A Song of Ice and Fire – Animated Timeline Map


In this update to the Animated Timeline Map I have restructured the way I am going to build the timeline. I decided that to have the entire thing as just one animation on a single page is going to cause me a lot of problems as it gets longer and longer. Making amendments and corrections would become horrendously time consuming jobs. Hence the reason for the navigation boxes you can see above.

As part of this update I have corrected some event dates that were in the previous version of Section C (thanks to Evrach for the help) and have added a lot of new events to the animation. The example of a Trail Animation has been moved to its own separate animation which I have placed in Section F for now. The restructuring has allowed me to modify the character selection list to make it relevant to each separate section of the timeline.

Also included in this update are pan buttons. It turns out that some users were unable to pan the map by clicking on it and dragging the mouse so I have added controls for this functionality. Unfortunately they are not as good as Google Map panning controls but hopefully they are useful enough. Please let me know if you encounter problems using them.

Warning of a new Technical Problem you will run into - or - why Adobe need a good smack in the head

Let me assure you there is a very good reason why Adobe need a good smack in the head. Since aquiring Macromedia a few years ago Adobe have taken on the development of Flash and up until the most recent update of Flash Player (I say recent it was July 2010) I thought they had been doing a pretty decent job. However Flash Player 10.1 is an abomination unto Flash developers everywhere.

Let me explain. The Flash Player plug-in lives in your browser and helpfully plays any Flash movie or animation for you and Adobe in their infinite wisdom have decided to make a universal change to all players in any situation whereby if a Flash Movie object is off the screen at any time, for example when you have scrolled down the page, then that Flash Movie will pause. Their thinking is that this will be beneficial to users on iPhones, Androids and other mobile devices since it will save memory and speed up resources. All well and good for them but this is affecting home desktop PC users too and while I am sure this is useful for stopping all those irritating adverts from hogging your browser memory, for someone in my situation where I have two separate Flash animations (datepane and mappane) which need to run in perfect synchronisation it is causing a considerable problem to say the least.

When I first noticed that the date and the map were out of sync I thought I was going crazy. After a bit of googling on the problem I vented a vile stream of curse words for Adobe which I dare not repeat here, suffice to say I was not happy. But it turns out that Adobe do have a solution which is to add a new parameter to the HTML code which is supposed to give an animation priority so that it never pauses even when off screen. Only problem is this code is not supported by any web browser known to man so that's of fuck all use to anyone.

For this reason I have been forced to make a change to the Animated Timeline Map adding the Event Number to the text boxes in the map animation which is something I did not originally want to do. The event titles were much neater without them but unfortuantely they are going to be necessary so that you can make sure that the datepane animation is showing the correct details for the event being shown on the map. If you do notice that the event numbers no longer match each other this can be corrected by simply clicking on any of the Day or Event Navigation buttons which will sync the datepane with the current position of the map animation.

An even better solution is to avoid facing this problem altogher. My advice is to ensure that the datepane remains on screen while the animation is playing. For Section C this should be easy since Event Navigation is the way to go and those buttons are above the datepane on the page, but once we start getting into the more complex stuff with characters and armies moving around, the events will be sparsely disbursed along the timeline rather than being sequential and this means the handy event numbers won't be around to point out this error if you have scrolled down too far.

But I hold out hope that Adobe will address the problem with a solution that actually works before I get that far so that this stupid and irritating thing does not happen anymore. Feel free to send an email to Adobe telling them exactly how hard you want to smack them in the head.