Animation Assignment: Pacman Takeover

In my animation, entitled “Pacman Takeover,” I chose to tell the story of a simple game of the 1970’s Pong gone wrong. As the two players bounce the ball back and forth as usual, Pacman comes out of nowhere, mistakes the ball as a pac-dot, and gobbles it up as he waka-waka’s the whole way. I chose to tell this story because Pong and Pacman are some of the only video games I’ve really ever played. I remember them from my childhood and they are still around today, and I appreciate them because even though they are some of the most simplistic games, they are also the most addicting.

My animation has 4 key characters: the two moving pong players, the ball bouncing back and forth, and Pacman. The reusable symbols I used were the scorekeepers (only zeroes in this game since no one had a chance to score!) and the two rectangles that serve as the pong players. The Pacman was a movie clip symbol and the line was created as part of the background on the stage. I made all symbols and the background by hand by coloring the stage and using the line tool, the square tool, and the oval tool. For example, the line down the middle is the line tool set on the dashed setting and the zeroes for the scorekeepers are rectangles with rounded corners, white outline, and black fill. The pong players were made with the rectangle tool, and the Pacman was made with the oval tool with pieces cut out to make it appear as though the mouth is opening and closing.

The new technique I included, and had a lot of trouble with, was using two sound clips simultaneously (the pong “blip” and the Pacman “waka waka”). For the longest time I could only get one audio file or the other to play. I looked everywhere for tutorials on how to do this:, the Flash guide books, and even a broad Google search. I even turned to the class e-mail thread and, even though I received some good advice, nothing seemed to work. Finally I figured it out just by playing around with the audio files. I realized that it was my “waka waka” audio file that wasn’t working. I had originally downloaded both audio files from sound effects websites with free downloads. The second time around I took a YouTube video of a game of Pacman, and used a YouTube to mp3 converter to create the audio file. This time it worked! However, the waka waka would not stop at the end of the animation and keptm looping. Finally, a classmate tought me how to stop the file at the end of the animation by adding a key frame and changing the sync property to “stop.” The biggest thing I learned from this new animation technique was how to use audio files and that sometimes my classmates that are going through the same project are my best resources. In total, this section of the assignment took me about 2 hours.

As mentioned before, I originally downloaded my audio files from a sound effects website. The pong “blip” noise was no problem, but the waka-waka I had to use a YouTube video to mp3 converter. I learned to use sound in one of the Flash guide books. There was a section on audio files that told me to import the files into the library, create a layer for each audio, insert key frames for when you wanted the file to sound, and then  simply drag it onto the stage. With the troubles I described above as well as searching for the right sounds, audio took me probably close to 3 1/2 hours.

One of the biggest frustrations I had was with the movie clip. I decided early on that I was going to make the Pacman my movie symbol. I could not figure out how to make it look like the mouth was opening and closing. Since this was a very specific case, I Googled “pacman movie clip symbol in flash” and used a very help, and very detailed, step by step tutorial. Every minor step was explained and I followed it carefully. This tutorial was easy to understand and helped me successfully create my movie clip.

If I could do it over again, I would. The first thing I would do differently is read the assignment before I begin working. I was over an hour into an animation when I realized it wasn’t meeting most of the requirements and had to start over with Pacman Takeover. I also wish I had spent more time researching what an actual game of Pong looks like (since I haven’t played in years) to make my animation more realistic. In total, the assignment probably took me close to 9 hours to complete.


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