Tutorial: Make a Vertical Shooter in AS3 – Part 2

Written By MrSun at 8:01 am - Saturday, August 23rd, 2008
Categories: Flash

Step 2: Programming the Character Pt 2 – Making it Shoot

Well, now that we’ve got the character moving, we have to make him able to shoot. The first step in doing this is to create a MovieClip which will be the bullet. Mine is 5×30 pixels. Give it a name of “Bullet” with the capitals. We also are going to have to export it for actionscript. Hopefully by now, you know how to do this. But, I’ll explain it once again (for the 5th time).

Right click the MovieClip and click on “Linkage…”. A window will pop up. In this window, check off “Export for ActionScript” and leave everything just as it is.

Now that we’ve got this down, we’re going to make a “Bullet” class. To do this, we have to make an external .as file. Press Command+N if you are on a Mac or Ctrl+N if you are on Windows and under “Type:”, select “ActionScript File”. Then, immediately save this file as “Bullet.as” in the same directory as your main game. Then, within it, type in the following code:

//This is the basic skeleton that all classes must have
	//we have to import certain display objects and events
	import flash.display.MovieClip;
	import flash.events.*;
	//this just means that Bullet will act like a MovieClip
	public class Bullet extends MovieClip{
		//this will act as the root of the document
		//so we can easily reference it within the class
		private var _root:Object;
		//how quickly the bullet will move
		private var speed:int = 10;
		//this function will run every time the Bullet is added
		//to the stage
		public function Bullet(){
			//adding events to this class
			//functions that will run only when the MC is added
			addEventListener(Event.ADDED, beginClass);
			//functions that will run on enter frame
			addEventListener(Event.ENTER_FRAME, eFrame);
		private function beginClass(event:Event):void{
			_root = MovieClip(root);
		private function eFrame(event:Event):void{
			//moving the bullet up screen
			y -= speed;
			//making the bullet be removed if it goes off stage
			if(this.y < -1 * this.height){
				removeEventListener(Event.ENTER_FRAME, eFrame);

This code really won't do anything by itself. We have to add it to stage whenever the player presses a button (the Space Bar). We also want to limit how quickly the user can shoot. This will be easy. Just add these variables to the top of the main code:

//how much time before allowed to shoot again
var cTime:int = 0;
//the time it has to reach in order to be allowed to shoot (in frames)
var cLimit:int = 12;
//whether or not the user is allowed to shoot
var shootAllow:Boolean = true;

Next, we have to add a timer that will increment the cTime variable every frame. We won't use the built in Timer class that ActionScript has (if you even know what that is) because going by frames is much more efficient. Add this code to the moveChar() function:

//Incrementing the cTime

//checking if cTime has reached the limit yet
if(cTime < cLimit){
	cTime ++;
} else {
	//if it has, then allow the user to shoot
	shootAllow = true;
	//and reset cTime
	cTime = 0;

Now we can finally allow the shooting to occur. Add this code to the checkKeysDown() function.

//checking if the space bar is pressed and shooting is allowed
if(event.keyCode == 32 && shootAllow){
	//making it so the user can't shoot for a bit
	shootAllow = false;
	//declaring a variable to be a new Bullet
	var newBullet:Bullet = new Bullet();
	//changing the bullet's coordinates
	newBullet.x = mcMain.x + mcMain.width/2 - newBullet.width/2;
	newBullet.y = mcMain.y;
	//then we add the bullet to stage

Now if you test your movie, you should be able to shoot! Hurrah!

This concludes this part of the tutorial, stay tuned for the next one, creating enemies!

The Final Product:

Source Files (zipped)



When I try to run this, it displays:

1190: Base class was not found or is not a compile-time constant.

… when referring to our package. What is wrong?


Even with your own code, my project complains about every variable of the Bullet.as not being defined; my bullet is named “Bullet” and everything is right on the Linkage properties.

Any help figuring out why it cannot locate these vars? (oh and yes, the .as file is in the same directory)

Jerry Maxey:

Every time i try to shoot. my character jumps to the right instead of shooting. There are no errors in my code. Please help


the source FLA’s work, while taking this tutorial though i chose to swap out the simple shapes for some nicer ones, the problem i seem to get once the AS3 code is written or replaced, i get continual errors return when the ‘mcMain’ collides with ‘Enemy’

TypeError: Error #2007: Parameter hitTestObject must be non-null.
at flash.display::DisplayObject/flash.display:DisplayObject::_hitTest()
at flash.display::DisplayObject/hitTestObject()
at Enemy/::eFrame()

Can anybody suggest a fix?


Your tutorials are probably the most helpful game tutorials I have ever found, especially for developing with AS3 and FlashDevelop. I just wanted to mention a small detail that is missing from this step. When you do:

if(event.keyCode == 32 && shootAllow){

you should also set cTime = 0; This makes sure that the user really can’t fire two shots in less than 12 frames (try it and you’ll see!)


“1190: Base class was not found or is not a compile-time constant.” If you leave an instance of the movie clip on the stage this error comes up. It’s probably the one you initially created. Now that bullet is in the library you can delete it. Otherwise Flash has no clue how to deal with it. I’m a noob so I don’t know the technicalities behind it, but either way that’s how I solved it. Yey.


made a little modification to my code 😉

makes it possible to continue shooting while holding space and moving at the same time 🙂


Shooting while moving diagonally doesn’t work except for right-up movement. Any idea why it works only in this direction?
I was trying to implement shooting while holding spacebar, however when I hold spacebar th mcMain stops moving diagonally. (again with exception for right-up direction)

ryan Felton:

does this work if the files are stored on a memory stick?


If you want to fix the problem where you can’t shoot while moving and the fact that it sometimes shoots more than 1 at a time:

– don’t use the shootAllow variable. Instead created a spaceDown variable and create the bullet in the enter frame function


Magnus, could you please tell me what modification you made to your code to let it shout continiously?? =o


THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
it helps so much!!


@Magnus: How did you do it! I have the same issue!

zakkain at gmail.com – please get back to me!


I’m noticing that you can’t move diagonally up-left and shoot at the same time (in the demo here too). I’m having an analogous problem with something I’m working on- what’s up with that?


is it possible to set it up so that it shoots off of a mouse click instead? cause i have the function being run off of a MOUSE_DOWN mouse event and im haveing it place the bullet (it is exported thoguh action script) where the mouse clicks by saying newBullet.x = mouseX; and same with mouseY any thoughts as to why it wouldnt be working?