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Quick Tip: How to Detect Mouse Direction Using ActionScript

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In this Quick Tip you will learn how to get the mouse's current direction in your Flash application using AS3. You could use this to create an interesting control method for a game, using a mouse like a joystick, for example. For now we will just display the direction on screen.


Preview

Here's a quick example to demonstrate what we're working towards:


Brief Overview

Using a MouseEvent.MOUSE_MOVE event we'll monitor the movement of the mouse cursor, store the data in variables and display its current direction.


Step 1: Create a New File

Open Flash and create a new Flash File (ActionScript 3).


Step 2: Open Actions Panel

Press Option + F9, or go to Window > Actions to open the Actions Panel.


Step 3: Variables

Enter the variables we'll use; their names are fairly self-explanatory:


Step 4: Main Function

This is the main function:


Step 5: Check Direction

This code calls the functions which check the direction and displays the result in the stage TextField.


Step 6: Get Directions

Check the mouse directions.


Step 7: Running the Function

To start the function, add this line to the code. Once the getMouseDirection() function is run, it'll set up the MOUSE_MOVE event listener that powers the direction indicator.


Step 8: Document Class Version

Opt for this approach if you'd prefer to use a document class rather than timeline code. Read this Quick Tip if you're not sure what to do with it.

You could use this class to embed a mouse direction indicator inside any project. Just copy the whole class into a new AS file, save it as "MouseMoveDemo.as", then you can reference it using the following snippet:

Conclusion

This is a basic example of how you can use such a function; try it out, experiment and use it in your own projects!

Thanks for reading.

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