I co-authored a post on the MMT Digital blog a few months ago, and I thought it was time to give it another little boost. Here’s the intro, to tease you:
On January 29th, 2013 it was announced via the BBC that Google was partnering with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to make 15,000 Raspberry Pi microcomputers available to UK schools in the hope that the free devices will inspire children to take up coding.
Computer geeks that we are, many of us at MMT Digital love what the Raspberry Pi represents, and a fair few of us have got involved, set up our own Raspberry Pi’s and can be caught discussing them during lunch breaks. With this latest announcement, what better excuse is needed to talk about them some more?
And you can read the full blog post on the MMT Digital blog.
If you haven’t encountered Nibbler before, Nibbler is a free-to-use website quality checker. It’s developed and maintained by Silktide, and is a tool for checking up to 5 pages of a website against 20 different quality checks – from Social Media to W3C compliance, Alternative text to Semantic HTML.
A bit specialist perhaps, and the need for such a tool might become redundant if the Flash Builder hype is to be believed, but I found this quite useful for speeding up the process of writing a value-object class in AS3.
What is a value object anyway?
For the uninitiated, a value object class is essentially a class with very little or no application logic inside it.
Instead of being a file that actually does something, it’s more of a class for just storing data. What makes it special is that AS3 classes are not all dynamic, so you have to plan what data you need to store and how you’ll store it; and you can achieve a vast majority of that with value object classes.
If you’re coming from an AS2 or Flash IDE background you might think it’s a bit unnecessary or even frustrating, but when you plug value object classes into a development environment like Flex Builder you see where it comes in useful, when it can actually gives you useful autocomplete suggestions, and warns you if you’re passing the wrong type of data into your classes.
Useful link I’ve come across today – http://undefined-type.com/2008/07/flex-builder-built-in-compare-tools/ – how to use the built-in Flex Builder / Eclipse compare tools.
ToneMatrix, a labs experiment from one of the guys behind the Hobnox Audio Tool is… mesmirizing. The concept is simple – there’s a grid, and each block in the grid represents a specific tone. An invisible playhead constantly loops across the grid and triggers the tones. You toggle the blocks ‘on’ and ‘off’ with a mouse click.
Create your own patterns and fine-tune your melody, or draw pictures and see what they sound like – ToneMatrix can keep you occupied for quite a while. Check it out!
Ok, so I’ve been muttering a lot recently about Facebook and Flash. It’s something I’m interested in – because I believe it’s one great way to expose your Flash games to lots of users – but just not something I’ve had time to bring to fruition.
It turns out your basic requirements for integrating Flash and Facebook boil down to this – a server-side solution (asp, .Net, PHP, Ruby etc.) for building webservices, or some form of data service for Flash to work with. Most of the integration actually, will be done with server-side stuff. And then you just need to build a pretty standard Flash application that uses these webservices.
Beyond that fantastically helpful statement, here’s a couple of links to help you on your way;
I’m very impressed with Launchball, a Flash game from the Science Museum.
I love the design, I love the interface – its unique, simple and very swish. Once I started playing the game I was staggered by how fully realised it is – no skimping on the programming here, we’re talking realistic physics and complete freedom, thanks to the Flade Actionscript dynamics / physics engine. (Launchball is AS2 – but incidently Flade is now called the APE and is available in AS3 format).
I’ve been pondering Flash games for a while now, and it occurred to me that I don’t quite see so many as I thought I used too. I don’t know – maybe its because I just move in different circles now I’m in the ‘professional’ world, but it seems like there’s more emphasis on the practical things like applications or tools and everyones’ forgotten about the fun things like games.
So, where have all the Flash games gone – and has anything changed in the last 4 or 5 years?
Well, Newgrounds is the old one I remember – and except for a ‘Web 2.0′ facelift, it seems like the same old content is there – Stickman animations (StickDude Killing Arena 4), various impressive console-game-style conversions and a variety of time sucking Minigames (The Zombie Wars). Ok, you have to give credit to the guys who made this stuff, but it doesn’t seem like things have progressed at all on the ‘wow factor’.
Immersive Media, who I gather are also responsible for a lot of the Google Streetview images, have taken the ‘interactive panorama’ idea a little further than most, and introduced ‘Immersive Video’. Sound interesting? Indeed it is.
BiteArray.org has a little collection of several ActionScript 3 Classes that would feel right at home in your core libraries. There’s a JPEG encoder, PDF generator, Zip file generator and even a class for gesture recognition, and many more besides. It’s worth a look.