Squeak multimedia potential vs. reality
ned at squeakland.org
Wed Dec 15 22:08:55 UTC 2004
On Monday 13 December 2004 10:11 am, Jeffrey T. Read wrote:
> 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?
I don't think so.
When I was in Spain with Diego and Jose we talked a lot about this.
Our plan (on which we haven't done anything, unfortunately) was to try to tack
together some existing bits for a proof-of-concept to see if would be
The idea was to use the PianoRollMorph (which is pretty much the only editable
representation of time that we have) to trigger events in scripts, or to
trigger other command-like actions.
We figured that these could include:
* 'run' or 'fire' actions on Morphs (like buttons, etc.)
* 'fire' scripts on Etoy players
* MenuItemMorphs dragged from menus
* tiles representing the entries in the undo/redo list (which aren't currently
* other command-like things as we discover them.
For instance, one possibility would be to be able to make a 'snapshot' of the
positions and angles of all the morphs in a project and then have a tile
represent that snapshot. By putting it into the timeline, it would be
possible to script simple animation.
Of course, storyboarding tools of some sort would be good too.
I do think there is a tension between making Squeak/Etoys into an authoring
system and using it for constructivist education. In an authoring system, you
want to make common things easy to do, while in an educational system you
want to make common things possible to do while learning.
Also, part of the problem is that there is no model of time yet in Etoys
(there is tick rate and fires/tick, but no actual representation of time). I
added a global clock for some simulation demos I did for Alan, but without a
way to add time-synchronized event triggers it required polling every tick.
So having something clock-like that can trigger things is probably essential;
for usability it also would be nice to have it in one place so you can see
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