Tools (Part 1)

Welcome to the first of a few posts detailing the tools I'm using to create [Speer]! I'm starting this off with a short introduction to the framework I'm using.

[Speer] is powered by the incredible HaxeFlixel framework, just like Magnet Man Adventures and GraviFlip are. If you've never heard of it, it's a shame as much as it's not too surprising. Essentially it started off as a port of the popular Flixel framework for Flash running on the Haxe language but it has now grown to an incredible degree.

HaxeFlixel is made from math, so you know it's legit.

Both Haxe and HaxeFlixel are rather easy to learn; in fact, GraviFlip was the first project on which I've used either and that game was created during a Ludum Dare within 72 hours. Of course the choice of language/framework/engine boils down to personal choice but so far, HF is the best framework I've worked with. I also really like Haxe, as it is a very flexible language with some really powerful features, especially when you start digging deeper.

HF comes packed with a lot of cool features (some of which you can check out in interactive demos on the website) that have helped a lot with the development of [Speer]. This includes basic movement and collision stuff, the handling of tilemaps but also more complex things, like paths; to get Sparkballs moving around the stage in [Speer], all I had to do was pass an array of coordinates to the path property that HaxeFlixel objects have by default, set the speed and movement type and bam, a threatening (and mobile) enemy was born.

Groups make pooling incredibly easy and visual features like camera shakes and particles make it really simple to make your game look spiffy. Oh and there's an autotiling feature that really saved me some fiddling. Had to code that myself in JettyCat Towers (done in Game Maker) but HF can do it by default. 

If you're not already in love with an engine or framework I'd suggest checking it out. I'll definitely be sticking with it, as I keep discovering new things I love about it.

That's it for this installment, the next tool-related post is going to be about level creation. Stay tuned!

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