Blog

The Lowdown website – Sandy 3 and lowRa

Hello there,

The 1st of December was the launch of a website I’ve been working on : The Lowdown.
This website is part of the New Zealand Ministry of Health’s national depression initiative (NDI), which aims to help young people recognize and understand depression, and encourages them to seek appropriate help, or puts them in touch with trained professionals, thus to reduce the impact of depression on the lives of New Zealanders

To create this website we have used lowRa and Sandy 3 so was done using AS3.
The site is plugged on the Silverstripe CMS, using amfphp 1.9.
Thing is both of those AS3 libraries, at the time the project started, were still in beta, and not all the features needed to develop the website done yet.
First in lowRa was missing the assembler which helps you to load dlls ( assets, classes ) and build the application at runtime ( create plugins / view / custom objects, … )
Second, Sandy didn’t get any mouse interaction on the texture level, ie interacting with InteractiveObject but also text links ( not that easy when you’re actually clicking on a snapshot of a display object :) )
So the first task has been to develop those. This project helps as well adding other features / fix in those libraries.
I’m quite happy to see they’ll be integrate in those libraries.

One of the main requirement for the website was to keep the CPU usage as low as possible. Kinda hard when dealing with 3D in flash + having to play videos or animation.
At the beginning the video was part of the 3D environment, but this was killing the CPU ( on slower machine though ), so we went around by playing the video on the 2D world.
We’ve used 2D world for some others part of the website ( navigation menu, … ).
We’re quite happy with the result, it’s still a little CPU intensive with the 3D plus the videos, but if your computer is fairly recent there shouldn’t be any problems.
The site is still in development though ( fixing a few issues and adding some eyes candy ).

One thing people would maybe ask is why I have choose using Sandy instead of Papervision or Away3D.
First thing is I’ve seen the birth of Sandy. 3 years ago or so I was chatting with kiroukou who was developing for fun a 3D engine ( no name at this time ). He was showing me stuff he was doing. Thing is I know Kiroukou and while developing the website I knew it could give me a hand when needed. That was a plus
Second, I like going with underdog that worth it. Everyone has the Papervision fever, and seems to forget that other engines exist and worth trying; here Sandy 3 but also away3D.
Finally Sandy 3 has a good clipping / culling engine and event system ( that others didn’t have when we’ve started the project ).

It has been my first real immersion in Sandy. And I have to say that it’s really easy to catch up how everything is working thus to create your world. And now Sandy has really cool features ( PrecisionBitmap, Lights revisited, … ) that it didn’t had when we started the project.
So people, give Sandy a try and leave feedbacks on the forum on http://www.flashsandy.org :)

So anyway, it was great fun to do :)
I would love to hear what you have to say…
++

  • Alex

    Hi,

    I’m french, so sorry for my english. I’m on a study-project which use 3D in as3. i’m using sandy too, for same reason you said, (even if i dont know personaly kiroukou). I just visit thelowdown and i find it awesome. so.. congratz guy! My project, I’m working on, is a navigation inside a cube, like thelowdown, but i’m perpetually slown down with CPU usage. I thought about using others clips (cube’s faces) in 2D world, but i was not certain of this way. Thx for your explanation of how keep CPU usage as low as possible.
    Have you some codesources u can show?

    thx a lot, and see u
    Alex

  • Alex

    Hi,

    I’m french, so sorry for my english. I’m on a study-project which use 3D in as3. i’m using sandy too, for same reason you said, (even if i dont know personaly kiroukou). I just visit thelowdown and i find it awesome. so.. congratz guy! My project, I’m working on, is a navigation inside a cube, like thelowdown, but i’m perpetually slown down with CPU usage. I thought about using others clips (cube’s faces) in 2D world, but i was not certain of this way. Thx for your explanation of how keep CPU usage as low as possible.
    Have you some codesources u can show?

    thx a lot, and see u
    Alex

  • Kyle Hunter

    I’m interested in having a website developed using particular aspects used in the Lowdown site. How do I contact you to discuss the needs of our company?

  • Anonymous

     Hello Kyle, I will send you an email tonight from my company email.
    Thanks for your interest.