HDSlide an AS2 Class For Making Things Slide

– taterboy | January 7th, 2010

Filed under: ActionScript 2, Flash, Free Components/Classes

HDSlide is a collection of code brought together in an effort to make one actionsScript 2 class that will fulfill all your actionScript sliding needs. This version is very versatile with two completely different animation modes.

Animation Modes:
One animation mode will change the speed of the sliding animation based on how far the mouse is moved away from the center. When the mouse is in the middle, the animation moves very slowly, then speeds up as the mouse moves toward the edges. The other mode is more like scrolling, if your mouse is at the left side or top of the slide area, the slide will be at the beginning. As the mouse is moved to the other side, the sliding MovieClip will scroll based on the mouses position between the two extremes.

Current Samples:
The FLA contains two samples that show off just a few usage variations. The FLA was built in a hurry, so it is not an example of how things should be done, it is just a sample of what is possible. There are many more possibilities, just download the source and experiment. One example not shown is the ability to pause the mouse move detection using “pauseSlide(true)” while still having the slideTo() method fully functional.

1. Create a MovieClip to be scrolled.
2. Then mask that MovieClip with another MovieClip.
3. Give them both instance names.
4. Import the class

 import com.hdi.as2.HDSlide;

5. Create a new instance of the class with the instance names above in the arguments.

var hSlide:HDSlide  = new HDSlide(menuMC, menuMask);

That’s it to make a simple sliding movieClip.
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Illustrating In Illustrator 101 part 3 of 5

– taterboy | December 24th, 2009

Filed under: Design, General Info, Illustrator, Tutorials

Defining Shapes

Some may think that illustration is all about the lines, comics and other art styles may give this impression. I use line-work in most of my illustration styles, though not always black lines. If you do not use lines in your work, you use color or some other means of creating contrast between forms and objects. It is this contrast between colors or light and dark values that produce the lines we think we see everyday in the world around us. We will discuss the use of line-work and contrast to properly define shapes using light and shadow.

Comic artists may use line-work, but on closer inspection we find that those lines do a lot more then just define the shapes of the drawing. The line weight varies as it contours each element. This line variation builds the foundation of the form which gives the illusion of dimension. As you can see with the simple line drawing below. The drawing on the right has more depth while the left circle looks more like a cave drawing.

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Create Adobe AIR Badges At Any Size

– taterboy | December 16th, 2009

Filed under: ActionScript 3, Design, Flash, Flex, Free Components/Classes

UPDATE: 2/17/10

We added a redirect option to the HDBadge that allows AIR application install badges that are too small (smaller than 214×137) to redirect to another page or call a javascript function. The size 214×137 was as small as I could shrink the badge before the AIR install dialog would not show up (tested on a Mac w/Safari). See updates below.

Are you sick of trying to design around the existing Adobe AIR badge templates. In most cases they are way too large or have a look and feel that does not really match your design. A few companies have their own custom solutions with AIR badges that are nicely integrated into their sites. I wanted that for the updated ChessJam site, but instead of building one badge for each size, I wanted a completely flexible (one size fits all) solution from one swf.

The HDBadge Features:
1. One Size Fits All – The size of the badge is determined by the size you use in the object/embed code of the swf. The swf does not stretch, so you could have a badge that is 40×20 and 800×600 from the same swf, depending on your needs.

2. Smaller Footprint – One of the reasons the current badges are so large is they display AIR/App install error messages. This version hides the button after clicking revealing a console type area behind it. The error text conforms to the size of the swf.
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Building iPhone Applications with Flash CS5 – video

– taterboy | December 6th, 2009

Filed under: ActionScript 3, Flash, iPhone

Lee Brimelow at gotoAndLearn.com posted a great video tutorial showing how easy it is to build iPhone applications with Flash CS5. Here are a few subtle observations from watching the presentation.

1. The iPhone development option in Flash is no small part of the next Flash release. The Flash Team really want to make the process as pleasant as possible. It will be easier to build iPhone apps, according to the video, then it was to build AIR applications when AIR was first released.

2. Flash CS5 will have a more Flex-like feel and better coding experience when writing code in the actions palette.

3. iPhone hardware acceleration will be in the final release of Flash CS5, the video has an exciting preview of different examples of Flash animations using hardware acceleration on the iPhone.

It’s hard not to cynical, the official announcement was made at MAX seemed too good to be true, the lack of hardware acceleration made the pre-release applications less appealing, but things seem to really be coming together as we are coming closer to the final release. The last obstacle is the size of the applications themselves. We want to release applications that can be downloaded over the air.

By the way, I am still waiting on my pre-release version of Flash CS5, maybe Santa can put in a good word for me. I have been nice all year.


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Building Tiled Backgrounds Using Photoshop and Illustrator

– taterboy | November 3rd, 2009

Filed under: Design, Illustrator, Photoshop, Tutorials

I can’t wait to get back to publishing Flash tips and code, but we’ve been so wrapped up in ChessJam lately leaving so little time to clean up code and make things more component-ized. I am enjoying the break from programming though, doing illustration again has been very rewarding.

Fixing Blotchy Textures:
In producing tiled textures for some of the background paintings and 3D renderings, I found that even though the tiles did not really show any seams, they were creating some weird patterns over the whole tiled area. They needed tweaking without a long and laborious process of exporting and rendering. The key for me was to have a realtime preview of what I was working on, seeing how the tile would look tiled over a larger surface while I was painting in Photoshop. There may be better ways, we always appreciate feedback, but this worked really well and now my textures are much less blotchy.
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ChessJam Now Has Robots And A 14-Day FREE Trial

– taterboy | October 20th, 2009

Filed under: ActionScript 3, Flash, Flex, Games

No new code or demos this week, I spent most of the week and weekend fixing bugs and adding robots to ChessJam.


As of Dec 16, 2009, ChessJam is completely free, go to ChessJam.com to get started. For the most up to date information checkout the ChessJam blog or our ChessJam facebook page.

All those who tried out ChessJam and only got a 3 day trial, email us at “chessjam [at] gmail [dot] com”, we are now offering a 14-day trial. Also with robots in the castle, you have a reason to stick around. With everyone else hanging out hopefully the more actual people you will get to play. It takes time to build a community, “If You Build It, They Will Come” only works if you have patience and good PR (we are working on the later). Read more about our recent updates at the ChessJam blog, HDI blog and Greg Wilson’s blog, also follow us on twitter @Chessjam. Pay special attention to the challenge, who plays the most games by October 31st, gets a free copy of ChessJam (bottom of the post “ChessJam for All”).

Why ChessJam?, Why us?, Why now?
Good questions, let me explain. When we purchase a chess set at the store, we have the option of a really cheap plastic set or a really fancy set made out of wood, metals, and/or fine stone. But when we play chess online this or something like this is our only option.

chessboard 2D

This is an early mockup of our 2D board, I was promptly sent back the to my sketchbook.

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Augmented Reality Sound Mixer Demo

– taterboy | October 8th, 2009

Filed under: ActionScript 3, Audio, Flash, Flex

Here is one of the demos we built recently to show some possible uses of Augmented Reality and Flex. This demo uses the FlarToolKit to detect the instrument patterns and place a 3D plane on screen with Papervision 3D. For the main mixer we use mp3s and 2D animations to show the different audio tracks. 3D is the future, but for now the low polygon count does not stand up to fully illustrated 2D graphics yet. We are using the FlarToolKit more as an input device to turn on and off audio tracks and to change the volume.

The Possibilities:
This sample is just a seed for the possibilities of future technology in live performances, not tied to a computer, how different patterns could create cues for video, audio, lighting and effects. The sample also shows how layering different symbols in different order can change the dynamic of the user experience.

To use this demo you will have to print and cut out the markers from this PDF file.

Included Symbols:
Drum Track
Bass Track
Horn Track
Guitar Track
Volume Fader
Eject (not used)

Note: Make sure you have plenty of black ink, use mat paper or card stock for best results. Depending on the lighting and what is behind you may have to put a piece of white paper behind the marker to force the webcams contrast higher.

click below to launch

To start Jamming, show a track marker to your webcam to display or remove an audio track. You can use the Volume marker to lower the sound to 20% or raise it back to 100%. The first time a marker is shown to the camera, it adds a track or lowers the volume. If you show a marker to the camera again, the previous action from that marker will reverse.

Note: In our demo we start with the drum and bass tracks to build a good rhythm, then add the horn. It sounds OK. Then remove the horn and add the guitar lead. The horn and guitar are both lead tracks and were not really meant to play at the same time, but this is about expression so there are no rules.


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Use Flash Pro CS5 To Build iPhone Apps

– taterboy | October 6th, 2009

Filed under: ActionScript 3, Flash, iPhone

I have to admit I was skeptical of the rumors and was not alone either. There were many tweets on this subjects as everyone speculated what the “Big Flash Announcement” was was going to be. So now it’s out of the bag, you will be able to build iPhone apps with Flash Pro CS5. So what does this mean?

Here are a couple articles about how the technology works and will give us some insight into what it will be like to build iPhone apps with Flash.

Most Important, The FAQs:

An Overview:

7 Current Flash Apps In The appstore:

This article may sound cynical as we discuss some of the different hurdles to getting an app from Flash Pro CS5 to the iPhone. The news is exciting to hear and your brain can go wild with the possibilities, but the real question is what kind of apps can we actually build with Flash for the iPhone?
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Adobe Now Offers Shareware Option for AIR developers

– taterboy | October 6th, 2009

Filed under: Flash, Flex

ChessJam We Can Play Hangman I Can Learn My ABCs WorkWatch

Just announced, Adobe is adding a shareware option to the AIR Marketplace and handling the credit card transactions. Built much like the iTunes app store, developers can submit apps to the AIR Marketplace where consumers can purchase apps using their adobe accounts. Adobe handles the credit card processing, licensing and protecting your applications from being distributed to non paid users. Developers can now offer a free trial period for potential customers to try out their apps before purchasing them. Though the free trial period is unlike the iTunes store, but the fees for the service are the same, a 70% vs 30% revenue split between the developer and Adobe.
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AS3-101: Intro to Functions Part 2 and Class Overview

– taterboy | September 26th, 2009

Filed under: ActionScript 101, ActionScript 3, Flash, Flex, Tutorials

The Class:
Classes are a collection of variables and/or functions that provide unique functionality. Within a class, functions and variables define the functionality and how that functionality can be expanded or used by other classes or components. In AS3 a class is wrapped inside a package, a class must be public and have a public constructor(function) by the same name.

	public class FunctionTester{
		public function FunctionTester(){
			//constructor, runs after class is loaded, but before visual elements are loaded.
			//classes and their constructors must be public

Inside the package brackets is where the class is declared and all other classes are imported, also meta information can be placed at this level. Everything else is part of the class and must be contained within the class brackets.
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