Archive for December, 2009
I know that for every project I say that it was the most complicated one that I did, but this one really was the most complicated I ever did. There even was a night where I didn’t sleep because I wasn’t sure I could make it happen.
My big challenge was to create an experience that was close to what the design team was imagining but that wasn’t too CPU intensive (like all my other projects). I think I did manage to do that. It runs pretty smoothly even on some bad computers. I let Papervision3D do all the heavy lifting but I kinda trick the user into think that there are a huge load of dominoes while at any time there is only 300 of them max (you could consider this object pooling). A second challenge was to position those 2400 dominoes so the they make the final path. The design was done in Illustrator so what we did was that we exported the .AI file as a .SVG file. SVG is just an XML so I made another program that would read the SVG and output (trace to the console) ActionScript code that I would paste into the main application. Finally, the last challenge was to show a zoom out with all the dominoes fallen revealing the message. As I said earlier, if I had 2000+ dominoes at the same time that would be too hard for the computer and run really slow. So I replaced the scene with a bitmap. To get that final bitmap I had to make yet another program that would render me the final path with all dominoes fall and that a screenshot of it.
So I ended up doing 2 more ActionScript projects to end up with the finished product: The Holiday Humanoes.
Oh yeah, just a little trick to finish up, when you deal with COLLADA models, make sure your 3D guy exports the model without the textures if you don’t want the Flash Player to query the server each time you create a DAE. That is what was happening at first and it really scared me.
- compile errors while editing
- ant support
But it has two major problems, first it is built on Eclipse which makes it much more complicated than it should be. Secondly it is very expensive (well I had more problems with it than just that, but these are the game changers). I don’t even understand why it cost so much… It even cost more than Flash Builder. Anyway that seems weird to me, but maybe it’s just me. Anyway in comparison to FlashDevelop which is free, it doesn’t stand a chance.
While venturing in the FDT world we came across templates, snippets and short keys. Those are very useful things when you use them. Templates are also time savers when you are using PureMVC because when you want to create a Mediator, all you have to provide it is the mediator name, and it’s view name and type and it will generate the rest; no more copy paste from other mediator. Also project template are very cool. Snippets are mini templates, for example to generate getters and setters. Short cuts are combination of keys you press to do an action instead of going trough a menu to do the same action. Well, it just happens that FlashDevelop has all those things, but I just wasn’t using them… So out of all this I came out with increased efficiency.
FDT might still be a very good tool, mostly if you are already familiar with Eclipse, but for me FlashDevelop is still the way to go. If FlashDevelop gets a Debugger than I won’t even ask myself the question.