Archive | August, 2006

Need a new phone, what to get?

28 Aug06

My phone took the plunge this morning - literally. It fell to the floor as it tried to wake my up… Can anyone recommend me a good phone to play wiith Flash Lite applications on?

Getting my head around Flex 2 and the tree control

28 Aug06

Finally had some days to look at Flex 2 again this weekend and discovered some odd things about the tree control that’s worth posting for future reference. I wanted to see how much time it would take to port our CMS to Flex, but I didn’t get longer than adding the tree control. The CMS uses XML that is formatted as nodes with labels and values so I thought I was ready to go. I was wrong. The Treeview refused to display anything but the first node.

Being a noob at Flex 2, I went looking for answers in all the wrong places. I thought it had to be something wrong with the XML since it wasn’t displayed directly (it was after all formatted correctly) so I went through XMLList, XMLListCollection and even making a custom ITreeDataDescriptor. After a lot of fumbling I stumbled upon the resultFormat setting. For some reason, setting this to “e4x” would display something in the tree - it displayed all the XML as the label for every node in the tree… Here’s the odd part: if you set resultFormat to e4x, you have to specify a “labelField”? This in mentioned at the very bottom of the ninth search result for “labelField” in the built-in help. Took me forever to find that information. Something interesting discovered - you can also fix this by specifying a “labelFunction”. In my case, I use it to unescape the XML label nodes because of the Nordic special characters Æ, Ø and Å.

A couple other things discovered is how different XML is treated. It’s really odd for me to access the label attribute of a XML node in ActionScript using “item.@label”, but I guess it’s a good way to do it? e4x is certainly a much better way to work with XML than in former versions of AS. Another thing, unescape(str) no longer converts plus signs to spaces as in former versions. Probably a good thing since “%20” is the technically correct way to encode spaces. Messing with this I discovered the new RegEx classes in AS3. Briliiant! Makes me think back to all that funky string parsing I did with Perl many years ago.

Think I found a bug in the tree as well. If you paste this code into Flex, you’ll see that the horisontal scrollbar fails to display when needed:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<mx:Application xmlns:mx="http://www.adobe.com/2006/mxml" layout="absolute" creationComplete="treeXML.send()">
	<mx:Script>
		<![CDATA[
			public function fixLabel(item:XML):String {
				return unescape(item.@label);
			}
		]]>
	</mx:Script>
	<mx:HTTPService id="treeXML" url="http://www.flashgamer.com/f/smenu.xml" resultFormat="e4x" />
	<mx:Tree x="10" y="95" width="196" horizontalScrollPolicy="auto" height="281" id="mytree" dataProvider="{treeXML.lastResult.node}" labelField="@label" labelFunction="fixLabel" />
</mx:Application>

horizontalScrollPolicy is supposedly set to “auto” by default, but the only way to display it is turning it on permanently?

Photorealistic drawing in Flash

24 Aug06

I remember seeing this site by VectorKid about 6 years ago. Awesome skills and he explains it all in tutorials on the site. The illustrations are still amazing and he’s now published a tutorial book. Probably a great place to start if you want to learn illustration using Flash.

Happy Birthday

11 Aug06

get_flash.gifYesterday was sort of the official birthday of Flash, so what better way to celebrate my own birthday (today) than checking out this excellent Breeze presentation wrapping up the last ten years of Flash with Kevin Lynch, Mike Downey, Mike Chambers and Eric Wittman? Interesting to hear how video in Flash came about as well. Makes me think back to Flash 3 - the time I decided to quit using Director and do Flash fulltime.

Flash is an important part of my life as it is both my job and my hobby. My greet on Flash’s Birthday goes out to the guys who made Flash initially and is still very much is the driving force: Jonathan Gay and Robert Tatsumi. Thank you so much for inventing Flash and making it what it is today! I couldn’t do without it :)

Video from the 10 Year Party (by Mike Chambers):

Wish I was there…

Goggles - Great flight(sim) game

08 Aug06

goggles.jpgFun use of a webservice! Using real maps from the Google mapping service, you can pilot a small plane over photorealistic scenerey. It’s not exactly 3D, but great fun.

Get rid of the bugs

07 Aug06

This summer has been really warm here in Norway - around 30 degrees (85 Fahrenheit) almost all of July. The result is a wasp- and bug-invasion like I’ve never seen before. Here’s a fun little Flash timewaster where you give the bugs a hard time (or was it the other way around?)

Hah! I knew this was coming!

07 Aug06

Great stuff! Andre Michelle (with others) has almost finished a MOD-player called 8bitboy. Now you can really start to think about implementing full-length audio in your Flash games without adding too much to the file size :)

While I was off on holiday, a lot of new info on manipulating sounds in Flash has come up. Just check out Andre’s Scratch My Back. If sound can be manipulated as just numbers in an Array, I have a hard time seeing what would NOT be possible? A Flash based Sound Editor with effects such as delay and reverb? Keep at it guys! Now all I need is a couple days without client work…

PS: 3D in Flash is really moving forward these days! (I can’t wait to see real 3D in Flash 10...)

Brilliant buy for animation fans

06 Aug06

ghibli_collection.jpgThis summer, I’ve been to Sydney for my brothers wedding. What a great city! I’m definetly going down again to the next MXDU conference sometime in March. While there, I wandered around Sydney’s Chinatown and picked up the best DVD box I’ve ever seen: “The Studio Ghibli Collection” (17 DVDs!). Ghibli is often called the “Disney of the East”, but I’d say they are way better than that. Disney have become so commercial that they only make boring movies that they know will make them money. It’s years since Disney innovated story-wise and I stopped buying Disney a long time ago (except for the Pixar ones). Disney movies are not “magic” to me any more, but the Ghibli movies sure are. Their stories are inventive, gripping, odd, magical and both adults and kids love them.

If you like animation and don’t know the movies from this studio, you should definetly check them out. If you already love Ghibli, this is the box to get! It contains all the 15 feature movies produced by Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki, including Howls Castle, The Cat Returns, Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, Castle in the Sky and my alltime favourite animated movie My Neighbor Totoro. The box also contains a big plush toy Totero and two special discs. The first of these contains a lot of short movies and advertising produced by the studio (including some fascinating shorts made for Yamaha). The second contains artwork and other extras. I had ten of the movies already, but the rest was really hard to get hold of. I payed just 165 australian dollars for the whole box and it’s worth every cent!

All the movies are in original version with english subtexts (except for two). The most recent ones also has the english soundtrack. The movies come in small paper enclosures stacked inside a pretty box with a magnetic lock. There’s no inlays or anything and all menus on the discs are in Japanese, but they all follow the same pattern so they’re pretty easy to navigate. The subtexts are pretty lousy, but that really does not matter much as the movies are so good. I’ve tried to locate this box on Amazon.com and other shops, but I can’t seem to find it? The old 4-disc collection is the only one listed, and it’s unavailable for the moment. Guess one will have to go to Sydney to get it? ;)