The Exciting Features of HaxeFlixel

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This article by Jeremy McCurdy, the author of the book Haxe Game Development Essentials, uncovers the exciting features of HaxeFlixel. When getting into cross-platform game development, it’s often difficult to pick the best tool. There are a lot of engines and languages out there to do it, but when creating 2D games, one of the best options out there is HaxeFlixel.

HaxeFlixel is a game engine written in the Haxe language. It is powered by the OpenFL framework. Haxe is a cross-platform language and compiler that allows you to write code and have it run on a multitude of platforms. OpenFL is a framework that expands the Haxe API and allows you to have easy ways to handle things such as rendering an audio in a uniform way across different platforms.

Here’s a rundown of what we’ll look at:

  • Core features
  • Display
  • Audio
  • Input
  • Other useful features
  • Multiplatform support
  • Advanced user interface support
  • Visual effects 

(For more resources related to this topic, see here.) 


Core features

HaxeFlixel is a 2D game engine, originally based off the Flash game engine Flixel. So, what makes it awesome? Let’s start with the basic things you need: display, audio, and input.

Display

In HaxeFlixel, most visual elements are represented by objects using the FlxSprite class. This can be anything from spritesheet animations to shapes drawn through code. This provides you with a simple and consistent way of working with visual elements.

Here’s an example of how the FlxSprite objects are used:

You can handle things such as layering by using the FlxGroup class, which does what its name implies—it groups things together. The FlxGroup class also can be used for collision detection (check whether objects from group A hit objects from group B). It also acts an object pool for better memory management. It’s really versatile without feeling bloated.

Everything visual is displayed by using the FlxCamera class. As the name implies, it’s a game camera. It allows you to do things such as scrolling, having fullscreen visual effects, and zooming in or out of the page.

Audio

Sound effects and music are handled using a simple but effective sound frontend. It allows you to play sound effects and loop music clips with easy function calls. You can also manage the volume on a per sound basis, via global volume controls, or a mix of both.

Input

HaxeFlixel supports many methods of input. You can use mouse, touch, keyboard, or gamepad input. This allows you to support players on every platform easily. On desktop platforms, you can easily customize the mouse cursor without the need to write special functionalities.

The built-in gamepad support covers mappings for the following controllers:

  • Xbox
  • PS3
  • PS4
  • OUYA
  • Logitech

Other useful features

HaxeFlixel has a bunch of other cool features. This makes it a solid choice as a game engine. Among these are multiplatform support, advanced user interface support, and visual effects.

Multi-platform support

HaxeFlixel can be built for many different platforms. Much of this comes from it being built using OpenFL and its stellar cross-platform support. You can build desktop games that will work natively on Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can build mobile games for Android and iOS with relative ease. You can also target the Web by using Flash or the experimental support for HTML5.

Advanced user interface support

By using the flixel-ui add-on library, you can create complex game user interfaces. You can define and set up these interfaces with this by using XML configuration files. The flixel-ui library gives you access to a lot of different control types, such as 9-sliced images, the check/toggle buttons, text input, tabs, and drop-down menus. You can even localize UI text into different languages by using the firetongue library of Haxe.

Visual effects

Another add-on is the effects library. It allows you to warp and distort sprites by using the FlxGlitchSprite and FlxWaveSprite classes. You can also add trails to objects by using the FlxTrail class.

Aside from the add-on library, HaxeFlixel also has built-in support for 2D particle effects, camera effects such as screen flashes and fades, and screen shake for an added impact.

Summary

In this article, we discussed several features of HaxeFlixel. This includes the core features of display, audio, and input. We also covered the additional features of multiplatform support, advanced user interface support, and visual effects.

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