Keeping Score
         written by kirupa chinnathambi

Do you remember what kept you standing in front of an arcade machine every day after school during the days of frogger, pong, and galaxian? Unless you are a geek who likes the warmth of radiation emanating from the 4-color arcade screens, you were probably interested in beating the high score set by khhga.

While this tutorial will not cover how to create a killer game like galaxian, tetris, or pacman, this tutorial will introduce you to the world of scoring in Flash. Click on the green and red circles in the following animation for an example of what you will create in this tutorial:

[ click the green and red circles to increase/decrease the total score ]

Adding/Decreasing Score:
The following steps will guide you in creating something very similar to the above animation:

  1. For this tutorial, you will edit a movie that I already created. The partial source file will contain the basic interface and nothing else. You will add all the good ActionScript and text fields yourself by following the instructions below. Click here: Download Partial Source.
  2. Once you have downloaded and opened the partial source file in Flash MX, let's move on, shall we? We first need a method of displaying the score; that's where a text field will comes in.

    Click the Text Tool icon and draw a text box to the right of the Score caption in the drawing area:

[ draw a text field to the right of the score caption ]

  1. Once the text field is drawn, look at the Properties panel. Make sure the text field you just drew is selected, and select the Dynamic Text selection from the drop-down menu. From the Properties panel, again, set the font to Verdana size 10. Select a dark-gray color from the color picker. Your Properties panel should look like the following image:

[ draw the text field ]

  1. Now that you have your Input text field drawn, let's modify it's properties. Select the Input text field you just drew. The Properties panel should appear with options for you to work with. From the Properties panel, ensure that the font is Verdana size 10.

[ the properties panel for the dynamic text field ]

  1. We are not quite done modifying the text properties for the dynamic text field. From the Properties panel, locate the Var input field. In that box, enter the word: total

[ add the value of 'total' in the Var field ]

  1. With the text field done, it is time to add the actions. Right click on the green button and select Actions. The Actions-Button dialog box will appear. Copy and paste the following code into the right panel:

  1. Now, right click on the red button and select Actions. The Actions-Button dialog box will appear again. Copy and paste the following code into the right side of the Actions-Button dialog box:

  1. You have just added to sections of code for both of the buttons. Test your movie out and see how it works. Pressing the green button causes the total score to increase by 100 while pressing the red button causes the score to decrease by 75.

Why the Animation Worked the Way it Worked
Even though the code and animation are quite self-explanatory in their use in the grand scheme of this tutorial, I will furnish you with a brief run-down of what occurs in the animation.

When the animation loads, the user sees the two buttons and clicks on the red button. When the red button is pressed, the on (release) handler of the button becomes activated. The code it contains also becomes activated. The line subtracts 75 from the value for which is, by default, zero.

The value of becomes displayed in the text field with the var name of total. So where the _root part come from? _root basically points to the location in the animation that the variable total is stored. _root is the very lowest level of hierarchy in the animation. All animations start from _root and move onto the various movie clip levels such as

The code in the red button is called a "decrementer" because the initial value decreases by a certain amount (in this case 75). The code in the green button is called an "incrementer" because the value of the variable total increases (in this case by 100).

If you were stuck during any portion of this tutorial, I have provided a partial source file for you to compare my version of the animation to that of yours:

download fla

If you have a question about this or any other topic, the easiest thing is to drop by our forums where a bunch of the friendliest people you'll ever run into will be happy to help you out!


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