And a limit to the amount and robustness of the game's saved data. I mean, for a traditional desktop game, you can just write things to a file somewhere. Simple and easy to understand. Flash shared local objects? Hmmm... it doesn't even use normal browser cookies. It's more like some stealth area of your computer that Adobe commandeered when you agreed to install the Flash Player.

So which is it to be?

I'm going to go with Flash for now. I'm NOT going to be making huge games. Action Script 3 looks pretty similar to Java, so I don't think I'll be screaming too much at my computer. While Java is great for writing things to run for my personal use, deployment to others is a nightmare.

So think I can learn ActionScript 3 in three days? Ha ha ha. But this Friday is one week before NaNo begins. One week! ONE WEEK!!! ACK! I needs my characters and plots! I need a plan! Where is my plan? My plan? Plan? Plan, show yourself!

var myNovel = new NaNo(2013);
if (myNovel.plotExists()) {
   taisch.doHappyDance();
}
else {
   taisch.setPanicMode(true);
}

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