ActionScripting Final Project

I’m waiting for final approval of my project proposal for ICM504: Information Animation class (better named ActionScript coding ‘101’, IMO), but I want to get started with the basics of the work now. I’m playing around with the concepts of ‘swarming’ behavior of movie clips, as well as the notions of building ‘environmental programming’ or ‘genetic programming’. The digital age equivalent of keeping ant farms, I suppose. The book we’re working from in class, Foundation ActionScript for Flash 8 (2006) by Kristian Besley, Sham Bhangal, and David Powers, with Eric Dolecki is put out by Friends of ED/Apress. One of the exercises in the book dealt with swarm behaviors, and included some thoughts on ways to turn the swarm phenomenon into a ‘simulation’ that mimicked environmental behaviors, etc. Some preliminary searching on the subject showed lots of heavy, high end game theory going on, and lots of advanced programming stuff out there talking about ‘genetic algorithms’ on a pretty heady level.

Not so much as for a “general joe” ActionScript coder and his virtual ant farm. Ah well. This is a ‘101’ level of instruction into ActionScript coding. I have to admit, it’s a lot easier than I thought it was going to be.   Of course, it’s taken the entire course to get us to the point where we can begin to think about projects. There are still basic tricks to learn, but we have enough now to do some pretty cool stuff with Flash and ActionScripting.

The Iterative Project

The final project is going to be an exercise in stretching boundaries for me. It’s also going to allow me to take the baby steps I need in order to actually build up some complex code for Flash. Basically, each day or so I’ll be generating a new iteration. I need to research to find out whether I can post the compiled Flash files on WordPress or if I’ll need to link outside of WordPress. But I will post the code so that folks can follow along at home.

We’ll begin with a statement of purpose for each iteration (e.g. what I’m trying to do differently -this- time), and then I’ll set up the pseudocode writeup, along with any diagrams necessary once the code gets a little more complicated.  I’ve set up a series of benchmarks for success, points that I need to push the code in order to consider myself ‘done’. When I wrote them up, they seemed lofty. When I started thinking about the code itself, they seemed simplistic. When I tried to actually begin -writing- the pseudocode, they seemed difficult again. I think that waffling is a good sign. I’ll accept failure as long as I’ve got a substantial project process built up along the way.

For those who want to read it, here is the pdf of my Final Flash AS 2.0 Project Proposal.

I’ll be starting with the First Iteration today, and I’ll be posting results and documentation as I go. (Apparently no way to link to .swf files directly in WordPress, so I’ll need to find a place  to host them and then link to the other site for the content to appear here in WordPress.)

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