Author Archive

Project 4 Redo

May 11, 2010 |  by  |  Project Four, Student Work, Tutorial  |  Comments Off on Project 4 Redo

For my redo of project 4, I decided to improve my knowledge of actionscript 3 using a set of Cartoon Smart’s tutorials for constructing flash games. Prior to taking on this challenge, I was really struggling with code, so it made sense to try to do something that would force me to interact with the more complicated aspects of actionscript. I ended up getting more than I bargained for.

Project Objectives

  • To improve my understanding of actionscript of a whole
  • To learn some of the elements of code that allow for multi-player games and how to toggle back and forth between players
  • To improve my understanding of complex conditional statements
  • To move my coding to the next level (which, given that before I could only fade things in and out, is not saying much)

Project Outline

  • To work through a couple of Cartoon Smart tutorials, starting with one on controlling objects on the stage using actionscript alone and working my way up to doing a complex game, in which I am certain to encounter complex actionscript.
  • Using the knowledge that I absorb from doing the complex game, to construct a simpler game of my own (without a tutorial as a guide). With this second step, I will hopefully be transforming passive knowledge into active knowledge.

Step 1: Follow a Tutorial, Construct a Game

First of all, let me start out by saying that I got a little bit more than I bargained for, but I think I managed to learn a lot more than I was expecting, as well, so things evened out in the end. For my complex game, I chose to follow the tutorial for a darts game (which actually ended up being three darts games in one. I worked my way through some really complex code, and it was a major moral victory when I finally got everything to work, even with a tutorial to work along with.  The tutorial came with a starter file, so I worked using Cartoon Smart’s artwork. Even so, just doing the code work was enough to keep me busy for days. The buttons at the beginning of the game and the end of the game are mine, however. I put those in myself and linked them to the appropriate variables to allow the user to select which game he/she wanted to play.

Things I learned (This is a shortened list; I learned more things than I could keep track of):

  • How to include external as3 code, allowing me to separate my code, while still making the individual sections findable through naming conventions.
  • How to create variables and apply mathematical functions to them so that the speed of objects varies in a nonlinear way.
  • How to use and customize the sliders component
  • How to use an ENTER_FRAME event listener.
  • How to create a two player game and keep the two scores separate from each other. Also, how to build turn alternation into the game.
  • How to trigger functions outside of an event listener.
  • How to remove event listeners inside of functions to prevent double triggering and bugs in the code.
  • How to create tweens using code, pre-TweenMax (which helped me understand TweenMax better).
  • How to use filters inside of flash.
  • How to construct complex conditional statements
  • And many other things that I’ve forgotten to list here. Overall, my understanding of how actionscript is structured and how to write functions so that they are triggered in the appropriate order/at appropriate times was greatly improved.

Without further ado, here’s my SWF:

Step 2: Use what you just learned, and build your own game, sans tutorial

Despite having just worked through a much more complicated more game with a tutorial as a guide, I was amazed at how difficult it was to sit down and write the code for a completely different sort of game from scratch. I managed, but it was not without a lot of errors and failed attempts.

For my own game, I built Tic Tac Toe. Even though it’s a very simple game, it still took a lot of code to construct and make work the way it’s supposed to. You have to construct code that will take into account every single possible move that a user could make and every single possible outcome. It was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be, and definitely much different from working witha  tutorial.

Outcomes of Step 2:

  • Practiced working with masks and cuing different movie clips
  • Understood in a much more concrete way how to construct a scoring function and run it between turns.
  • Practiced working with event listeners inside of event listeners. Learned about some of the errors that can come up and how to work around them.
  • Practiced triggering functions inside of functions.
  • Worked in some more complex action script and wrote some complex conditional statements.

And here’s my second SWF:

Summary

Overall, I think that I was very successful with trying to meet my project goals. Looking at my four objectives, I think I met all of them. I know I definitely worked through a lot of the issues that I was having with actionscript at the beginning of the semester. I have a much more solid understanding of it and I’m much less frustrated with Flash than I was at the start of the semester.

Constructing the games was a good solution for me and my Flash-induced-frustration because I got to play the game every time I wanted to see if something was working. When I was working through my errors in the darts game, I was sitting in the Newhouse labs with a friend who was working an overnight shift, and every time I got through with a possible correction, she and I would play it together to see if it was working. It was really fun, and took some of the pain out of the learning process for me. I would highly recommend games to other people who struggle with actionscript; they’ll definitely help you learn and understand more, without the frustration that surrounded trying to gain an understanding of actionscript through other means.

I’ve attached my files (with commented actionscript) below, so you guys can check them out (and hopefully learn from them as well). To those of you who are going home (or have already gone home), I hope you have a great summer!

Darts files | Tic Tac Toe Files | Cartoon Smart website

Transition Mockup

April 28, 2010 |  by  |  unfathomable  |  Comments Off on Transition Mockup

Hey all,

I just got through mocking up what the flashes are going to look like on our bio page. I’m posting this here rather than on the Google group because I want you all to be able to see what the swf looks like without having to download the zipped file.

Are the sound and the flash acceptable?

I recorded the sound effect from my own camera, and I figured out a way to have a single flash that can be used for the transition between all videos (one per person anyway…).

I hope that this code will be helpful. I wanted to ask the other people who are working on the bio page to please put the most up to date version of the page on the bio so that I can start working on the questions and transitions for the actual page.

Thanks!

My file and the sound effect in a zipped folder

PS: The tutorial I used to learn about importing audio can be found here.

Edit: I apologize about the black bar on the left. Apparently I left part of a stroke and didn’t notice. 🙁

Bio Team Update 2

April 12, 2010 |  by  |  unfathomable  |  Comments Off on Bio Team Update 2

I know Chris already posted a series of images of what we have in mind, but I wanted to post a second mockup of what the biopage might look like:

And an idea for the logo:

Categories and Transitions

April 6, 2010 |  by  |  Project Four, Student Work  |  Comments Off on Categories and Transitions

Categories

Okay… here’s some proposed categories for you guys to take into consideration. I categorized the videos, rather than the music present in them, so my categories don’t necessarily correlate to music genres. Some of the videos are currently in more than one category, just because they could fit into depending upon what videos we get in the second batch and which categories need more supplemental help.

Spiritual
Mother Earth
Your own note
Charles

Unique Performers
ToTs
Straight Edge
Fritz’s Polka Band

Healing
Alzheimers
Keep on Moving
Sophistafunk

Businesses
Restoring Harmony
I am Hip Hop

Community
Syracuse Orchestra
One Question

Overcoming Opposition
Sophistafunk
Keith Smith


My Thoughts on Transitions

I think that we are being fairly ambitious with our goals for the home state transitions, so the transitions for between videos should be kept fairly simple. It might be nice to use footprints as transitions (since different shoes leave drastically different footprints, and it would not be difficult to extend the idea of a person walking away into a set of footprints moving across the screen to move between videos.

Website Design

April 5, 2010 |  by  |  unfathomable  |  Comments Off on Website Design

I’m not sure if we were supposed to post this to the blog, but I’m gonna go ahead and do it anyway, just in case. For the basic website layout, I think it should be something like this:


I apologize that this was created with an illustration, rather than a photograph, but I did not have access to the internet to get the images I would have needed to create it. In case you can’t tell, what is pictured above is a soundboard with a slider to the left of it. On each of the stops of the slider, there would be a thumbnail from each individual video. The thumbnail would also appear in the larger “player window” when as the user slid the motion bar around.

I think the presence of the thumbnails is necessary because I really hate mystery meat navigation. While having a collection of objects sitting on a desk, or a soundboard, in this case, is fine, I think a little more specificity is never a bad thing.

As the bar slides, I think there should be a click for every stop on the slider. These clicks would be reflected in the seismograph/soundwave/whatchamacallit on the bottom. The seismograph would change in both color and intensity based up on the type of music present in the clip. The seismograph would continue to correlate with the sound present in the video, to allow for two simultaneous interpretations of the music.

The buttons for the video player should appear when the user hovers his mouse over the video player, rather than being visible at all times.

I think that a short intro-video would be appropriate for this type of video. Given how media-driven it is, I think that having a SHORT intro video would actually be a good thing. (Note the emphasis on the word short.)

Michelle’s brainstorm

March 31, 2010 |  by  |  Project Four, Student Work  |  Comments Off on Michelle’s brainstorm

5 words: community, diversity, original, quirky, honest

5 websites:

Ayumi Hamasaki

Of all the music players that I looked at, Ayumi Hamasaki’s was the only one that appeared exclusively in a second window above the website. I like the design of her website and the way that her music player is integrated into the site using colors and repeating design elements. Overall, I think that this music player is pretty slick.

Evanescence

I really like the way that flash is used in this site. I particularly think that the movie clips that play when the site is first opened are particularly slick. I’m not as big of a fan of this site’s music player, mostly because it starts playing as soon as the site is opened. I don’t like sites that fling music/sound unexpectedly in the visitor’s face. The player itself is simple: it has only an “on” and an “off” button, followed by the name of the song.

David Cook

David Cook’s website had two audio players on it. It had a basic audio player that plays the song “Permanent” on the home page. If the user clicks on “play music” it opens a separate window with a playable library of all of his songs. I like the double nature of these audio players: it serves to highlight the song “Permanent”, while still giving access to the rest of his music.

Nickelback

The music player on Nickelback’s website is fairly basic. It allows the user to play through Nickelback’s songs as though they are using an iPod Shuffle (meaning that the user cannot select the song, but they can use the forward and backward buttons to select a song that they like). I’m not exactly pleased with how the music player is placed in the site: it doesn’t exactly jump out at the user, and I almost overlooked it when I visited the site.

Edwin McCain

This is another site that starts playing music at you the second you enter it. As I already mentioned, I’m not a big fan of this. I do like how this site gives you the option to launch a “standalone player” to play the music in a separate window, however. I also think that the texture and the layout of the site overall is clean and very nice looking.

Design thoughts

I’m not exactly sure where I can see our class’s design going. I was out sick on Monday, so I think I missed a lot discussion about the videos and the site objectives as a whole. I’ll have a better idea after I’ve been to class on Wednesday.

Michelle Weaver-Final

March 24, 2010 |  by  |  Project Three, Student Work  |  Comments Off on Michelle Weaver-Final

So, my file has changed quite a lot since the last time you all saw it. The most obvious change is the fact that it actually WORKS now. I managed to get rid of the ridiculously large linked files that were causing WordPress to be unable to upload it and all of my tweens not work. I also simplified my design so that everything runs more smoothly. (ie-my lilypad navigation became a cloud, and I got rid of the frog, among other things).

For Project 3, I added a video into my portfolio section. It is a kinetic type video. I also linked the PDF of my resume to the image of my resume that appears in my portfolio (It can be downloaded by clicking the large resume image in my portfolio).

In this folder, I have attached 3 pngs that show my states, and my flash file. I had intended this to be a redo of projects 1 and 2, as well as the submission of project 3. I apologize for the fact that my illustrator files are not included. They were simply too big… I spent an hour waiting for my .zip file to upload, only to have it tell me it couldn’t be written to disk. If you need to see them, I can place them on the server or bring them on an external hard-drive.

Notes for posterity (ie-some problems I had in Flash):

1. If you have a tween with a stop at the end of it more than 4 layers deep in your flash file, it will not play. This can be fixed by breaking your movie clips apart so that the tweens are closer to the surface. Of course, by the time this class is taught again, CS5 will probably be out, and this bug will probably have been fixed.

2. If you are working with linked bitmap images in Illustrator, make sure you either rastorize them when they are brought into flash, or make sure that the files are small. Otherwise, you end up with a massively large file that will continually crash Flash and make it so that your Tweens won’t load properly.

Michelle’s Second Project (and a Redo of the First)

March 8, 2010 |  by  |  Project One, Project Two, Student Work, Student Work  |  Comments Off on Michelle’s Second Project (and a Redo of the First)

Alright, technology officially hates me. I’ve tried importing my SWF file from multiple computers and saving it as, but WordPress won’t let me upload it. Not sure why… It shows the flash bar going across, but then it pulls a blank screen. So, we’ll have to make due with my thumbnails. If you want to see the SWF, it’s in the Project 2 folder below. 🙁

Visual Message

When redesigning my webpage, my objective was to both communicate my style and some of my personality. I’m a country girl, I like simple things and I like to draw, so therefore my website took on the form of a hand-drawn scene that revolved around nature.

When I first planned my website, I had intended to do a great deal of detailed transitions. Obviously, that didn’t work out as well in practice as it did in my mind. I still haven’t given up on some of those ideas, and I intend to go back and try again before the final version. I managed to get myself error-free, which I feel is quite an accomplishment.

Audience

The audience for my site would be potential employers. As a result, it needs to be both professional, creative and showy enough to make an impression.

Animations

As I mentioned before, I planned things that for the animation of this project that were a great deal more complicated than my ability to complete. I ended up having to simplify things by a great deal. At the moment, most of the transitions are subtle slides and things fade in and out. I am having a problem with getting the tweens I apply to deeper layers to show up when I play my swf. For example, I have the butterflies wings set to flap as it comes onto the screen. I could see the action when I had it repeating, but it vanished as soon as I put a stop onto the end of it. I still haven’t figured out the cause, and it’s odd because the problem occurs without any errors in my script. I plan to reimport my file and simplify the layer structure. Hopefully this will remedy the problem. The grass and the cattails are also continually swinging in the wind on my homepage.

Tutorials

Hmm… I don’t remember specifically. I tended to google things when I couldn’t figure them out on my own, but I don’t remember the urls.

One of the most helpful things for me was to google the error messages I got. I found it the quickest way to diagnose my problems.

Project 2

Project 1 Redo