Miscellaneous

From Realsoft3D Wiki

Mailing List Tid Bits

Information that has passed through the Mailing List.

Troubleshooting

Little things to get you out of trouble.

Tips for Producing RS Tutorials with the Free Wink SWF Authoring Tool


Animated Wink Tutorials
W3

The basic idea is that most actions in a computer environment result in an instant change to the contents of the display. So, the content can "animated", rather than attempting to record it. Although definitely not truly convincing, the animated mouse seems to do its job of simulating a user. It is possible to add more frames and further adjust the mouse movement but this is time consuming and also, results in a larger output file.

Before.....
One should be familiar with the basic operations of Winkespecially the various editing commands and adding and removing frames, etc..

Realsoft Setup
Since it is unlikely that an average RS working environment would be suitable for a .swf format tutorial, an environment for RS, that is both a suitable size and that can be recreated exactly, in the likely case that the tutorial "recording" will take more than one session, needs to be created.
Consistency.
Plan what tools will be required and decide upon appropriate tabs, etc. to have selected, keep the need to shoot changes to a minimum.
All!  : P details of the tutorial project should be worked out in advance, this will save time costly edits.

Screenshots
A sufficient screenshot app will have grabbing options such as: "Window Under Cursor", "Region", "Section of a Window" and a shot delay timer.

Image Processing Application
Any app that supports layers, P$, Gimp, etc..
This is used as a scratch pad.

Basic Workflow
Take a shot of the desired RS window, copy it to the clipboard(to be understood hereon).
Paste into Gimp.
Take a shot of a window, child window, etc. with a button, cycle gadget, etc. activated.
Paste it as a layer.
Position it; setting the newly pasted layer to 50% opacity makes this an easy task. Addtionally, when a same sized shot is pasted subsequent times in Gimp, it is initially positioned directly over the previously pasted layer's current position. This makes overlaying each required version of a child window, nearly automatic.
Invoke "Copy Visible" - Paste into wink.
Although the process appears arduous, it progresses quickly; once the base frames and image layers are created and the workflow becomes familiar.

Timing Frames and Mouse Movements
Mouse movement frames take the time for the mouse to move plus the delay, thus, the timing for these frames should usually be zero.
While there is no rule better than testing, a good place to start with frame delay timings is to allow 2 seconds(2000ms in Wink) for each five or so words in the textbox.
Mouse movements need to be positioned for where it will need to be for the "action" in the next frame. Watch for buttons that are pressed before the mouse arrives, etc..
Add duplicate frames for mouse movement to occur in where necessary to correct sequence errors and to improve flow.
Make use of the "Next" button in Wink only to separate major sections. Properly timed frames should be used in the body of the tutorial sections; this results in a tutorial that flows smoothly and effectively relates the workflow being demonstrated.

When Something has to Move.....
Like animation, crude in this case, a few well chosen stills and corresponding mouse movement, while not likely to be convincing to anyone but a 386 user, it is sufficient to demonstrate the action.

What to Say & Not Say...the textbox is your voice in Wink....
It is important to decide what level of user the tutorial is intended for and make attempts to keep the level of instruction consistent.
Say only enough to get the information across about the current tool, etc., or to clarify an onscreen action; guide the user but, mostly, let the onscreen action demonstrate what is happening.
Put links and outside references at the beginning and end of the tutorial.

Style Points
While not necessary, a more professional appearance can be obtained by matching/coordinating colors and fonts with the RS environment being used.