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Loan Shark – fast object pooling utility

LoanShark AS3 Object Pooling UtilityA couple of years ago, I created an object pooling utility for a games project I was building in AS3. Since then, I’ve used it quite a few times, in order to speed up apps and improve resource management, easing the load on the garbage collector by reusing objects instead of recreating them. Continue reading Loan Shark – fast object pooling utility

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Lurpak Breakfast – Behind the screens

Winning two DMA awards back in 2009, I thought I’d give a quick insight into how the animation effects in this piece were achieved.

I worked with Scott Bedford on this site for Carlson Marketing, for the Lurpak ‘Breakfast’ campaign. I created all the animation prototypes for the various effects used throughout the site, some of which can be seen here. I’m most proud of the crumbs animation and the code-generated interactive steam effect – as you’ll see in the video below.


 

Continue reading Lurpak Breakfast – Behind the screens

Fastest way to add multiple elements to an Array / Vector in AS3

In a simple situation, where you wish to add many elements to an Array or Vector, you might just do:

However, the sizes of both Arrays are manipulated for each loop, which will have an adverse impact on speed and memory usage. So, we could cache the length of the input Array and not manipulate it:

But we’re still growing the size of the output Array incrementally, which is very bad. Since we know input.length in advance, we could grow the output Array to its new size just once, before the loop:

This is OK, but still involves a loop. If only we could push multiple elements into the push method in one go. Well, we can – enter the apply method. Since Array.push accepts multiple arguments (something rarely used) and apply allows us to pass an Array of arguments to any Function, one line and we’re done:

This works out faster and more memory efficient than the other methods. It works nicely for Vectors, too. If anyone has a faster method of doing this, do let me know.

SWFIdle – simple flash idling utility

If you’re still churning out Flash banners, please use this!

swfidleI created this simple utility, called SWFIdle, to enable the Flash Player to lower its CPU usage while the user is not interacting with it. Since it’s possible to have multiple Flash instances embedded in one page (for example, a game and a couple of banners), I recommend using this in your projects, so that Flash instances needn’t fight for CPU and give Flash a worse name than it has already 😉

I know there’s the hasPriority embed attribute now. But:

  • That assumes you have access to the HTML that embeds your SWF
  • If no other players are present, it has no effect
  • There’s still usually little reason to be running your SWF at a high framerate if the user isn’t interacting with it
  • Flash banners with wastefully unoptimised drawing routines are probably one of the key reasons that Flash got poo-pooed off of mobile platforms and disabled on everyone’s laptops – CPU usage = battery usage!

Dependency Injection by Extension pattern

The problem

You need to use some kind of Dependency Injection (DI for short) to provision some System Under Test (SUT for short) in tests you’re writing, but can’t or don’t want to use a DI framework to do so.

Alternative titles for this post include:

  • Dependency Injection without a Dependency Injection framework
  • Why misusing the default namespace for tests is evil
  • Make code more testable without completely messing it up

Continue reading Dependency Injection by Extension pattern