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Join Lee Brimelow in this project-style course that teaches how to build a Flash-based game with Flash Builder 4.6, Flash Player 11, and the Starling framework. Starling, a pure ActionScript 3.0 library for advanced graphics, extends Flash Player 11's support for the modern GPU (graphic processing unit) to enable visual presentations and games in the browser or as a mobile app.
Starting with installation and configuration of Starling and creation of a Flash Builder project, the course shows how to prepare and import graphical assets, create MovieClip classes from sprite sheets, manage various gaming objects, detect collisions, and add both particle and sound effects. The finished game can be deployed to any browser or mobile device that integrates Flash Player 11, which was released in September 2011.
So before we go and actually implement collision detection into our game, I wanted to go over a couple of the options which you have for collision detection. So the simplest is called bounding box collision detection and you can see in this example here, I have my alien and I have my hero ship, and essentially, there are rectangles around them that denote the bounds. So anytime I overlap the two, we can see they turn red here. This is the simplest form of collision detection that's actually useful for a lot of things, because remember in our game, the aliens are moving downwards.
So if we want to test between the aliens and the ship, this is actually pretty good, and for the most case since things are moving so fast, this would actually work fairly well. Now obviously, if you had a big graphic that had all kinds of intricate shapes, and you wanted to really test in a more accurate way, then things would break down. But this is the simplest and the fastest way to do collision detection and you can see the code at the bottom, essentially every display object in Starling has a Bounds property which contains this rectangle, and you can use the intersects method of the rectangle class to check if it's overlapping the bounds of another Starling display object.
So again, this is the simplest form of collision detection. The next one is distance-based collision detection. So in distance or sphere-based collision detection, you can think of there being a circle around all of your objects, and essentially, you are testing the difference between the center of both circles. So if the distance between the center of both of these circles is within a certain amount, then it will determine that a collision has happened. This is a more accurate way to do things, and all of this is adjustable.
You can adjust the numbers to create any type of effects that you want. This is usually considered the best approach and it actually works for the vast majority of cases in which you need collision detection, and this is the method that we're going to be using in our game. But you can see at the bottom, essentially you find out the distance between the center of both of these circles and if it's less than the two radiuses added together, then a collision has occurred. And again, you can manipulate those numbers if you want.
Now this brings up a point about pixel perfect collision detection and that's something you want to avoid at all cost, particularly when you are running games on the GPU. Pixel perfect collision detection first of all is not needed in 99% of cases, and if it is needed, then you might want to consider not running a game on the GPU because it's such a CPU intensive process. Once your textures are uploaded to the GPU, you don't have any way to read the pixel data in order to do good collision detection.
All of that has to happen on the CPU. So definitely, avoid pixel perfect collision detection, particularly when you are running games in Starling, and this distance-based approach will work in the vast majority of cases.
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