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Weekend Success: Ported Mathogen to Flash for Facebook

Click here to play Mathogen in Flash.

Send me Feedback:

This weekend I successfully ported Mathogen from Objective-C for iPhone to Flash for Facebook. Please comment or email me at if you notice anything wonky about the game. Mathogen is a game designed for kids to help them learn basic math and have fun competing against their friends for worldwide highscores. If you have kids, please ask them to play the game. Do they like it? I'm planning to release this game on Facebook for free as soon as I work out all the bugs. Please send me feedback to make this game better.

Facebook Issues:

I had planned to have Facebook integration ready to show this morning but Facebook's developer page has been buggy all weekend. I plan to submit Mathogen for Facebook approval as soon as I get authorization from Facebook to create a new developer account. I deleted my account a few months ago amid privacy concerns and opened a new account specifically for Mathogen. Unfortunately it has been difficult to contact Facebook to reacquire my original developer account. As soon as I am authenticated, I plan to work on further Facebook integration (stream publishing, inviting friends, and viewing their high score).

Goodbye Flash IDE:

This is the first Flash project that I did not code in the Flash IDE. Flash IDE, we've had some good times. I coded my first flash movie, wrote a few games, and made a few websites with you. However, we've grown apart because you don't offer me any of the developer features I need to manage my code. I've started using Flash Builder 4 and so far I like it. It was fun while it lasted but I'm moving on. Goodbye Flash IDE.

Hello Flash Builder 4:

I used Flash Builder 4 for this project. After reading through all the documentation, watching all videos, I was looking forward to the nice code folding, keyboard shortcuts, and class outline features that were promised. Perhaps I downloaded a bad copy of FD4 or I need to restart my computer.

None of the features that were promised in the documentation work as expected. Perhaps these features only work with full Flex or Actionscript projects -- I was only editing one class file. The code folding showed fold points in-between function definitions, double clicking on a method name in the class outline lead me to random pieces in the code. I'm going to reinstall and give it another shot. The keyboard shortcuts worked great. Despite the many things I found lacking in FB4, I'm going to continue to use it to code AS3.


I had planned to have Mathogen in Flash posted this morning but I ran into a few last minute problems when I uploaded the swf and began testing the game on my remote server. Last minute bug fixes included:
  • Local swf ran fine but the copy on the server could not pull high scores data.
  • URLRequest was having a fit trying to pull data from a cross domain server.
  • simpleXML would not execute without a php.ini file on the server to run code as php5

Lessons Learned:

I've been coding with Flash since version 4. I learned the ins and outs of AS2 and slowly transitioned to AS3 when the new version called for it. I still believe that Flash is the best language for interactivity, portability, and accesibility. Coding this project gave me new insights into physics integration, sound design, and user stats in Flash. Compared to Objective-C, Flash allows me to integrate new features quicker because it is the language I am most familiar with. I wish I could code iPhone games this quickly in Objective-C. Maybe that'll be the next weekend programming challenge. Thanks for reading this post.

Next Steps:

Time to take a break from coding and get a coffee. I've been working on this code for nearly 26 hours. Apart from breaks to eat and sleep, I've been programming all weekend. I will continue to update the game until I am confident that all of the bugs have been discovered and fixed. Thanks in advance for play testing my game. Your feedback is crucial. The game soundtrack was composed by the Japanese band, Woolitchipan. You can learn more about them on their myspace page:

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Comment by David Neely on July 30, 2010 at 10:36am
Thanks Zehra! I just completed a Facebook game for the University of Hawaii at Manoa (launching in September). I'm planning to use the Facebook skills I learned from that project to post Mathogen on Facebook. Porting the game to Flash will allows me to release Mathogen on Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux in the near future via Adobe Air. I'll keep you posted!
Comment by Zehra Abbas Zaidi on July 30, 2010 at 9:26am
Wow David! This is totally cool! How about introducing your game to local schools in Hawaii! One of my colleagues is trying to help her daughter improve in Math and found such games to be an excellent way to go about it. I'm not a developer, but could you modify mathogen so that it can be used on the Symbian and Windows platform too?
Comment by David Neely on June 28, 2010 at 11:10am
Thanks Doug! The bug has been fixed.
Comment by Doug Nelson on June 25, 2010 at 1:06pm
Hi David, I like the game! I did discover something wonky when I play the game from this link: If I choose "Hard" as the difficulty level, when I click the answer to the first question I get the "Infestation - too many mathogens" error, and the game is over. This seems repeatable across game types (addition, subtraction, mixed, etc.) Here's the start of the game:

And here's what I get when I click on the "7":

Hope that helps, Doug
Comment by David Neely on June 16, 2010 at 9:44am
@makoto Thanks for the feedback! I'm glad you enjoy educational games as much as I do. I'm researching Smart Fox Server and plan to integrate multiplayer support into Mathogen for Facebook. Stay tuned!
Comment by David Neely on June 16, 2010 at 9:38am
I've been working on a spec for a Katakana and Hiragana learning program since the beginning of this year. Kanji might be too difficult for me at this point. I'll post my progress with that project as soon as I get Mathogen hosted on Facebook and fully integrated with stream publishing, inviting friends, and showcasing high scores. Thanks for the words of encouragement Dan :)
Comment by Makoto Ishida on June 16, 2010 at 7:31am
Hi David, I enjoyed reading your post and playing the flash game. Also I have installed Mathogen on my iPod touch and love it. I guess my kids will love it too! Thanks for the nice game!
As to Katakana and Hiragana learning program, it looks very interesting. There are so many fun ways to learn nowadays. That's a good thing!
Comment by Daniel Leuck on June 14, 2010 at 2:38pm
Very impressive! You've been coding up a storm recently :-) Have you thought about doing a kanji learning game?


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