Interactive Generative Flash Art Series Intro

The world has been excited by html5/css3 recently and has been pushing limits and experimenting. It’s been exciting and funny at the same time – most of the things that are amazing people in html5 experiments have been done 5 years ago in flash. I’ve enjoyed it so much though because it has brought me back to what made me fall for flash initially: sites like and People that wrote books about programming actionscript like Keith Peters, Jim Bumgardener Colin Moock, Robert Penner etc… and then art by people like Erik Natzke. I’m a geek and these guys are some of my heros (and don’t think that list is exhausted, I’ve got plenty of unmentioned flash heros), but not just because they could/can do what they do, but because they selflessly (open source-ly) taught me how to do some of it. The magic of creating something so engaging, responsive, animated, unique, random. Little experiments that feel like they contain so much life and are so lightweight -easily less than 10,240 bytes (read 10kb). I knew in high school trig and calculus that those formulas had power, but seeing it unfold and interact with it really is magical to me.


A little inspiration

So, I’ve been toying with a lot of the things that actually taught me (or at least pushed me to learn) the basics of programming. With the years experience under my belt now I’m understanding it on a totally different level and all I want to do is find more things to make balls and lines bounce, move and swirl. And I also want to share it. Well, I recently stumbled upon a flash sneak peak video by Erik Natzke about some of his technique and then his open source files and really had some fun. Anyways I wanted to share some of the experiments that came from it. Let me know your thoughts and download the code and play with it. Let me know what else you come up with and share what you learn. I’ll start this series with a post of the original experiment from Erik on his blog here, Flash Code 101.

Natzke’s Flash Code 101

Please visit the blog article to view this interactive flash content. Flash plug-in required: Get Adobe Flash player

If it looks like greek to you, I’d suggest going to Keith Peter’s tutorials (especially the first few on gravity, easing and elasticity).

Actionscript 3

For something so fun, it’s amazing that it’s barely over a dozen lines of code.
[cc lang=”actionscript”]
var Ball:Sprite = new Sprite();, 1);, 0, 30);;

var div:Number = .1;
var ax:Number = 0;
var ay:Number = 0;

function loop () {
Ball.x -= ax = (ax + (Ball.x – mouseX) * div) * .9;
Ball.y -= ay = (ay + (Ball.y – mouseY) * div) * .9;*10, 0, 1);, Ball.y);

setInterval(loop, 1000/30);

Here’s the swf in action, or download the fla to play (if you really would rather download a file than copy 15 lines of code).


Well, I’ll be playing with this code and others and posting the experiments with some screenshots of what I create get’s created.