Archive for January, 2006

My sordid Actionscript past

Over the last few days, I’ve been working on some changes to some really old projects here at Massmedia. One of which was the first thing i did when I started here, and the other is from nearly two years before that, full of all the tricks and hacks that flash required at the time. While I sat there looking through all this old code, I couldn’t help thinking what I would change if I had to redo the projects today.

The fact is that almost every Flash developer i know, or indeed most professionals in any related fields, are seldom happy with the work they did a long time ago, and it’s almost with a sense of shame that we pick through our first old projects. I suspect Colin Mook is spinning in his multiuser application grave as I navigate throught the spaghetti i used to write, while on my journey from someone who used flash purely for broadcast TV animations.

But surely this is a good thing. The day i pick up a project I did years ago and think “That’s great, I wish I knew how to do that now!” is the day I truely have to worry. Maybe it’s just me, and all of your first projects were a strictly typed synergie of design patterns and dynamically loading class libraries. I for one enjoyed reminising with a colleague about the hacks we used to use while flash was developing, and ourselves along with it.

I will always fondly remember the heady days of:

<em>if ( _root.getBytesLoaded() == _root.getBytesTotal() ){
gotoAndPlay(3)
}else{
gotoAndPlay(1)
}</em>

Oh onEnterFrame, how you spoiled all my fun :) .

Anyone else got Actionscript skeletons in thier closet they’d like to confess to?

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Flash SMS to screen demo

As promised, here’s the demo for the sms to screen application I wrote about previously.

Also the Sydney Morning Herald has a great article on the whole event, with a positive write up about the SMS interactivity.

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Four weddings and a flash SMS display

We just finished running the SMS to screen apps for the Sydney Festival, as part of Massmedia’s sponsorship of the event. The job entailed running SMS to screen applications at the Domain open air events, and in the Becks Bar at Hyde Park Barracks. Also at the Domain we were running trivia games played via SMS keywords, with some great prizes.

The whole thing was a big success, we had a great response from the audience of both events, especially at the Becks Bar where the app was running all night, even when the bands were on (which meant we had to be careful about the moderation ;) ) We even had quite a few marriage proposals go through on the big screens at the Domain, and one reply of acceptance, so who says Flash can’t do some good in this world. In fact that should go on my resume. Ho ho

The SMS end of the project was powered by our tool Traction allowing the same number to be used for the sms to screen application, and also the keyword driven trivia games that were being played. All the front end was done with Flash projectors, with video output going through a bewildering array of technology that seems to be the stock in trade of the video guys. The amount of wiring was truly terrifying, and i feared for my life when plugging in our gear!

I’ll try and get an example of the Domain display up here soon, all be it without the SMS capability. If i have some time i’ll put in a widget so you can try out some messages in your browser. We used a bottom of screen ticker for Becks Bar, but really went to town for the Domain, with an old style airport timetable display effect to really draw peoples attention to the messages.

Here’s a few pics from the show (the first pics in my blog too)

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The Domain site, on a lovely day in sunny Sydney

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A big screen. Could do with one of these for work.

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There goes the transition

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This is where the magic happens folks

Also Sydney photographer Pete Murphy has a cool Quicktime VR shot of the Domain during the jazz night. It really captures the beauty of the place. It’s a great outdoor concert venue, and I recommend that anyone who missed it this year goes to check it out in 07. I fact I recommend going to see as much as possible of the whole festival, as there’s some great acts and exhibitions all over the city. Antony and the Johnsons were spectacular in the State Theatre.

Hopefully we’ll be back again next year, and the lessons learned in the whole experience should serve us well for similar projects. Personally I think it’s great fun to get involved in the process of delivering a project such as this to the end user in a live setting. You get a great sense of achievement, and learn a lot about client interaction that you don’t nessesarily get from the web stats and click through reports that most projects produce. Great stuff!

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