Home > Articles > Web Development > Dreamweaver & Flash

Selecting and Dragging Flash MX Movie Clips

  • Print
  • + Share This
To use allow the user to interact with your Flash movies, you've got to make your movies act like real computer applications. In this lesson you will begin to learn user interface interaction by creating selectable and dragable movie clips.

See all Sams Teach Yourself on InformIT Design & Creative Media Tutorials.

This chapter is from the book

The most basic actions in most modern computer programs use object selection and dragging to help the user express what he wants to do. If all you do is move files around on your desktop, you are doing a lot of selecting and dragging.

It makes sense, then, to learn how to re-create this functionality in your Flash movies.

In this hour, you will:

  • Learn how to create selectable movie clips

  • See how to allow the user to drag movie clips around the screen

  • Use draggable movie clips to allow the user to make choices

  • Create a simple matching game

Selection

You have already learned how to make buttons that allow the user to click and make an action occur. A different type of user interface element, however, allows the user to select an item on the screen.

The difference is that a user clicks to make a selection, and that movie clip changes its appearance. But nothing else happens. This way, the user can make or change her selections. After that, the user can click another button or perform another action.

We'll use selections as the first step toward learning how to drag and drop movie clips, the goal of this hour.

Button Inside the Movie Clip Method

A movie clip cannot simply react to a mouse click. Unlike a button, it cannot use an on (release) or on (press) handler.

So you have to be tricky. You put a button inside a movie clip. The button can handle the mouse clicks as long as it is big enough to cover the entire movie clip.

The example 08buttoninmc.fla illustrates this. When you look at the movie, you will see that it has a single movie clip on the screen. Inside that movie clip is a single button.

To turn this into a selectable movie clip, we'll have to make this into a multiframe movie clip. The first frame contains the button named Off Button. This button has the following script:

on (release) {
  this.gotoAndStop(2);
}

By referring to this, the button is referencing the movie clip that it is in. Frame 2 of the movie clip contains a similar button named On Button. The difference is that the On Button is a little brighter, indicating that the movie clip has been selected. The script on this movie clip is similar:

on (release) {
  this.gotoAndStop(1);
}

As you might guess, by clicking the button on frame 2, the movie clip goes to frame 1, where the original Off Button is located. By clicking the buttons in the movie clip over and over again, the movie clip goes back and forth between frames 1 and 2.

The only thing left is to place a stop(); command on the first frame of the movie clip. You can go to the example movie 07buttoninmc.fla to try this out.

hitTest Method

You can detect a mouse click in a movie clip without a button. However, this method is a little trickier. After you learn it, though, it is a much cleaner solution.

To detect a mouse click on a movie clip without a button, use the onClipEvent(mouseDown) or onClipEvent(mouseUp) movie clip handlers. For instance, you can place the following script on a movie clip:

onClipEvent (mouseUp) {
  this.gotoAndStop(2);
}

The example movie 08twomcs1.fla contains two instances of the same movie clip with this same script applied to both. Two frames are in the movie clip, each with a different colored circle. A stop(); command is on the first frame of the movie clip.

When you try this movie, you will see right away why the onClipEvent(mouseUp) handler is different from the on(release) handler used on buttons. If you click on one movie clip, they both react.

This is because all movie clips get the mouseUp event sent to them. It is not exclusive to just the movie clip under the cursor.

Determining Which Movie Clip Was Clicked

There is a way to determine which movie clip has been clicked. The hitTest function tests a mouse location with a movie clip to see whether the location is inside the movie clip. So, by modifying the script, we can only send the correct movie clip to its second frame. You can see this one in example 08twomcs2.fla.

onClipEvent (mouseUp) {
  if (this.hitTest(_root._xmouse, _root._ymouse)) {
    this.gotoAndStop(2);
  }
}

The hitTest function can work a variety of different ways. In this case, it is fed the x and y values of the mouse location. It is prefaced with this so that it refers to the current movie clip. When the user clicks anywhere, the onClipEvent (mouseUp) handlers in all the movie clips get triggered. Then, both of the movie clips perform the hitTest test; only one that is under the mouse will test positive and jump to frame 2.

A Selection Script

To change this into a selection script, we have to allow the user to click the movie clip multiple times and change the state of the movie clip from off to on and back to off again.

The script has to determine which state the movie clip is currently in and then send the clip to the other frame. The script can determine the current state by looking at the current frame of the movie clip. This can be done with the aptly named _currentFrame property. This property reads 1 when the movie clip is on the first frame and 2 when it is on the second.

Here is the new script. You can see it in 08twomcs3.fla. This is a complex script because it first tests the location of the mouse and then tests the current frame of the movie clip.

onClipEvent (mouseUp) {
  if (this.hitTest(_root._xmouse, _root._ymouse)) {
    if (this._currentFrame == 1) {
      this.gotoAndStop(2);
    } else {
      this.gotoAndStop(1);
    }
  }
}

Now you have seen two completely different ways of making selectable movie clips. I like the second way better because you don't end up with the extra library symbols of the buttons. The advantage of using buttons, however, is that they can easily contain up, down, and over states, which are sometimes nice for user feedback as users make their choices.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020