Matchstick Game (Shared Actions)

Intro

A while ago, with Captivate version 8, I created a SWF version of this game. If you have a browser (such as Internet Explorer) supporting the Flash Player plugin, you can have a look using this link.  With that verrsion I could take advantage of the brand new Shared Actions, which allowed to have variables defined as parameters. In version  CP7 where shared actions were introduced, that was not yet possible.

Today HTML5 output is the standard. Moreover Captivate in recent versions has added some very useful features, which I would like to use to create a new version of this game:

  • Multistate objects, making the old Hide/Show workflows unnecessary, sparing time which was needed for resetting. Feature was added with CP9.
  • Guides and Rulers make setting up layout so much easier. Feature was added with second release of CP9.
  • New commands in Advanced actions: ‘Go to Next State’, ‘Go to Previous State’, ‘Delay Next actions by’  appeared in CP2017 with the new version of the dialog box)
  • Effects 2.0
  • Bitmap image used as button, new feature in CP2019,  release 11.5. I also used some design elements from the Quick Start Projects.

Why didn’t I use SVGs i this case? The stock image which I used to create the different matchsticks, did lead to smaller file size for PNG than for SVG. I know that they may be blurry when upscaled. There is no problem with the clickable area being the bounding box, due to the shape of the matchsticks. That is often the reason why I prefer SVG, but not the case here.

Have some fun with either the scalable version using this link, or with the embedded version (rules are explained in the file):


Tip: have a look at the end of the blog for a suggestion...

Setup

The example file has 4 slides, using some design elements (and colors) from the Quick Start Project 'Wired':

  • Title slide with a 'Play' button, which triggers the default 'Go to Next Slide' command
  • Intro slide, explaining the Game rules and a Start button. The On Enter event of this slide has an advanced action. Slide has double action: explaining rules on first visit, dummy slide on next visits. Such a dummy slide is necessary for a Reset action/
  • Game slide: On enter event is also used as advanced action trigger. More details below.
  • End slide

Slide Game - Timeline and Layout

I set up a grid of guides fo-r the game slide. It will be very useful when adding a second game slide based on another word:

The timeline is used to have the Next button and the final set of matchsticks (with flames) appear when necessary. No Hide/Show actions were needed:

You see on this timeline: 

  1. Gr_Match has been expanded, with 15 multistate objects, the Matchsticks. They are labeled in a logical way: start with Mt _ (Match), followed by a number for the group (1-3) and second number for the matchsticks, starting from left to right, top to bottom. Example: Mt_12 is the top stick in the first group, Mt_25 is the bottom stick in the second group.
  1. All are PNGs used as buttons, their timeline ends ar 1.6secs and pausing point is at 1.5secs. The Rollover and Down states have been taken out, a custom state 'Burnt' has been added:
  2. Feedback: a multistate smart shape timed for the rest of the slide. Normal state is made invisible, Success, Late and Cheat state were added:
  3. SB_Reset: shape button timed for the rest of the slide, default setting (pausing point not really necessary), timed for the rest of the slide. It triggers the simple action 'Go to Previous Slide'.
  4. SB_Next: shape button, appearing at 2.5secs, pausing point at 0.7secs. This means that the button will be invisible while playing the game.
  5. Gr_End:  group with burning matchstick images. Timeline starts at 1.6 seconds, till the end of the slide. That group will also remain invisible to the learner during the game.

Variables

You'll need a whole bunch of variables (4+15):

v_correct: will track the number of correctly removed matchsticks; start value = 0

v_moves: wil track the number of removed matchsticks; start value = 0

v_max: fixed value, number of matches that may be removed; will be populated in EnterGame action

v_visit: to track the visits to slide Intro;  start value = 0

v_11, v_12....v_35: Boolean variables , one for each matchstick, start value = 0; they track if the matchstick has been removed (value = 1) or not. The labeling is using the same logic as for the Mt_ labels. That makes it easy wen defining parameters.

Events and Actions

EnterIntro

As the name tells, this advanced action is triggered by the On Enter event of the second slide 'Intro'. 

It is an easy to understand conditional action, based on the tracking variable v_visit. On first visit the slide is played normally, on following visits the slide is skipped immediately, and re-enters the Game slide. That is necessary to reset variables for that slide.

Because it is used only once, I didn't convert it into a shared action. Nevertheless, could be a useful conversion but that will be explained in another blog post.

EnterGame

Triggered by the On Enter event of the Game slide, is used to reset all the variables. 

Similar to EnterIntro, it could be interesting to convert to a shared action. Explanation in that same future blog post (or webinar?).

Match_NOK (shared action)

This action is triggered by the Success event of the matchstick buttons, for those who should NOT be removed (hence the N in the name of the action). Here are screenshots of the action with indication of the parameters, and the description of the parameters:

The action has three conditional decisions.

  1.  First decision 'Doing' checks the value of the tracking Boolean variable, because the matchstick can be clicked to remove it (v_xx == 0) or to restore it (v_cc ==1). The variable tracking the number of moves will be incremented or decremented.
  1. Second decision  'Checker' compares the number of moves with the allowed maximum, and shows a message (state) when that maximum has been reached. I used the Delay command, to have the message disappear after a while.

  2. Third decision 'Cheat'  will lead to another message (state) if more than the allowed removals have been done. Again Delay command was necessary, ;this time to create an automatic Reset by going to the Intro slide.

This shared action has been used 9 times. Only the first two parameters have to be entered carefully, the other 4 are always the same.

Match_OK (shared action)

This action is triggered by the Success even of the matchstick buttons which need to be removed. Here are screenshots of the action with indication of the parameters,(2 extra compared with the previous shared action: Success state and the Gr_Match):

The first three decisions are similar to those of Match_NOK. Just one exception: this time the variable v_correct needs to be incremented/decremented within the first decision. A last decision 'End' was necessary for the Success situation, where v_max removals  (here 6) resulted in the correct word. 

More?

If you are pretty new to Variables, Advanced and Shared actions, this may seem very complicated. 

What if you want another slide with another word, maybe another number of maximal removals? 

You want to recreate such a game, maybe with other objects than matchsticks? 

It could be done without having to create any variable, just by using shared actions. Wished I could explain this in a workshop . Would you be interested? It is a very nice example of the way shared actions can allow you to create interactions WITHOUT PROGRAMMING SKILLS.   You don't have to believe me, of course... let me know if you want to participate  You can contact me using the mail address, or go to my website and fill in the contact form mentioning this invitation. 






Intermediate Score Slides in 2020

Intro

Quite a while ago, in the SWF period, I created a similar post. Time to upgrade to make it ready for HTML output, using the newly added features in Captivate and fix the original problem (Review not functioning well).

As explained before, showing intermediate score slides, will not affect the reporting to a LMS. It is still a SCORM requirement that each course will transmit only one score, in this case the total score of all parts of the quiz. However showing intermediate scores can be helpful both for the learner and the developer: taking decisions based on the partial results are possible.

Since that old article, the powerful Drag&Drop slides were added to the Quiz toolset. A D&D slide can be scored, results can be added to the total score. They will not completely behave as the other quiz types. Have already posted some tweaking suggestions in previous posts.  The example file includes a D&D slide, which will have a Review status similar to the other quiz slides. The setup for such a Review status will be explained in a separate blog post.

Example file

It has three parts with questions about the three main stumbling blocks for Captivate users: Timeline, Quiz and Theme. You will see the progress (score)  for that part on each quiz slide,. Each part ends with a custom score slide. You can answer the different parts in any sequence, but after finishing all of them, you will be able to go to the final score slide, which  is the default score slide. You are free to explore the Review status using its button on the final score slide.

In the questions you’ll see that penalty, partial scoring etc have been used and are reported correctly.

Check your Captivate knowledge. There is only one attempt both on Question and on Quiz level. You can use this link for a scalable version or watch the embedded version (fixed resolution) here:


Overview and logic

The less-known Advanced Interactions panel offers a good overview.  On the dashboard three click boxes take care of navigation to the parts. You’ll see 5 question slides for the first part (Timeline), 4 for the second part (Quiz) and six for the third part (Theme). I collapsed the Drag&Drop slide, complete setup of that slide will be in the next blog post. You’ll see that I did use the Success and Failure events of the quiz slides (1 attempt) and several On Enter slide events. Both Advanced and Shared actions were used.

On the last quiz slide of each part, a Back button takes the learner back to the first slide, the Dashboard.  The former text ‘Part x’ will be replaced by the score obtained for that part, once it has been done. When all quizzes have been answered, the instruction text ‘Please, select an avatar’ is replaced by a originally hidden button which allows to go to the Final score slide, which is the default score slide of Captivate.

Setup

Variables

Quite a bunch of variables were necessary.

Part 1 (Timeline)

v_Timeline: will have the score obtained by the learner for this quiz part (Timeline), it is the partial equivalent of the system variable cpQuizInfoPointsscored

v_TimeCorrect: will track the number of correct answers for the part. Equivalent of the global variable cpQuizInfoTotalCorrectAnswers

v_TimeMax: will be used to calculate the maximum score which can be obtained for this part. Equivalent of the global variable cpQuizIntoTotalQuizPoints

v_TimePerc: will be used to calculate the percentage acquired for this part, equivalent of the global variable cpInfoPercentage.

For the number of questions in each part, I preferred to type in the literal value. It would have been possible to make this also tracked automatically of course.

Part 2 (Quiz)/ Part 3 (Theme)

A similar group of 4 variables were created, They are labeled v_Quiz, v_QuizCorrect, v_QuizMax and v_QuizPerc for the part Qui; for the Theme part they are v_Theme, v_ThemeCorrect, v_ThemeMax and v_ThemePerc.

Other

Instead of adding more variables to track which parts have been completed, I preferred using the Max variables for tracking, It was necessary to calculate the sum of those variables, hence an extra variable v_sum, which also had a default value of 0.

More variables were needed for the Drag&Drop slide setup, but they’ll be explained in the next blog post.

Events and Actions

Dashboard slide

On Enter event triggers: EnterDash (Advanced action)

To prevent the learner to press a click box multiple times, it needs to be disabled after the first attempt. That first attempt is identified by checking the score. There is a minimum chance that the learner had a zero score, didn’t expect that to happen but if it is the case, you would need an extra tracking variable which could be a Boolean.

Click Box Success events trigger: CBTimelineAct, CBQzAct, CBThAct (Advanced actions). This is a preview of the CBTimelineAct:

The Done state of the text object will show the obtained score instead of the default text ‘Part x’.  The two other click box actions are similar, you need to edit the Text object name and the slide to jump to. I preferred a duplicate action instead of a shared action, because it is rather simple, only two lines and used three times.

Shape Button SB_Final Success event: simple action ‘Jump to Slide FinalScore’

Quiz Slides (all)

Success event on the Quiz Properites: CorrectAct (Shared action)

This shared action is used by all quiz slides (14) except by the Drag&Drop slide (see next post) where I used the shared action as a template for a slightly different Success action:

Last Attempt event in Quiz Properties: WrongAct (Shared action)

Similar to the CorrectAct, used 14 times and once as template for the Drag&Drop Last attempt action:

If you are worried about the + operator for the negative points: the value of that system variable is negative by default.

First Quiz Slides

On Enter event: EnterFirstQuestAct (Shared action)

The avatars identifying the part on the quiz slides (needed to edit the master slides to make place for this custom group) have two extra text fields, one identifying the part, and one with the obtained score.

Last Quiz Slides

Success event Back shape button: BackAct (Advanced action)

Same advanced action is used for all Back buttons:

The second decision checks if all parts have been done and will show the button to jump to the final score slide if that is correct.

Intermediate Score slides

On Enter event: EnterScoreTimeline, EnterScoreQuiz, EnterScoreTheme (Advanced actions). Here a preview of the Timeline versoin:

The second decision is meant to skip the score slide during Review. The other advanced actions are similar to this one, just replace the variables. With the JS the percentage is formatted to maximum 1 decimal.

Final Score slide

On Enter event: Enter: EnterFinal (Advanced action)

Reminder: the avatars on the quiz slides are groups – see above.

More?

Lot more is possible of course. I didn’t insert a decision based on the already acquired intermediate scores but it is easy to do. I didn’t provide multiple attempts on quiz level, nor on question level. Comparing with my old article about Intermediate Score slides, the Review functionality is preserved however. Using the shared actions is a big improvement as well. I didn’t insert a progress indicator, because it would need more advanced actions, due to the splitting in parts and the presence of the Drag&Drop slide.

About the integration of the Drag&Drop slide,  especially its custom Review state, you’ll learn in the next blog post.

Percentage Progress indicator (non-linear course) - Solution 1

Goal

All tutorials about showing progress as a percentage have the same limitation: you need to view the course in a linear way, no branching or other non-linear navigation. Even in the TOC the indicated Time at the bottom is supposing you are in a linearly visited course. In the TOC the checkmarks at the slides are the only way to see which slides have been visited in a non-linear course, there is no real progress indicator. Recently someone asked (again) for a progress indicator (percentage) that would be functional in a non-linear course. 

I have created two possible solutions, All is slide-based, which is the reason for the two solutions:

  1. Easiest solution will show the % on each slide, but not after having viewed the slide, but when entering the slide.
  2. More perfect solution will show the percentage after having viewed the slides. Bit more complicated.
A bunch of Boolean variables and one shared action are what you need in both cases. In the second case I needed one very short advanced action as well. JS was necessary as usual to format the percentage display (no decimals, but can easily be changed). This post will explain the first (easy) solution.

Example

I took 19 slides out of the Quick Start Project ‘League’ and didn’t edit them with the exception of the Title slide. They are just used for testing the workflow. The default playbar, with its progress bar has been preserved. That is meant for comparison with the custom progress indicator. To allow you to navigate to slides in a non-linear way, I added the Table of Content, with navigation allowed. It is in Overlay, with the default Expand and Collapse buttons. Feel free to click in any sequence, and watch the progress indicator. I choose 19 slides, not 20 to show that it is possible with any amount of slides, even odd numbers. Here is a link to the scalable version:

Progress indicator for non-linear course

Or you can watch the embedded version (fixed resolution):


Setup

Variables

Each slide needs a slide tracking variable, user defined of the Boolean type. Its start value is set to 1. Variable names are not important, I labeled them v_1, v_2,…..v_19 because it is easier to link them to the slides.  Boring work, sure but I always have a shared action ready in an external library with a bunch of variables and import them using the trick 1 explained in Rare tips for Shared Actions. Each Boolean will be toggled to 1 when visiting the slide for the first time.

Total number of visited slides will be stored in another user variable v_total, also starting with 0 as value.

The percentage viewed slides, which is displayed in a text shape (red), inserted on the first slide and timed for the rest of the project, is stored in the user variable v_perc.

The system variable cpInfoSlideCount will be used as well,which stores the total number of slides.

Events – Shared Action ‘CalcPerc’

That shared action is triggered 19 times, with the On Enter event of the slides:

The Shared Action is straightforward and needs only one parameter: the slide tracking variable:

The JS is needed to avoid too many decimals for the calculated percentage:

var perc = window.cpAPIInterface.getVariableValue(“v_perc”);  window.cpAPIInterface.setVariableValue(“v_perc”,perc.toFixed(0));

The second solution where the progress will show the percentage viewed slides more correctly will be posted in another article, with its example file.

Review wrong answers in Quiz, skip correct answers

Intro

Similar to most Captivate developers I am busy converting legacy projects with SWF output to HTML output (in my blog). Quite a long time ago, based on questions from users, I wrote this blog post: Limit Review.  At that moment the version was Captivate 6 output was of course to SWF. If you want to view the embedded file, you'll need  Flash Player enabled browser to watch it.

I updated this blog post and created a new Example project. It is interesting to see how much easier the workflow has become, due to two new features:
  • Shared Actions: available since version 7 and improved with version 8. One of my favorite features, much underestimated by most developers for totally unknown reasons. Whereas in the old post I had to create 2 advanced actions for each quiz slide, this new version has only two shared actions, with one parameter.
  • New system variable cpInReviewMode (Quizzing category). It is a Boolean variable with a default value=0. That value will automatically be toggled to 1 when in Review mode.

Example file

I used the edited Theme, based on the Quick Start project ‘Alliance’ which I also used in my previous post with the Survey about upgrading legacy projects. HTML5 output is not as smooth as SWF output. You can compare the old post  (see link mentioned before) .

The example has 7 question slides, different types, using partial scoring and penalty. You can play the rescalable version from this link or watch the embedded one here:


Setup

Variables

This is the only remainder of the original blog.  We will be using another quizzing system variable cpQuizInfoLastSlidePointScored. The value of this variable is changing with each quiz slide. That change happens with the second step of the Submit Process.  More info about the Submit Process of a question slide can be found in this blog post.

We need to track the score for each quiz slide. To achieve that, a user variable is needed for each question slide. In this case, we need 7 user variables. No default value needed:

Labels are not so important, you just need to be able to link them to the quiz slides. If you have a shared action ready as in the first item of ‘Rare tips for Shared Actions‘ that is fine as well.

Events

All events are on the quiz slides:
  • On Enter event: will be used for a shared action EnterReviewAct. Tip: in the Advanced Interaction panel, this action will not appear (which is a pity). The reason is that the columns Success (which normally has the action for On Enter) and Failure (normally On Exit action) are used for the question actions. You can see the Usage of this action in the Library of course. Logically it has been used 7 times, because of the 7 quiz slides:



  • Success event of question (Quiz panel): will trigger a Shared action ‘ScoreQuestionAct’.

  • Last Attempt of question (Quiz panel): will trigger the same Shared action.  This action will be used 14 times. ave a look at this screenshot of the Advanced Interaction panel, where both the Success and Last Attempt events are registered:


Shared Actions

ScoreQuestionAct

This is a very simple standard action, copies the value of the system variable cpQuizInfoLastSlidePointScore to the tracking user variable. That variable is the unique parameter:

This action is triggered by both Success and Last Attempt events. It happens sometimes that you get an error, because the same parameter is used for both events. That is a bug in Captivate, which I have reported since a while, but the actions will work perfectly.

EnterReviewAct

This conditional action triggered by the On Enter event, checks two conditions:

  • Is the learner in Review mode?
  • Did the learner have a positive score on this slide? As you can see in the Advanced Interaction panel (screenshot in previous part),  I used penalty and partial scores.   Partial scored questions are counted as ‘correct’ answers in Captivate.

If both conditions are true, the slide will be skipped.

More?

Maybe you have some comments?  I don’t have a crystal ball, but feel like these two questions may pop up:

  1. Can this workflow also be used for random questions? 
    Answer is Yes: you need to trigger the shared actions for all quiz slides in the pool(s). Of course, you cannot have partial scoring, not penalty in a question pool.

  2. Can you avoid skipping partial scored questions?
    I see a way to do this, but wait for your suggestions.


Interactivity in Captivate (Back to basics)

Intro

Recently I presented a webinar about Interactivity in Captivate. It was not a public webinar, but composed of Adobe Community Professionals. Lot of the attendees were new to Captivate but well versed in other Adobe applications. However there were also some CP-experts. As usual I don’t present with Powerpoint, but with a Captivate presentation.  That makes it possible to publish later as an interactive tutorial, which you'll be able to view. It needed some editing of course to allow full control to the learner. Narration was added as well.

The design is based on the Quick Start Project 'Wired' included in the Assets panel of 11.5.1.499. Based on it I  created a personalized Theme, since that project in its non-responsive version has no master slides. The original fonts were replaced by two Adobe fonts (Termina and Filson Soft family). The interactions were recreated with workflows which I prefer over the embedded ones. 

The goal was to show popular workflows to create interactivity. You will see: Branching (menu), Forced viewing,  Progress bars, Click&Reveal, Drag&Drop, Knowledge Check slides, Games. In the webinar the presentation was used along demonstrations of the used workflows in simple examples, with lot of good practice tips. Lot of multi-state objects were used, Guides, import of source Photoshop files, shared/advanced actions and variables.

The menu slide after the start slide is the pillar. When you see a Back to Menu button appear, you'll be navigated back to this slide. The tooltip for this back button is part of the Rollover state.

Click to see the presentation in a rescalable version or watch the embedded version (fixed resolution) below:

Feedback

Did you like this presentation? Would you like more 'back to basics' blogs, or tutorials? Do you have questions? Are you able to recreate the demonstrated workflows? Lot of questions where I would like to see some answers.


Find the differences (game)

To all readers: best wishes for a healthy and enthralling 2020!

Have some fun with this small game, created from an Adobe Stock image, using Illustrator (for assets) and Captivate 11.5. Again SVGs are used extensively. You can play the embedded game (fixed resolution) but I recommend to play it from this link which is a rescalable version. It may be easier to find the differences, especially if you are using a big screen.


Lot of SVGs, some multistate objects, one shared action, two small advanced actions + two variables. If you follow me since a while you know that I had lot of fun with all my favourite Captivate tools.  I didn't use any Javascript directly (actions are converted to JS on runtime) but I’m sure this can be done with JS as well.

The usual white screen with grey arrow is replaced by a poster image. After the mysterious title slide game, game and end image are all on the second slide.

Setup

Objects and Timeline

SVGs reign as you can see in the screenshot of the Timeline panel of the game slide:

The stacking (z-order) of the objects is important. From bottom to top you see:

  • Two instances of the same image (SV_Correct to the left and SV_NOK to the right.
  • Two text containers which show the two titles (Tx_Correct and Tx_Difference).
  • A click box CB_Wrong: it is important that this click box is below all other interactive objects, and that its pausing point is at the same time as the other ones (here 1.5secs).
  • 7 SVGs functioning as buttons. Those are the correct hotspots (if you want to cheat... look at the labels). They need to be on top of the click box, but the stacking sequence of those SVGs is not important. The Rollover and Down states of those SVGs have been deleted. One custom state 'Down' has been added, which has the Chinese character for 'OK'.
  • A multistate object functioning as progress bar. The Normal state is invisible (Alpha set to 0), and you see all the states in this screenshot:

    Just a note: there are some display problems with SVGs in the present version, and that can make the previous screenshot bit confusing. Although the circles have the same size in all states, they seem to be smaller when more circles are present. Moreover something seems to be wrong with the C4 state: total width seems smaller than for the other states. Reason was that originally that state switched to 'Custom', instead of Original.
    In this case it is very important that the option 'Original' size is forced for each state.
  • A shape 'Cover', which is rectangular filled with Solid dark gray, with Alpha = 70%.
  • Final image 'SV_Eind' (sorry for the Dutch label). 

Variables 

Two user variables were created:

  • v_counter: with a start value of 0, will be incremented when a correct hotspot has been clicked.
  • v_hotspot: will be set to the number of hotspots minus 1; in this case it is set to 6 since there are 7 hotspots.

Advanced Actions

Two advanced actions are used:

EnterGame triggered by the On Enter event of the Game slide

As usual this standard action will prepare the correct situation for the slide:

WrongAct triggered by the Success event of the Click box CB_Wrong

Another rather simple standard action, to let some audio play and have effects with the cover:


Shared Action 'CorrectHotspot' triggered by the SVG buttons (Success event)

The most important script for this game. Several actions happen when a correct hotspot is clicked:

  • An effect is applied to emphasize the clicked SVG, in this example I used a ScaleTo effect.
  • Secondary an audio clip is played (sort of congratulation)
  • The hotspot needs to be disabled, to avoid having it clicked multiple times.
  • To track the number of discovered hotspots, the counter variable needs to be incremented.
  • Progress has to change in the indicator (yellow circles multistate object)
  • When all hotspots have been found, the final image has to appear (with an effect).

This is a Preview of a filled in action, where the 5 necessary parameters are marked in a color rectangle:

None of the candidate parameters need to be a parameter: the two variables (v_counter and v_hotspot) nor the literals. As I have emphasized many times, it can be tricky to define a literal as parameter. In this particular case it could have been possible to indicate the Delay time needed to listen to the audio clip being defined as parameter. That would be necessary if you want to use audio clips with very different lengths for the the individual hotspots. The parameters are visible in this screenshot:

Why shared action instead of duplicate advanced actions?

You can use exactly the same shared action if you have a different number of hotspots (differences). Just edit the action EnterGame to replace the value to be assigned to the variable v_hotspot. It is the reason I replaced the literal '6' by a variable v_hotspot. Several parameters are used multiple times in the shared action: the name of the progress bar, the hotspot, the audio clip. When using duplicate advanced actions you would have to edit quite a lot. 

One of the disadvantages is the fixed status of the applied Effects. If you want another effect, use the shared action as template for an advanced action, replace the effects and save it as a new Shared action. If you are new to shared actions: contrary to advanced actions it is perfectly possible to save a new action with the same name, provided the older one is no longer used.






Forced view - special use case

Intro

Another blog and example output, due to a question by a user today. 

“I have groups of slides. Each group consists of a handful of slides that has event video on each slide and nothing else. The videos autoplay. The user can enter these groups at any point and must watch each video before being redirected back to a main menu. “

After I had gotten all details, I created this example file. The assets panel in 11.5 was very useful as you can see. Only Chapter 1 has been worked out with 4 slides containing event videos. For Chapter 2 and 3 only one slide is available with a back to menu button. Try it out: you can start with any video, but then the sequence will be linear: 1-2-3-4, 2-3-4-1, 3-4-1-2 and 4-1-2-3 are all possible. You can use the Chapter 1 button on the main menu as many times as you wish. It should be foolproof. However… you have to watch the videos from start till end.

The embedded movie is at a fixed resolution. The project is published as Scalable HTML and you can also play it directly in any resolution from this link.


Setup

Variables

Four Boolean variables were created: v_one, v_two, v_three, v_four. They are meant to track each if a video has been viewed completely. Only when all variables are toggled to 1, will the learner being returned to the main menu slide. The default value is 0 and will be set by a shared action (see later).

Events and actions

Enter event of video slides 1-2-3-4

This event is used to trigger an advanced action which will check the value of the 4 variables. If they have all the value 1, the learner will be navigated back to the menu slide. Have a look at  the Preview of this action:


Exit event of video slides 1-2-3

For the first three video slides this event is used to trigger a simple action, similar to this one for the first slide:

Assign v_one with 1

Only the variable is different for the second and third slide. Since the sequence is linear, after that event the playhead will continue to the next slide. There is no pausing point on the slide, which makes it possible to use this event.

Exit event of video slide 4

The action is now more complicated, because two situations are possible:
  1. All video slides are viewed (learner started with first video)
  2. Not all video slides are viewed (learner did not start with first video)

The first situation means that the learner will be navigated to the main menu slide, the second that he still has to view video 1 and maybe more. This means we need a conditional advanced action. Here is the screenshot:

Since the exit event has also to toggle the variable v_four, I used two decisions. The first one ‘Always’ is toggling that variable. The second decision is the conditional one described above.

Success event of the Video buttons (Chapter 1 slide)

You would expect them to trigger a simple ‘Jump to Slide’ action. However, since the learner will return to the menu slide, and can restart viewing Chapter 1, there is a need to reset the variables. This event was used for that purpose as well. It is a perfect example of an action where a shared action can save a lot of time, because it will have only one parameter: the slide to jump to. All variables, and the literal ‘0’ do not have to be parameters. Here is the screenshot of a filled in action for the first video button:

Since both remaining chapters will have a similar group of video slides, this approach can be used there as well, to reuse the same variables. The advanced actions described before, can be duplicated and edited. The shared action can be used as it is without any change.

Sliding Menu

Intro 

This post is meant as an answer to a thread posted in the eLearning community. "I want to create a menu that slides on and off the screen, like a door that moves to the left and right, when the user clicks a button." I invite you to read the comment by Greg Stager who is posting some links to blogs he wrote where JS is used to create slider solutions. As you know, I often try to use only Captivate features to solve similar use cases instead of JS. This is a new example. You'll find a step-by-step workflow to recreate the example I show. The shape (which I use as 'box') is not having a menu, I invite you to (re-)read my post about Hyperlinks for the creation of a Dropdown menu. They are a great way to avoid creating multiple interactive objects in the 'box'. 

If you don't like creating advanced actions, I have an offer at the end of the post to make your life easier...

Example

Watch this short file, only three slides after the 3 seconds long Title slide. They have two buttons (from the Assets panel in 11.5): a Next button on top, and the Slide toggle button below it. You can use the toggle button as many times as you wish on a slide. To restart, refresh the browser.


Step-by-step workflow

Step 0: Next button on master slide

I used only one master slide in this project, which made it easy to put the Next button on that master slide. I kept the default option 'Pause project until user clicks' (Actions tab). That will result in having each slide paused at its last frame.

Step 1: Sliding assets

Two assets have to be created and put on the first slide where you want to use the sliding box:

  • Sliding Box: I used a rectangular shape, labeled SS_slider. You can add content to it, but make sure that you check the Options tab, because you will need both the size and the exact x/y coordinates. Here a screenshot of my setup, since it was in a non-responsive project you see both size and location in px. If it was a responsive project, it would have been in %. Put the box in the wanted position after sliding in.

  • Toggle button (SB_Slider): will be used both for slide in and out. You need to create an extra custom state for this button, I labeled it Out. Remember that Rollover nor Down state can change when you switch from the Normal to the Out state, hence make those states neutral (I did not add text to them).

Time the Sliding Box and the Toggle button for the rest of the project, with the option 'Always on top'. The Timeline of that slide will look like this:


Step 2: Custom Out Effect

Create a time-based effect to get the sliding box out of the stage. Do not use an Exit effect, but a simple motion path. I added an AlphaFromTo effect as well (100% to 0%), and reduced the duration of both effects to 1 second. 

Workflow to save this effect as a custom effect is described in detail in this post. Do use that method after you have done step 3:

Step 3: Create Guides

Show the Rulers (View menu) and create two vertical guides, through the start and end point of the motion path. See this screenshot:

They will be needed to create the In Effect, to be exactly the opposite of the Out effect. Now you can save the custom effect, and take it out from the slider box.

If you didn't use a horizontal motion path, you'll need also horizontal guides. If you need more information about using Guides and Rulers, look at 'Guides Rule'.

Step 4: Move slider box in Out position

Use the guide in the scratch area to move the slider box to the correct position. I mostly use shortcut key (SHIFT or CTRL combined with left arrow) to keep that movement horizontal. For a non-horizontal movement, you use vertical and horizontal guide. You'll see a screenshot of the new position in step 5

Step 5: Custom In Effect

Create this effect using the two guides (or four if you needed also horizontal guides). In the screenshot you see this effect, where I combined a motion path effect with an AlphaFromTo effect (0 to 100%). Save the effect, same as for the Out custom effect. 

Step 6: Hide Slider box

Use the On Enter action of the slide to hide the Slider box. 


Pause

Now comes the hard work: you could skip steps 7-9 and scroll immediately to the bottom for an offer. 

Step 7: Variable v_slider

Create a user variable, which I named v_slider. It will be used to track the status of the Slider box: in or out? Similar logic you'll be able to see for all the Toggle buttons in this older post.

Step 8: Advanced Action ResetSlide

Create this advanced action (conditional):

The items marked by in this action will be parameters if you convert it to a shared action. Beware: the name of the custom effect cannot be a parameter! I used TestIn and TestOut as names, you can replace them by your names if they are different.

Step 9: Advanced Action ToggleSlider

Create this conditional action. Like with the previous actin, I indicated the 4 parameters if converted to a shared action.

 

Step 10: Attach the actions to events

The action ResetSlide has to be triggered by the Success event of the Next button, whereas ToggleSlider has to be linked to the Success event of the toggle button.

Offer

You can obtain the described actions as shared actions for free, including a short explanation of how to use them. You could skip steps 7 to 9, but still have to do the other steps.

How? Visit my website (lilybiri.com), fill in the contact form with your request, and a small comment on my blogs or website. You'll get everything by mail. I probably will post more offers in the near future, if you don't want to hear about them, you can indicate that as well (I am European, respect the GDPR).

About State Commands and a Progress Bar

Intro

Recently a user posted a question about using the 'Go to Next State' command used in Advanced actions. You can read our discussions in this thread.

Time to write out some tips for multistate objects. This blog wants to give an answer to the user, and has its focus only on that solution. I plan to publish more about the basics of states and their commands later on.  To me personally the introduction of multistate objects is in the list of my favourite features in Captivate, closely following Shared/Advanced actions and Shape buttons.

Example movie

Watch this published rescalable interactive movie. The second slide has three shape buttons, navigating to three slides where you can read and confirm reading, or click hotspots, or answer questions. Each of your actions will result in changes to the progress bar on that second slide. Beware: whenever you have clicked an interactive object it will be disabled!


Terminology Multistate objects

InBuilt States and Custom States

You can add custom states to any object, static or interactive.  In those states you can have many object types: graphics, video, audio... but no interactive objects nor hyperlinks.  The Normal state is the default state, which will always appear unless you have changed to a custom state using a command (in a simple or an advanced/shared action). You have a lot of freedom for custom states: contrary to the InBuilt states, nothing is locked tto the default normal state. You can have objects in a custom state that are in a totally different position from the Normal state. Custom states are always controlled by commands, not by a situation. If you want a custom state to remain for future visits to the slide where the multistate object is sitting, you need to check the option 'Retain state on slide revisit'.

Inbuilt States exist for these object types:

  • All types of buttons Shape buttons, Image buttons, Transparent buttons and Text buttons.  You have four of those styles: Normal, Rollover, Down and Visited. The first three are part of the button style.  You don’t have the same freedom for location of those states, they are locked to the Normal state (look for the Lock indicator).
  • Drag sources and Drop targets on a D&D slide. For more information see: InBuilt states for D&D

I will only talk about shape buttons here. Contrary to custom states Inbuilt states appear automatically in a situation: when not hovering over button (Normal), when hovering over button (Rollover), when pressing button (Down) and when after clicking/tapping (Visited, if it has been created). You can only control Normal and Visited by a commandif necessary, not the Rollover/Down states.. 

State commands

These commands are available both in a simple action (dropdown list in Actions) and in the Advanced Actions dialog box, to be used in advanced or shared actions:

  • Change State of …. to 
  • Go to Previous State  …..
  • Go to Next State ….

When you use these commands as a simple action, from the dropdown list inthe Actions tab, they can only be applied to multistate objects on the same slide as the event triggering the action (Slide event, interactive button events) The Hypelink even thas only the first command (Change State). 

If you insert one of the commands in an advanced/shared action they seem to be able to apply also to multistate objects on other slides. That is indeed the case for the ‘Change State’ command, but is NOT functional for the commands Go to Next/Previous States. I have logged this as a bug, because you are able to choose multistate objects on other slides, however without any effect. That was the reason of the question in the forums, described in the Intro. 

You could see in the Example movie that I have a workaround. How?

Solution with variable and While loop

YOu will need one user variable v_counter,  to track the number of clicks while being on other slides than slide 2 with the Progress indicator SS_Progress (a multistate object). This progress indicator starts with a Normal state which is a shape with Alpa and Stroke = 0.

That variable starts with a default value = 0. The clicks on the OK buttons in slide 3, on the hotspots in slide 4 and on the correct answers in slide 5 do increment the variable, besides other commands. 

When returning to slide 2 (which has the progress indicator) using the shape button ‘Back to….’ (is on the used content master slide) an advanced action On Enter for that slide is launched, using the While loop:

Example: if the user has performed 3 actions on any slide, v_counter would be 3. The while loop will then be done 3 times, which means the 4th state of the progress indicator will appear. At the same time, the variable will be set back to 0 at the end of the loop. The learner can continue to visit another slide, and the variable is ready to track again.

This is just an example, many variations are possible. Maybe you want to allow visits and actions to consecutive slides before returning to the main slide, this can easily be achieved. Or have feedback appearing on the main slide after all slides have been visited, based on the obtained progress.. 

More?

I didn’t explain all actions in this post. The slide with the hotspots is based on a recent article about Hotspots in a 2D image.

Maybe you are wondering if I used the Visited state or a custom state for the OK buttons (slide 3) or the hotspots? What the quickest workflow is to create the states for the Progress bar? Did I use shared actions or advanced actions, and why did I choose that way? Why did I disable the buttons? If you are interested, I can explain… on demand. 

Available Events in Adobe Captivate

Intro

Over 6 years ago I published a blog post explaining the importance of Events in the application. I also offered for free a table describing all the possible events. Meanwhile new features have been added, the User interface has changes. It is time to update that old post and table. You will be able to download the table at the end. It is a protected document, you can print it at a low resolution, but no permission for editing. You can find workarounds, but please I beg you to show some respect for my work.

When training/helping users to start with advanced or shared actions, I often detect that newbies are not aware of the process needed to trigger an (advanced/shared) action: each action, whether a simple, shared  or advanced has to be linked to an 'Event', and that is the subject of this article. 

Events - out of the box

Lot of events to trigger an action are linked with interactivity, requiring  the user to act. That  is the case for Success/Last Attempt  events for (Shape) Buttons, Click Boxes, Text Entry boxes, interactive Learning interactions, Drag&Drop but also for Question/Knowledge Check slides. 

Less known are the actions that can be triggered when a Quiz is completed (Passed/Failed).

In that older blog post I mentioned the  Rollover slidelet which had  two events: on Rollover, and on Click. Since that object is no longer supported for HTML5 output, I took it out of the table. 

Object actions can be triggered by each drag event in a Drag&Drop slide and offer a lot of possibilities. Have a look at all the posts I published about Drag&Drop

Ignored by most users are the Hyperlink events. Such an event is not limited to 'hyperlink', but can trigger all sorts of actions, including Advanced actions. Find a example here.

Events that are not linked with interactivity are the slide events: when entering or when exiting a slide, you can have a simple, advanced or shared action to be executed. Have a look at the table to see possible limitations.

Often I get the question if an action can be triggered by time or by a frame. Not possible out of the box, but with micro-navigation, eventually the Delay Next actions command and/or the Timer/Hourglass interaction this limitation can be overridden. 

Overlay slides in Interactive Video, both the content and KC slides have similare events to those in a normal project. However the events for the hotspots in a VR project or 360 image/video are more limited as are the overlay Quiz slides in a VR project.

Widget to extend events

InfoSemantics developed a HTML5 widget that is one of my favourites: the CpExtra Widget. Adding events to objects is only one of its multiple features. It is not free but if you are plunging really into advanced/shared  actions, please try it out because it can add as many events as you want to any object. A trial version is available.

InfoSemantics used to have a SWF widget (EventHandler), worked great, but with the EOL of Flash player for all browsers, not so useful anymore.

List

You can download the list from this link

First column (Event) identifies the event, second column (Assign action) shows in which Properties panel (PI) you can indicate the action to be triggered, third column is A Description. When necessary you’ll find some comment/use cases in the last column, which also mentions the possible limitations for the event. 

There are two  tables. First table shows events able to  trigger only one simple, shared or advanced action/ The second smaller table summarizes the events which can trigger one out of two possible actions based on a condition: validated TEB, question slides, scored Drag&Drop slides  and Quiz.

I would appreciate if you left some comment in case you find this list useful. If you find this list useful, I could offer some other tables as well.