So you want to become a Flash game designer and have your game all over the internet on the most popular gaming sites, right? Well, you have to start small. Here are 11 simple steps you’ll need to go through to start developing your first flash games.

1. Get yourself a copy of Macromedia Flash. Student versions can be purchased for as little as $119. However, if you aren’t a student you can find older versions on eBay for pretty cheap as well.

2. Become familiar with the layout and tools of flash. Get to know basic things like movieClips, buttons and the timeline. There are some good tutorials on www.flashkit.com as well as the tutorials over at newgrounds.

Flash's Stage

3. Start learning Actionscript, the programming language of Flash. This step is going to take a good deal of time. Actionscript isn’t something that you can learn in just a few days.  There are various tutorials out there on the internet, such as kirupa.com, The Tutorial Collab, and AS Main. Don’t just copy and paste the code. You’ll never learn that way. Take the time to read through it and make sure that you understand it. Use the tutorials to make a few basic games until you get the hang of it.

Books can help as well. Some good Actionscript 2 books that you should be able to find at your local library are Beginning Flash Game Programming For Dummies and Actionscript Bible. If you want to learn Actionscript 3, take a look at the Essential Guide to Flash GamesActionScript 3.0 Bible or Essential ActionScript 3.0.

4. Once you’ve learned a bit of actionscript, you can start planning how you want your game to look. Don’t just skip the planning step and jump right into your game. You will probably end up with an unfinished game if you do. Make sure you include a menu screen, some options, and of course, the game you are going to make into your planning process.

Different types of games call for different types of resources. For example if you are making a platformer, you may want to look into things like story writing and the v-cam.  Everyone is different, so let your creative ideas flow. The more original the game, the more likely people will want to play and replay it.

Designing Your Flash Game

5. Start designing and coding your game. Feel free to tweak your design ideas, but try to stick to the layout you set for yourself in the planning stage. Coding, at least for me, is the toughest part of game making. It takes time and logic to come up with a code that works for your game. It may take numerous tries to perfect, but keep at it. Your code is what truly makes it into a game.

6. Now that have your game planned out you are going to need some graphics. There are two types of graphics you could use; vector and bitmap. Vector graphics are more cartoonish, but the size can be changed without destroying the quality of the image. Vector graphics can be made within flash itself. If you are just starting out, stick to vector graphics. They will make your game look much smoother.

Bitmap graphics can give you a more realistic look. However, they will not resize well because they use pixels. The best program for making bitmap graphics is Photoshop. But if that is out of your price range you could use Gimp, a free photoshop alternative.

Flash Game Graphics

7. Once you have graphics for your game, you should start animating them. Just because you are a good drawer, does not mean you will be a good animator. Animating is time consuming and difficult to perfect. You can use frame by frame, or tweens to animate. Frame by frame will produce a nicer looking animation, but it takes more time and effort to create. Tweens will be faster and easier to make, but it will not look as good. Some different tutorials on animating are the Animation Tutorial, Animation Tutorial 6, and (for walking cycles) this website.

Music and Sounds

8. Now you can add some sounds and music to your game. Without sounds or music, your game will get boring quickly. Sometimes the right choice of background music can make of break a game. Remember to put in sounds where you feel it adds to the gamer’s experience. Don’t just go putting in unnessesary sounds. Some good places to find sounds are Shockwave-Sound, FindSounds, and Flashkit.

Game Testers

9. Get people to test your game once it is complete. This is to see how the average person thinks about your game. It will also tell you if there are any bugs or glitches within the game. The first type of testing to do can be done right in your home. Just have your family of friends sit down and play your game. Players of your game will not have you there telling them what to do, so resist telling them anything about how to play. Sit silently and observe their actions. When you think you have gotten all you can from your family and friends, it is time to move onto people that do not know you.

In the next step of testing you should upload your game to a private uploader because most sponsors will not sponsor you if your game has already been released to the public. You can ensure that the game is not stolen and decompiled by using Amayeta to encrypt your game. It will protect the most important part of your flash, the code. If you don’t want to throw down the $125 it costs to buy it, you can get a free trial which includes 30 encryptions. Or, go to a trustworthy forum (like MochiAds) and create a thread asking for test players. Send them a pm with the link in it if you want your game to stay private. Take their ideas into account and, if needed, test again.

10. This step is up to you. If you want to get your game sponsored, submit it to numerous sites through emails. Here are a three lists of sponsors to send your game to. Sponsors will get many of emails from other developers just like you, so make your email title and game stand out. Try to get the best offer you can. This doesn’t just include money. You may want perks such as web distribution and popularity for your game or franchise. A good site to help you find a sponsor is flashgamelicense.com. All you have to do is submit your game and sponsors will bid on it.

If you’re interested in maximizing your sponsorship earnings, check out my guide to getting your game sponsored.

If you want to go solo with mochiAds or ads on your own site, then the best option is submitting your game to portals. Here is a list of portals to submit to. If the game is good you will gain popularity, causing more traffic to flow to your site.

11. Have fun.

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The Essential Guide to Flash Games

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