In building the virtual exhibition for the Western Australian Museum, we made extensive use of the loader. With over 360 SWF files to load we needed a resource that would not be a large overhead on the bandwidth, would be easy to add to a movie, and could handle custom preload amounts.
The way we approached most of our files was to load all window, caption, and text elements as early as we could, then when we hit the larger elements, like images and sounds, we would use the loader to indicate progress. Because we can put it anywhere we like, we can make the best use of the streaming capabilities of Flash MX and just when things start to stall (when it hits a large image or audio sample) we whack in a loader so that the site visitor still sees something happening.
Having a loader does not mean that you can get away with developing bloated Flash MX sites: great big monolithic monsters have gone the way of the dinosaurs. Be clever and stream as much content you can in an entertaining way. At some point, though, you will probably need a loader when the media you want to show gets too big. This approach should serve well for most occasions.
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|Tim is a co-director of the Glasson Murray Group, providing quality graphic design, illustration, 3D visualisation, interactive environments, virtual reality, multimedia and website services.|
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