Nov 182011
 

Adobe recently released a new patch (7.07) for their Presenter product, which is bundled alongside Captivate within the Adobe eLearning Suite.  Presenter is an add-in for PowerPoint that enables you to add audio, video, and quiz questions into PowerPoint slide shows, and to publish them in Flash format for deployment to a web server or LMS.

The significance of the new patch for Captivate developers is that, for the first time, Presenter supports ActionScript 3 — which means that you can now embed a Captivate 5.x movie (.swf file) within a Presenter slide.  If you tried doing this with the version of Presenter (7.06) that is included within the Adobe eLearning Suite 2.5, the result would have been a rather disconcerting flashing screen accompanied by a rapid clicking sound.

Jun 222011
 

I am a big fan of the web site blendercookie.com, and they recently came out with a lovely tutorial series by Jonathan Williamson (using artwork from David Revoy), the Vehicle Modelling Series.

There are over 15 hours of movies, taking you through the process of modelling a Gyrocopter, from a series of pictures. It took we a while to go through all the videos, but it was well worth it. Here is a still of my final result…

Final gyrocoptor render

Final gyrocoptor render

Dec 282010
 

Recently a trainee asked me – How do we go about plotting a sine wave?  We were doing a basic ActionScript course and I was explaining the Drawing API, and how we could easily draw circles and rectangles etc. We then got into working out distances and I mentioned that it is all down to Pythagoras’ theorem, and from there we talked about cosine and sine and the question was  – How do we go about plotting a sine wave?

Well, drawing anything in ActionScript 3 can be accomplished by the lineTo() function, and it would have to run off an ENTER_FRAME event, so that gave us the skeleton functionality of our code…

Nov 282010
 
Going back to using WCK (World Construction Kit) and Joints, I thought I would post some more info, as someone looking at the blog post was having problems and needed some more visuals. So here are some WCK Joints visuals…
Setup
Library
World1
Joint
Ball
Rectangle1
Stage
various Rectangle1 objects (named)
various Joint objects (not named)
One World1 object – all the other objects are inside this object
Drop a couple of Rectangle1 objects on to your stage (but inside the World1 object).
The Ball symbol is what I use for my Joints.
Now, drag over a Joint object, but position it on top of one of the Rectangle1 objects. This step is very important, as the WCK will use this overlap to work out how to make the Joint work.
Click on the Joint object on the stage (which should currently be on top of a Rectangle1 object). Then change the Joint properties as follows…

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Sep 232010
 

In the past, when looking for physics simulations in Actionscript 3, I used Box2DFlash. Although it worked very well, the problem was the documentation.  It was terrible, and it would take me days to work something out and go through various examples, most of which didn’t apply to the latest version of Box2DFlash, but they were the only examples around.

Eventually I managed get a simple structure together, various boxes moving, bouncing and being able to be controlled by a mouse. I will eventually blog about the example I created as I think it will be a useful exercise for people usingBox2DFlash and for people who wish to see just what is possible in Actionscript 3.

Jul 232010
 

In training, I frequently create examples on my mac, get them working, tweak them, and then copy them over to my trainees pcs. In doing so, I have come across a few problems that I thought I would share with you, and the solutions (not perfect) that I have  used to fix these issues.

What I normally do is create a new Actionscript project on my mac. Create and test the files and get everything ready for the training.

Then I copy the whole project folder onto a training pc, and sometimes I end up with problems. For example…

Jul 102010
 

Using Flash Builder a lot as I do I am always on the look out for new extensions.  Recently I came across a lovely new extension from Adobe. It is called Blueprint.

Blueprint – a Flash Builder Extension, allows you to search the web for examples of code, directly within Flash Builder.

For example, suppose you are  tweening and want to see what examples you can find regard the Tween class. Just highlight Tween and press CTL-B (Mac) or Alt – B (PC).

This brings up the Blueprint panel, with the search results.

Blueprint panel

May 152010
 

ByteArrays are very useful. I use them when saving image data out in the form of jpgs or pngs. You can also use them with sound data.

However someone recently asked me what about video? Can we use them to hold video data?

Well, pre-flash player 10.1 the answer is no. But now with flash player 10.1 you can use ByteArrays and videos with Actionscript 3. The methods concerned are…

appendBytes()

appendBytesAction()

…running off the NetStream class.

Apr 082010
 

Frequently when playing around with code I need an object to play around with. So I created a Ball.as class. This testing class for Actionscript 3  is useful because it will just create a ball, with a default size and colour, which I can override if I wish.

I have also given it a bounceEffect() and bounce() public methods.

These will give a bounce effect when it hits a boundary and the latter will make it move and bounce from the boundaries.  The boundary at the moment is just stage.stageWidth and stage.stageHeight, but I plan on allowing an object to be sent so that the instance can use its hight and width as the boundaries for bouncing.