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.






Sequence check slides (updated version)

Intro

More than 7 years ago I wrote a similar blog post: how can you check the sequence of clicks. Of course the embedded tutorial was a SWF, since only that type of output was supported at that moment. This post is an update with HTML5 output, and taking advantage of new features (multistate objects, SVGs as buttons). 

Example

Play with this example project. I inserted two examples of sequence checks:
  • Geo slide: alphabetically clicks on countries (used English names, not the original names of the coutnries)
  • Keypad slide typing the pincode on a numeric keypad.

First and last slide are taken from the Quick Start Project 'Aspire'. The images used as button also are from the Assets panel.

You probably will have more ideas where this workflow can be used for Knowledge Check slides. There is a sequence type of quiz slide, you can test a sequence with Drag&Drop slides, but these alternatives are less limited in design. ould love to hear your proposals for sequence checks as well


Setup

Variables

Similar to the old post I used only two user variables (to be created):
  • v_counter: will track the number of clicks on interactive objects. It starts with a default value of 0. It is reused on the second sequence slide, by resetting to the default value using the On Enter action of that slide.
  • v_correct: will track the number of correct clicks, set up with default value of 0 and re-used in the same way as the previous variable.

Multistate Objects

Instead of the hide/show workflow used in the original post, multi-state objects to display the feedback are used. That object is labeled Tx_Display (for the Geo-slide) and Tx_DisplayBis (for the Keypad slide). Look at the screenshot of the Object state panel for Tx_Display:

The Normal state is empty (easy to reset, will automatically reset when returning to the slide if ‘Retain State’ is unchecked). The 6 following states correspond with the correct sequence, hence their labeling. The last state is the Wrong state. The sequence of states is important, because I will be using the ‘Go to Next State’ command in the actions.

SVGs

If you did read some recent posts, you know that I am a big fan of the use of SVGs both for image and interactive objects. In this case I used them mostly because they remain crisp at any resolution and lead to very small file size. The file size of the published project is less than 4MB. ¨Probably half of that size is due to the bitmap images on the ready-to-go slides, and the unique PNG which I used for the Background of the Keypad. Look at the timelines of the sequence slides. SVGs are grouped. Too bad that you cannot recognize the interactive object from the color (should be green), but they all have a pausing point set at 1.5secs (Europe SVG is not a button).

 

The group Gr_Wrong on the Keypad groups all button SVGS which are not used in the pincode. Those buttons are on top of the image, and can be hidden, since the remaining keypad image shows them as well but in a non-interactive version. For the Geo slide, the colored country  SVG buttons are also on top of a big SVG (Europe), but I don’t want the colored ones to disappear, for that reason the buttons will be disabled, not hidden (see advanced actions below).

Actions and events – Geo slide

The colored country SVG buttons trigger an advanced action On Success. There are 6 countries, which means 6 advanced actions (created with the duplicate function). The five first actions are similar to this SV1_Act:

Only the items marked by a red oval have to be switched for the actions SV2….SV5Act: the name of the SVG button in the first decision, and the literal (number) in the second decision. If the clicked country is not fitting in the correct sequence, the learner sees the Wrong state in the multistate shape and the Retry button will appear.

The last country SVG button (SV6) has a slightly different action, derived from the previous one.  Reason: the Next button has to appear if the sequence is correct. That extra command is highlighted by a blue rectangle.

The Next button has the default command ‘Go to Next Slide’ on its Success event.

The Retry button needs to  everything, as you can see in this screenshot. Action is triggered by the Success event:

Actions and events – Keypad slide

Because of the re-use of the variables v_counter, v_correct and the button Bt_Next which is timed for the rest of the project, the On Enter event of this slide is used to reset everything to default values. If you want to allow going back to slides, a similar action would be needed for the Geo slide, but that was not the case in the example file. The On Enter action is pretty simple:

Some explanation may be needed for the Hide command which I highlighted. Since the required pincode (29791) needs the number ‘9’ twice (second and fourth position in the sequence) I have put two SVGs on top of each other: SVG_Two and SVG_Four. By default SVG_Two is visible, but SVG_Four  is hidden and becomes visible With the same action where SVG_Two is hidden. You cannot have two interactive objects on top of each other when both are active at the same location.

The Number buttons trigger an advanced action On Success.  It is similar to the one in the Geo slide, except for using Hiding instead of disabling. Example of the first number button (which is 2):

As explained above, for SVG_Second (number 9) is bit different

Similar to the Geo slide, the last correct button (number 1) will show the Next button if all was correct:

Any wrong number button will trigger this action using its Success event:

The new Retry button, labeled RetryBis is similar to the one on the Geo slide, triggers:

Remember that the SVG button Four  is in the same location as Two, because both have the number 9. That is why SVG_Four has to be hidden and SVG_Two shown.

Why no Shared Actions?

Although we have very similar actions for the SVG buttons, both on the Geo slide and on the Keypad slide, this is a typical use case where it is impossible to use shared actions. Problem are the ‘literals’, which should have been converted to parameters. Look at the screenshot of the action SV1_Act posted earlier. Logically these items should be parameters:
  • The SVG button SV_1 – compulsory parameter in the first decision
  • The literal ‘1’ in the condition of the second edition, not compulsory
  • The multistate object Tx_Display, compulsory parameter in the second decision
  • The state Wrong in the ELSE part of the second decision
  • The button Bt_Next in the ELSE part of the second decision

Why is the literal a problem? Because it is also used in the Increment command. If you replace it by 2 for the second button, this will also be the case in the Increment command. I may have a workaround, but it is not always functional.

Second reason: with the workaround the parameters would increase to 6, which is my limit for a usable Shared action. Whereas using duplicate functionality for the advanced action is lot quicker, since only two items need to be edited.

This blog is already way too long. If you like to hear about my ‘thumb rules’ for choosing between duplicate advanced and shared actions, post a comment. Maybe I’ll dedicate another blog to it.

SVGs for color-based quiz

Intro

Being able to use SVG’s, for which you can limit the clickable area to the SVG itself, creates a lot of opportunities. In a recent post I explained how you can use them for a custom Hotspot question. 

This time I played with Flags, in Europe a lot of national flags have a cross embedded. Play with this example file. After the title slide which has some explanation, you have to color 5 knowledge check slides, Have fun. 

Small warning: if you are on a small screen, you may have to insist to color the small parts (especially on the UK slide). The part is really clicked when you have seen it shrink. You can play from this link (scalable HTML) or with the embedded version (fixed size):

Setup

You’ll find details about the setup,with topics:

  • Objects (including timeline)
  • Variables and Events
  • Advanced actions
  • Shared action (has been used 47 times)

Objects – timeline

Have a look at the Timeline of slide 2 which is the first quiz slide (flag 1, Denmark):

From bottom to top you see:

  • SS_Proback1: (smart shape) the white background of the progress bar (bottom left). Since the flags have different amounts of parts, I preferred to have an individual background on each flag slide, whereas
  • SS_Progress: (smart shape) progress bar is timed for the rest of the project. It has a normal state which is invisible (no Alpha nor stroke), and a state for each added green star, totals 18 states but not all states are used on each slide.
  • Gr_Denmark: has all the flag parts, on this slide 5. All parts are SVG’s used as buttons with the default pausing poins at 1.5secs. Each SVG has 3 object states: Normal (with a black pattern), Correct (colored), Wrong (Gray tint). Here is the screenshot with object states for the Cross part of the UK flag:
  • Gr_Colors: group with 5 colors, timed for the rest of the project because same colors are used for all flags. Colors are shape buttons, default pausing point at 1.5s. They have 3 states: Normal, Current and Dimmed. Here a screenshot for the Red smart shape.
  • Country_DK: country name (text)
  • SB_Next: shape button timed for the rest of the project, no pausing point, with 3 InBuilt states (Normal, Rollover, Down)
  • Title

Variables and events

Three user variables are created for the actions:

  • v_color: will store the name of the color chosen from the color shapes; the exact names are needed which are Blue, DarkBlue, Red, White and Yellow.

  • v_counter: will track the number of correct flag parts which have been colored (is equal to the number of stars displayed by the progress bar).

  • v_max: the number of flag parts to be colored. For the first two flag slides this is 5, for the two following slides it is 9 and the last flag slide has 17 parts.

I didn’t provide a replay course button at the end, to limit the number of events and actions. The used events  are:.

  • On Enter slide event for all flag slides. They trigger a similar advanced action, depending on the number of flag parts: 'Enter5' (first two flag slides), 'Enter9' (two following slides) and 'Enter17 'for the UK slide.

  • On Enter slide event for the End slide triggers 'EnterEnd'.

  • Success event for the Color shape buttons trigger a similar advanced action 'Blue_Act', 'DarkBlue_Act', 'Red_Act', 'White_Act' and 'Yellow_Act'.

  • Success event of the SVG’s which are the flag parts (used as buttons), trigger all the same Shared Action 'FlagAct'.
I will explain why I choose for advanced or shared actions for those events.

Actions

Enter5Act/Enter9Act/Enter17Act (advanced actions)

Those very similar actions are triggered On Enter of the flag slides, depending on the number of flag parts. Here is a screenshot of 'Enter9Act':

You see it is mainly a Reset action. Because the color shape buttons are timed for the rest of the project, it is necessary to reset their state to Normal when entering a new slide.  That wouldn’t have been the case if I had repeated the colors on each slide, and left the option ‘Retain state …’ unchecked. However such a setup would have complicated the actions a lot more, than using this advanced action On Enter. The actions for 5 and 17 parts are almost identical, only the value of the variable v_max will change (command marked in red in screenshot). Because of the limited number of actions (3), and the fact that only one command had to be edited,  I prefer duplicate advanced actions over a shared action with multiple parameters.

EnterEnd

This simple action will hide several items which were displayed for the rest of the project and no longer necessary on the Congratulations slide:

Blue_Act, DarkBlue_Act, Red_Act, White_Act, Yellow_Act

These advanced actions are triggered by the success event of the color shape buttons.

The 5 actions are also very similar, here is the screenshot of the Red_Act:

I could have used a shared action, but preferred duplicate advanced actions. Four of the color buttons need their state to be changed to Dimmed, the active clicked button to Current and its color has to be entered as value for v_color.

It is very simple to duplicate the actions for the other colors, and change the first command and switch one dimmed and current state to adapt the action to the new active button.

FlagAct

Shared action triggered by the Success event of the flag parts (SVG used as button). In older versions than 11.5 this setup would not have been possible since many bounding boxes are overlapping. The shared action, which I used 47 times, looks like this:

I indicated the 6 parameters by a color code. Four of them are always the same, but they are compulsory, need to be parameters (Progress bar, Next button, Wrong and Correct states). Only the color and the flag part are important to set up correctly. A good labeling system for the flag parts can help. You may have seen that I took care of labeling in a consistent way.

Conclusion

Hope this example releases your creative ideas for similar use cases, both for adult learners and (of course) kids.  It would be great if you commented about that. Or do you have questions, suggestions?

Characters in SVG format?

Intro

The Assets panel is a nifty new feature, and I am confident that its use will be enhanced in the future. You could have read my first comments in this post. You find under Tip 2 a special feature concerning the Characters of the Illustrated category. One of the complaints often heard about downloading characters is that you have to do this one by one, which is taking a lot of time. If you like the Illustrated category, and also have access to Illustrator, you can find a tip which could save you a lot of time. It is no secret that the new features in 11.5 for SVG’s are my favorites, and they’ll play a role here as well. What would you think about characters in SVG-format, which means always crisp, never pixelated? With the possibility to edit the colors within 

Workflow

Step 1: Download Illustrated Work File

Open the Assets Library in Captivate. Go to the Discover tab, and open Characters. Choose Illustrated, and eventually the wanted category and find you favorite character. Look under the (often 25) images for the Illustrated Working File. It is sometimes at the end, sometimes at the start. The sticky characters do not it. Download the file, while choosing the format AI (Adobe Illustrator), not EPS. It will be saved automatically in the Others subfolder under eLearnng Assets.

After the download you’ll be able to open the folder immediately from the popup dialog box. I mentioned already that it is under Others in eLearning Assets (under Public documents\Adobe if you are on Windows).

Step 2 Illustrator – Preparation

Be sure I am not at all an expert in Illustrator, my expertise is more with Photoshop, Captivate, Audition and InDesign.  Three items in the Illustrator environment will be important, try to find them and get acquainted. The active workspace is not  important, I used Essentials:

  1. Selector tool (black arrow) which is the first tool in the vertical Toolbox, indicated by a red circle in the next screenshot. It has also a shortcut key V.
  2. Properties panel: it may be open, just find it or you can open it from the Windows menu. This panel will be used to identify the nature of a selection (step 3).  It is highlighted in light blue in the screenshot. For this particular selection it indicates as ‘Group’. You are familiar with grouping in Captivate and that knowledge will be useful in step 3. IYou can increase its size both horizontally and vertically.

The characters come with 4x6  poses.  Only face changed in the groups of 6: disappointed, speaking, normal and happy.

Step 3: Identify and change status of character

This sound terrifying, but it is not. Problem is that apparently the files for the characters were not created/finished all the same way (different teams). The ideal situation would be that each character instance was one group (of paths). You will have to check if that is the case, and if not, group manually.

Choose the Selector (arrow) and drag a rectangle surrounding (or cutting) the character you want to save.  You’ll see a lot of blue lines (paths) appear in the image. If the Properties panel indicates that this is a group, it is great, done with this step! Here is an example (character Sydney):

For the following example, the selected paths are indicated as "Mixed Objects". You need to group them which is possible with the same shortcut key CTRL-G as in Captivate. Alternative is the command 'Group' from the right-click menu , or from the menu Object. Here is an example of a selection which has to be grouped (character Jessica):

Step 4: Drag objects to Asset Export panel

Drag all the assets you want to export to that panel. Verify that you see the complete character. If by accident, you drag a character which is not grouped, you’ll get all assets separately as asset. That may be interesting for other situations (like the post I created about the Geographical Hotspot question, or a planned scored Color question).

In the panel assets get a generic name Asset1…. but you can double-click that name and edit to a more meaningful name.  See screenshot under Step 5.

Step 5: choose Export fomat(s) 

You can  indicate to which format you want to export, and multiple formats are possible. In the screenshot below you’ll see that not only  SVG, but also PNG’s in 3 different sizes was chosen. The last option indicated an exact height for the PNG. That way you can increase the quality to what you want exactly, since the original image is vector-based. You know the rule in Captivate: best quality for a bitmap image (PNG is bitmap) needs inserting the character in exactly the size you want. It can also be interesting to increase the size if you want to use only part of the character.

Let us compare with the normal download of characters from the Assets panel. You get only two choices , both with a fixed size (high and low).

Available formats are visible in this screenshot. For the characters, which have a transparent background you should not use JPEG because it will replace  the background by a solid color:.Now click the Export button. You will be asked to indicate the location for the images. You can put them in a subfolder of the eLearning assets or anywhere. They will not show up in the Downloads section of the Assets panel.

Conclusion

I like the Illustrator Export Asset panel a lot. Being able to use SVG format has many advantages: always high quality, and  it is so easy to edit colors in Captivate (or by roundtripping with Illustrator). This article is also meant to provide a possible workaround for having all characters available immediately without having to download them one by one. Too bad that you do not get such an overview image for the normal characters, only for the illustrated ones.

A warning: the downloaded Workfile (see step 1) nor the exported assets will appear in the Downloads section of the Assets panel. You could store them in the Others folder under eLearning Assets, but will have to import them manually to the Library of a project to use them. 

Edit SVG in Captivate 11.5

Intro

If you have read my first blog about this major update, you will know that the extended functionality of SVG’s for use as buttons is one of my favorites. I didn' t mention that you get some editing features within Captivate. Thisat means that you don’t have to do a roundtripping with Illustrator (or use another vector editing application) if you just want to change some colors. This post is meant for those who are rather new to vector images, and the way paths are used.  Next post will be about roundtripping with Illustrator for more complicated editing.

You may also ignore that the new Assets Panel (wait for an in-depth exploration in the near future) includes a set of ‘icons’ which are SVG’s. The hotspots used in 360 slides are SVG's as well, the editing functionality was added to make customizing their colors possible. All SVG’s in your project end up in a dedicated folder of the project Library.

Remember: SVG used as button is only possible for HTML5 output, not for SWF output

.

Example slide

The example uses only included  assets from the Assets panel, to be found in the Audio and Icons part. All icons have edited colors (not meant as a design example) to illustrate the workflow I will explain in this post (and later on in an interactive video). The biggest SVG in the center of the slide is configured as a button. You can click it as many times as you want, you’ll be able to listen to some of the audio assets. There is no poster image in this example, just the default Play button.



Step-by-step ‘Edit colors’

I will explain this for the Normal state of the big SVG which you clicked in the example slide.

1. Insert SVG and resize

As I explained in the intro, this SVG is one of the Icons in the new Assets panel. Insert it from that panel (name ‘Cover’). You can resize either by using the Options tab of the Properties panel for the SVG, or by dragging a corner with the mouse while keepoing SHIFT pressed to preserve the width-height Ratio. Since this is a vector image, you’ll see that it remains crisp even when enlarged considerably.  The original icon uses a uniform dark grey. I check the option to use it as a button, and uncheck the option to make the whole bounding box clickable (Enable Click in Bounding box). You can see that the bounding box extends above the image. There is an option to ‘Fit to Bounding box’ but it would have distorted the SVG.

Step 2: Edit mode

To enter edit mode for the SVG double click the SVG. You find the tooltip when hovering over the Fill in the Properties panel. Do not use the button ‘Edit SVG’, which would let you choose an editing application on your system, nor the option Edit with Illustrator.

Step 3: Select a ‘path’

A vector image is composed mostly from several paths, which can have a width (may be variable) and/or a Fill. The image I used as example has 3 paths, all closed and with a fill. You select a path by clicking it. Selected path will have a blue surrounding line as you can see in this screenshot:

Step 4: change color

Click the Fill icon in the Properties panel to open the Color dialog box. For this simple demo slide I used the color wheel to select a color. In a normal project I would have used the Theme Colors palette of course. Click OK to confirm the color change. Repeat that workflow to the remaining shapes.

SVG button states

When you convert a SVG to a button, the InBuilt states Rollover and Down are added automatically. You can use the edit workflow described above for each of those states. I added also the Visited state (with a speech bubble) and the custom state ‘Done’ which appears after you have listened to the 5 available audio clips. Here is the Object state panel of the big SVG button:

The Visited state is selected in this screenshot. Look at the Properties panel: you see that the opacity is reduced to 50%. This always applies to the full SVG, but in this case only to this state of course. You see a user variable inserted in the added speech bubble. That bubble has no reduced opacity, it is not part of the original SVG but an added shape£.

More?

Main topic is finished, you may stop reading if you want. But for the curious fans,  the audio clips are attached to a state in a second multistate object, which is a shape to which I added an icon in the Normal state (no audio) and an audio clip with its name to the other states.

The Advanced action triggered by the big SVG buttone:

No need to trigger the Visited state, it appears automatically after the first click on the SVG button.