A Twelve Part Introduction Course to Actionscript 3. Over 8 Hours!
Part 1: Basic Preferences and Properties (30 min)
The adventure begins here. If you’ve never used Flash, Actionscript 3, or have had any past programming experience then this course is for you. Previous users of Actionscript can skim or skip this course entirely since it deals mostly with basic movieclip properties, adding instance names, and all the minor details that only new users need to be familiar with.
Part 2: Staging and Scripted Tweening (46 min)
This course teaches how to use variables with scripted motion tweens. You’ll learn how to tween an object’s properties (like position,alpha, scale, etc), listen for when the object is done tweening, then do some finishing action. Also discussed is how to make use of the stage width and height. Using this, your movieclips or tweens can act accordingly to the total screen size your viewer is seeing, which can add a tremendous effect to your site’s design. Side topics include:variables, event listeners, functions and adding scripted Filter effects (like glows). Publishing techniques are also discussed after this lesson.
Part 3: MovieClips From the Library & Custom Cursors (36 min)
This part teaches how to add movieclips to the stage at runtime. Meaning, your Flash movie could begin with nothing on stage, then bring in movieclips from the library as needed. The example project adds 60 buildings onto the stage and randomly changes their appearance, size, and position. Every new movieclip (or child) will also move relative to the overall stage width which continues using some of the code from the previous lesson. The lesson concludes with code for changing the default mouse cursor from the usual arrow to a spaceship (or anything you want) when you rollover a specific object onstage (i.e. collision detection). On rollout, the mouse cursor changes back to an arrow.
Part 4: Programming Buttons and Variable Scope (43 min)
This part teaches how to program Flash buttons of any type, whether using custom artwork or a component button. To add an extra layer of fun though, the example project uses dynamic text fields within our buttons. The button might initially say “Click to Buy”, then after clicking change to “Thanks”. This tutorial also looks into variable scope, which is an essential part of programming with Flash. Variables can be written in many places in your movie so we examine how best to access them.
Part 5: Timers and TextFields (46 Min)
The first part of this lesson teaches how to make a basic one second timer and add listener events for its repeat count and completion. Timers get used often throughout the rest of the series since they are useful for games and programming anything that deals with time.
The second part of this tutorial teaches how to make a dynamic textfield and populate it with text from an external .txt file or with html text. Enabling html text allows you to use basic tags to make text clickable or even display images inside a textfield. Text formatting with embedded fonts is demonstrated as well as adding a scrollbar to textfields.
Part 6: Arrays and Programming a Matching Game (34 min)
This tutorial includes an introduction to arrays, for statements and switch statements. While familiarizing you with those concepts, we will create a simple matching game. Movieclips are pulled out of the library, randomly placed on stage, and the player must click on a matching movieclip before the objects move around again. We also look at removing movieclips onstage with a while loop.
Part 7: Card Games using MovieClips Identified by Child (84 min)
This lesson teaches how to create a card game with potentially hundreds of cards onstage and identify them by their child index instead of relying on each card having a unique instance name. This lesson sets up the foundation for any type of card game you might want to create, and you can use the included card art or any other design. The cards can have any numerical value of your choosing or be matched by a text string like “Heart Ace”. Code is already provided to test if two cards match. Each card can also be click-dragged around and when selected it will appear above all other cards on stage with a glow effect.
Part 8: Loading XML Files to Use in a Dynamic Slideshow (46 min)
This tutorial teaches how to load data from an XML file and parse through it to store the data in an array or multiple arrays. This code could be used for any number of applications where it would be ideal to store your data outside of Flash, then load it in at runtime. This technique allows you to upload and overwrite your existing XML file to update the site without having to republish and upload your Flash file. The example project creates a slideshow from XML data which provides the locations of external images (and swfs) to be loaded and faded in over time.
Part 9: Using FlashVars to Make a Dynamic FLVPlayer (22 min)
This part teaches how to use FlashVars, which are simply variables in your html embed code. Flash can access these variables prior to executing code on frame 1, so your swf can use the data in any number of ways. In the example project, we create a Flash file with an FLVPlayer (movie player) which doesn’t yet have a movie file to load in. Instead we specify that filename as a string variable to load as a FlashVar. This way we can use the same swf file embedded across multiple html documents, but each page will play a different movie.
Part 10: Particle FX, Keyboard Controls and Audio Players (45 min)
This part includes a few different projects. First we look at using Timers and EnterFrame events to create particle FX. One example creates a glowing trail behind the mouse cursor, the other example creates a realistic rain effect.
Next we look at how to play audio with Actionscript. One example shows how to play a clip stored in the Library, while the other example shows how to build a simple audio player which loads its source from an external mp3 file.
Finally we look at capturing keyboard input and using that to move a scripted mask around the stage with the arrow keys. The example project creates a magnifying glass effect.
Part 11: Program a Simple Space Invasion Game (42 min)
This tutorial combines a lot of code throughout the entire course and builds a relatively simple classic-style arcade game. Topics include: keyboard and mouse control, game boundaries, adding and placing children onstage at runtime (the invaders), moving and speeding up objects with an Enter Frame event, collision detection between the invaders and bullets using a For loop, and progressing levels or resetting the game to its initial state.
Part 12: Object Oriented Programming (42 min)
The final tutorial teaches how to extend what you’ve already learned using custom classes. We examine class structure, public and private variables / functions, and the how’s and why’s of writing your Actionscript in this way. The first example creates a simple Circle class and uses that with a corresponding circle movieclip in the library. The second example teaches how to make a custom tween class which you could use with any movieclip. We also discuss where to store your classes if they aren’t local to your Flash document.
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