I’ve gotten to the point in my Flash studies where it’s time to start planning how a story will express itself through text, image, animation, video clips, and interactive paths, working with interactivity through actionscript. Here’s the first part of the story (John will know this story because it’s been on the hypertext backburner for some time now). It’s called Stoning Field.
The authorities outlawed dodge ball at Ignacios school. A kid got hit in the cheek with a hard foamrubber ball and his parents complained to the school board.
Why didnt he dodge? I asked Ignacio, whos eleven years old.
He did, Ignacio said, but the wrong way.
In a lot near the school are collections of smooth, round stones, perfect for throwing, perfect for targets. I hear through whispers that the children will meet there some undisclosed day and play dodge ball the way the gods meant it to be played.
The story makes use of games, vulnerability, youth and children, and time to play out the structure. One of the things that keeps calling me back to the story is its potential for incorporating visual effects and choice in the running textual narrative, so it’s not hard to envision a timeline that would play up or play down forshadings, open opportunities for alternative reading paths, and give imagery an added complexity in a rich spatial field. But this is where the planning comes in. In Flash there are so many ways of accomplishing a goto and frame action that visualizing how a work will be experienced often leads to the buffet table problem.
Should paths be conceived as layers or in frames or as scenes or as a combination, and how? They would all work. The symbols and clips will be accessible everywhere. A small video clip can be masked, placed anywhere to play on the canvas, looped in any number of ways. They can be dragged onto the viewing space and can appear if this, then or if, else, then. The story will have to decide. Just too cool with this aggressive program.