Sunday, May 27, 2007

Revenge of the Tween

Development on Coffee Quest Revenge has now officially started. While it will be a while before I have something that is remotely playable, I am going to be trying to post the latest build of the game every Friday so anybody who is interested in this game will be able to watch how the game evolves. As I need something to start with, I am working on the game's status bar. This bar holds your current health, shield status, armor status, weapon, usable item, quest items, and map. The health, shield, and armor status are animated condition indicators that will also have a bar and numeric indication of the value. The animations were created today and bits of the rest of the bar have been worked on so there will be something for sure this Friday.

The animation was done by taking advantage of Flash's shape tweening ability. While this is a really neat feature of Flash, it is also an extremely annoying to use feature. The big problem with shape tweening is how stupid it can be. For instance, I had a tween that removed a corner of the shield. While the bulk of the shield had the same start and end, the entire shield was involved in the animation. In order to fix this problem, you have to strategically place hint spots on the shape being tweened. These hints help the tweening process along by telling Flash which parts of the shape are suppose to end up where. While the process of adding hint spots is much better than earlier versions of Flash, it can still lead to a strange disappearing image problem. What I am talking about is a situation where the hint spot that was created causes the entire middle portion of the tween to disappear.

My solution to this was to try and keep all the hints in a clockwise order of definition. I would place the hints one at a time, and then make sure that the image was not disappearing. If the image did disappear, then I would move the position of the hint until I got the image back. Watching the animation segment between the addition of each hint helps you figure out where there are still problems. Still, the shape tweening is much faster than hand animating the entire transformation.

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