Posts Tagged ‘FOTB

02
Oct
10

Flash on the Beach 2010 Review

Wow. Another great year for Flash on the Beach. The doom merchants may well have predicted (or desired) it’s death but the evidence in Brighton this week demonstrated what a great future Flash has. Packed out presentations across the whole event with attendees from all over Europe (shown by the lack of people who had heard of Family Fortunes (Feud) – an amusing circumstance in Seb Lee Delisle’s session).

I kicked off day 1 at FOTB2010 by attending a talk by Conrad Winchester on Robot Legs and Signals. Very interesting and well thought out presentation with a good smattering of code examples. Andre Michelle‘s Pulsatile Crackle session was very well received. More excellent demonstrations of Andre’s apps with some very nice playful audio interfaces. His hilarious ball falling out of tube demo was a treat. Would love to see Andre give an audio coding 101 session… Mario Klingemann next: It was Mario’s session a few years ago – when he broke down the seemingly lesser bitmapData functions – demonstrating how to use floodfill, etc for optimal image analysis that really inspired me to concentrate fully on Flash. All of his sessions have been excellent since including this his last one for at east a year – slightly chaotic but full of great takeaway ideas. His attempt at a jigsaw puzzle analyser and solver was inspired. Such a shame he couldn’t coax it closer to a solution. I’ve been wanting to get to a Stacey Mulcahy session for a couple of years and finally succeeded here – I wasn’t going to miss a presentation with ‘douchebag’ in the title. Stacey is a fine purveyor of fun from the darkest corners of the interweb, I found the session to be hilarious but I still came away with some salient points about social media and the increasing usage of oauth.

The inspiration sessions were excellent. I love Robert Hodgin‘s work and especially love his love for maths. Stefan Sagmeister in the evening looked like a slightly smarter Nick Cave – he kicked off talking about ‘chelly fish’ which I thought was a wonderful pronunciation – his body of work is amazing and he has some great philosophies about working and taking time off to refresh.

Day 2 started off with the Elevator Pitches (I presented 3 Games in 3 Minutes here last year). The standard this year was amazing. I only saw the first 10 or so (I had to go and prepare for my session) but the stand outs for me were Sarah Bird/@AnimNation – 3D in 3 minutes, wow!, Tomek Augustyn/@blog2t – a real web cam eye opener, Tom Vian/@SFBTom – 8 bit sound engine SFXR and Trine Falbe/@TrineFalbe – Do not use bullet points – Trine has l33t preso skills!

Hand sketch of the 'Where in the World?' sketch

Jon Howard's FOTB2010 session as sketched by @UBelly

I was next up with my “Where in the World? InContinent Ballistic Flash”. The session went really well. A poor data feed prevented me showing off the really cool bits of the deep zooming but I skirted around that issue. As I started I was told to try and cut 5 mins to help the schedule catch up so I dropped a little bit of code explanation around the explosions. I’ll do a post soon to cover that soon. It is amazing how simple clean understandable solutions to big problems can be the killer point – I certainly didn’t expect my little polynomial equations from Excel graphs method to be lauded so much in the Twittersphere. Lesson learnt though – I’ll try to come up with some more of those nuggets. The audience was great (thanks guys) and laughed at all my jokes =-)

Swingpants distributes his balls

Swingpants and his balls (photo Marc Thiele)

I love Joa Ebert‘s work but I have to confess I was vainly catching up on the twitter feed about my session rather than concentrating on Joa’s pres (sorry) but the improvement stats sound amazing. Seb Lee Delisle‘s presentation this year was immense. Great interviews with people across the web development world about the state of Flash, why people hate it and what kind of future Flash has. Seb has a lovely relaxed style and a great understanding of how to deliver in an entertaining way. He also has a conveyor belt of some sort if you hadn’t heard. Mind Candy finished the afternoon for me. I met up with the Moshi Monster’s gang a couple of years ago and since then they have become hugely successful. They explained about their Agile methods which seemed to go down really well. To finish the day off I managed to get along to Brendan Dawes session which was entertaining and very funny.

FOTB Audience in the Corn Exchange

Attentive faces of an FOTB audience (photo by Marc Thiele)

I got asked to do the Jam Throwdown this year – a great honour. I was up on stage with Seb Lee Delisle, Iain Lobb, Andre Michelle, Robert Hogin and Julian Dolce. 10 mins each. John Davey had asked me to ‘blow the others off the stage’ – so I did literally or at least digitally. I put in a few hours the night before to pull it off – it seemed to work well. Seb’s crowd ‘beat capturing’ worked excellently and really got the guys going.
By all accounts Iain Lobb’s Zero to Game Designer in 60 Minutes was an amazing session – but I couldn’t get in. Ralph Hauwert‘s session introduced me to 2D and 3D depth fields – something I really need to look into. Ralph is inspired by reading a lot of Maths papers – makes me feel I should read a few more. (and learn to understand the syntax better). I went along to Frank Reitberger‘s presentation (another Elevator Pitcher from last year). Really nice graphical effects and explanation of his processes. Joshua Hirsch and Jared Tarbell wrapped up proceedings.

Another amazing few days. My inspiration batteries have been recharged and I’ll be looking to try and get back as a speaker again next year.

If you’re a Rich Media developer/Designer and haven’t been to Flash on the Beach then why not? It is the number #1 conference in Europe and you are pretty much guaranteed to make a whole host of new contacts.

[ Huge thanks to Brett Jephson @brejep for building a 3D tree model for me to blow up, and to Aidan O'Brien @scaryclown for designing some scenery to adorn my character explosion tests. Last but not least big big thanks to John Davey @FOTB for organising such an immensely successful conference(festival) ]

23
Sep
10

Where in the World? Intercontinental Ballistic Flash

I shall be presenting “Where in the World? Intercontinental Ballistic Flash” at Europe’s premier rich media conference Flash on the Beach. I’m scheduled to present in the Pavillion Theatre at 10.15am on Tuesday 28th September.

In the first half of the session I’m going to look at techniques for how to build a world in 3D. Take a 2D map, convert it to 3D. Add some models, information pins, zoomability. I’ll describe some optimisation tricks and tips, and some easy methods to build maths formulae.

In the second half I shall be demonstrating a number of ways to create usable, configurable and fun game components. These include bitmapData constructions and manipulations, delta tweening, model parsing and combinations of all three.

If you are at FOTB 2010 if will be great to see you at my session, if not I shall be posting some of the demos and source here very soon.

Flash on the Beach, Brighton 26th to 29th Septhember 2010

Flash on the Beach

14
Sep
10

My Flash on the Beach 2010 Schedule

The awesome Flash on the Beach conference takes place in Brighton on 26th to the 29th September.
I shall be presenting “Where in the World? Intercontinental Ballistic Flash” on Tuesday morning (10am) – I’ll list more details about it here very soon.

Here is a Twitter list of all the FOTB presenters

These are the sessions I’ll be attending:

Monday
Keynote
Conrad Winchester: ROBOTLEGS AND SIGNALS – A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN?
Andre Michelle: PULSATILE CRACKLE
Mario Klingemann: SO LONG, AND THANKS FOR ALL THE FLASH
Stacey Mulcahy: DEVELOPING FOR THE SOCIAL MEDIA DOUCHEBAG – AN INTRO TO SOCIAL API’S
Robert Hodgin: PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT, SO WHAT ARE YOU PRACTICING?
Stefan Sagmeister: DESIGN AND HAPPINESS

Tuesday:
THE ELEVATOR PITCH
Jon Howard: WHERE IN THE WORLD? INTERCONTINENTAL BALLISTIC FLASH
Joa Ebert: 1 1 7 11 21
Seb Lee-Delisle: WHAT THE FLUX!?
Veronique Brossier: ADOBE AIR FOR MOBILE DEVELOPMENT
Nando Costa: THE OTHER SIDE
Brendan Dawes: MAKERS OF THINGS

Wednesday:
6 OF THE BEST – 10 MINS EACH
Iain Lobb: ZERO TO GAME DESIGNER IN 60 MINUTES
Ralph Hauwert: UNITZEROONE :: THE DISCONTINUITY
Frank Reitberger: TRIANGLE AFFAIRS
Peter Elst: BIG BOYS AND THEIR LITL TOYS
Jared Tarbell: THE COMPUTATIONAL ARTIFACT

18
Dec
09

Creating Mathematical Formulae from sample data using Excel

So you’re in Flash and want to move an item on the stage, rotate a camera or dynamically change a volume depending on another value. You could use the curves available in various Maths libraries, but you can spend a lot of time matching and applying constants.

A quicker – more accurate way can be to come up with your own formulae.

What!!? It is easy – you really don’t have to understand the mathematics, you can get Excel and Flash to do the heavy lifting for you.

Let me explain this by means of an example:
I was building a 3D application. I had a camera and needed it’s X rotation to be close to certain values depending on the camera’s position on the Z axis. I manually moved the camera into position and noted down samples of the values I required and placed them into Excel: One column for the z value and one for the required angle. – I only need a handful of samples to allow me to plot a regression trend line.

I now select the values on the spreadsheet and create an XY scatter chart. Great, my points are on the graph. I can see it makes a curve. In the ‘Chart’ drop down menu I now ‘Add Trendline…’. If I choose ‘Linear’ I get a straight line, but I want a curve so I can choose from a number of different methods. In this case ‘Exponential’ seems good. Select that and a look at the Options tab allows me to select ‘Display Equation on Chart’.

Now as soon as I press OK, I get my equation. Simple.

Regression Curve Formula in Excel from sample data

How do I represent this formula in Actionscript? Basically it is saying 202.62 times the exponential of 0.0014 times the chart’s x value. So in AS:

The final formula in Actionscript

As required, I have calculated the formula using the camera.z value and applied it to camera.rotationX. Now whenever the z value changes I have a smooth curve applied to rotationX.

Nice!

2nd Oct 2010:
A quick addition to this post. If a more complex curve is needed then a polynomial should be chosen. A polynomial can have multiple ‘orders’. This more orders you have the more compelx the curve can be. (Excel allows up to 6). A great thing about polynomials is speed. It is merely a series of multiplications which are very light on the processor.

So a polynomial trend gives you (for example) the formula:
109.13×4 – 265.48×3 + 125.34×2 + 40.012x + 2

To represent this in Actionscript I’d need to replace x4 (x to the power of 4) with the x value paramter – say delta – so x4 becomes delta * delta * delta * delta (or indeed Math.pow(delta,4)), and so on. The final formula would be:
109.13 * Math.pow(delta,4) – 265.48 * Math.pow(delta,3) + 125.34 * Math.pow(delta,2) + 40.012 * delta + 2

12
Nov
09

FOTB09 Full Presentation Video Now Available

The full video of my presentation at Flash on the Beach is now available. “How to build a game in 3 minutes” became “How to build 3 games in 3 minutes” (just showing off).

Flash on the Beach 09 Presentation

Flash on the Beach 09: 3 Games in 3 Minutes

On the back of this presentation I have now been invited to do a full hour presentation at FOTB2010, which is great news!!

I am still (slowly – too many projects on the go at once) building the Games Sketchpad and will post the app and some source as soon as it is ready. It’s already great fun to play with – just needs a bit more functionality.

29
Sep
09

Flash on the Beach (Part #1): Elevator Pitch… AS3 Genie Effect Transition.

My ‘build a game in three minutes’ session at this year’s excellent Flash on the Beach somehow morphed into building three games in three minutes.

My initial thinking was to code on the fly and put together something simple – I wanted physics and the ability to render a 3D version. It only took a couple of experiments to realise that trying to write AND compile in a strict 3 minutes would be near impossible. I needed some assets and wanted to produce these in the allotted time too.

While cogitating the pitch, I had a lot of game commissions and ideas come through my desk. I clicked that a Game Scratchpad would be a really handy app. Something that I could sketch out a game with – to demonstrate an idea during a brainstorm – at the speed of thought.

More on the Game Sketchpad in Part#2. See the last two minutes of the pitch here (not sure what happened to the first minute):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLiKTdB89AA

In the meantime, I got asked by quite a few about the transition effect I used on my slides. To save time I did all of my presentation from within a swf. I wanted a fun quirky transition. The Genie (Ginny) effect is newish – I’d spotted it on wonderfl.net by Clockmaker (inspired by Fladdict). So I grabbed the method and adapted it to allow me to fire it off from a given point – connecting relevant sprites (humorous and tasteless in good measure).

I have packaged the Genie effect here as a Class, with example implementation.

//Usage
import com.swingpants.effect.GenieBmd
var gb:GenieBmd=new GenieBmd(400,300,20)// image width, height, number of segments
gb.startGenie(bmd) // Bitmapdata
gb.fireAtPoint(50,100,3) //x, y, speed (in secs)

AS3 Genie (Ginny) Effect

Swingpant's AS3 Genie Effect implementation

In part#2 I will explain how the Game Sketchpad works, the component parts, the swf and some source code.

Genie Effect (zip): source
Presentation (Youtube): video

04
Sep
09

Swingpants presenting at Flash on the Beach 09

I’m honoured to be doing a presentation at this year’s Flash on the Beach. My pres is titled “How to make a game in three minutes“, and will be part of the Elevator Pitch: 3 Minute Wonders session. Why is it called an Elevator Pitch? This is based on the maximum amount of time you’d have in a lift (elevator) to explain an idea to someone. 20 Flash luminaries (new and old) will be quick fire presenting cool ideas, concepts, code, design or latest work. It’s sure to be a (data) blast.

In “How to make a game in three minutes” I will be making a game on the fly. This will incorporate a few topics I’ve been interested in and using heavily, such as colour mapping, collision detection, physics and more. Only three minutes? Yeah, got to prep a few libraries which hopefully I can get ready in time. Certainly I won’t have any time to make mistakes. I’ll post the content here as soon as it is available.

FOTB is a great event. The best conference in the calendar, which every year has the world’s best Flash/Actionscript/Design talent: Mario Klingemann, Andre Michelle, Carlos Ulloa, Joa Ebert, Grant Skinner, Ralph Hauwert, Seb Lee Delise +++ as well as over 1200 delegates.

Flash on the Beach Speaker

Flash on the Beach Speaker




Categories

Reasons to be Creative 2012

FITC Amsterdam 2012

Flash on the Beach 2011

Flash on the Beach 2010

Flash on the Beach 2009

Swingpants at FOTB2009

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