Tutorial details: We show you how to plan, design, program, and use the most flexible Flash MX preloader (or loader, depending on how you want to use it). This is for the designers out there who want a better than average loader that allows some creative flexibility in its presentation.
Written by: Tim Murray , www.gmg.com.au
Difficulty Level: Advanced
Requirements: Flash MX, some largish images and sound files
Topics Covered: Designing, coding, testing, shared resources, getBytes commands, _parent object
Assumed Knowledge: Basic math, basic ActionScript, interface familiarity

Yet Another Flash MX Loader

Introduction

What the world needs now is certainly not another Flash MX preloader. Unless it is accompanied by a great tutorial on not only what to do but also why we should do it! This is for the designers out there who want a better than average loader that allows some creative flexibility in its presentation.

We will be developing this Flash MX file: loader.fla (35kb).

There are heaps of loaders freely available that do most of what most people need. In this tutorial we are going to start at the beginning and try to design a stylish preloader from the ground up while keeping in mind some technical constraints such as load time, ease of implementation, and code and resource reuse.

Some of the major benefits of a well designed Flash loader are:

  • It can provide users with imme diate feedback that their command to view or play something has been accepted.
  • It keeps users informed of download status so that they know that something is happening.
  • Loaders can keep people entertained while the file request is met.
  • People with broadband connections are probably downloading lots of stuff simultaneously (we do), so they still want feedback.

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. 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.