For my flash animation, I decided to do a Pac-Man story. I decided to do something with Pac-Man because I couldn’t think of anything else really to do. I looked at the list and it sounded like a fun idea. I decided that I would incorporate the ghosts into the story somehow as well. So I came up with the general idea that the Pac-Man would be chasing one of he ghosts around and that the ghost would get fed up with it and get a whole bunch of his ghost friends to chase Pac-Man away for the years of him eating their dots and fruit and destroying what I assume was their livelihood. So after creating the animation I put the title on the first frame and called it “Pacman 2012.” I decided I needed a better title for my blog post and have come up with the full title “Pac-Man 2012: Inky’s Revenge,” as Inky is the ghost from the original game that is closest in color to the ghost in my animation.
The background I used I retrieved from the internet. I just searched “8 bit background” in Google and got a large hi-res photo and inserted it into my animation. If you want the website that I got the background from, here it is. It is from a website called “Simple Backgrounds.” The website has backgrounds that are very simple available for download. The idea is that the background it provides are nice and simple and are not distracting. As far as symbols that I created, I had a 2 reusable characters/symbols in this animation. I had Pac-Man himself and Inky(the ghost). Both of those symbols I created myself using the shapes tool. I actually had two versions of Pac-Man: a movie clip version and a stationary version. The movie clip version is the one used throughout most of the animation and the stationary version is the one that is used after Inky and his gang have killed Pac-Man. For the gang of ghosts, I just copied and pasted multiple instances of the ghost symbol, spaced them out and converted them into their own giant ghost gang symbol which made it easier to make one motion tween instead of 15 separate ones for each ghost. The other two “key” characters were actually buttons, which I will discuss in the next paragraph. They are the play and restart button. You can see them in the beginning and end of my animation. They were easy to make as all they required were drawing a triangle with the line tool and creating text that said “Restart?” with the text tool and then converting them into buttons. I placed them in the middle of the screen so they would be easily viewable and noticeable.
The new animation technique I taught myself was how to create buttons and incorporate them into the animation so they would start and restart the animation at the desired frames. I decided on this animation technique while looking through the list on Lynda.com. The list I was looking through and ultimately used as my tutorial was the “Flash Professional CS5 Essential Training” by Todd Perkins. I watched the whole section on buttons and then tried it out myself. I did have to go back a few times to get the animation to stop and start like I wanted it to but luckily the tutorial made a lot of sense. The code snippets were new to me as well. I learned how to use those. Basically the code snippet is a piece of pre-written code that tells the animation to do certain things. The code snippets I used were placed at the beginning and the end of the animation. The first code snippet told the animation to stop on frame 1 until the play button was pushed and then proceed to frame 2 and to play from there. The next code snippet I used was telling the animation to stop on the last frame and stay stopped until the “Restart” button was pushed, in which case the animation would return to frame 2 and play from there. Learning and implementing these new techniques took me about an hour. I actually taught myself how to do this before we did it in class.
Using sound properly in my animation was probably the hardest part. I had to get the sound clips, edit the sound clips, insert the sound clips into the animation and then I had to figure out how to stop and start them so the whole thing wouldn’t be a jumbled mess. This process took me well over an hour, probably close to an hour and a half. I first had to find the proper Pac-Man sounds, which was not easy. I settled on two websites: Sound FX Now and Classic Gaming. Sound FX now is a website that does exactly what it says, provides sound effect for you to download. You can get a free one or a high quality one for a price. I opted with the free options. The Classic Gaming site was a bit different. It provides information on all sorts of classic games and it just also happens to provide sound clips from those games. So I proceeded to download the clips I needed and edit them for my own purposes.
Editing was pretty easy and basic audio editing is something I have done before for personal projects. I just opened the audio files in Adobe Audition and copied and pasted to make the sounds that I needed to repeat do so. (I also ended up taking one of the audio clips and speeding it up, you’ll notice the Pac-Man sound speeds up when he is running away from the gang of ghosts.) I then put them into Flash and that is when the problems started. I couldn’t figure out how to start and stop them and the Lynda. com tutorial which was previously mentioned seemed to skip over that part. I had to have watched the sound chapter 3 times thinking I missed something. I finally consulted the manuals up in the lab and one of the books led me to the answer of telling the sound file to start and stop at the designated frames. The whole process seemed a little counterintuitive but now that I know how to do it, I can roll with it.
The most frustrating part was the sound as I already talked about but once I learned how to do it, the process was smooth sailing from there. Every other part of the assignment went pretty smoothly, I really didn’t encounter any problems other than with the sound. In the future I will probably try to gather all the materials that I think I will need before hand so I don’t have to keep starting and stopping working on the animation/project to get what I need. All in all it was a pretty fun project and it took me just around 5 hours to complete.