I've been hard at work all week getting the new HM Mini (Modern Warrior) coded, and it's going really well. It's funny, I get the same glow from figuring out how to make something work in Flash as I do when I write a really good post, or complete a particularly nice illustration. I guess the creative buzz is the same no matter what gives rise to it.
Anyway, here's a screen grab of the program so far, with explanation to follow:
As you can see, I've added multiple "Head" items to the figure. Since I only have one Head drawn at the moment, you get Three-Headed Monty, but you can also see two versions of the lightning bolt insignia. I placed one, rotated it, moved it to the left a bit, then placed a new one and rotated it the other way, moving it a bit to the right. The effect is of double lightning bolts on the upper chest. I could have crossed them, too, for a lightning-bolt-X look.
Other items of interest, in no particular order:
- You can color the line art, just like in the FaceMaker.
- 120 pre-set color swatches versus 85 in the FaceMaker.
- 28 custom color slots versus 12 in the FaceMaker.
- There's now a text field where you can enter a Hex value. Clicking Apply next to that box will apply your hand-entered value as a custom color swatch, and apply it to the character.
- Items can be rotated freely.
- Items can be moved around the composition area freely.
- Item slots can, as I said earlier, be duplicated, so if you want ten Coats, go for it.
- If you look closely, the right-most head is glowing blue; this is the effect whenever you mouse over an item, to let you know what you're working on. If you look even closer, the cursor is a red "X". I've clicked the "remove" button, which dims the rest of the controls and converts the pointer to the X. Clicking on an item with "remove" active will -- shockingly! -- remove that item completely.
- Like in the Facemaker, there are "color skin" and "color hair" buttons. The effect of clicking this button will be to apply all three colors to all of either the skin or hair areas.
- It doesn't show, but on the backend drawing items is now easier. I still have to place each item onto the preview boxes, but I don't have to create new frames for each one and copy over a bunch of code, making sure to match up names in three places. This was the brain-wave I commented on a couple of months ago when completing the Tony Hawk Skateboarder project, it's much easier than the old way.
My understanding of this new version of Flash (ActionScript 3) is growing exponentially with everything I do here. It's all starting to feel intuitive instead of having to slog and hack and piece my way through every single thing. As a result it's all going a lot faster, the code is a lot more elegant, and I've been able to figure out how to do some things I used to think weren't possible.
The long and short of it is, all of this code and effort I am putting into this are definitely going to pay big dividends when it comes to HeroMachine 3. I've already solved most of the major issues I was worried about. Once this is completed, the last big thing to tackle for HM3 will be allowing the user to load up sets of items on the fly, but I don't think that's going to be a huge deal.
Still to do as far as programming on the Modern Warrior goes are masking; enhanced layering controls; "flip" and "mirror" controls (turn the current item over either left-to-right or up-and-down); allowing the user to change color transparency; clear all; and randomize all. Then it's off to draw items in a frenzy!