27 January 2010

Life and stuff

So, I've been a bit distracted the past couple of weeks. Been spending a hell of a lot of time menu planning and cooking (damned healthy new years resolutions...). Strine.net.au maintenance has also ramped up, post-AIMIA award finalist announcement.

A definite highlight was buying new snorkelling fins on the weekend (yay!) so I've been zooming around Shelly beach/Fairy Bower and terrorising all the poor Blue Gropers and cuttlefish. I've been snorkelling for years, but never pushed myself to buy fins. Not sure exactly why. Sure there's the expense of laying out the cash for something I didn't think I really needed, but when it came down to it, I think I was just freaked out by using them, or more likely finding out I couldn't use them. It seemed my worst fears were confirmed when I first jumped in the water with them. I completely struggled to get them on my feet in the water, then kept getting them tripped up on each other with my first kicks. I felt wobbly and a bit panicky, completely uncomfortable and useless with my new toys, but I persisted. All of the sudden, it just seemed to work. Suddenly the water was rushing past my head and I was covering a lot of 'ground', very quickly. I tried diving and was (almost) keeping up with the escaping fish! It was awesome! I now have the confidence to head out into sections of water I never would have before and am completely in love and all excited again about an old hobby.

The reason I've delved into detail about this is I've drawn an anaolgy between snorkelling fins and AS3. I think I've been procrastinating re starting the studying, worried it's going to be beyond me and I'm going to fail, which is just bloody ridiculous. As with all of the other code I've learned/used, and with the snorkelling fins, it's not going to feel natural at first and things won't work, but that's when I will work out how to make it work, in no time I'll be making my own interactive Flash fish etc etc.

OK, enough of the pep talk. A little less conversation, a little more action.

So I raided the uni library (while I still have borrowing privileges) and picked up a couple of books that look quite handy:
  • Chris Griffith's 'Real World Flash Game Development' which looks OK, takes you through basic game programming concepts (including design sections, which I feel quite OK about skipping :-), AS3 and apparently has some game examples and code to practice with at a companion website www.flashgamebook.com
  • Shupe & Rosser's 'Learning Actionscript 3.0' because it looks like it takes you from basics, and it might be handy to have to fill in more details when things I try to do don't make sense
  • Webster, Yard & McSharry's 'Actionscript 3.0 with Flash and Flex', just because I like books, and it's a back up in case Shupe & Rosser aren't a good fit for me. (Actually I always go a bit overboard at libraries. I get excited and just can't help myself...)

So the plan for tonight is to get a start on Griffith's tome, if I can resist the pull of iPhoto's Faces...

15 January 2010

trawling and research - AS3

So I'm having a bit of a scan around to see if there's any free Actionscript 3 tutorials online that I can start looking at in my downtime here at work. I found Warm Forest's top 8 resources for learning AS3 online, which had a couple of interesting looking things which might be worth scanning later. They did make a good point though - as I found with all the uni projects, the best way to learn code is to do code i.e. set yourself a project and make mistakes/go through the trial and error process.

So what I might do is read Senocular's getting started guide to get an idea of what it can do/what it's all about/OOP and then try to build something at home. I'm thinking I might just try to build myself an existing basic flash game and see how that goes. I've also put a request in for a beginners guide at the uni library (hoping I still have borrowing privileges!)

Other than (obviously) Google, these resources might be worth adding to my link list

Gotoandlearn.com Loads of video tutorials on all manner of Flash things
Lynda.com Loads of video tutorials on all manner of things

14 January 2010

Got to start somewhere...

So, now I've finished with my degree it's time to start some self-directed 'study' or research.

I wanted somewhere to jot down my thoughts and collate my findings - another blog seemed a sensible place to start, which led to the spawning of Tot's jots.

I'm about to look for a role to kick off my career as a flash developer (I think!), so I've been doing a bit of research into Sydney's digital agencies
OK, I lost the rest of that brilliant post when I logged out of Gmail before publishing it... derr!!!

Anyway, I was about to mention the fact that during my research I came across Unity 3D game builder for PC, Mac and web, which is now available to download for free! http://unity3d.com/

I'm tempted to have a play with it - just converting Stink bug to a new format, but as my plan was to learn Actionscript 3 first and foremost, I should probably focus on that for now. Might help with the job seeking process. Anyway, thought I'd log the site somewhere so i can come back to it a bit later on...