Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Flash Renaissance...

I am ashamed that it has been over a month since I last posted anything to this blog. The good news is that my lack of time to post has been due to the fact that I have had something of a reawakening with Adobe Flash. I have been using Flash now for almost 5 years to create everything from web sites to interactive review games for my students. While the games have been well received and were popular among students, the one feature that has alluded me for the past few years is a solid high score component. All I want is a simple table showing the top scores for each of the review games I create. Doesn't sound so hard, does it?

Unfortunately, every time I have tried to follow tutorials online to create a high score table, it never seems to work for one reason or another. I even went as far as to buy a commercial Flash component to plug into my games (it turned out to be a company in Germany that does not seem to exist, so that one didn't work out either).

In the end, it turned out that the old "if you want something done right, do it yourself" adage held true. With some Flash wizardry, a sprinkle of php, and a great deal of trial and error, I was able to create a working high score component that can now be plugged into just about any Flash creation. I can happily check off another thing on my technology wish list.

I have 2 working examples of the high score list in action. The first is a simple guessing game (I call it the Mental Telepathy Assessment Test). Users have 10 attempts to guess the symbol that will appear on a card. There are 5 to choose from. After your 10 guesses, you are given the opportunity to submit your score for the high score list.
Give it a try at this link:Mental Telepathy Assessment Test

The second is inspired by the Lost Countdown Timer from Season 2 (if you aren't familiar with it, shame on you, it is/was one of the greatest plot devices I've ever seen in a show). The counter counts down from 108 minutes using a split flap display. In the final 4 minutes, someone must enter "the numbers" before time runs out. The flash file works the same way. Flash keeps track of how many consecutive resets a single user has completed and enters their name into the high score list. Great fun if you are a Lost fan.
Try that one here:

The next step will be to begin creating new class reviews that incorporate the new high score capabilities. Should be nice motivation for students to hit the review games in hopes of seeing their names topping the charts. More on this as it develops....