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Varicose-g: High-Performance Graphics in Flash 8

Early this year, I was inspired to create an experimental piece called varicose-g. Varicose-g uses a simple branching algorithm paired with the drawing API to draw an organic vein network. In Flash Player 7, the experiment ran slowly, and I was forced to dynamically clear older veins to reduce the graphic compositing overhead. This limited the generative quality of the experiment and reduced the complexity of the veins I could draw.

With the release of Flash Player 8, I was able to make a number of updates that significantly increased the performance, complexity, and visual interest of the piece. Check it out:

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This article focuses on those changes, including the use of a custom bitmap caching routine, blurring remnant veins, and applying color adjustments. You can download the source code for this experiment in the Requirements section.


To complete this tutorial you will need to install the following software and files:

Macromedia Flash 8 Professional

Macromedia Flash Player 8

Tutorials and sample files:

Prerequisite Knowledge

Basic understanding of programming with ActionScript 2 and the drawing API.