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March 2, 2012 / sguergachi

Development Diary #15

Hello Internet!

So I’m writing this post pretty late, and I should be going to sleep right now for school tomorrow morning, but Carlos just committed a fix for the Carousel recoding we did which resolves the problem where the large screen causes the Carousel to act weirdly, and I was to excited to go to sleep. I have been withholding the huge amount of fixes and improvements I made over the February week long break to make sure that the Carousel (a very important UI component to Aurora GM)  was working for the screens most gamers game on. As you might find on the change log a lot has changed in r_134, most of it is in the backend which as I mentioned in the previous post will be a major focus in the next few releases as we approach our Alpha release due date.


The Most important change in this release is the addition of the H2 database engine, which is a very fast, very small and java only SQL database that supports the JDBC API. I spent a day learning all the basics to work with H2 and SQL (had little knowledge of databases until then) and the next day I wrote a simple interface to the SQL and Database through the new aSimpleDB component found in the engine. It allows for a number of parameters to be passed to methods to connect and construct the SQL query for you. It allows for both flexible and simple methods as well as complete flexibility where a query in the form of a String can be passed to do what ever the heck you want with SQL. I included some Java doc documentation for this component because this component can be somewhat complex for people who also have no idea what a database is and how to interact with one.


The second important thing I got done was the Aurora Cover DB which is a simple database containing all 2500 game names and URL links to the actual Cover Art for that game. I created a class in the Core application called Updater which currently only reads a GameDB.txt flat file database of all the names and adds them to the database. It also algorithmically creates the URL for that link and also adds them to the database. Whenever I get a new batch of game Cover Art, I add the names to the GameDB.txt file and launch the updater to create the database which takes around 15min on my laptop. The result is a AuroraDB.db file which is now added to the lib folder. I then added some test code to the Game Library to make the appropriate name query and acquire the resulting URL to download (or check folder) for the game cover art.


Currently there is no plan to add automatic updating into Aurora Game Manager 1.0 due to constraints. But I fully plan on implementing a really amazingly slick updater that would do all the updating before you even launch the application, no need to restart, no huge files download, just really simple and slick updating, that will be in 1.5. Right now the Updater will be for internal use only.

Other than that I did some fixes with the aPrompter, the aAnimate, made Grids and Placeholders work everywhere including Search and also made some initial work towards the Add game UI (finally!). This means I will be working on finishing the Library. I have the backend planed in my head just need to finalize the UI of the whole thing and take the time to implement it. Carlos will also be working on finishing the library with me now that we have fully taken advantage of our SVN repository.


Well that’s it for now, see you guys soon!


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