Must have tools for Flash developers

March 24, 2013 | Posted by: Fredrik | Tags: Game development, AIR, Tools, Open source, AS3, Flex, Flash
There are plenty of good tools to use when developing Flash games and applications. Here I list some of my favourite ones.

FlashDevelop

This is the open-source develop environment to use for Flash development. Boosted with code generation and some refactoring options. Use together with Flex/AIR to add compilation right into FlashDevelop reducing the need to have Adobe Flash Professional. You'll find instructions on how to install FlashDevelop with Flex/AIR here. Plenty of 3rd party plugins also available.
Get FlashDevelopUse together with Flex/AIR as a stand alone IDE.

Citrus Engine

This open-source framework brings some of the most powerful  frameworks on the market together. Combining frameworks such as Starling and Away3D with physics engines such as Box2D, Nape and AwayPhysics. Use this framework to really get a kick start in your project. Common platformer game objects are available right out of the box.
Get Citrus EngineWith Starling, Away3D, DragonBones, Box2D, Nape and AwayPhysics.

Adobe Scout

As part of the Adobe Gaming SDK - Adobe Scout is a very powerful profiling tool that even adds the possibility to profile on your mobile devices. Currently available for free on Creative Cloud. To use this profiler fully you need to enable advanced telemetry in your swf-file, something that hasn't been available out-of-the-box with FlashDevelop. To solve this you can use a 3rd party AT-plugin in FlashDevelop or this Python script.
Get Adobe ScoutRequires free Creative Cloud account.

TexturePacker

If you aim to use Starling for development you'll need to use sprite sheets/texture atlases in order to effectively utilize the graphics processor required to get good performance on mobile devices. TexturePacker is your choice for this. Compile your sprite sheet by adding images, swf-files or Photoshop files (.psd) and select the export format. Plenty of output formats available to cater for most game engines out there, also supporting advanced image formats like PVR.
Get TexturePackerPowerful sprite sheet creator. Try it for free.

DragonBones

This is currently my primary choice of 2d skeletal animation tools. I'm really looking forward to start using Spine, but since it not yet have an AS3 runtime DragonBones will be my choice in the meantime. There's also Spriter to consider if you don't have Flash CS 5.5 or later (required by DragonBones as the animator is a plugin panel). Find further information about the three different tools here.
Get DragonBonesRequires Adobe Flash Professional CS5.5 or later.

PhysicsEditor

Defining advanced shapes manually to use with physics engines can be a real hassle. Thankfully there exists tools like PhysicsEditor that will allow you to define even the most complex shapes with ease and export as code (both Box2D and Nape supported). Start by auto tracing your sprites and - if necessary - tweak the shapes manually, set the parameters for your physics object (based on your choice of physics engine) and export the code. Supports most major game engines out there (not limited to Flash).
Get PhysicsEditorCreate physics objects with ease. Try it for free.

Feathers

Feathers is an open-source project that works on top of Starling to add highly responsive UI components that will work from mobile devices to desktops. Great for building nice looking user interfaces.
Get FeathersUse together with Starling.

Tiled

Versatile map editor that beside tiles (both normal and isometric) support creation of vectors such as polygons, rectangles and ellipses which makes it ideal to use for defining static physics objects such as platforms, sensors (coins, signs, etc). Citrus Engine (mentioned above) has a loader for the Tiled map-format.
Get TiledPowerful and free map editor.

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