Before you can become an ActionScript code warrior, you need to realize that this isn’t just a weekend activity—if you want to excel at Flash ActionScripting, you’ll need to commit the time and energy necessary for the proper revelations to occur. You need to create some trials for yourself, to test your textbook knowledge and allow you to apply problem-solving techniques.
You might be thinking, “Oh no, you mean it’s like geometry, where I’m given a problem, and I have to use theorems and postulates to create a proof?” Not exactly, but programming, like geometry, requires strong reasoning and justification skills. You need to be able to understand how values (for example, the height of a Movie Clip instance) are determined, what type of changes you can perform on those values, and how changes to one value might affect another value. Confused? Don’t worry, we take this one step at a time.
Define your problems
There are other questions, of course, that could help define what your product will encompass. Don’t try to start Flash production without setting some project parameters for yourself.
Clarify the solution
After you have defined the boundaries for the project, you can start to map the process with which your product will operate. This step involves the procedure of the experience (in other words, how the person will use the product you are creating).
With our quiz example, you might clarify the solution as:
The preceding eight steps are very close to a process flowchart. In real-life production, you would want to clarify Step 8 for each question in the same amount of detail as Steps 5 to 7 did. As you can see, once you start to map the interactive experience, you’ll have a much better starting point for your scripting work. Notice, that we’re already using logic, with our if statements in Steps 6 and 7. We’re also determining object properties such as _visible in Step 4. While we may not know all the ActionScript involved with starting a timer, we know that we have to learn how time can be measured in a Flash movie.
Translate the solution into the interactive language
After you have created a process for the movie to follow, you can start to convert each step into a format that Flash can use. This step will consume much of your time, as you look up concepts and keywords in the ActionScript Reference Guide.
It’s likely that you won’t be able to find a prebuilt Flash movie example to use as a guide, or if you do, that you’ll need to customize it to suit the particular needs of your project. For our quiz example, we could start to translate the solution as:
While there is more than one way we could have translated this into ActionScriptlike syntax, you’ll notice that a few key concepts are presented in the translation:
where events occur (frames or buttons), and what elements (for example, Button symbols or Movie Clip instances) are involved. Most importantly, you’ll notice that we used the same procedure for both the True and the False buttons. Even though we could hardwire the answer directly in the Button actions, we would have to change our Button actions for each question. By placing the same logic within each Button instance, we only have to change the value of the answer variable from frame to frame (or from question to question). Granted, this example was already translated for you, and 90 percent of your scripting woes will be in the translation process before you even have a testable Flash movie. You need to learn the basic terminology and syntax of the ActionScript language before you can start to write the scripting necessary for Steps 1 to 7. And that’s exactly what the rest do.
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Understanding The Flash Framework
Exploring The Interface: Panels, Settings, And More
Using Tools For Navigation And Viewing
Working With Selections And The Pen Tool
Working With The Drawing And Painting Tools
Working With Text
Exploring The Timeline
Checking Out The Library: Symbols And Instances
Drawing In Flash
Animating In Flash
Using Bitmaps And Other Media With Flash
Designing Interfaces And Interface Elements
Understanding Sound For Flash
Importing And Editing Sounds In Flash
Optimizing Flash Sound For Export
Understanding Actions And Event Handlers
Navigating Flash Timelines
Controlling Movie Clips
Sharing And Loading Assets
Planning Code Structures
Creating Subroutines And Manipulating Data
Understanding Movie Clips As Complex Objects
Sending Data In And Out Of Flash
Understanding Html And Text Field Functions In Flash
What Is Generator?
Revving Up Generator
Working With Third-party, Server-side Applications
Working With Raster Graphics
Working With Vector Graphics
Working With Audio Applications
Working With 3d Graphics
Working With Quicktime
Working With Realplayer
Creating Full-motion Video With Flash
Creating Cartoon Animation With Flash
Planning Flash Production With Flowcharting Software
Working With Authoring Applications
Publishing Flash Movies
Integrating Flash Content With Html
Using Players, Projectors, And Screensaver Utilities
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