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Flash is pretty advanced and what you are wanting it to do is definitely within it's capabilities and more. However, some possible issues to consider is what happens if the user scrolls faster than the loading of images? Do you want it to just pause all action and fade all controls and show a loader progress bar until it can catch up? How are you going to control the hot spots and make sure that hot spot is loaded in the right spot? Is the project ever going to require localization or translation?
Thanks, this helps. My Flash experience is rooted in....whichever ancient version was the newest thing about 7 years ago! I used to script in Flash and Authorware. It will be new(ish) but I'm sure I can figure it out.
No localization or translation required; we're a local government agency and the target audience for this part of our website is local kids.
I guess they'd have to scroll pretty fast to go faster than the picture! Being kids, I'm sure they will try it. The picture has the answers to a scavenger hunt one of our on-the-ground sites sends them on. They won't want to go too fast or they will scroll right past the answers! But fading out till it catches up (or a low-res b&w background loading first) might be best.
Hot spots...hmmm, that's something I don't know. I thought I'd just sort of draw them where I want them on the picture and they'd stay there, showing up when that part of the picture is showing. I take it that isn't the case?
Can you think of any other readily-available tool that would work, maybe photo panorama software or something, that would be less expensive than Flash?
I don't much about photo panorama software. I think Apple has one called QTVR (Quicktime Virtual Reality). I'm not sure if that will do what you want, though.
Hotspots in flash are generally handled by creating Button objects of the hotspot. Stationary buttons are easy but with buttons that have to line up to the image that is being scrolled... that can be another issue altogether. Just thinking about it, I can think of different ways to approach it. And perhaps there is not any ideal way of handling it, but it's definitely something that would need to be taken into consideration.
The easiest way to create hotspots would be to place invisible buttons over the areas you want. You might want to create the scrolling piece as a series of moiveclips joined end to end inside another containing movieclip rather than one 25000 pixels long image... primarily due to not being sure how easily you could manage editing something that wide. Having one containing them all would make it easier to manage the scrolling since you only have to scroll the container. And having more than just one long image would allow for some dynamic loading rather than having the users waiting for 10MB of content to load before starting.
Here's a free component that does part of what you're looking for -
This loads in external jpg's with preloaders and automatically scrolls. You need this plus the ability to load SWFs instead and the ability to manually scroll using arrows and/or a mouseover on either side of the viewable window. If this compoent can't handle all that, I'm sure there is one somewhere that will! Just suggestion for something to consider.