How To Flash CS5: Keyboard Navigation Action Script 3 KeyboardEvents


I was watching an interesting little tutorial on keyboard navigation with AS3. Now, the guy’s tutorial was actually really good, however, it wasn’t really what I would call AS3. It was very on target for what it was doing, but didn’t leave much room for expansion in my opinion. So I decided to try my hand at changing it up a littler bit.

Here is the code:

This is put on the main timeline, in the first frame on an actions layer. That is, you just create a new layer, and name it actions, it’s just a convention.

On thing to note here is, I am not using onEnterFrame. There are a couple of reasons for this, anti-cheating, i.e. it’s time based, not frame based, so slowing down the frames, won’t do anything. Also,
on different computers, the thing seemed to execute faster with onEnterFrame, this way, it’s a time interval using setTimeout, so it should be a little more consistent.

Then, I created a small triangle, converted it to a movieclip with F8, double clicked it, inserted a new layer, named that one actions, and put this code in the first frame.

Most of this should be self explanitory. A few things that may be weird are the calculations for the up keying. Basically, we have a rotation value from 0 -> 180, and from -180 -> 0, so we need to behave differently based on which direction we are facing. Negative numbers need to be multiplied by -1 to get rid of the negative sign. In some cases, we want to diminish the x or y movement, so we add or subtract to/from 180 degrees and sometimes 90 degrees. For instance, when we are between -90 and -180, we add 180 to the x calculation, which means, the closer we are to -180 rotation, the less we will move along the x axis etc. Same for positive 180.

You will notice that, for the most part, pushing 2 arrow keys at once get you different behavior, that is, you’ll loop around. Also, you can use shift/ctrl for +/- speed, and z/x +/- rotation.

pushing r, resets the ship in case you get lost.

Hope you enjoy!

About Jason

I am a 31 year old programmer living in the south of France. I currently work actively in the fields of Ruby/PHP/Javascript and server/website administration.
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  • ozkan

    i have maze , and im trying to rotate the player when i try with ur codes i keep getting error.. can you help?

  • Tepu92

    Can you import that Flash project on the page.
    I’m trying to figure out, how i can use the code on my flash animation.

    I copy/Paste the codes and follow the guide, but it’s not working.

    • Anonymous


      Sorry mate, it’s been awhile since I worked in flash, I don’t have it currently installed, or the original code for this thing.

      Things might have changed since I did this bust usually you place this code either in a file and import it in the first frame of the animation, or actually just put the code in the actions frame that you will have to make…

      As much as I would like to get back to AS3 and do something with Flash, I just don’t get much work in that field, I spend more of my time with backend server programming these days.

      I hope you manage to figure it out though.


  • Noel

    Hello there
    Im trying to get the string value from keyCode(Without ‘if-else’ ing the individual keys my self) I know that you can do this with charCode but can you do the following?

    function OnKeyDown( keyboardEvent:KeyboardEvent ):void
    var str:String = MagicFunction( keyboardEvent.keyCode );
    //if keyCode == 13
    // str == “Return”
    // Does AS3 Provide MagicFunction()?

    THANKS 😀
    Keep up the good work!

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