I'm happy to announce that a project I've been working on for many months finally went live this past Friday -- National Geographic's Genographic Project Atlas of Human History (whew!).
The company I work for has been doing the site for the Genographic project since inception (2005), and this app is part of the year three updates. The globe is AS3-based and uses PaperVision3D v1.5 along with a bunch of custom UI stuff and SWFAddress for deep-linking/browser-button integration.
At the time I started this part of the project (October-November 2007), PV3D 2.0 was just a glint in someone's eye, so I had to use a lot of hacks I found online for stuff like placing MovieClips directly in the 3D world and a somewhat modified version of MouseOrbiter that John Dyer had posted on the mailing list a while back. Because of needing to do some hackish things to get everything just right, there's quite a bit of stuff going on per-frame so on some machines it seems a little sluggish.
One of the things I had to do to gain a little better performance was to NOT have all of the orange POIs be interactive. That is, if you mouse-over one of the POIs, you'll see the title slides out from it to the left or right (depending upon which side of the globe it's currently on). At first I made each of the POIs interactive and each would slide out on rollover. For whatever reason this really taxed the CPU. To fix that, on rollover I translate the selected POI's location into screen-space and show a single fly-out POI at that location. That may be obvious to some, but I went for the simple way first.
I also worked on other parts of the year three site updates -- like integration into NatGeo's new site style template, the Flash pieces on the homepage, etc. -- but the globe is my biggest contribution.
In hind-sight, I know there are things I could have done differently to make things run smoother and be more efficient, but under deadline those things aren't always apparent.
Current work has been a new adventure for me -- ColdFusion development! While I had some brief experience many years ago, this is full-on CF work making a custom admin interface for a FarCry CMS based site for a cool client. Our redesigned site goes live in March, and hopefully I'll be able to post some screenshots of my admin UI then. It's all Web 2.0/AJAX/Flash/ColdFusion goodness (and our front-end design is awesome too).
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