In every story, there is a point in time that sets a path in your life. In mine was in my puberty, set by a middle school teacher and was very brief.
Since elementary school we would always have some computer class around, in my case they would teach us to use word and those things. and then we would play random games. So was in my first year in middle school, nothing too exiting. By my second year in middle school they changed the computing class teacher, I vaguely remember due to some scandal. The new teacher was probably around 28 or 30, and he did tried to show us more than just word. so we started second year with HTML. again nothing more exiting than <marquee> lololol </marquee> .
However by 3th semester he taught us to use macromedia flash MX. Simple things, make animations and setup buttons. I remember the intro class was he showing us the capabilities of flash, he showed us a 3D video of a singing monster that was in no way made in flash but that is what he said and I believe him. Other whole class was learning the 4 stages of buttons, (Up, Over, Down, Hit), that was a hard one . Good times.
The final project of the year was to make an animation and, I don’t remember exactly how, he mentioned we would get a copy of the software by the end of the year, that was, if we made a good work. So then I used to go to the computer lab at lunch time to work on my animation. which was just a pool table with marbles rolling. I know, very lame haha. Is not that I started with that. I wanted to do a story of something but turns out drawing was not my strong point.
So let be it. I finished my pool table animation, and I got a copy of the software. Don’t ask me about the legitimacy of it. I hope is enough to say that later when I had money I did got a legit one.
Back at home, I started playing with the software on my own, making more animations. I used to find the form transformation interpolation fascinating, and I realized you could put music into it so I tried to make music videos. Kind of karaoke ones that have the letters dancing and morphing and moving. they were very cool. However my computer was rather slow, so they would go out of sync very quickly. Oh well.
Then I entered High School, there there was also a computing class, and again first semester was office and boring stuff. However at that point I realized that many of the games that I played in middle school in the computer class were actually flash games. so I got fixated on trying to figure out how to make them. So I started learning AS2. I know so old. but hey, it was easy.
I would make small animations and have small pieces of code here and there to manage events. At the time you could put random code almost anywhere. It sounds horrifying to today’s me, but back then it was cool.
There I did learn to program, with bad coding practices. learned the basic elements, (if, else, for) and the main loop function. I made a pacman game with AI (rudimentary) ghost and everything with only those, no functions. It was a lot of duplicated code. but it worked….. and consumed the whole processing time of the core so you better have a dual core.
Then by the end of programing pacman I learned about functions and refactored some parts. performance didn’t improve but there was a slightly smaller piece of crappy code.
Then I entered colleague and of course decided to pursue a BS in computer science. We started learning java, and the first classes were kind of easy since they would teach us again, (if else for) and functions, all of whom I was already able to craft into poorly written blobs of code, so, no big deal there.
Also by that time I got my hands into Flash 8, which came with AS3. coming from AS2 it was whole different thing. No more duck typing… Or at least less duck typing.
In colleague I did improve my flash programming skills. and my programming in general. And I would use flash in a lot of projects for school. In Flash it was relatively easy to handle graphics and would always have this wow effect compared to projects running on console. I also made several games there. mostly ripofs of something else, made a galaxian, mine sweeper, pong, and attempted to do racing and RPG games. At that time I remember there were some very impressive 3D racing games in flash and some very beautiful art projects on the internet.
Also by the middle of my undergraduate studies I got a small job making flash games, It was awesome, I would make like 400 USD a moth but for me that was cool, didn’t last long tho. The owner of the company disappeared after two months.
By that time, Steve Jobs declare war against flash, saying HTML was the future. At the time I find it hard to believe since everything ran on flash.
After that I interviewed for an internship at MSFT, didn’t made it but a friend of mine did, so I felt a bit sad and started to look for a part time job for the summer. Interestingly I found it in the news paper( I know, old school ), there were looking for flash developer as freelancer.
With that company I made 3 flash projects. they where Interactive disks for kids that where shipped with books, like math and grammar kind of things. I really enjoyed making those things. They would pay me like 1600USD to 2200 USD per project and it would take me like 4 months to make each. For me that was very good money, at the time my father would give me a monthly allowance of 120 USD so you make the math. It was at that point when I finally was able to afford my license. so I got Flash CS5 for 700 USD and I was happy. After all those years I finally had a legit version of this thing and I was really grateful at that time.
By the end of colleague I did got an internship at MSFT which was ok, I got to know Redmond and Seattle which was very cool, however I did not get the FT offer. I guess that is why was it just ok and not great, anyway. Back in Mexico I finally graduated and started to interview for full time jobs. Also, this was 2012, and the war against flash was heating up. I think was in that year that the fate of flash was finally wrote down. even tho it would take several years for it to go away.
In the meantime I started making the FABLE tool. Which was a box2d level editor, this time it was made in Adobe air and flex. Which really means, more flash and AS3. I spent 1 year solely making that tool and then I got hired at Oracle in Mexico. While at oracle I kept working on this tool and even got to used to make some OS books for kids.
That FABLE tool was probably my biggest project in flash and the last one, containing 60k lines of AS3. Then in 2016 I got a hired as FTE at MSFT in Redmond and stop development of the tool. I always intended to take it back and improve and implement a lot of cool features I had in mind but time passed and came January first 2020. Flash is dead, and adobe air and flex on life support. my project is pretty much obsolete, and yet , is hard to say good bye.
For me was probably a 17 years ride, along flash, learning, dreaming, and enjoying programing. I will miss their out of the box approach, that had everything working from start and the fact that you could mix and match animation, code and images in such a seamless way. Its reduced set of graphic capabilities with its reduced set of coding capabilities made it a nice playground for teenage me, and its evolution thru AS3, OOP, Air and FLEX made it a great tutor as I grew up. I have the feeling of flash being and old friend that grew with me and now has to say good bye. And is a bit sad to see him leave.