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Oh, flash!
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Sunnan
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2004 3:09 pm    Post subject: Oh, flash! Reply with quote

I installed an x86 emulator to get flash working, and the comic was beautifully drawn but I didn't really see the point of using flash for this. The way it looked for me was pretty pixly, as well.
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kaos_de_moria
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2004 3:19 pm    Post subject: i recommend Reply with quote

i recommend you to have a look at the stuff merlin did on his website. his creations with this engine are quiet interesting. i like especially the first one. the new ongoing externalities still have to show, what they will bring. the tarquin engine is one of the most interesting developments in the online comic technology in the last years. i personally think it beats scotts own engine he is using for the right number. of course the use of the engine is not logical as long as you have two frames. but as we know improvs can grow quiet big. the genius thing about this engine is, that you can have bigger and smaller frames to express things but as soon, as you are at the frame, you see it in full size. additionally the tarquin engine offers for the first time a reasonable solution to navigate in an infinite canvas.

kaos
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kaos_de_moria
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2004 3:31 pm    Post subject: ... Reply with quote

on the list of new titles i actually read "Marvin's Mysterious Gift" as "Merlin's Mysterious Gift" first. then it could be a comic about this engine...

kaos
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Sunnan
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2004 3:54 pm    Post subject: Re: i recommend Reply with quote

kaos_de_moria wrote:
i recommend you to have a look at the stuff merlin did on his website.


Oh, yeah! I forgot. I knew I went through the hassle of flash for more than just one page. I'll do so. Thanks for the wake-up call.
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Sunnan
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2004 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got to "Enter me" but that was it (since it seems to link to an external flash file).
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Rip Tanion
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2004 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sunnan wrote:
The way it looked for me was pretty pixly, as well.
Yeah, Scott is using raster (bitmap) images when he should be using vector graphics. Bitmaps don't look good zoomed-in in Flash. Vector graphics are scaleable, and use less bandwith.

The style Scott is using so far is actually perfect for vector graphics; clean, bold lines, and only two colors (black and red). I think he's better off using them instead of bitmap...unless the drawing style of the strip gets more complicated.
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Michael_Harker
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2004 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lookit the size of that canvas. Looks like we're in for another long, long improv.

Not that that's a bad thing.
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Merlin
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2004 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

> I installed an x86 emulator to get flash working

Out of interest, what system are you using that you need to run an emulator for Flash?

> Yeah, Scott is using raster (bitmap) images when he should be using
> vector graphics. Bitmaps don't look good zoomed-in in Flash. Vector
> graphics are scaleable, and use less bandwith.

The problem with vectors is that when you've got a lot of vector artwork (like an infinite canvas worth, say) flash is really slow to move the canvas about or zoom in and out. In contrast, I've found that Flash can scale and move bitmaps around very smoothly, even when there's a whole bunch of panels on the screen.
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William G
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2004 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun...

FLASH! Ah-ahhhhh!

Savior of the internet!



sorry, had to be done...
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Sunnan
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2004 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Merlin wrote:
Out of interest, what system are you using that you need to run an emulator for Flash?

I'm using Debian GNU/Linux for the PPC. AFAIK (please correct me if I'm wrong) Flash isn't available, nor is there source available so I can build it (I really really want to be wrong on this part). And the free clones can't deal with the stuff Scott's doing.
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kaos_de_moria
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2004 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Merlin wrote:
The problem with vectors is that when you've got a lot of vector artwork (like an infinite canvas worth, say) flash is really slow to move the canvas about or zoom in and out. In contrast, I've found that Flash can scale and move bitmaps around very smoothly, even when there's a whole bunch of panels on the screen.


a possible solution would be to create multiple pictures in size and scale from different pictures depending on how big the aimed size is. this would not affect speed as much. of course it would raise the downloading time, but i would expect most people, who read webcomics, having a rather good connection. or at least read them at a place with a good connection.

kaos
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kaos_de_moria
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2004 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

one problem i see having a MI in the tarquin engine is the download time. where as a normal improv can be divided into multiple pages and in case of a chapter by chapter published comic you only download each chapter only once (or twice of course) the MI is downloaded every day and with the tarquin engine you have to download the whole thing.

to resolve this problem one option would be delayed download. you start with a frames map without pictures and zoom into the actual part immediately. only the panels of the actual part are loaded from beginning on. the other panels are loaded on the go, backwards. on this way you have to load only around 5 pictures in the beginning and keep on loading the rest. if someone has not read any of the comic, he'll wait to get all of it, whereas the person who only wants to check the newest frames can leave the flash even before all the pictures are completely loaded.

this solution would also make it unnecessary to publish the newest frames in HTML (except there really is many people who can not access flash).

kaos
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2004 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the following problems with Macromedia Flash:
    - Flash is not a real standard, but a proprietary data format controlled by one single company.
    - For my operating system (Debian GNU/Linux "sarge") there is no Flash 6 available - only Flash 5 which contains a serious security bug, ...
    - but I do not want to install it anyway because ...
    - I do not want a plug-in which allows web pages to take full control over my computer, especially if ...
    - it is proprietary software, where I do not have access to the source code. (I am a programmer.)
There is a free SWF player project, but as long as there is no international standard for Flash, I see little hope for Flash to be supported by different vendors as widespread as, for instance, HTML.

I am afraid that the world will adopt Flash anyway and simply accept to be dependent of one single company - just as it happend with Microsoft Windows: It is very difficult to justify that one is using a different system even if there are very good reasons ...
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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2004 3:52 pm    Post subject: How I learned to stop worrying and love Flash Reply with quote

I still don't think Flash is a grat way to design an entire website, but for specific applications within a site, I think it can be used to great effect.

My objections to Flash were these:

  1. Required an additional installation to view content.
  2. Most Flash applications take a larger download and longer download time.
  3. Many uses of Flash were for annoying advertisements on otherwise static pages. Most irritating.
  4. When a website is designed in Flash, it totally disables my ability to bookmark something or send a direct link to a page or use my browser's back and forward buttons.

to which I found these solutions:

  1. Bit the bullet and did it. Once done, not such a big deal to upgrade occasionally.
  2. The world of technology moves on, so I joined the 21st Century and got a faster 'net connection. This made Flash far less painful.
  3. This was my single biggest gripe with Flash- It can be a real annoyance. However, I've been using Mozilla/Firebird/Firefox for years, so I had a couple options to block Flash. At first I made use of the FlashBlock extension, which placed a button on the page instead of the Flash application. Only when I clicked on the button would the Flash start to run. Now, I use the AdBlock extension, which (when properly filtered) removes most ads, including Flash ads, meaning that I can more quickly view Flash content on a site like Scott's without seeing it on sites where it functions as advertising (about 85% of the time, anyhow). AdBlock also offers a handly keyboard shortcut to cover up Flash applications so that you don't have to see them blinking and waving and dancing obnoxiously.
  4. There's no good solution for this. Sites like that suck. The best option is to not visit them again until they stop that madness. There do seem to be fewer high-profile sites like these as designers become more clued-in. It's much more likely today that the logo and menu for a site will be in Flash but the content won't, which is more bearable.

I know this doesn't address concerns such as possible security risks (FlashBlock is a start, but once you've activated the Flash application, it just runs as usual), lack of cross-platform support and propriatary, monopoly-like control of the medium, but from an end-user standpoint, those weren't things I was concerned with when surfing the web and running across another annoying Flash page.
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Sunnan
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I agree with the social questions raised by "Guest" (although there is supposedly a spec out, just no good free implementation), I also have additional technical problems. (I guess if the social issues were fixed, though, it would be a mere recompile away for me.)
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kaos_de_moria
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i guess the objections raised about flash are viable. but right now the use of flash in online comics is rather experimental. as soon as there is a more accepted engine used by various web comics it is probable someone programs a solution, which is not based on flash, as this could make files smaller, creating of the comic easier and animations faster. therefor i think one can agree with the use of flash in web comics at this point of development.

kaos
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CleverUserName01
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Oh, flash! Reply with quote

Sunnan wrote:
The way it looked for me was pretty pixly, as well.


Pixly? Pixelly? Well...it's an image on a computer monitor. If "pixelly" is a real sticking point with you, maybe you should stick with print comics.

I don't find it any more pixelly than any other image on my monitor, certainly no more so than any other Improv. Personally, I'm really enjoying the novelty of the Flash engine. It seems to have an awful lot of possibilities - could be something Scott could use to create a "sequel" (in spirit rather than in acutal fact) to the choose-your-own-direction "Carl" story.
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CleverUserName01
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

William Beckerson wrote:
FLASH! Ah-ahhhhh!

Savior of the internet!



Glad I wasn't the only one thinking it...

"Flash! Flash, I love you! But we only have fourteen hours to save the Earth!"
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Merlin
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2004 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting to hear the number of concerns people have about Flash - never really encountered these before. Some definite food for thought.

> FLASH! Ah-ahhhhh!

Tenacious D's cover of the theme is a must.

Still one of my favourite films, Flash.

"Second Wave, Diiiiiiiiiiie!"

(Okay, it's probably 'dive.' But in our household, it's 'die.' In our household Brian Blessed is also worshipped as onto a God, due to his portrayal of Voltan. We're an odd bunch.)

> to resolve this problem one option would be delayed download.

An interesting idea, this. Is it possible to control the order Flash loads bitmaps into memory? I'm not aware of an easy way to do it, but that doesn't mean it's not out there.

> a possible solution would be to create multiple pictures in size and scale
> from different pictures depending on how big the aimed size is.

This'd work, but I'm a bit wary of over-complicating things from a comic creation point of view.

At the moment, making a comic with Tarquin in Flash is a drag-and-drop exercise (you place your artwork where you want it on the canvas and then place a special panel over the top of it so that the engine can register the size and location of each image). I don't want to introduce too many extra elements to the mix that will over-complexify the process for those not familiar with advanced Flash shenanigans.

Is complexify a word? My spell-checker says no, but my inner George Bush says yes.
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gareis
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2004 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Merlin wrote:
Is complexify a word? My spell-checker says no, but my inner George Bush says yes.


It would certainly be a word were there not another word with the same root and function and general form. As it is, maybe. After all, it's derived in the regular manner.
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kaos_de_moria
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2004 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Merlin wrote:
This'd work, but I'm a bit wary of over-complicating things from a comic creation point of view.


of course you would need a GUI program where you load the pictures in high quality in and it does the rest by itself. if you would do this based on a plug in you could actually make the plug in have the preference option of fast vs. high quality, where fast loads only one picture and high quality loads a couple of pictures (full size, size when you view neighboring picture, size when you see everything).

kaos
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Rip Tanion
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Merlin wrote:
> FLASH! Ah-ahhhhh!
Still one of my favourite films, Flash
I always thought it was a really cheesy and lame flick. Sam Jones was just stiff as can be. The last person I want to pin the hope of the planet on is a QB playing for the Jets (Just End The Season) And Queen's soundtrack showed what they had degenerted into.

I remember as a kid watching the old Buster Crabbe serials, that the local PBS station used to show, with my father, who watched them on TV when he was a kid. Despite the very primative special effects, I think they are far more exciting than the big budget 1980 flick. I think Charlie Middleton was far more sinister as Ming than Max Von Sydow. And though Buster was my no means a thespian, he could act rings around Jones.

Maybe if hadn't already been familiar with the old serials before I saw the De Laurentis (the same guy who made that lame King Kong remake) movie, I would have felt differently.

I was also a fan of the animated Filmation series, which probably was the most faithful to Alex Raymond's comic strip...at least in the begining.

"Flash Gordon, you have earned the right to fight the mighty beast of Mongo!"

"You can, Flash, you can!"
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