PROJECT: Multilingual, Dynamically-Driven Flash Site
For the latest in THQ’s Company of Heroes franchise, we wanted to capture the World War II feel while still supporting THQ’s need for multilingual, update-on-the-fly sites. Belay Development handled the design while I built the site so that all the content on the site can be quickly and easily updated through XML files.
I also got a chance to do some fun behind-the-scenes Flash stuff that the average user would not notice: For underage visitors the Flash creates site cookie which blocks them from entering the site. In the screenshots section, THQ has a standard thumbnail size that they use across all their properties. However, this section was not designed to use this standard size, so I needed a way to load the standard-sized image and shrink it to the new size. That sounds easy enough, but this site needed to be Flash 8 AS2-compatible, which means that when you resize dynamically-loaded images, the images look jagged and artifact-ridden. I did a modification of Kaourantin’s loadBitmapSmoothed function and so now all the images in the gallery look smooth as silk and THQ doesn’t need to do any photo editing.
Site audio is always a challenge — playing music outright can get old very quickly. I wanted something which captured the ambience without being overbearing. I loved the sound of artillery going off in the background — it immersed me in the “Band of Brothers” type of world that CoH captured so well. However, the human ear picks up on patterns very quickly. So I built a function that randomly selects one of a couple artillery sounds and plays them at random times. The end result is a very realistic-feeling, ambient sound track which isn’t overbearing. Personally, I like to just sit there and listen to the background sound — I find it kind of soothing, like thunder in the distance. I hope that doesn’t make you think I’m too twisted…