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Consider The Bullet Bitten

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So, this weekend, I started a new version of Honeycomb. It was my first foray into Flash, and I was, at the time, still somewhat shakey at effectively using Flash MX 2004 while I was writing it.

Since then, I have learned a great deal about how to effectively use Flash, and so I decided to revisit Honeycomb and "improve" upon it.

One of the original issues was the dragging of the bees. Originally, the player had to click one bee, and then click an empty space in order to make a move. My "review board" (John Hattan) suggested that I also support dragging of bees, as that would be more intuitive. He was right, of course.

So, I figured out how to drag movieclips in Flash, and what I did worked, but it was incredibly sloppy. Each cell in the game, you see, contains a bee. The way I implemented the dragging was to actually drag the bee that sat on the cell, and then when the drag was completed restore it's old position.

But when I did ChemHex, I made a single movieclip that represented the atom that was constantly dragged along. This wound up being a much better solution.

So for the new version, I have a bee that follows the mouse at all times, turning visible or invisible as needed.

While the redo is partly inspired by some of the Bad Code of the original, the real reason is a bit more than that.

If you know about my MakeDeez Games Project, you then know that some of the big qualities I'm trying to push are Completeness, Quality, Friendliness, and Robustness in games. The original Honeycomb has Robustness and a good degree of Quality, but it is not Complete, and nor is it Friendly.

The things that keep it from being Complete are the lack of sound effects, the lack of instructions in-game, and the lack of polish on the user interface. My plan is to fix these things. This will also enhance the Quality and Friendliness of the game.

Currently, the game has no "online" instructions, and I feel it really needs to. This is the bullet I'm biting.

And I feel that textual instructions are just not enough. The game is graphical, and should be demonstrated graphically. So, I worked on a movieclip last night that demonstrates the basic move mechanism in Honeycomb. It is accompanied by a textual outline of what to do to make a move, and each line gets hilighted as the animation goes through the process.

I put 14 cells (two 7 cell blocks-the bee starts in the middle of one, and ends in the middle of the other), one bee, a miniature mouse, and a cursor. The cursor moves to the bee, then the mouse indicates that the left button is pressed, then the cursor and the bee are moved to the new spot, then the mouse button is released, and then the cells all go through the animation of lightening.

I did a quick version last night, but the pacing was wrong(each step should take an equal amount of time) and I had a few more ideas (like strobing the mouse button when it is time to press or release), so I'll work on it some more when I next get a chance.

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