Replay or Reset slide?

A frequently visited post on my blog is ‘Replay (slide) button‘, which was published 5 years ago. Such a button is not available out of the box in Captivate.  In that blog I explain two possible scenarios. The second scenario will be close to what is explained in this new post as a 'Reset' scenario. Since some features have changed, time to refresh. I will focus here more in-depth on the difference between Replay and Reset.

Companion tutorial:  to make this textual post more 'visible', I created a Captivate tutorial, which allows you to explore the difference between Replay and Reset (with or without On Enter action) on several examples. It can also be considered a summary of this blog, since the content slides (and assessment slides) treat this topic Replay/Reset. This is the link:

Replay slide

Many years before I already posted a simple way to replay a slide as well, and often I see users still using this two-line advanced action (which could also be a perfect Shared action, without any parameter):

Expression cpCmndGotoSlide = cpInfoCurrentSlide – 1
Continue

Whether you need the command Continue depends on the setup of the slide. If you leave it out, the play head will remain paused at at the first frame of the slide.

The advanced/shared action is essentially a translation from a still older action. , where more system variables starting with ‘rd’ existed, allowing a simple action instead of the one shown above. Reason: besides the cpInfoCurrentSlide, there was a second system variable rdInfoCurrentSlide. The first one was meant only to show the slide number, and for that reason starts its index with 1. The rd variable, like most system variables, starts its index with 0. , The simple action was:

Assign cpCmndGotoSlide with rdInfoCurrentSlide

Common misunderstanding is that this action will also ‘reset’ the slide which is NOT the case unless for very simple slides. Main reason: the play head never ‘re-enters’ the slide. Re-entering the slide is necessary to restore the original situation, either automatically, and/or by having an On Enter action being done again.

Reset slide

Hope we use the same terminology. Reset slide to me is to restore the slide to the situation it had when you first entered the slide.  During the first visit of the slide lot can have been changed. Here is a not exhaustive list:

  • Some object, originally hidden are now visible, or the reverse situation: originally visible, now hidden.
  • Multi-state objects were changed to another state, both custom state or InBuilt state (think about the Visited state of a button).
  • Effects have been applied to objects or groups, which can have those objects being in a different location if the effect included a motion path.
  • Knowledge Check slides have been answered. I will not talk about regular question slides, because those cannot be reset on slide level, only on Quiz level
  • Drag&Drop slides set up as Knowledge Check slides have been answered. Same restriction for D&D slides setup as scored questions (quiz level needed). I hear you! You can add a Reset button to a D&D slide, indeed, but that will not reset everything if you used Object Actions.

Essential for resetting is to re-enter the slide, to have the playhead revisit the On Enter slide event. For some of the described items that will be sufficient, for others it will be necessary to add an action On Enter. I demonstrated this situation in the recent presentation at Adobe eLearning World. You can find the recording still online in this portal. I will explain how to re-enter the slide (2 workflows).

Re-enter Slide (workflows)

Two workflows are possible (explained only the second one in the old post, but it has failed at least in one of the more recent releases and pushed me at the first workflow):

Dummy slide

Easy workflow, step-by-step:

  • Insert a duplicate of the present slide before the present slide
  • Take out all interactive objects of that slide, it should not have pausing points.
  • If there is an On Enter action, delete it and get back to ‘No action’ or ‘Continue’ (same result)
  • Reduce its duration to 0.1 secs which is the shorted possible duration.
  • Attach this  action to the Reset/Replay button:

Go to Previous slide

The play head will rewind to the dummy slide and since it is so short almost immediately (re)enters the present slide.

Drawback: you increase the number of slides. That may be annoying if you show the number of slides (cpInfoSlideCount) and/or if you use the TOC (where you’ll have to hide the dummy slides). I started using this approach in a version where micro-navigation had problems in HTML5 oiutput.

Tip: to avoid annoying flickering in case of low bandwidth, prefer a similar look for the dummy slide as for the present slide. I mostly use a duplicate, taking out all interactive objects and actions.

Micro-navigation

It is bit more complex but avoids adding slides. Workflow:

  • Create a user variable v_start. It will be used to store the first frame of the slide.
  • Use the On Enter slide event for this command (eventually to be combined with other commands) 
         Assign v_start with cpInfoCurrentFrame
  • For the Replay button use this command:
         Expression cpCmndGotoFrameAndResume = v_start – 1
    The play head will rewind to the frame before the start frame of the slide, which is the last frame of the previous slide. Due to ‘Resume’ in this system variable of the Movie Control category, the play head will continue and re-enter the slide immediately.
    It may prove necessary to increase the '1' to 2 or 3 if you don't get the expected result. It is possible that the value of the first frame is one or two frames wrong. In most cases however it works fine.

The variable and the actions can be reused on all slides.

What is reset?

As mentioned before, some items will reset automatically when re-entering the slide by one of the described workflows. Here a non-exhaustive list from my experience:

  • Multistate objects: if you keep the default setup where ‘Retain state on slide revisit’ remains unchecked. The normal state will re-appear as in the first visit of the slide. I have some blogs around which use that as an alternative for a Show/Hide scenario.  Drawback: if you use the InBuilt state ‘Visited’ it will also disappear in this situation.
  • Knowledge Check slides:  will be completely reset, ready for a new attempt. 
  • Drag&Drop slides: are completely reset, including eventually changes to objects due to Object actions. That is not the case with the generic Reset button which can be added to such a slide.
  • Effects: as you know they can be added with three types of triggers. The easiest one, based on timeline will not need a Reset action, will be reset with a simple Replay action. However both the button triggered Effects and Effects triggered by an advanced or shared action need to re-enter the slide to have them reset to their original situation.
  • Text Entry Boxes:  if you change the value of the associated variable, that change is never visible right away but will now be correct after re-entering. Same for the variables of learning interactions like checkbox and radiobuttons. Not really ‘reset’, more of a ‘refresh’.
  • Web objects: they will be reset to the first web page, which opens with indicated URL. If you use Replay that will not happen.
  • Animations like OAMs

What is NOT reset?

  • Multistate objects: if you check the option ‘Retain state on slide revisit’ for the object.
  • Hide/Show: items that have been shown or hidden during the Play head travel in the first visit will remain in that status.
  • Enable/Disable: if this command has been used for interactive objects, they will remain in that state. I showed this in the presentation ‘Deep dive with Shared and Advanced Actions’ at the Adobe eLearning world conference: if you disable all interactive objects, the pausing points disappear and nothing will stop the play head.
  • Variable values: they will not be reset to their original value.
  • Score: if you have scored objects on the slide, the total score including this score will not be decreased.

How do you reset these items: by creating or editing the On Enter action. That is beyond the scope of this shorter blog. You can see multiple examples in some slides of the Quick Start Projects, or on my blog including the sample project I added to the mentioned presentation. I include that project here as well. Check the On Enter actions (and the consequence of missing such an action on the first slide).

Look out for a Captivate tutorial to illustrate the difference for several of the mentioned items. It will be published soon on this blog.


How to use Custom Effect in Actions?

Intro

Almost 8 years ago I posted this article on my personal blog: Editing Motion Paths and Using Custom Effects. 

Since that time Effects have been improved a lot, advanced and shared actions can make life much easier. Time to upgrade that blog post, meanwhile testing the behavior of effects in HTML output in CP2019. While Flash was always to be trusted, that is not the case for HTML output. And indeed, I bumped onto a problem with the Scale effect, and sometimes the Rotate to effect. When those problems are solved, I will post a published movie. The workflow to use Custom effects in a shared or advanced action is however still the same since many versions. It is a bit complicated, I have answered many questions about it in the forums. I will write it out now step by step.

When do you need  a custom effect?

Effects have been improved in some ways. Some parameters can be defined in the Advanced Actions dialog box. Look for the start time of an effect, its duration and more numeric fields (alpha, rotation, ease in/out, alpha….). However when using a combination of effects over and over again, you can create one custom effect which saves that combination and can applied in one step including the sequence and duration of the different effects. Another practical example are the motion effects, where you need to edit the motion path, which is certainly the case for more complicated custom motion paths.  This screenshot shows an example of a complicated combination of effects on the Timeline. It was meant to be applied to simulate a swimming fish:

Step by Step

Step 1:  Create and save effect

Create the effect or combination of effects on any object as a ‘Self)time based animation and test it out thoroughly (Preview HTML in Browser for a non-responsive project) in several browsers before saving it with a custom name.

You don’t need to save it in a specific folder. I use to save it with the project I am working on as is the case in the screenshot above. Effects are stored in XML-files.

Step 2: Apply the custom effect as time-based animation

If you would try to use the saved effect in a shared/advanced action it will no be available. If this is the first custom effect you ever created, there will not even be a Custom category to choose from You need first to delete all the individual effects applied to the object (above it was to the object SV_Fish (a SVG image). Then apply the custom effect as a (Self) time based animation again, but now with ‘one’ effect chosen with the browse button.

When looking at the timeline you’ll see exactly the same result as in the screenshot at the beginning: all the effects in the correct sequence and with the duration you had chosen.

The result of this second application is that the Category ‘Custom’ will now have been created, and it will have the new custom effect ‘Swimming’.

Step “: use in advanced or shared action

If you only wanted to apply this action using an interactive object, you could use a simple action. The field Category will now have the Custom category.

However often effects are used in Advanced or Shared actions in combination with other commands. In this example the Fishes are originally hidden, so I need to Show them and apply the effectn eventually also have an audio clip playing separately.

The two buttons on this example will trigger the same shared action. Both fishes are hidden in output at the start. When creating the advanced action, the category Custom can now be used, and the available parameters (start, duration) could be edited, but mostly you’ll not want to do that.

Because I needed to use this action twice, maybe also later in other projects unchanged or as template for other actions, I preferred a shared action which will have only one parameter: the object itself. An effect cannot be a parameter. However, the effect can not only be applied to one object, but also to a group. I can replace one fish by a group of fishes.