Dreaming Methods – Open Source Projects

Dreaming Methods has three new projects available to experience – each one created without the use of Flash or any other browser plugin.

Visiting dreamingmethods.com on the iPad now takes you to a new page of what we’re calling ‘open source’ digital fiction projects: Flight Paths #1, Changed and Floppy. Dreaming Methods now also has a completely different look when accessed on smart phones.

These projects are not specifically iPad only. They also work (in some cases in an enhanced capacity) on desktop computers too, because they’ve been developed using a combination of HTML markup, CSS and Javascript.

The first of the projects, part one of Flight Paths by Kate Pullinger and Chris Joseph, is a direct translation of the original Flash episode available on www.flightpaths.net. Using new HTML5 attributes such as audio tags and font embedding in combination with jQuery’s in-built animation and transition effects, this fragment of the story has become accessible on iPad and iPhone as well as desktop and can be bookmarked to those devices’ home screens. Although it’s not perfect, and doesn’t have the speedy graphical effects of its Flash counterpart, it’s an interesting exercise in how work can be ported across from one technology to another – in this case to increase its compatibility and potential audience – without publisher or App developer involvement.

Changed – perhaps the most ambitious work here in terms of multimedia – is the story of a young girl who has narrowly escaped death and is now hiding and reflecting on her ordeal beneath a roadway tunnel. Based on a script by screen writer Lynda Williams and built with the iPad’s native touch-scrolling in mind, the piece incorporates a soundtrack by sound artist Matt Wright (who we’ve worked with before on Impossible Journal) and offers several graphical enhancements when viewed in a full desktop computer environment – from video animation to parallax scrolling (all of which were either too processor intensive for the iPad’s javascript engine to cope with, or we just couldn’t figure out how to get away with it; upgrade releases may indeed follow.)

Finally, we’ve converted our 2004 project Floppy – about the disturbing contents of a semi-corrupt floppy disk found on a deserted road – from Flash to open source, allowing it to be viewed on non-Flash enabled devices, including of course the iPad. Hearing the iPad’s speakers produce those nostalgic floppy-disk access sounds made this conversion worthwhile alone, whilst the story itself seems to gain a strange new intimacy when read on a hand-held device.

http://www.dreamingmethods.com/opensource/
* currently best viewed in Google Chrome or Safari on desktop
- undergoing browser testing

3 Responses to “Dreaming Methods – Open Source Projects”

  • Great to see all these on the iPad! ‘Changed’ is particularly effective – touch scrolling through the tunnel, which I think is even more effective on the iPad than the scrolling experience on the desktop. It’s a more intimate experience on the iPad too, which really suits the nature of the story. It’s weird – I’m looking down on her, holding my iPad in my lap, but I’m also in the tunnel with her, touching the walls. I think this more than compensates for the atmospheric extra effects we can experience in the desktop version. But one thing – on the iPad, I found that some of the texts faded before I had chance to fully read them, which wasn’t the case on the desktop version.

    It’s really exciting to see this work and it makes me feel it’s worthwhile learning javascript and jQuery, which I’m currently doing. It can be frustrating learning new stuff, although I enjoy it, because it’s time taken from the creative work, but I don’t want to be totally dependent on Flash. I want to be able to author for cross-platforms, but it feels like I’m constantly taking so many steps backwards so I can take one tiny step forward.

  • Many thanks for this Christine. I will adjust the timing on the fading texts based on your feedback – you’re right they are a bit fast on iPad. There are a few other small glitches too, which I will be ironing out. Great to hear your thoughts anyway.

    jQuery is tricky to learn with very few visual tools available. But it does seem extremely capable. Depending where you’re at, you might be interested in the Boilerplate template we put out last week.

    http://labs.dreamingmethods.com/boilerplate/

    Also, there is this, which looks promising, although I haven’t really used it properly yet.

    http://visitmix.com/work/glimmer/

  • Thanks Andy, I’ve downloaded your Boilerplate which will certainly prove helpful. So much more interesting than the usual UI examples! Glimmer looks interesting too.

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