Squeak multimedia potential vs. reality
José L. Redrejo Rodríguez
jredrejo at edu.juntaextremadura.net
Tue Dec 14 10:29:51 UTC 2004
El mar, 14-12-2004 a las 08:33 +0100,
squeak-dev-request at lists.squeakfoundation.org escribió:
> Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 13:11:53 -0500
> From: "Jeffrey T. Read" <bitwize at snet.net>
> Subject: Squeak multimedia potential vs. reality
> To: The general-purpose Squeak developers list
> <squeak-dev at lists.squeakfoundation.org>
> Message-ID: <77EE8412-4D32-11D9-BAA4-003065F55750 at snet.net>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; format=flowed
> Fellow Squeakers,
> I have read the messages of others concerning Squeak's multimedia
> "promise" vs. what it is actually being used for. I think they raise
> some good points and Squeak isn't nearly what it could be. I'm one of
> those people who saw the multimedia aspects of Squeak and came to it
> for that purpose, when I opened it up I thought "Wow! There's so much
> good stuff in here! When will someone put it all together into
> something REALLY cool?" So Squeak to me is at the same time much more
> and much less than other multimedia programs.
> Consider that animation is a very hot thing on the Web, yet Squeak has
> virtually no presence in this arena. It is nearly dominated instead by
> an awful little program called Macromedia Flash. In addition to
> hacking, I also draw comics and sometimes make the occasional
> animation. But it hasn't been since Autodesk Animator that I have found
> an animation program I actually liked. Squeak, as a complete
> programming environment with a fast graphical subsystem, has the
> potential to be far more powerful and capable than Flash ever was yet
> no one is doing anything with it in this regard.
> Mind you, my purpose is not to turn Squeak into Flash, but rather to
> make things like "Homestar Runner" (a very popular and funny Web
> cartoon) possible in Squeak, in a manner that they really haven't been.
> My limited experience with Etoys suggests that while it is fine for the
> "drive-a-car demo", the educational materials, and other such things,
> making complex character behavior is much more cumbersome. Making a
> character walk across the screen is one thing: making him walk across
> the screen, stop, turn to face the viewer and say a few words (with
> complete mouth movement) is quite another.
> I'm working on something I like to call MorphAgents. These are like
> Players in the Etoy world but the difference is that you can write a
> "script" (which is currently an array of positions and/or actions, one
> per frame) for the morph to follow and when you send the agent the play
> message the morph will follow the script you wrote. It is actually a
> prototype for a similar agents system that I want to port to C++ for
> use in high speed games (making "cut scenes" and so forth).
> What I want to know is how much wheel-reinventing will I be doing here?
> I see bits of what I want to accomplish in FlashSpriteMorph and other
> places. But is this like, really easy to do in Etoys and I am just not
> proficient enough with them yet?
Maybe we could work together. I have begun a project in Spain, with
three teachers else, trying to make a "story teller" inside of Squeak.
The target is foreign language teaching. The idea is based on how much
teenagers like to tell story and use their imagination. Working together
with some english teacher we thought of making a tool with these parts:
- First part: The teacher choose a famous english tale or book (in our
case, english is the foreign language) . For example, Robinson Crusoe,
and extract some gramatical structures and vocabulary. He shows the
vocabulary to the children using intelligence bits , and give the
structures to the students.
- Second part: the students make an animated tale with those structures
and vocabulary, but telling the story in their own way.
My idea is: prepare a "special" squeak image with the intelligence bits
tool, a character generator and an "easy to use" story generator
(similar to http://www.dollysoft.com/, but only using an etoy interface,
not writing the script). This last part is obviously very similar to
the one you want to do. But I have imposed myself one limitation:
generated stories must be a squeak project totally squeakland
compatible. So, I want to prepare those "agents" and an etoys interface
to use them, but, once the project is ended, it will be published in our
swiki server and should be able to run into a web browser with the
The project has to be ended before November 2005. I have got some
economical funds from the educational authorities, and that is my
deadline to give our work. I would like to know your opinion about the
idea, and if you think we could collaborate some way. This explanation
has been quite rude, the whole project is detailed in 4 o 5 pages. If
you want more details, please ask me.
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