As a student enrolled in COMM 3344: Mobile Gaming at Trinity University, taught by Dr. Aaron Delwiche, a range of gaming techniques and computer code was explored using the Flash ActionScript 3.0 platform. Throughout the semester, I have learned how to create a basic Flash animation, a modified hangman-inspired game and a “dungeon redux” game. Links to the animations and descriptions are further discussed in this post. Read on!
Digital Animation: Cruisin’ Down the Street (In My ’64)
For this animation, inspired by my love for road trips and rapper Eazy E, a ’64 Chevy Impala is cruising along a desert highway out west on a road trip. Along the way the ’64 Chevy gains a couple of desert “friends” to take along and almost immediately decides to throw them out once they reach the city of Los Angeles. This was my first time exploring Flash animation techniques in order to construct a basic animation. Techniques incorporated include motion tweens, shape tweens, sound effects and use of a scrolling background. This animation can be visualized here: http://transmedia.trinity.edu/~vjaber/animation/cruisin.html
A New Spin on the Hangman Game: A Superfly Butterfly
In this hangman-inspired game I utilized the hangman punishment mechanic by having a butterfly inch its way toward a spider web each time the player would guess a wrong letter, instead of having a human body part be removed. I used this approach to visualize a butterfly flying into a web with its prey, a spider waiting on its possible demise or meal, depending on the user’s letter choice. I wanted the overall theme to be dark, hence the grey spider web background, black hint and text boxes and black spider. Once the user wins, however, the screen is changed into a bright purple background and the butterfly meta-morphs into a technicolor beauty, teasing its predator to the sound of a cropped beat from a Daft Punk song. I believe that adding the hint mechanism gives the user a more classic hangman-like experience. Coding required for this game to work included the use of conditional logic (while loops and booleans), arrays, global variables, invisibility and visibility options regarding objects on the screen (start/restart buttons), and the incorporation of sound effects. This game can be played here:
“Dungeon-Redux” Game: Broad City Themed
For the final project of the course, I created a “dungeon-redux” based game. The theme for the game is inspired by the critically acclaimed Comedy Central web series, Broad City, in which the show’s protagonists (Illana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson) are movable players throughout different areas of New York city. Money is the motive in this game, as well as in the show. The protagonists are controlled by a “player” Actionscript file, in which the up/down/left/right keys are able to move them around. Each level of the game depicts a different part of New York City: A busy crosswalk, Central Park, and a map of New York City according to the show. Difficulty increases each level as the player reaches the bright green money bag, which serves portal to the next level. The enemies in this game are taxis, which drop down the screen at varying speeds and cause Illana and Abbi’s health to drop down, as depicted by the pink health bar at the top right of the screen. If a player loses, a crude yet humorous failure page pops up with a photo of Illana and Abbi’s mocking gesture toward the player of the game. If a player wins after getting through level three and obtaining the money bag, then a friendlier victory page will pop up. Fans of the show will find the sound effects humorous, as they are Broad City themed as well. Actionscript techniques include conditional logic, swap levels, event listeners, text manipulation, multiple Actionscript files connected to symbols in the Flash library, arrays, player boundaries, sound effects, keyboard events, collision block functions and coordinate placement. This game can be played here: http://transmedia.trinity.edu/~vjaber/broad-city-dungeon/FinalProjectVanessa.html
Overall, this course has given me an enriching experience and has turned computer code into something tangible and easy to work with. I have been introduced into the dynamic choice-filled world of gaming. While I had many frustrations along the way with Flash, I was able to address these issues by speaking with peers, our TA, and Dr. Delwiche. I also learned that many problems were solved by being patient and take a break from coding when needed. Revisiting the code after a break would often result in seeing a previous issue that seemed serious and then finding out that it was not at all. This course has offered me a unique experience into computer coding, design, and gaming and has provided me with an equally unique set of skills.