Friday, June 11, 2010

New website - A Guide to West Oxfordshire

The new guide and directory - 'A Handbook to West Oxfordshire' is up and running. It is a  Drupal site, and created as a non-commercial site to be useful primarily for tourism and fill in the gaps that every other site has.

Here to see it:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Getting into ActionScript, 3D and Physics without opening your wallet.

Producing great Flash applications and even games doesn't have to cost the earth. There are amazing tools around gratis. These days, using ActionScript code and creating SWF files with FlashDevelop (an open-source code editor for PC) is free, simple and rewarding.

  1. The first port of call is Download and install it. If nothing else then it is a very good text & source editor. If you want to run on another platform, then VMWare, VirtualBox or some other virtualisation software is required.
  2. The next thing is to choose a set of 3D libraries, or application programming interfaces (APIs). The two big hitters out there are Away3D and Papervision3D. There are others, but these two have the best documentation and community support. They both also have remarkable and talented authors who are committed to continual improvement. Both of these APIs are fully-featured and contain everything required to create 3D web applications.
  3. To complete this triumvirate of tools, you'll need a physics engine. For interactive web applications using Flash you are best off sticking with the JigLibFlash physics engine. It is well supported by (and interfaces well with) both Papervision3D and Away3D.
  4. A free and very useful tool that looks after the version control for the above libraries locally is subversion. As they are continually being revised and updated, the latest releases are always desirable (if not for extra features, then for security and reliability). The most noteworthy of these tools is the free for Windows TortoiseSVN. If you use Tortoise subversion to check out the above libraries from their online repositories then you never have to manually update the files. In addition, it will manage your own repositories for revision , version and source control.
  5. To set these up in FlashDevelop is easy. First make sure that the Flex and ActionScript libraries that you want to use can be found by FlashDevelop. To check this go to Tools>Program Settings (shortcut F10) and check or configure the following:

    Select 'AS3 Context' on the left and make sure that the paths are correct to the Flex and ActionScript Development kits. The latest Beta SDK for Flex can be downloaded here.
  1. Also from the 'tools' menu, select 'Global Classpaths' and in the dialog that comes up you can enter the paths to your Papervision3D, Away3D or other libraries.

  2. In an open project you need to click on the 'Project Settings' tab in the project pane on the right hand side (or Projects>Settings from the main menu.

    Here you can make sure that when you publish your movie, FlashDevelop uses the flash player that you select and not Adobe Flash, or your browser. You can also change the Flash Player version you are publishing for quickly which is a great feature as some libraries are not FP10 savvy. In other tabs here, you can add additional classpaths just for this specific project.
So there you have it. A wealth of power for no bucks at all!

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Alperia word of the month club - Orrery

An Orrery is a mechanical representation of a planetary system (usually our system unless the builder has an eccentric bent for the exotic). Sometimes it might not be a clockwork or mechanical device, but a software program that mimics planetary motion.

This one was created in Cinema 4D xl and needs to be Kepler'ed up to spec.
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Thursday, July 06, 2006

ZSpheres 2 comes to ZBrush version 3.5r3

Create organic forms literally in seconds using wonderful ZSpheres and unified skinning

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Selling RIAs by the pound

I like to use Flash and particularly programme in ActionScript 3. New ways of engaging users in interactive web programs. Serving data in novel (not Nouvelle) and ways to enhance user experience and interoperability. Fun cross-mating AS3 with PHP, XML and MySQL (especially using amfphp). I am also fond of Flashbuilder, JQuery and Ajax. These are enough ingredients to provide any web based solution and enough tools to keep me busy. See my site at

I also have become a better (I say good) cook, love cars, cosmology, astronomy, photography and good cinema, although the latter is very thin on the ground these days.