The past two weeks of this project have been a blur of error correcting and playing catch-up. It’s been hectic and discouraging, but I do feel like I’m getting Charlie back on track!
I made one huge mistake in my approach to this project. I used Flash CC. I wanted to work from home so I could spend more time on it, but CC was the only version of Flash I had available. It feels like everything that might have gone wrong, has gone wrong; and almost all of the issues that arose could have been avoided if I’d been using Flash CS6 instead. I had parts missing from my character and layout, I had brushes that failed, and I had close to three thousand layers of movieclips when I tried to import designs from Illustrator into Flash. That’s naming just a few. CC was a nightmare to work with because it was unstable, unpredicatable, and painfully slow. I tried everything I could to try and get things working in CS6, but considering the not-too-distant deadline and the amount of work I’ve put into this so far, I realised that I would have to finish this project using CC. It adds a whole new level of challenge to the assignment, but I’m going to try my best to work with what I’ve got. And I will never use CC for any other projects. I’ve learned that lesson.
Despite all setbacks, I’ve managed to start working on secondary animation. When idle, Charlie will face forward, and he’ll be able to breathe (such as robots do) and tilt his head. He’ll be able to jump when looking straight, and while moving left and right. I’ve also drawn up a little bird in Illustrator, which I’ve rigged and roughly animated. The bird will fly across the screen when Charlie hits a certain object on the stage. I’ve yet to decide on whether that object will be a mushroom, a tree, or something else entirely, but I hope to add that element of interaction soon. I’m also planning to add a second interactive element, which is still in the planning stages.
In terms of coding, I’m using scene labels and the “.gotoAndPlay()” and “.gotoAndStop()” arguments to my advantage. Charlie now walks in the correct direction and at the right speed when the user presses the appropriate keyboard directional buttons. He also faces forward and jumps when the user presses the up button. When no buttons are pressed, Charlie faces forward, and moves as though idle. However, at the moment, each scene – that is, each movement – only plays once. That means Charlie only takes two steps before he stops moving in either direction, he only jumps once, and only moves when idle once. The next step is setting those to loop continuously. Once that works smoothly, I’ll begin work on the interactions between Charlie and the environment.
Click here to try to control Charlie yourself, but bear in mind there's a lot more work to go!