Tutorial details: A short discussion on the pros and cons of the Flash intro. We also develop a clever "skip intro" button and explain the advantage of sharing resources between your Flash files.
Written by : Tim Murray, [email protected] , www.gmg.com.au
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Requirements: Flash MX
Topics Covered: Avoiding the intro, sharing resources, skip intro buttons
Assumed Knowledge: Basic ActionScript, interface familiarity, loading multiple SWF files, basic intro movies
Download FLAs: intro.fla (160kb) and main.fla (127kb)

Introduction

Aaah, the Flash intro. Why, oh why do we do it? Especially when we know that almost everyone who sees our lovingly crafted animations and sound-scapes will hit the "skip intro" button before a handful of frames have played.

Why? Simple:

  • Visitors know that there is nothing important in the Flash intro.
  • They tend to take forever to download.
  • If there is a loader, it tends to be on the dull side.
  • The intro stands apart from the remainder of the site (which will usually be in HTML).
  • It's only an ad.

This article will look at the pros and cons of developing an intro to any site. We will look at technical and creative constraints on a good intro, and how to make the best of it using shared resources. We are going to:

  • Look at ways to avoid the intro altogether.
  • Why we would want the intro anyway.
  • Review any technical limitations of intros.
  • Find creative solutions to our problems.
  • Try to get the most out of an intro by sharing resources.
  • Develop a small piece of ActionScript that will control the appearance of a "skip intro" button.

The sample files for this tutorial are: intro.fla (160kb) and main.fla (127kb).

Before we go any further, I would like to point out that some of the screen shots are from the Western Australian Museum's "Western Australia: Land and People" exhibition. Demonstrated in that project are the principles we are discussing here. Their great content and our stylish Flash MX work produced an inspiring virtual exhibition.

I am assuming that you have had a glance through the Using Flash help file, and that you have completed the online Flash tutorials "Introduction to Flash MX Tutorial" and "Introduction to ActionScript Tutorial" that come with your copy of Flash MX. You may find our other tutorials useful. "Yet Another Flash MX Loader" discusses the creation of the GMG loader. And "Object VR In Flash MX" covers playing back 3D Object VR movies without using the QuickTime player.