Between External SWFs
        by Voetsjoeba  ::  21 February 2004

Many people use external swfs these days, because they are a very good way to keep a site structured and manageable, and also because they keep the file size low. These swfs also divide a site into sections: each external swf stands for a section. These movies are dynamically loaded into the main movie when entering a section of the site. But a question that gets asked a lot lately is how to create smooth yet functional transitions between these external swfs? That’s what this tutorial will cover.

Here is an example of what we are hoping to create:

[ click on each of the buttons to load a new movie ]

Our final goal
Each swf will have an intro animation, a frame at which it stops, and an outro animation. When the main movie is loaded, the first swf will be loaded. It will play it’s intro animation and stop at a certain frame. When the user now presses a button (located on the main timeline) for a different section to load, the swf will be told to play it’s outro animation. When this outro animation has finished, the new swf is loaded and will also play it’s intro and stop at the frame before the outro. When a user now presses yet another button, this process is repeated. This results in transitions between each swf.

How it works
The system is based on two variables: midframe and _root.currMovie.

midframe is a variable on the first frame of the main timeline of each swf. This variable holds the number of the frame at which the swf stops. Each swf has this variable, and it can be different for each swf, but it doesn’t have to. This variable will be used with the buttons: when you press a button of another section, it will check if the current swf is at it’s midframe. If so, then the current swf will be told to play() – that means it starts its outro animation, because the outro animation begins at the frame after the midframe.

_root.currMovie is a variable that holds the name of the currently viewing section. It is created in _root, because this variable has to be accessed by both the swfs and the main movie. This variable is used for three purposes:

The first involves the buttons: when you press a button on the main timeline, that button must check if the requested section is not the one being currently viewed, or, if no swf is being loaded automatically at the start of the main movie, if _root.currMovie is undefined. If it is undefined, then there has been no section loaded yet, and the one corresponding with this button must be loaded, and _root.currMovie must be set to the name of that section. It will first check if it is undefined or not, and if it is not undefined, then check if it’s different than the currently showing section.

The second use goes together with the first. A button is pressed, and the code on the button checks if the requested swf is different than the one in place. If this is true, then we must check if the current movie is at or further than it’s midframe. Checking also if it’s further than the midframe enables the user to change the movie to be loaded when the outro is already playing (see the third purpose), for example when they accidentally pressed the wrong button. So if the current frame is the midframe or somewhere in the outro (further than midframe), then _root.currMovie must be set to the name of the new section, and the swf currently in place must also be told to play – if it’s at midframe, it will start playing the outro animation, and if it’s already playing it’s outro animation, the play() will have no effect because it is already playing.

You might be wondering how the new swf is being loaded by now. This is the third purpose of _root.currMovie : when a button is pressed, _root.currMovie is being updated to the new section name and the swf in place is told to play. Because of this, _root.currMovie will be the name of the new section at the end of the outro animation. This is what we will use to make the swf load the new section swf at the end of it’s outro animation. We will be loading an swf with as name value of _root.currMovie, plus “.swf”. That means that the values you give _root.currMovie have to be the names of your swfs, without “.swf”.

The above explains the code used on the buttons, further on in this tutorial.

Example: if you have the swfs “main.swf”, “about.swf”, “work.swf” and “contact.swf”, then the values you give _root.currMovie must be “main”, “about”, “work” and “contact”. If not, the transitions will not work.

The next page will outline how to re-create the animation you saw earlier:



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