AS3-101: Intro to Functions Part 1

– taterboy | September 13th, 2009

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

For Flash Developers:
(If you are looking for Flex related stuff, without a timeline, skip down to “The Foundation”.)
Functions really are the building blocks of programming. They take your code off the timeline and open doors to more complex applications. For instance, place the following code on the timeline of a new Flash file (AS3), publish a preview and see what happens.

?View Code ACTIONSCRIPT
function tester():void{
 trace("something");
}

Notice that nothing happened, meaning the word “somthing” or anything else did not trace out in the console palette. This is because the function was recorded in the Flash Players memory, but not executed. Now add a few frames, say five or more, and add this line on the last frame.

?View Code ACTIONSCRIPT
tester();

Something happens now, the word “something” appears in the console window every time the playhead reaches the last frame. Flash Player will keep looping until it gets a stop() method call. So let’s do that now. Update the function tester with the stop command.

?View Code ACTIONSCRIPT
function tester():void{
	trace("something");
	stop();
}

Now notice the the play head starts on frame 1, loads the function into memory, then progresses on to frame, 2,3,4 until the last frame. Once on the last frame, the function tester from the first frame is executed from the last frame, which also tells the Flash player to stop. We can verify that the Flash Player is indeed on the last frame when tester is called by getting a trace of the current frame. I am sure you will just trust me so we can move on, but just incase you don’t, see below.

?View Code ACTIONSCRIPT
function tester():void{
	trace(currentFrame);
	stop();
}

The Foundation:
(Welcome Flex people)
Like I mentioned earlier, functions are the building blocks to applications, and like blocks different types of functions have different results. First we are going to learn about the most common function and some scenarios for it’s usage.
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Flash/Flex Tips and Free Book Drawing – Using Test Projects

– taterboy | September 10th, 2009

Filed under: Flash, Flex, Tips

We will give away 1 free copy of Foundation ActionScript 3.0 Animation, Making Things Move and Foundation Flash, Cartoon Animation. Details below.

UPDATE

The drawing has been canceled because of lack of interest. I still have the books and will think of another way to distribute them.

< ?php
require_once('includes/amazonStore.php');
echo '
‘;
echo getItem(’1590597915′,’dazzledish-20′);
echo ‘
‘;
echo getItem(’1590599128′,’dazzledish-20′);
echo ‘

‘;
?>

Because Revisions Suck:
Revisions are so common in our business, you can never take them personally. It is even harder when you feel the project you are working on is finished and the client is asking for a whole new feature. This is normally a good time to go to lunch or take a break. It happens, if they are a good client or you are lucky enough to get a change order out of it, it is difficult to say no. Once over the initial frustration and you are able to think clearly, the seemingly impossible chore becomes less impossible. Ideas begin to flow and your mind fills with thoughts like, “Maybe this will not be so bad” or “It should only take an hour or two”; instead of “It would have been nice to know about this sooner” and other things I dare not publish on this blog.
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iPhone Watch August 2009

– taterboy | August 27th, 2009

Filed under: Games, iPhone

iPhone Application (Game) Reviews.

We currently have 4 apps in the store, 2 games, one lite version of a game and a companion app to the book The Business of Design by our founder Joe Desetto. Though we had plans to have at least one new app in the store and another one really close to being submitted by now, I was pulled away from developing for the iPhone to work on other projects. I hope to be back to work soon.

Note: TapDots is now a free app and has done really well now with it’s gratis price, in the education category.

In the name of research and planning for new apps we downloaded and played some of the newer 99¢ games on our iPhones. Here are some brief reviews on a few of those apps.

Research or Play?:
Flight Control is like the gold standard in the 99¢ iPhone game market, it is what every game developer strives to put into the store. It is a simple, challenging and addictive game with great design and replay value. Unfortunately, like with all great things there are many copycats. There are a whole new line to line drawing/prioritizing games now, must are fun to play, but it is hard to enjoy them as much of the original. Too much of a good thing and all that….
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AS3-101: Introduction to Variables

– taterboy | August 5th, 2009

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

Actionscript 3 101: Introduction to Variables.

ActionScript 3 (AS3) 101 is a series that will cover the fundamental use of actionscript in the process of building interactive projects. We will start with an elementary overview of terminology and the basic elements that make things happen in actionscript. The first few posts in this series will be an extended version of AS3 101, The First ActionScript I Ever Learned. If you feel you are able to jump in at that post and move forward than you will be able skip a lot of extra reading. These first few posts should enable someone with a very little to no knowledge of Flash itself to start building projects in AS3.

The most basic script element is the variable. It is best to describe it with an example.

x + 2 = y
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Flash AS2 Count Down Timer

– taterboy | August 5th, 2009

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

Here is a simple countdown timer that is easily configured using flashVars. Below are all the available settings.

On April 12, 2012 our blog will be 4 years old.

Get Adobe Flash player


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Illustrating in Illustrator Better Faster, The Happy Frog

– taterboy | July 27th, 2009

Filed under: Digital Art, Illustrator, Tutorials

The Happy Frog Illustrator Tutorial Video (HD)

Here is my first screen cast with an introduction to illustrating in Illustrator. Included are some very important tips in creating great illustrations in less time as well as an overview of the illustration process. We will create a Happy Frog character almost completely using the ellipse tool.

There are 5 rules to Illustrating in Illustrator, Better Faster. They are mentioned in more detail here, including four reasons for cleaning up strokes in your final artwork.
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Try WorkWatcher Free for 1 Month

– taterboy | July 21st, 2009

Filed under: Flex, General Info

WorkWatcher is the application we use at HD Interactive to manage our business and virtual workforce. WorkWatcher will be completing beta very soon and we are offering a free 1 month subscription for a limited time. Anyone interested in giving WorkWatcher a try, to see if we can save your company and employees much time and money, send an email to info@workwatcher.com today.

A Hosted Solution with an AIR Application Client:
We are web developers by day, but wanted to give WorkWatcher the feel of a desktop application. Something you keep open and use throughout the day, but still have the portability of a web application. Just download WorkWatcher to any computer and you can pick up where you left off.
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Tiled Skin Effects in Flex

– taterboy | July 21st, 2009

Filed under: ActionScript 3, Flash, Flex, Tutorials

One of the greatest advantages of creating skins in Flash opposed to Illustrator or Photoshop is the amount of control over how the skin looks and functions. In Flash you can export all your skins as Flex components in a swc file which allows you to use those components as both classes or artwork. The flexibility comes in handy when building custom working/looking components. Button skins can be applied using the skin property with all of the states included in 1 skin class instead of four different images or symbols. You can even add transitional animations in between states.

The WorkWatcher Header:
We developed WorkWatcher, a business management AIR application, in Flex with all the skins designed in Illustrator and Flash. One of the interesting skins is the header bar with the stripes also needed to be able to stretch. The stripes are added or removed as the header width changes without distortion, creating a true tiling effect.

For the header, we used 1(stripe) as a Flex component class and another as a background image with scale9grid turned applied. It took a couple tries to get things working purfectly, so the flexibility really helped and opened up possibilities that are not available to image files.


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Box of Sox built using Ansca Corona

– taterboy | June 25th, 2009

Filed under: General Info, iPhone

The gig is up. All those who thought I was really smart for building Box of Sox with xCode now know the truth. Box of Sox and tapDots were built with Corona, not the beer, but an iPhone SDK from Ansca Mobile.

Box of Sox -  A fast paced matching game.

Corona uses a scripting language that is very similar to actionScript, javascript, and php to access the iPhone’s APIs and build applications. As a Flash developer working with Corona was so familiar, I had my first prototype built in less than a day. The best part is my brain did not meltdown like it does trying figure out xCode/Objective C programming.

Ansca is officially announcing Corona and it’s early adopter program this week at the HOW Conference in Austin Texas and will give a live demo on Friday in a session called “iPhone Development for Designers”. They will be joined by our own Sean Carey and Joseph Desetto to talk about the production process used to build Box of Sox.

To find out more about Corona, sign up for the early adopter program and download the SDK, check out their website here.

You can follow some of the up to date happening at the HOW Conference here and here

Ansca is making big news with the Corona SDK from Forbes and Information Week.

Information Week also quoted Trae Regan, another HDI guy, on trying out Ansca. He is a PHP/Database programmer and had his first iPhone prototype, pulling and parsing xml from the web, in a couple hours. Like many of us, Trae has spent numerous hours on xCode/Objective C tutorials with a nice collection of tutorial samples to show for it. Contrast that with a few hours spent with Corona, he was able to build a unique working prototype for a new application from scratch.

Update: Mobile Orchard podcast with Ansca

If you are looking for more details about Corona, check out this podcast at mobileorchard.com. Carlos and Walter from Ansca really get into the inner workings and their vision for Corona.
http://podcast.mobileorchard.com/episode-19-corona-easy-to-implement-high-performance-native-iphone-apps-written-in-lua/

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AS3-101: Introduction to Events

– taterboy | June 14th, 2009

Filed under: ActionScript 101, Flash, Flex, Tutorials

ActionScript 3 101: Introduction to Events and the WooHoo Application.

Events are the most important concept to understand in ActionScript. After all, you can not have an interactive application without detecting user input. The new Event system in AS3 is much more powerful and consistent than in AS2, but it may seem like it requires a lot more lines of code. This is a very basic introduction to ActionScript 3 that demonstrates how to use Events and provides some tips for handling many events with less code.

1:Events – Hello World Application:
To build an interactive application we need to offer the user some components to interact with, once an interaction occurs, we need to reward them.
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