Game Development Reference
4. A Drop Shadow filter is added to the lh]uan object, and the settings you can use to modify
it appear in the Filter pane. Play around with some of the settings until you find an effect you
like. The Filter pane, and the effect that those settings have on the lh]uan object, are shown in
Figure 6-14. Add a drop shadow to the player object.
The Blur X and Blur Y settings are numbers in pixels that refer to how fuzzy the shadow is around the
edges. More blur makes the shadow look softer.
Strength is the same as alpha , which is just another way of saying how more or less transparent the
shadow is. A Strength setting of 100% means that the shadow is completely opaque (solid), and it
becomes more transparent as the percentage falls toward zero. One of the most CPU-intensive tasks
that the Flash Player does is to calculate areas of alpha transparency, so you can give your games a
performance boost by avoiding transparent objects, transparent colors, or effects that use transpar-
ency. Of course, they look beautiful, so if you can get away with using some and your game doesn't
slow down, go for it!
The Quality setting is quite important for games or any moving objects that will be using drop shadows.
Filter effects such as drop shadows make the Flash Player work quite a bit harder to draw the effect
on the screen, so you need to use them judiciously and do enough testing with your objects to make
sure that they don't affect performance. For games, you'll probably always want to use the Low set-
ting because the Flash Player does fewer calculations. In a game with fast-moving objects, no one will
notice the difference, anyway.
Angle is the direction from which the imaginary light that is casting the shadow is coming from.
Distance refers to the space between the object that is casting the shadow and the object below it, and
this is what gives objects with drop shadows the illusion that they're occupying a shallow 3D space.
The Knockout , Inner shadow , and Hide object options are a little more specialized. Play around with
them to see what they do; you might find a use for them some day.