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Flash Forward

Salgood Sam pointed me (via Twitter) to Manmachine by Martin Hekker, which uses a simple Flash-based side-scrolling thingey that doubles the cursor speed for fairly seamless navigation once its all loaded  (“programming by Mike Angstadt” so I assume this was Mike’s doing).

[Correction!: The audio is Flash-based, but the scroll-thingey is Javascript-based. Thanks to Andrew in the comments section for the heads-up. (Way to ruin a good pun, Universe).]


Discussion (26)¬

  1. cat says:

    it also has music behind it! nice!

    • Matthew Marcus says:

      The music was a great addition, and reminded me of nawlz.

      In fact, there are a lot of other similarities: the infinite landscape design, the cyberpunk themes, and the fact that I had to go through them twice before understanding what I read. :)

      I like them both a lot. Can’t wait to see how they develop!

    • christiann says:

      The music was a nice touch … I like a comic with its own ambiance :)

  2. Darkflame says:

    A little jerky, but quite nice.

    Still no one interested in mine? (http://www.darkflame.co.uk/panalstreamer/panelstreamer.html)

    I know I cant draw to save my life, but I think I got the basics of the engine nailed down.

    • Scott says:

      Hiya –

      Yeah, sorry for the delay. I’ve taken a look and it seems you’ve nailed some of the basics; just not sure where to take it from here. Anyone else want to take a look?

      • Darkflame says:

        Well, yeah, exactly my issue too. No idea where to go with it.
        Obviously it needs massive tidying up, and possibly some system for people to make their own.
        But I didn’t really want to promote another site doing another half-implemented engine.My only goal with this is to hopefully start a standard file format for IC artwork. Then coders greater then I am could make much smoother engines, as well as ones for various devices, perhaps even micro-payment enabled sites to host them. I’m not too sure infinite canvas’s will truely take off untill there is an easy method for non-coders to impliment them on their websites.

    • Matthew Marcus says:

      Yeah, I took a glance at this when you posted it.

      This is clearly a labor of love that took a lot of hard work, but right now it seems too unpolished for display. I’d clean it up a bit and make the first things you want the reader to see a little easier for them to access and follow.

      • Darkflame says:

        Thanks, but it really isn’t a labour of love so much as me reading Reinventing Comics, thinking “wait..I could do that!” and producing this a few days later.
        It really didn’t take me long at all.
        And certainly, its very unpolished. I just posted looking for a direction I should take it in really. Its not really for display yet. Its more “right, I did the interesting bit and it kinda works…now what?” ;)

  3. Steve Mackin says:

    I like page 3 and 4. the background is one big landscape continuing through 3 panels. anyone ever see Rafael Kayanan’s Conan stuff. Rafael Kayanan did something cool like this in a Conan story.

  4. Andrew says:

    Not to be a mindless pedant, but the only flash there is for the audio player, the rest is just images and javascript.
    Didn’t work on my ipod though – I wanted to try giving it a touch-and-flick.

  5. These comics have all been too big for my little 1024×600 netbook screen. :(

    They looked cool tho. I still think that until the problem of maximizing your ad-views can be solved with these single webpage comics, it’s always going to be a hard sell to the typical “Two guys sitting on a couch and complaining” webcomic creator.

    • Darkflame says:

      “. I still think that until the problem of maximizing your ad-views can be solved with these single webpage comics”

      In theory, I can picture context-sensative adverts appearing in the bottom based on the current text of the dialogue boxs of the comic in or near the current viewpoint.
      Not sure how this could work with existing (Google Add) style systems…might be able to fake-it with iFrames and psydo pages…but your right, its a problem to overcome.

      • Andrew says:

        Not sure that’s a problem you could get around with most turnkey CPM ad solutions- most iframe/pseudopage solutions would probably get you banned pretty quick. You might be able to compensate (on systems that allow for this kind of thing) by just charging more for the slot- you are still getting as many uniques as you were before, and people are are staying on the page for longer.
        But also, if that’s a primary concern, you might be Doing it Wrong.

        • I agree with you in spirit, Andrew. But in practice “How can I make money?” is pretty much the first question out of the mouths of most web-based cartoonsts. And it’s the only philosophy of webcomics actually listened to.

          While doubtlessly all of us who read Scott’s books and blog ask “How can comics be better?” as our first question, none of of the solutions we can come up with can convince artists who aren’t us due to how per-page-view web advertising works.

          I’m not saying that getting paid is a bad thing, obviously. But I’d argue that maximizing ad revenue is the only real concern for most creators. So it’s something that needs to be included in whatever discussion we have on these alternative viewing methods.

          • Andrew says:

            Yeah, I am pretty sure I only agree with myself in spirit. But then again, “maximizing pageviews” is the kind of thinking that leads newssites to break up articles into seven thousand separate pages of a paragraph each, with a full page interstitial ads inbetween (to paraphrase (I think) john gruber of daring fireball, “Whenever I see ‘read more’, I think it says ‘stop reading and close my browser tab’).

        • Darkflame says:

          “Not sure that’s a problem you could get around with most turnkey CPM ad solutions- most iframe/pseudopage solutions would probably get you banned pretty quick. ”

          Probably.
          But Gmail does it…all its content is dynamicaly loaded, the page dosnt ever refresh…and yet its adverts update depending on the emails contents.
          Seems basicaly whats needed for an IC advertsing system.

    • There actually are ads embedded in the comic. They don’t scream out at the reader like most ads do, but there are clickable tabs between some of the pages. At least, there’s one that I found. Not sure if there were any more than that.

  6. martinhekker says:

    Thanks for the attention and critique! Have had a great suggestion to maximize pan and scan opportunities. Nawlz is a favorite of mine too. The cyberpunk gong can only be hit a certain number of ways. . . Nawlz has a unique apporach. Ours will develop more with the next episode, which is a real handcramper (for me).

  7. martinhekker says:

    re: netbook and size. The comic is terrible on a small screen, it is true. The panning becomes awkward. I don’t know what the solution is there, except perhaps to make the panning easier (now requires the wiper + scroller). It would be a bit better with a single “device” for 2d panning, although still would be alot of work. in the end, i settled on the idea that reading the comic basically requires a 19 inch screen. Kind of a cranky thing to do, but it gave us a place to start.

  8. matthieukopp says:

    hello

    on the subject of reading comics on smaller screens, or smaller window sizes, we have worked on this:
    http://www.ave-comics.com/player/lck-bruce/

    Try it with various windows aspect ratios. The reader uses some knowledge about the page layout to infer the best path through the page. It also tries to determine what is the optimal zoom factor to make the text readable. You can use the arrow keys to navigate or hit the play button to make it play, with some timings that are being calculated.

    Feedback would be most appreciated. The comic that is being read is just a sample. The reader is the beta version of the actual reader that will be available from Ave!Comics when it opens in a few days. Many more comics will be available to test it on.

    • Darkflame says:

      Thats pretty darn nice.
      I dont think Id personaly ever use an auto-panning feature, its nice its there. The zooming arrangement seems to work great, and I particularly like that stylistic arrow while dragging.

      The only downside I see is its Flash10…which does limit the devices it works on a bit (at the moment). But that cant be helped. Especialy as Java based solutions (like my system) have inferiour resizeing. (Did you know IE still use’s Pixal-resize rather then resampleing?! O_o).

      Overall a very slick app.

      One question; How does it know the panel layout ? (that is, how does it know how much to zoom/pan to center a panel in the window frame). I wondered the same thing with Marvels comic book viewer too.

      • matthieukopp says:

        hi (and thanks)

        it works with flash 9 as well (at least, that’s what my developer sold me ;-) )

        Ave!Comics uses an authoring tool to describe reading paths through a comic book (the tool is called ComicComposer). The animator simply describes areas where important things happen (like speach bubbles). This is currently a manual process but will be automated in the future (at least, partially). Timings can be atatched to these zones (such as the time it takes to read the text). When the rendering occurs, the system computes how many of these zones can be displayed, based on how much space is available in the window, and how legible the text would be. Paning and zooming occurs to make the ‘best’ path through the page. It also aggreagates the timing of zones displayed simultaneously before moving to the next shot.

        Another variation of this ‘reading’ kinematics is displayed here:

        http://www.ave-comics.com/en/avepreview/

        This is intended for much smaller screens but uses similar principles.

        PS: these tools should be made available to the community at some point in the future

        • Darkflame says:

          Cheers for that explanation :)

          The other demo link you posted has a view minor glitchs, mind you;
          a) Dosnt load at all in Opera. (and thus on Wii’s and other portable devices that use it). Almost certainly a html issue. (run it though the w3c checker)
          b) Loads in firefox, but sometimes if you rotate the orination of the “iPhone” a picture hangs in the back for awhile. (obviously more likely a flash issue).

          Anyway, still looks good overall :)

  9. PB says:

    Thanks for the attention and critique! Have had a great suggestion to maximize pan and scan opportunities. Nawlz is a favorite of mine too. The cyberpunk gong can only be hit a certain number of ways. . . Nawlz has a unique apporach. Ours will develop more with the next episode, which is a real handcramper (for me).