Monday, December 12, 2011

New Game: Smooth Mooves

Here's a new game release for folks who like block-type games.

In Smooth Mooves, the pace really picks up after the first couple of levels as you try to match and remove blocks from the screen before the timer runs out.

Give it a try:

How to Create a Simple Shooting Game Using Flash AS3

Okay, I thought it would be a good idea to provide a simple tutorial to help people create a Flash Game, and so I did.

This tutorial would probably take a couple of hours to work through and it covers the minimum you need to know to get started in Flash Game design. It's perfect for self-motivated people who enjoy learning from tutorials.

The tutorial is here:

Previous tutorials are here:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dabbling in HTML5

Although I love Flash, I decided to dabble in HTML5 to see how easy or difficult it is to produce games in it.

I dug up this tutorial, which is excellent, and produces a 'BreakOut' game using HTML5, the coding in javascript, of course:

The end product of the tutorial is a simple playable game. However, you have to jump through a lot of hoops to get there. This means that HTML5 for this kind of game is fine for the end user, but harsh on the programmer.

It also seems that HTML5 could be applied to simple games, like this one, but it would be a real pain to program a more advanced game in it. This is where Flash shines.

Flash, of course, is not available in-browser on the iPad, whereas HTML5 is. Android supports HTML5 too.

So I'm going to experiment and convert Drench ( to an HTML5 game and see how it goes.

I don't like HTML5 at the moment, and I'm experimenting with it grudgingly... but people say it will improve over time.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Game Release: Retris 2

Time for another game release... introducing 'Retris 2'

Like the original Retris game (, Retris 2 takes the concept of Tetris and expands on it by featuring new types of blocks and bonuses. Retris is popular, but I wrote it when my programming skills were not so honed and I've always wanted to make improvements to it - I thought it would be good to make a sequel.

Retris 2 can be played at:

Retris has 8 new block types:

1 The 'awkward' blocks - unusually and tricky shaped blocks
2 The 'eraser' block which destroys blocks of a similar colour
3 The back-and-forth block, which moves back and forth along the top of the screen until you press the down arrow.
4 The 'singles'  a column of single blocks that drop one after the other
5 Horizontal single blocks
6 The 'uber-line' - a full line of blocks that fall together
7 The 'lightning block' - a block that falls rapidly then slows
8 The superbonus - if you destroy this block in a line, you destroy ALL blocks beneath it and earn 1000 points. A lifeline, when you get into trouble.

In addition to this, blocks grouped in a rectangle of six of the same colour, will be destroyed.

Retris 2 will be in 'Beta Testing' mode until the end of November. This means that I may still be making changes to the game during this time. I'll also be taking suggestions for improvements. Post them here if you have any.

Here are some screenshots:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Couple of Good Android Apps

I would like to share a couple of great Android apps that I found recently.

1 Apps2SD (

Apps2SD moves apps off your phone's internal memory and onto the SD card, thus freeing up tons of space. Once installed, the next time you download an app, it will give you the choice to install it on the phone or on the SD card

2 Out of Milk (

I searched long and hard for a really good 'to do' list app. This great little app triples as a to-do list, shopping list and pantry list. This is the nicest one I found and it's great for trips to the supermarket.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Hangman Game Sample

I've been getting some good feedback on my hangman tutorial since posting it a few weeks ago.

An example of how it can be used is here as a history quiz:

The original tutorial is here:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Flash FAQ: Communicating between Classes in AS3

I often answer questions on the forums over at and I noticed that people are always asking about communicating between classes. In particular, people ask how you can change a variable in the document class (main class) from another class. So instead of repeating myself, I'll post it here.

Short answer:  MovieClip.(this.parent).variable=xxx;

Long Answer:

You have to be careful when you access variables in one class from another class. Things can get confusing pretty quickly. But a good example of when it is kosher is when you have an enemy in a game; when it is hit by a bullet, it tells the document class to increase the score. It's simple and foolproof enough.

Okay, I set up a flash document with as the document class. I declare an object obj which is an instance of the class Obj. I declare a variable pvar, which we will set to 1 and then set to 2 by running a function in

package  {

import flash.display.MovieClip;

public class Main extends MovieClip {

public var obj:Obj;
public var pvar:int;

public function Main() {
obj = new Obj;addChild(obj);


Can you see that? It's easy to run a function on a separate class... we just say obj.ResetVar();

Of course, we haven't created yet, so let's do that now:

package {
import flash.display.MovieClip;
public class Obj extends MovieClip {

public function Obj() {}//Obj

public function ResetVar(){


Now you can see how we use the line MovieClip(this.parent).pvar=2; to refer to the parent of this movie clip and set pvar to 2.

Try it and you should get the trace '2'.

Got it? Good.

If you have any questions or the explanation isn't clear, please feel free to leave a comment. If you're looking for some more Flash tutorials or projects, try here:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Things Fall Down

Time for a new Flash game and I hope you like it.

In Things Fall Down, the sky is falling and everything else along with it. Keep jumping up and keep yourself above ground.

There are fifteen short levels that would probably take around one hour to finish.

The game is at:

Have a look at some screenshots here:

If you've played some of my games before, you'll recognise the graphical style. Enjoy!

Friday, June 10, 2011

New Tute! Guide to coding a hangman game.

Here is a step-by-step guide to creating a hangman game in Flash CS5 with AS3. Feel free to play around with the code:

Here is a downloadable pdf version:


Monday, May 23, 2011


Time for a new game release.

This game is called Swivvel and it's a match-3 style game with a twist - literally.

Press space to rotate puzzle pieces and score when you match three of the same color. It gets faster as you level up.

Click here to play Swivvel

Saturday, April 16, 2011

What Makes Final Fantasy XIII a Great Game?

I've just finished Final Fantasy 13 - the first FF I've played - and I want to share some thoughts on the game.

What makes Final Fantasy a great game?

1 Lightning

I just love Lightning's character. She's tough and she's cool, like a female Clint Eastwood. Sometimes morally ambiguous ("a target's a target"), she does soften somewhat throughout the game. A soldier by profession, a loner by nature, Lightning turns her back on the army to go on a one-woman suicide mission to save her sister. Somewhat reluctantly, she picks up an entourage along the way.

Game designers, please give us more characters like Lightning.

2 Anarchistic Themes

Like many Japanese games, the storyline is hard to follow at times and too confusing to summarize here. The underlying theme, though, is clear: The Government lies to the people and abuses them; most people swallow the lies, but a few enlightened anti-authority types refuse to toe the line. Another theme is the Government's use of an invented 'enemy' to control the masses through fear, as espoused by Neo-con favorite Leo Strauss (

Just take a look at our fine anarchist heroes:

"No rules, authority or obligations"

3 Value

I put 70 hours in to beat the game. While many Western games are this long, it is unusual to find a Western game with this quality graphics and artwork of that length (the game takes 3 discs on the 360). Western-made games with the best quality graphics are often less than 10 hours to play through. How the Japanese manage it, I don't know.

Have a look at this eye-candy:

"I made a promise and I'll see it through"

That's a wrap, folks, and that's why Final Fantasy 13 is a great game. Buy it!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chobo: Trapped in a Tetris Game

So I had this premise for a game where the character is trapped inside a round of Tetris, and I made this into a Flash game.

Okay, well the game is similar to Tetris. I had to play around with the mechanics to get it to work nicely and I threw in a few enemies and power-ups.

I invite you to play the result:

Click here to play Chobo

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mamas, let your babies grow up to be gamers

A lot of my friends have kids now and I've been trying to explain to them that gaming is a healthy and beneficial activity, a comment which is often met with some skepticism.

People seem to have three main objections to allowing their kids to game:

1 "There's too much violence in games"

Sure. The same way there's too much violence in movies. Games have an extensive ratings system that has probably been prone to less controversy over the years than the movie ratings system. As a parent, when you buy a game, if it's not clear from the packaging whether the game is suitable for kids, the store clerk should be able to help you. Or simply do some research online. Isn't it worth ten minutes of research for a game that will keep your kids happy and engaged for dozens of hours (compared to a DVD which is over in one and a half hours)? On top of all that, gaming consoles come with family settings.

2 "Isn't gaming an antisocial activity?"

Sure. The same way that reading a book is antisocial. Except that books don't have multiplayer. Many games have a co-op mode where a player plays alongside a friend, or multiplayer, where a player plays with a whole group of friends. Besides that, being a gamer means, like with any hobby, your child will be able to connect and make friends with fellow gamers at school and other places.

Always remember that video games are an evolution of sports and board games. Early video games were less social due to the constraints of technology that we have now overcome.

3 "Isn't gaming unhealthy?"

No way. Console games are extremely sophisticated and it takes time to learn how to play them well. This means that your brain is in learning mode for a lot of the gameplay. For children, this enhances the fact that learning is a pleasurable experience. (Something schools try to make them 'unlearn'.) Games teach perseverance, strategic thinking and many other positive skills.

So Mamas, please let your babies grow up to be gamers - it's good for them.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Reality is Broken

I've started on Jane McGonigal's excellent book, 'Reality is Broken', and I just wanted to share an excerpt:

"Gamers want to know: Where, in the real world, is that gamer sense of being fully alive, focused, and engaged in every moment? Where is the gamer feeling of power, heroic purpose, and community? Where are the bursts of exhilarating and creative game accomplishment? Where is the heart-expanding thrill of success and team victory? While gamers may experience these pleasures occasionally in their real lives, they experience them almost constantly when they’re playing their favorite games.
The real world just doesn’t offer these things up as easily. Reality isn’t engineered to maximize our potential. Reality wasn’t designed from the bottom up to make us happy. And so, there is a growing perception in the gaming community: Reality, compared to games, is broken."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

FLUX - The perpetual state

I've finished a new game for called 'FLUX'.

In this game, you move green blocks around the board in order to conquer the red blocks. You do this by converting blank blocks to green before they can be converted to red.

It's a simple, 'experimental' game based on the concept that 'everything is connected':

'All phenomena, link together in a mutually conditioning network' (Buddha)

All creatures are involved in the life of all others, consequently every species... all nature is in a perpetual state of flux. - John Dewey


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Space Invasion 1981

Here is FlashByNight's first game of 2011.

Space Invasion 1981 is a modern retro take on those old handheld games that you might remember if you were around in those days. Waves of pesky space aliens come at you in a 'stepping down' motion reminiscent of Space Invaders. But they also form patterns and dive bomb you like in Galaga.

Space Invasion 1981 starts out pretty easy and gets harder and harder as you go along, eventually turning into a 'bullet hell'. But never fear, you get power-ups to help you win the day. A good player can get 'in the zone' and finish the 30 levels in about 30-40 minutes.

Finish all 30 levels and you'll enter the ultimate challenge - the 'infinity level'. How long can you last?

There are 3 monthly top score slots as well as an all-time hi score slot.