Find the Twins - Game (Shared Actions)

Inttro

Looking back in my blog history, I remember very well the first Memory Game created 10 years ago (with version 5.5). It was quite an adventure, because I wanted to prove it to be possible without having to use ActionScript  (since only SWF output was available).

Now 10 years later, ActionScript has been replaced by JavaScript but  I still try to create games without having to use JS.  That is possible when randomness is not necessary as is the case for this game. However newer features like multistate objects, SVGs which can be used as buttons, and most important 'Shared Actions' make it a lot easier now. Kudos to the Captivate team!

Have fun with the embedded version (fixed size), or the rescalable version using this link



Extensions possible?

The structure of this game allows a lot of flexibility. The two challenges have a different total number of shapes. Shapes can be replaced by images to convert it into a kid's game. It is also possible to increment the number of pairs, or to make a search for trios instead of pairs.

SVGs  used as buttons have several advantages. You can limit the clickable area to the image, instead of to the bounding box. They remain crisp ion all devices, whatever the browser resolution.  Disadvantage is that they take a while to redraw, which you may have seen when the slide was reset. 

As you could read I used:

  • 3 shared actions.  one of them was used 30 times!  If you are not yet convinced about the value of Shared actions over Advanced actions, I will present about both on 24th of June in the  Adobe eLearnng World 2020 conference.
  • 2 advanced actions for the Reset action On Enter for the challenge slides
  • 4 variables




Game: test your logical mind!

If you have watched my course about Using Shared Actions, you'll already know that this is one of my favorite features. It makes it possible for newbies to create rather complicated tutorials without need of programming skills. 

I already uploaded a game recently, here is another one. You can use this link or play with the embedded one:


It was created with SVGs (thanks to Illustrator), one shared action, two advanced actions (which could be converted to shared actions as well), Drag&Drop features, multistate objects. The setup makes the game very flexible. In the example sequences were all with 6 shapes, but you can create them with any number of shapes. You would have to find a new indicator for the degressive score if you have more or less shapes. The adult version can be converted to a kid's game, by using easier sequences . Have fun!

Who is afraid of ... Shared Actions? Crash course - Lesson 2 (step-by-step)

Intro

You prefer step-by-step workflow for this second lesson over a video. Great. Let us start with this second lesson,  explaining how to use the shared actions from the first project in your project. Believe me: it is as intuitive as the first lesson.

Workflow: (re)Use shared actions in your projects

Step 1: Preparation

To follow this workflow, you need a project with at least two slides:

  1. Content on the first slide is not important, it is meant to allow you to test the project.
  2. Second slide needs to have these objects:
    • Two multi-state objects. Content is not important: audio, video, graphics, text or combinations in the states. Only requirement: same number of states in both objects (although you can have some identical states). They are labeled Container1/SVGContainer in the Timeline below.
    •  A shape or caption which will be used to insert the variable v_counter. You will insert the variable later on. Labeled SS_Counter in the Timeline.
    • Two navigation buttons: Next and Back. They are labeled SB_Back and SB_Next in my project (shape buttons)
    • A button to jump back to slide 1, with the action ‘Jump to slide 1’ or ‘Go to Previous Slide’. I used a SVG as button, labeled SVB_Home.

Here is an example of the Timeline of the project I use, the names are mentioned above::

If you are eager to start but do not have time to create a custom project, you can download this one:
Lesson2Start

Please do not use the SVGs from SVGContainer in your projects. They were extracted from a licensed AI file.

Step 2: Variables

Have a look at the variables, using menu Project, Variables.  The default view will show you the two user variables which are added to each project:

Step 3: Open External Library

Use the File menu, option Import, External Library. You have to point to the original project which has the shared actions on board.  In this case that will be the start project which you used in the previous practice; “SlideShow”.

The project will not open, but its library appears as a floating window in the left top corner of your screen. You will probably need to increase its height, and collapse the Images folder to see the Shared Actions folder clearly. 

You can use any object directly from this external Library in your project. I used the Home button (SVG). However for the Shared Actions, it is better to not use this method. It can be done if there is only one independent shared action, but in this example the three actions are somehow linked due to the used variables.

Step 4: Drag shared actions to project Library

Select the three shared actions in the external Library, and drag them to the project library. They will appear in that library with the Usage set to 0. Be sure to drag all the actions  at once. Reason:  they share some variables. which could lead to the creation of multiple instances of the variables. You will check this in step 5.

Step 5: Check variables

Use Project, Variables and… surprise! The variables used in the shared actions have appeared, including their default value and description

You can now insert the variable v_counter  in the text (see Timeline) SS_Counter, using the X button in the Properties panel, Character part.

The text will look like this:

…. $$v_counter$$

Beware: if you see more than one instance of a variable, it means that you didn’t drag ALL the shared actions at once. In that case, please delete the shared actions, delete the variables and retry Step 4.

Step….

You can now repeat what you learned in the previous lesson: drag the shared actions to the slide and to the navigation buttons, and choose a ‘value’ for the parameters.

Do not forget to test if everything is working as expected. Use F11, Preview HTML I Browser for the best preview.

More?

The step-by-step workflows described in this and the previous blog (or in the video and the next video to be published soon)) can be used for all the interactions in the Demo project, provide you have the shared actions. Not only for those rather simple interactions! It is also possible for more complicated projects like the Matchstick game, which I published recently, and for many more use cases.

I sincerely hope that at least some Captivate users will realize possibilities.  Ask an expert to design shared actions which can be used by any Captivate developer,  without having to dive into advanced actions, variables etc. .

I may post an 'epilogue' to this short crash course, listing up some Q&A. If you have a question to contribute, do not hesitate to post it in a comment.

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. 






Create Review State for scored Drag&Drop slide

Intro

Drag&Drop slides are popular both as Knowledge Check slide and as scored Quiz slide. No problem to integrate the score in the quizzing system variables. However there are still features where the D&D slide is not behaving like the other quiz slides. Some examples:
  • Pausing point is at 1.5 seconds, same as for Quiz slides, but that point is not visible in the Timeline.
  • Last Attempt action is wrongly indicated as ‘Failure’ action. Same as for normal Quiz slides, D&D slides have NO Failure actions.
  • You cannot have a Retry message when you provide more than one attempt.
  • There is only one Failure message, you don’t have the possibility of up to 3 different messages as is the case for other quiz slides
  • There is no Review status, which indicates if the question was answered correctly, and which answers were wrong or correct.
  • There are no Review navigation buttons. That is a problem, because during Review when the learner gets to a D&D slide, he will be stuck without those buttons.

For the problems concerning Try again, or multiple Failure messages I already offered a solution with a dynamic feedback message in a previous blog post. In this post I will try to explain a workflow for the Review issues.

The result of this workflow was visible in the sample project which I posted last week. There is a scored D&D slide as last question in  first part (Timeline).

Setup

Checkmarks

I used the checkmarks used for the other quiz slides, imported them into the Library. You can find them in the Gallery folder Quiz\QuizReviewAssets. Their name can be seen in this screenshot of the Library:

The small versions are used for the individual answer feedback, the normal versions for the global feedback Look at this example

Those checkmarks were used for multistate objects, with an empty Normal state. They are already present in the correct location during the quiz but invisible due to that Normal state. Two more states show either the correct or the incorrect checkmark. This is an example of the Object State panel, for the answer about the Shape button.

Review Navigation buttons

The quiz buttons in this theme are of the type 'Transparent button' That is the case for all themes packaged with Captivate. Too bad: it is impossible to apply any Quiz style to an object  a non-quiz slide, even on the Drag&Drop slide. The new feature Copy/Paste appearance will not work neither between items from the Standard and the Quizzing category. You have to create a style for a Transparent button that looks identical to the style of the Quiz buttons. As you probably know, the button label is simply text ‘<<‘ and ‘>>’. They trigger the commands ‘Go to Previous Slide’ and ‘Go to Next Slide’. Similar to the quiz slides, those buttons will only appear during Review (see On Enter action).

Variables

Four Boolean variables were created, with a start value of 0:

v_DD: will be toggled to 1 if the D&D slide is correctly done.

v_EffectDD; will be toggled to 1 if the Effect color is correct

v_SButtonDD: will be toggled to 1 if the Shape button color was correct

v_ShapeDD: will be toggled to 1 if the Shape color is correct

The system variable cpInReviewMode was used as well.

Events – Actions

Three events were used, all to trigger advanced actions: Success and Last Attempt event of the Drag&Drop slide (in that panel) and the On Enter event of the slide.

CorrectActDD

Why was it not possible to use the same Correct shared action in this case?  A D&D slide has no two-step Submit process, where the first step will keep the slide paused to allow the learner to read the feedback message.  It is possible to imitate that behavior, but I wanted to keep it simple, by keeping the slide paused for a couple of seconds before proceeding to the next slide. Second reason: for a correct answer need to toggle the variable  v_DD to 1. To achieve this, I used the shared action ‘CorrectAct’ as template to create this advanced action, which has two extra commands:

WrongActDD

Similar to the previous action, I used the shared action WrongAct as template, to create this advanced action. I needed only to add the Delay command, since the user variable v_DD had already the value 0.

EnterDD

Now the most complicated action, with many decisions to check all the possible situations. The decisions are mutually exclusive, which is the safest way to get a correctly functioning multidecision action. Hope you can figure it out with this Preview:

If you have problems or suggestions, post a comment please!

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.

Using cpQuizInfoAnswerChoice for Survey (Conversion from SWF to HTML)

Intro

Eight years ago I wrote a blog post about ‘Secrets of cpQuizInfoAnswerChoice’. Of course the embedded published project was SWF at that moment. This specific quizzing variable is very useful when you need to evaluate the results of survey slides in order to make decisions. I created a new example file, partially based on slides from the Quick Start Project Alliance. It is part of a ‘decision tree’ which could be used for those who want/need to convert legacy projects to make them ready for publishing to HTML5.

Example file instructions

There is no audio in this example. All quiz slides are Survey slides, and navigation is based on the results of the Survey slides.  Type of slides used are True/False, MCQ with one correct answer, MCQ with multiple correct answers. At the end of each branch (there are quite a lot of possibilities) you will end up on a slide with possible workflows. In this example you’ll find only three ‘results’ slides:
  1. If you have only the SWF output of the legacy project.
  2. If you have the cptx-file but cannot use it directly in the present Captivate version
  3. If you have the cptx file which can be opened in the present version.

To explore a new branch, please refresh the browser. There are more than 3 recommended workflows because of sub-branches.

You can watch the embedded movie below (fixed size) or use the link for a rescalable version.



Values of cpQuizInfoAnswerChoice

This system variable belongs to the category Quizzing. Typical for that category is that the variables are read only, you cannot edit them in Captivate directly.

It is a reused variable, gets a different value after the Submit process on each quiz slide. The value you are getting depends on:

  • Type of question (see below)
  • Numbering (if available) in the question. For several types you can choose between capital characters (A, B, ..), small characters (a, b, …), numbers or None.  None will result in the same value as numbers (my preferred numbering)

In the example file I used three types of questions, which are very common in surveys:

  1. True/False. For that type the value of cpQuizInfoAnswerChoice will be either a character or a number, depending on the chosen numbering type.
    Example: if learner choses “True” value will be A, or a, or 1 (also for None as numbering)
  2. MCQ with radiobuttons (one answer): value will be the character or number of the chosen answer. No problem when shuffling the answers. Although the numbering on runtime will be changed in that case, the original number, as seen in the editing environment, will be stored in the variable.
    Example: Second slide in the example had three answers. You may shuffle the answers on runtime, but if the learner selected this answer, the value of cpQuizInfoAnswerChoice will be ‘1’.
  3. MCQ with checkboxes (multiple answers possible): all chosen answers will be stored, using a separator (in my case a semicolon). If you use shuffling, the reported value will take the numbers originally assigned in the developing environment:
    Example: first slide in the example file looked like this. With the shown selection, the value of the variable will be ‘2;3;4’ even if due to shuffling the numbering was different on runtime.

Short description of the other Question types:

  • Matching: the chosen corresponding  numbers in the first column, with separator(s) will be reported similar to MCQ with multiple answers.
    Example ‘A;C,B’ indicate that in the first column those were chosen to connect with A, B, C in the second column.
  • Sequence: I couldn’t figure out what the meaning was of the reported value, very strange. Look like IDs (like Interaction IDs) separated by semicolumns. Maybe someone can explain?
  • Fill-in-the-Blank: the text chosen for the blanks will appear, with separators.
  • Short Answer: text entered by the learner.

Due to the fact that Captivate’s variables can store strings as well as numbers, if you choose for numbers you can perform calculations (Expression command). I used that feature in an old post about Graded Surveys. Tha particular technique  has not been used in this example.

Used Techniques

I will not explain every detail in this example file, just some tips about the used techniques.

Decision Tree – Branches

Before starting the development, I did sit down to see how many branches I would provide in this survey. The present example results in three main branches, ending up in three different end slides. Those are the slides surrounded by a red box in the screenshot of the Advanced Interaction panel (will blog about its use ASAP). The Survey slides are included in a blue box:

Choice of the branch to follow is tracked by a user variable. Three variables, starting with an empty value:  v_swf, v_cptx, v_scratch. Those variables can have different values, because each main branch has sub-branches.

Example: The branch which will end on slide 12 (SWF_workflows), starts with a value=1 when the learner indicates that the output SWF is the only asset remaining from the legacy file. Based on answers to the other questions, this value can be incremented to 2 or 3. Each of them will lead to different content on slide 12.

Multistate objects

The information on the end slides (12-14) is stored in multi-state containers. The On Enter action of each slide uses the tracking variable for that branch to show the appropriate state. Look at the screenshot of the action triggered On Enter for slide 12:

There are only two decisions  (not 3) because the Normal state is valid for the situation where v_swf==1.

Embedded variables

The result of the poll can navigate to slide 14, with the recommendation to start from scratch. However it is possible that legacy assets can be used: documented/branded theme, assets like graphics files (PS/AI), audio clips, video clips, GIFT or CSV files for questions. To show this information, user variables are inserted in the states on the slide. Their value is either empty, or has a value due to the choices on the very first survey slide. Look at this screenshot, which shows the Normal state (no external library available) for the Scratch slide:

More?

Do you have questions? Please post them in a comment. Maybe we’ll meet at Washington DC, will try to help users struggling with conversion of their legacy projects due to the demise of the SWF player.

Question for you: any idea why a slide seems to be missing in the Advanced Interaction panel (slide 11)?

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.

Power of SVG Buttons

§Intro

In previous posts I have talked about the advantages and disadvantages of the 6 button types, and how you can edit the colors of SVG’s, even in states and when they are used as buttons. SVG’s, being vector images are excellent for use in projects to be viewed on multiple devices, whether it is a scalable non-responsive or a responsive project (fluid boxes or breakpoint views).

Unique about SVG’s used as buttons, is the fact that you have control over the clickable area, which is not the case for other  button types. In the example below you’ll see buttons which would have been impossible to realize with any other button type.

Example file

Watch this two-slide project. The Title slide is taken from the QSP ‘Legacy’ (non-responsive), but I have changed fonts (not fan of Arial). The second slide uses an edited master slide from that same QSP. Click the buttons in circular image in any sequence, and you can also reset the slide (used the Scenario 2 technique described in Replay Slide)

Setup Clickable Area

Six Buttons

The 6 buttons in the circular arrangement have overlapping bounding boxes. Have a look at this screenshot:


By unchecking the option ‘Enable Click in Bounding Box’ the clickable area will be limited to the space within the colored shapes, and those do not overlap. 

I kept only the Normal and Visited InBuilt states of the buttons . In the Visited state I added an icon (also SVG) from the Assets panel,  colored in the same color of the button (which was dimmed). That icon also covered up the number, which was part of the button SVG. Here is the Object state panel for button 6:

Reset Button

For this button I used an icon from the Assets panel. and added a text caption close to this button. The bounding box of the SVG is encreased so that the Reset text looks to be inside of the box. In this case The default option under the Style tab ‘Enable Click in Bounding Box’ remained checked. It now looks as if the learner can click both text and icon. I didn't use the padding option, which would make the icon smaller inside the bounding box.

Other Items

The information is stored in a multistate shape, where the Normal state is invisible (Alpha and Stroke set to 0). A two state shape is used for the final image, which is in a custom state of a circular shape. That circular shape also has an invisible Normal state. 

For the multistate objects the option ‘Retain State on Slide Revisit’ remains unchecked. Since the Reset button is re-entering the slide, all multistate objects will automatically revert to their Normal states.

Actions and variables were custom made, I didn’t use any of the click-reveal interactions from the QSP’s. Sorry about that, but I’m so used to create that type of interactivity that it comes almost naturally. One tracking variable for each buttons was needed to have the final image appear after all buttons have been clicked. 

Tips for using Quick Start Projects (11.5)

Intro

The most recent version, 11.5.0.476 includes the new Assets Panel which I presented in this post.

You are able to use Quick Start projects, or slides taken from those projects to avoid having to design and to work out interactions for your project from scratch. Those projects/slides are available in a responsive (Fluid Boxes) and non-responsive version. I tested it out for a tutorial which you can watch using this link (it is a responsive fluid boxes project):

Button Types

If this topic, also related with 11.5, seems interesting, I will post a more detailed description in the near future. But today you'll get some tips from what I learned creating this tutorial.

QSP tips

You can use a Quick Start Project in two ways:
  1. Open the project, and delete or hide the slides you don’t want to use in your course.
  2. Open a non-responsive or a Fluid boxes project, and insert slides from the Assets panel.

I used the second approach for the tutorial, for a logical reason: I didn’t use even half of the provided slides in the Aspire project. Project has only 17 slides, including a lot of duplicate instances of slides. I used these slides from Aspire:

  • Welcome layout
  • Timeline Interaction 02
  • Main Menu layout 02
  • Subtopic Header layout (used 6 instances)
  • Tab Interaction 01 (used 3 instances)
  • Related Content Interaction (used 3 instances)
  • 3 Column layout
  • Exit Layout

Tip 1 Duplicate slides

If you need the same slide multiple times do NOT insert it multiple times in your project, because that will corrupt the Advanced actions (most slides use them). To avoid this you need to follow this workflow:
  • Insert one instance of the needed slide
  • Go into the Filmstrip, slide will be active (surrounded by a blue rectangle)
  • Duplicate that slide, either with the right-click menu or with the universal shortcut for duplicate: CTRL-D.
  • Move the slide by dragging in the filmstrip to the wanted location.

You can repeat this workflow as many times as needed. Due to Captivate’s smart labeling, the advanced actions will not corrupt in most situations. Why not always? See next tip.

Tip 2: Check Navigation commands

In a slide like the Main Menu Layout, the topic buttons point to another slides in the total project. On insertion of that slide only, without the target slides, all commands will revert to the default navigation command ‘Go to Next Slide’. You have to replace it by ‘Jump to….’ while indicating the correct target slide (in the project the slides of the Subheader Topic layout). This will prove easier if you use the next tip:

Tip 3: Rename slides

Labeling is always a good practice, but for sure in this type of project. Multiple instances of the same layout slide will have the same name (and are very long as well). Taking the time to give them a custom name will save time when you need to find a slide. Moreover, if you want to use the Table of Content, the names will be meaningful.

Tip 4: Replace image

Switching to another image is mostly very easy:
  1. Select the image.
  2. Click on its name in the Properties panel
  3. Choose another image from the Library dropdown list, or use the Import button to find it on your system.


However, on many slides an image is used as Fill for a Fluid Box. Look at the Subtopic Header slides (there are 6 in the example): having the image as fill allows to add an image on top of the fluid box. Normally you cannot stack two images, this is a useful solution for that limitations.

If you want to replace the fill for a Fluid box, you need to select that fluid box, you cannot just click the image. After selecting the FB you see that the fill is set to Image, click the second Fill button, use the Browse icon to find an image to replace the image. Be careful to check the Position properties if the new image doesn’t have exactly the same size as the original one.

Tip 5 Multistate objects

The layout slides use a lot of multistate objects.  That is the case for all the Click to Reveal slides (labeled ‘Tab Interaction’ and ‘Related Content Interaction) and probably for many other interactions. You really will need to learn how to use them. Click the State view button in the Properties panel, to open the Object State panel.

More questions?

You may have seen that I have edited some slides quite a lot. This post has only simple tips, not the full explanation of all changes. If you want to know more, post a comment to this blog.