Flash Gaming Technology – Notes from Lee Brimelow’s Adobe Presentation

Here are my notes on the presentation from Lee Brimelow of Adobe at the Atlanta Adobe Users Group Meeting: http://www.meetup.com/Adobe-User-Group-of-Atlanta/events/56200162/

What is flash for? Doing things the browser can’t! If you can use HTML5 then do it. Learn about it and learn the capabilities and know when to use what tool and when they are appropriate. It might not be easy, but it is where the industry is moving, don’t hide from it! If you want to do things that are to advanced for the current standards and browsers, then flash is most likely where you need to be. Adobe will always position Flash to be ahead of what is possible with browsers.

While you can do some gaming in browsers today, flash is now positioned to be the best solution for game development. It even can compile to native apps for ios and many successful apps have done so. Adobe has put in a site to showcase these games at: http://gaming.adobe.com

Adobe has a new partnership with unity. See example game: Angry bots.

Console sales are declining. We have so many other outlets to game: browsers, social, mobile devices… Soon professional games will be via Facebook and browsers.

Facebook angry birds game built in flash using stage 3D.

New gaming features:
Mouse lock.
Right and middle click events.
Concurrency, multi threading for player. Yo will not lock up with intense calculations.
Native extension Burls and extensions.

CS6:
Sprite sheet exporter!
Create js exporter, via Grant Skinner
Html 5 export to canvas a vector art.

Edge

11.3 – latest flash player
full screen keyboard input.
Background auto updates.
Audio streaming via net stream.
Improvements for low latency audio.
Stage 3D progressive texture streaming.
Lzma compression sort door byte array.
Native bitmap encoding to png and jpg.
Bitmap data draw with quality
Frame labels.

Air specific
USB debugging for ios
Native ios simulator support
Enhanced background support for ios
Android 4 stylus support
Mac app store support

Dolores, upcoming updates
As workers
Advanced profiling
Better sort for hardware accelerated video cards

Next
Refactorizing code base
Work on as virtual machine
Many action script language updates: stringent static typing as default, hardware oriented numeric types, type inference…

Flash Roadmap Update – Notes from Mike Chambers’ Adobe presentation

Here are my notes on the presentation from Mike Chambers of Adobe at the Atlanta Adobe Users Group Meeting: http://www.meetup.com/Adobe-User-Group-of-Atlanta/events/56200162/

Honestly, the announcement from Nov was handled horribly, it was a mess. Adobe has learned a lot and there have been many changes since then to keep this from happening again. They are really pushing transparency and have begun publishing white papers that explain the flash roadmap and explain plans and commitments.

These white papers put out by Adobe is definitive resource for flash. http://www.adobe.com/go/flashplatform_whitepapers

Flash runtimes is one shared core player. Flash player and adobe air both share same core.

Flash has filled many niches: animation, video, applications, games, rich media, art (Flash as an expressive medium).

While none of these functions are going anywhere, HTML5 is bringing a lot of this capability to browsers natively.

Adobe will now focus on advanced video and gaming in Flash as they are the areas that aren’t possible in web standards.

Introducing Premium features – set of features in API available for licensing. Only example for now is Stage3D used in conjunction with domainMemory API.

“I’m doing this for the love of flash, everyone else is doing it for the money” – Mike Chambers

The funding for the flash player is contradictory since more tools to publish to flash player have come out, it draws resources and funding away from flash player. This revenue sharing model allows for the player to remain funded in the current flash ecosystem.

Linux: Ppapi = pepper codename for browser plugin API which will let the player do it’s thing rather than worry about browser and OS. Working with google chrome on Linux already.

Windows 8: working closely with Microsoft to have support for flash player and air on Windows 8.

All updates will be added to the white paper (link above) along with the 2 year roadmap.

Thanks for visiting ATL and working on making this well understood and making Flash even better. I’m Always a fan of using flash when it’s the right tool for the job.

Actionscript Drag & Drop Tutorial | Vertical and Horizontal Flash Sliders

as3dragdrop-slider png A specific use of drag and drop which is a bit more complicated than your average drag & drop needs is a slider. You can use components, but I usually prefer using my own graphics and code, partly because the components tend to bloat the filesize of the swf and partly because that’s just how I am, I like to make it myself. Many projects I’ve worked on require sliders as a form of user input, such as a volume control in my video player, or the inputs for my Voter’s Aide app that let users assign value to issues in the 2008 presidential election. I figured I’d just pull out the code I used with the sliders there, since it was already done. The issue with sliders is we need to restrict the dragging to a certain area, which in itself is a line of code, but I also prefer to allow users to click the actual bar as well for quick selection.

Example

Get Adobe Flash player

Vertical Slider Steps

The vertical slider here goes from 0 – 100. We need to drag the handle but have it restricted to the slider, so users won’t be confused when they click and drag the handle off the slider and break it. We want to click the background bar of the slider and have the handle snap to that place, and we need to be able to see what value the slider holds (0 – 100). I made this code to be pretty reusable, as long as the slider is set up in similar fashion.

  1. Make graphics for slider bg and handle
  2. Put the graphics into a slider mc
  3. Place them each at 0,0 and center their registration points (for easier control and code later)
  4. Assign button mode to handle and bar (for better usability)
  5. Add Mouse Down Event Listener for handle and bar and assign press function
  6. In bar press function set position of handle according to mouse position, and then call the handle press function
  7. In handle press function remove the Mouse Down listeners and add stage mouse event listeners for both mouse Up and Move (Stage listeners emulate onReleaseOutside (from as2) and also provide more accurate results)
  8. Define dragging area as a rectangle(x, y, width, height), if you’ve do the set up earlier it should be close to Rectangle(0,0,0,slider.bar.height);
  9. Begin dragging handle and apply the drag area limiting rectangle
  10. Mouse Move function find value (should simply be the handle’s y position) and updateAfterEvent for smooth animation
  11. Mouse Release function remove stage listeners, re-add the listeners to the slider and stop dragging

Actionscript (as3)


// Vertical Slider
sliderVertical.handle.buttonMode = true;
sliderVertical.bar.buttonMode = true;
sliderVertical.handle.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, verticalHandlePress);
sliderVertical.bar.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, verticalBarPress);

function verticalBarPress(e:MouseEvent):void{
sliderVertical.handle.y = sliderVertical.mouseY;
verticalHandlePress(e);
}
function verticalHandlePress(e:MouseEvent):void {
sliderVertical.handle.removeEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, verticalHandlePress);
sliderVertical.bar.removeEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, verticalBarPress);
stage.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_UP, verticalHandleRelease);
stage.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_MOVE, verticalHandleDrag);
//limit dragging area
var verticalDragArea:Rectangle = new Rectangle(0, 0, 0, -sliderVertical.bar.height+1);
sliderVertical.handle.startDrag(false, verticalDragArea);
}
function verticalHandleRelease(e:MouseEvent):void{
stage.removeEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_UP, verticalHandleRelease);
stage.removeEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_MOVE, verticalHandleDrag);
sliderVertical.bar.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, verticalBarPress);
sliderVertical.handle.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, verticalHandlePress);

sliderVertical.handle.stopDrag();
updateVNumber();
}
function verticalHandleDrag(e:MouseEvent):void{
e.updateAfterEvent();
updateVNumber();
}
function updateVNumber():void{
sliderVertical.sliderValue = sliderVertical.stat.htmlText = Math.abs(sliderVertical.handle.y);
sliderVertical.stat.y = sliderVertical.handle.y - sliderVertical.handle.height/2;
}

Horizontal Slider Steps

Pretty much the same as the vertical slider, but adjust heights and y positions to widths and x positions. Note in this example I have a range of (-100 to 100) and to accomplish the bar I just reused the same on flipping it around, so here we have the handle, the barLeft and the barRight. I use both of these combined to calculate the limiting rectangle area.

Actionscript (as3)


// Horizontal Slider
sliderHorizontal.handle.buttonMode = true;
sliderHorizontal.barLeft.buttonMode = true;
sliderHorizontal.barRight.buttonMode = true;
sliderHorizontal.handle.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, horizontalHandlePress);
sliderHorizontal.barLeft.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, horizontalBarPress);
sliderHorizontal.barRight.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, horizontalBarPress);

function horizontalBarPress(e:MouseEvent):void{
sliderHorizontal.handle.x = sliderHorizontal.mouseX;
horizontalHandlePress(e);
}
function horizontalHandlePress(e:MouseEvent):void {
sliderHorizontal.handle.removeEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, horizontalHandlePress);
sliderHorizontal.barLeft.removeEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, horizontalBarPress);
sliderHorizontal.barRight.removeEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, horizontalBarPress);
stage.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_UP, horizontalHandleRelease);
stage.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_MOVE, horizontalHandleDrag);
//limit dragging area
var dragArea:Rectangle = new Rectangle(-sliderHorizontal.barLeft.width+1, 0, sliderHorizontal.barLeft.width+sliderHorizontal.barRight.width-2, 0);
sliderHorizontal.handle.startDrag(false, dragArea);
}
function horizontalHandleRelease(e:MouseEvent):void{
stage.removeEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_UP, horizontalHandleRelease);
stage.removeEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_MOVE, horizontalHandleDrag);
sliderHorizontal.handle.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, horizontalHandlePress);
sliderHorizontal.barLeft.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, horizontalBarPress);
sliderHorizontal.barRight.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, horizontalBarPress);

sliderHorizontal.handle.stopDrag();
updateHNumber();
}
function horizontalHandleDrag(e:MouseEvent):void{
e.updateAfterEvent();
updateHNumber();
}
function updateHNumber():void{
sliderHorizontal.sliderValue = sliderHorizontal.stat.htmlText = sliderHorizontal.handle.x;
sliderHorizontal.stat.x = sliderHorizontal.handle.x - sliderHorizontal.handle.width;
}

Source

source as3dragdrop-sliders.fla file

Copy TextField text to System clipboard | Actionscript (AS2 + AS3) Tutorial

Overview

Integrating the clipboard of the operating system with your flash projects is sometimes essential. It’s a very simple and boils down to one basic method… System.setClipboard(). I’ve found a couple other things help the user experience though, such as selecting the text that gets copied and giving the user some sort of feedback to let them know that the text was successfully copied. Here’s a simple way to do it. Have any suggestions to make it better?

I’ve included an as2 version as well as as3. I’ve promised myself to migrate to as3, so I’m not coding anything in 2 that I don’t do in 3 also. This was to discourage me from coding in as2 and to encourage me to code as3, but also let me learn by doing it in both to see the actual differences if I was stuck doing a project in as2. I figured this could help others see the differences between the two versions of actionscript a bit easier and make their own migration as well!

Steps

  1. copy to OS clipboard = System.setClipboard(“Text to COPY”) of System.setClipboard(textBoxToCopy.text)
  2. set selection to text that is copied
  3. give user feedback

Examples and Source

AS2

Get Adobe Flash player

[cc lang=”actionscript” tab_size=”2″ lines=”40″]
textBox.textBox.text = “Click this text box to copy the text or click the COPY button below. You will see feedback to the user and this text copied to your clipboard!\n\n”+
‘copyButton.onRelease = textBox.onPress = function(){\n\tSelection.setFocus(“textBox”);\n\tSelection.setSelection(0, textBox.text.length);\n\tSystem.setClipboard(textBox.text);\n\ttrace(“copied: “+textBox.text);\n\tfeedback(“Text Copied!”);\n}’;

copyButton.onRelease = textBox.onPress = function(){
Selection.setFocus(“textBox.textBox”);
Selection.setSelection(0, textBox.textBox.text.length);
System.setClipboard(textBox.textBox.text);
trace(“copied: “+textBox.textBox.text);
textFeedback(“Text Copied!”);
}

function textFeedback(theFeedback:String){
feedback.text = theFeedback;
setTimeout(function(){feedback.text=””;}, 1200);
}
[/cc]

AS3

Get Adobe Flash player

[cc lang=”actionscript” tab_size=”2″ lines=”40″]
textBox.text = “Click this text box to copy the text or click the COPY button below. You will see feedback to the user and this text copied to your clipboard!\n\n”+
‘function copyText(e:MouseEvent):void{\n\ttextBox.setSelection(0, textBox.text.length)\n\tSystem.setClipboard(textBox.text);\n\ttrace(“copied: “+textBox.text);\n\ttextFeedback(“Text Copied!”);\n}’;

//set it so the textBox selection will show even when textBox has no focus
textBox.alwaysShowSelection = true;

textBox.addEventListener(MouseEvent.CLICK, copyText);
copyButton.addEventListener(MouseEvent.CLICK, copyText);

function copyText(e:MouseEvent):void{
textBox.setSelection(0, textBox.text.length)
System.setClipboard(textBox.text);
trace(“copied: “+textBox.text);
textFeedback(“Text Copied!”);
}

function textFeedback(theFeedback:String):void {
feedback.text = theFeedback;
setTimeout(function(){feedback.text=””;}, 1200);
}
[/cc]

Download

Source files: clipboard_as3.fla clipboard_as2+as3.zip

StomperNet's Scrutinizer Update v1.0

StomperNet‘s Scrutinizer has recieved some updates!

  • New help documentation
  • Keyboard Shortcut Functionality
    • saving a screenshot
    • bookmarking a page
    • toggling the visualization
    • toggle auto-zoom
  • Aesthetic improvements
  • Performance optimizations
  • Improved auto-update.

If you’re wondering what the heck StomperNet‘s Scrutinizer is:

What is it?

The Scrutinizer is a web browser, based upon the Adobe AIR toolkit and the WebKit browser, that offers a simulation of the human visual system. Specifically, it illustrates the distinction between foveal and peripheral vision in visual acuity and color perception. Using this simulation, you can get a better idea of how users interact with your site design. We explain this, and some of the succes we’ve had, in a 30 minute video called Click Fu. It’s also a great tool for observing users interacting with your pages. By slowing them down, the Scrutinizer makes it easier for you to figure out what information the user is consuming and what actions they are considering. Learn about other ways to use the tool at our Top Ten list.

How it Works

The Scrutinizer browser applies a visual filter to where the mouse is located, simulating foveal vision centered around the mouse. For parts of the screen far away from themouse, the display deteriorates into lower resolution, both in detail and color. You can use the browser to get a better understanding of the low level mechanics of how users interact with your site design. Attempting to accomplish a key task on your site using the Scrutinizer can be very enlightening. Watching a user unfamiliar with your site attempt a key task with the Scrutinizer is even better at revealing how your site design affects the way the user extracts meaning from your presentation. Learn more in the Click Fu video, covering practical examples of improved e-commerce, or the 52 second ” Your Vision is an Illusion“, presenting a dramatic illustration of foveal vision. Finally, check out using the Scrutinizer for a findability challenge on Amazon.com.

Top Ten Things You Can Do with the Scrutinizer

  1. Simulate eye tracking in a usability task
  2. Assess the ease of use of multi-step processes
  3. Give your designer a fresh pair of eyes
  4. Find out what “pops� in your design
  5. Conduct findability challenges
  6. Ask: does your visual grid work?
  7. Evaluate your site’s contrast levels
  8. Insure learnability in your template
  9. Avoid button gravity errors
  10. Tell the story of how your eyes work

Stomper Scrutinizer Browser AIR App

scrut_4
Software for viewing websites through a simulated fovea vision. Since not everyone could set-up, let alone afford a real eye-tracker. This software uses the mouse pointer as the user’s focal point, or foveal view. It blurs everything except where your focal point (the mouse) is. It is helpful because it forces you to re-think web design from an extreme usability standpoint. This browser software was built using AIR and Flex. Using this software as an eye-tracking simulation, you can get a better idea of how users interact with your site design.
scrut_2scrut_1scrut_3

I was responsible for programming and designing some key functionality of the app: the menu bar logic, bookmarking engine, capturing and saving of screenshots, and the loading bar which shows page load progress, and the overall browser chrome/skin.

StomperNet Scrutinizer Update | Features include Bookmarking, Screenshots & Loader

Scrutinizer is constantly being updated and enhanced and with the launch of Adobe AIR 1.0 is easier than ever to install!

It now supports bookmarking, capturing and saving screenshots and displays progress as pages load.
With even more to come soon!

Go check it out at StomperNet’s public site for free download!
Here’s some images to show off scrutinizer!

Watching the loader while my page loads:
scrutinizer loader

Scrutinizing this circlecube blog:
scrutinizer screenshot

Bookmarking my page for quick access:
scrutinizer bookmark

StomperNet Scrutinizer

StomperNet releases Scrutinizer, software for viewing websites through a simulated fovea vision. Since not everyone could set-up, let alone afford a real eye-tracker. This software uses the mouse pointer as the user’s focal point, or foveal view. It blurs everything except where your focal point (the mouse) is. It is helpful because it forces you to re-think web design from an extreme usability standpoint. This browser software was built in conjunction with Nitobi using Adobe AIR and Flex. I had the chance to do the skinning of the browser in flex! I really hope to have a good excuse to play more with flex.

Scrutinizer Thumbnail

Anyways, check out the free software (master-minded by Andy Edmonds), this ‘Click Fu’ video created to explain it, and the many uses of Scrutinizer.