Here’s a short movie I made of me playing the online version of flOw:
I love this game for a number of reasons:
It’s a fabulous piece of programming. The game was created in Flash 8.
It’s simple—not really needing any instructions—and yet deceptively complex. It took me a few tries to realize that the red and blue ‘creatures’ allowed you to switch levels, and the behaviour of some of the other more complex organisms can only be discovered through exploration and interaction. In that sense, it’s quite ‘lifelike’: there are rules, but they’re completely implicit…
The creatures themselves are marvellous. Their movement and growth are just right.
Excellent sound design.
You can play it yourself here. Jenova Chen’s website is here, with the flOw-specific pages here. This contains Chen’s academic background materials along and other release/marketing information (there’s a commercial version available for Playstation 3).
Return visitors may note the appearance of an MP3 player at the bottom of the right-hand column. So, firstly: go put some music on! Mmmmm….
The impetus to make one of these now came out of my teaching, but it was one of those things I ‘d been promising myself to do for ages. Anyway, we’d been talking in class about interface objects that behaved in the same way that ‘real’ objects do—i.e. those that seem to obey the laws of physics—and I’d mentioned Joshua Davis‘ slider that you can ‘throw’ and that seems to ‘bounce off’ the end of its gutter. I went back and got the code walk-through from Davis’ excellent Flash To The Core book, and the basic interaction on my player ended up a version of that hacked to work vertically instead of horizontally. The rest of the code is pretty generic stuff…
The .fla (104kB) in MX2004 format is here. All Davis’ code has been updated for Actionscript 2.0 compliance. If you want to use it, all you have to do is:
Number your mp3s sequentially by number (i.e. 01.mp3, 02.mp3, etc.). This means you don’t have to keep updating the button codes.
Put them on your web space, ideally in a folder called “mp3s”.
Put the relevant code pointing to these files into the buttons. All code is in the ‘Actions’ layer. Yes, it’s commented.
Type the artist and song titles into the ‘content_mc’ movie clip.
Amazingly, the whole thing weighs in at a mere 12kB when embedded in a page. Sweet!
This is a little Flash image gallery: very simple, very slick, and a total no-brainer to use. The only thing you need to know about it is that the images are loaded dynamically into an empty movieclip on stage, and that the images all need to be the same size. (OK: they don’t need to be but it’ll look rubbish if they’re not). If your images are lots of different sizes, create an empty .swf that matches your display area. Use this as a master template. Embed each image in a separate copy of this master template, and then load those.
Here’s the .fla (520kB) in MX2004 format. By the way, with a bit of tweaking this project also makes a pretty decent interface design: substitute tabs for the thumbnails, replace the images with contextual menus, and hey presto…
Here’s a nice little Flash effect derived originally from Brendan Dawes‘ influential Flash Actionscript For Designers: Drag Slide Fade book. Over the years I’ve used this “image slider” quite a lot both on personal projects and in the classroom: the way the images swish across screen, decelerate, and slide into exactly the right position is highly organic and very satisfying. To try it, click here or on the image below: it will appear in a new window.
Dawes’ book dates from 2001 and all the lovely projects are written in Actionscript 1.0 - I believe he must have been using Flash 4. The version included here has been fully updated to be Actionscript 2.0 compliant and is written in my very best Flash ‘good practice’ style. You can get the .fla (2.5Mb) here in Flash MX 2004 format.
The photographs I’ve used were taken a few weeks ago by 1st year BA (Hons) Interactive Digital Media students - Alyn Spiller, Matthew Aldred, Sam East, and Rob Chalmers - from Swansea Metropolitan University.