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October 9, 2011 / sguergachi

Development Diary #11

Hello World!

Even though I should be doing homework right now, I sneaked in a couple hours this thanksgiving weekend to finish the Exact search portion of search and release it to sourceforge as r86.

 

I was able to somewhat accomplish my original vision of instant search (the second you type a letter). Aurora should be able to instantly go into search mode when you click in the search box or type a key/number. I am aware of some focuslost() issues and will be working on them for the next snapshot release.

right if you type exactly the name of the game, it will appear in a new grid and will be removed if you type a letter more or a letter less. It will also return to the original library without a problem when you click away from the search box or clear the text within it.

For the Next Release (r88):

  • First implementation of lenient search <r87
  • Able to selectively edit search text < bugfix-r88
  • Grid Transitions for Search mode< bugfix-r88
  • Try and fix focuslost() using new implementation< bugfix-r88

alright I think that’s It!

 

See you next week!

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September 16, 2011 / sguergachi

Development Diary #10

Hello World!

It’s been quite a while since I have blogged, and that’s mostly due to less time available for development and more school work piling up.

I still plan on finishing this project as enough time has been spent working on this thing. Yet I will reduce the number of features which were originally going to be implemented and will focus on completing one core part of the app for the Alpha release, this feature is the game library.

The game library requires the following features to be able to reach the Alpha stage:

• Add games to library
This means creating an interface to allow users to type in the name of a game they have on there computer and have the app look through the local database of game names and the link to there corresponding box art, then the app would add the .exe path to the game to another local database to allow the user to easily launch the game from the app when ever they want. The box art would be added to the grid view and will be able to launch the game by clicking on the box

•Remove game
This is a simpler task which would involve dealing with the grid view of the game library and removing the box art from the grid the rearrange all other box arts to fill the empty space

•Searching for games
This is something I have been working on with the search bar found in release 84. Currently I am working on a full implementation of lenient search of your entire game library. This involves the user simply having to start typing and the search algorithm would check for games with exact or approximate string to the text the user types.

The next update (r86) will have only exact search with approximate search following that.

I will see you guys next week hopefully.

July 13, 2011 / sguergachi

Development Diary # 9

Hello World!

 

Today I Released Aurora_r82 Which includes two important features

-The Settings UI

-A Radio Button Component with its own separate manager

these features along with the previous release of Aurora_r80 which included the promised Game Library Grid Transitions means we are nearing the Alpha Release.

 

The Next Step will be as follows

-Adding Game Managing UI (add and remove game ect.)

-Adding Search algorithm to find appropriate Game Icon from the Net and add to Library

-Being Able to download game icons once and not have to re-download them every time

-Adding and Removing Game from Library Interactively

-Fix Loading Bug

 

When this is done then we will have reached the alpha stage and can start building upon what we have done. By then we should have an appropriate website which we are also working hard to make sure looks good.

 

See You Next Week!

May 29, 2011 / sguergachi

Development Diary #8

Hello World!
A couple days ago I released revision74 on the project page the revision was mostly an aesthetic and maintenance change which involved: fixing layout of grid panel, some changes to the loading and way of rendering game covers, dashboard game panel added, ability to visually select game covers and some other changes to fix UI in the core app and the engine.
Right now I will be focusing on finishing resizability and hopefully the grid to grid transition animation. That should be in the next release of the app. Afterwards I will fix some major loading problems found when transitioning from the start page to the dashboard as well as hopefully finish UI for the settings. Following that release will come all of the logic such as the adding and removing of games. When this is done we should be ready to finally enter alpha stage were the most important work begins back end wise.

That’s all for now!

April 2, 2011 / sguergachi

Development Diary #7

Hello World!

So in the pass few weeks a few things have happened

– Being Able to add Games and Generate Grids for each Game object on the fly

-Being able to manage and move through Grids with GridManager

-Implementation of Resizing capabilities

 

Based on the above list its clear that back end work on Aurora has finally started, in fact it started sooner than it should have since work on the Settings UI part of Aurora has not even started, instead I decided to start working on the actual backend core of Aurora with the Adding and Removing of Games, the organizing games, zoom, info ect. The first two points above address this. Being able to add a Game in fact still does not have a UI, its still currently being prototyped, but the ground work for the back end system which will do the actual managing of games on run-time, as storage systems have not been implemented yet, has been implemented and committed.

To be able to make the visual and abstract representation of Game Objects new classes had to be implemented:

-aGridPanel : a simple panel placed in the Aurora Engine which allows easy creation and indexing of one grid and the components inside this grid.

-GridManager : Part of the core Aurora codebase which helps the Game Library to interface ,visualize and manage all the aGridPanels being used to store the Game Objects

 

These two classes have given the ability for better management of Game Objects in the Game Library Which will allow for the formation of the overall data structure used in the program much easier to manage.

 

The Third thing on the list of things im still working on is the resizing capabilities, which is the feature in the program that compensates for large and small screens bellow or equal to 1280 X 800 resolution, that way multiple screens can accommodate for the program. This will also allow for future UI tweaking to be much easier as only variables in specific methods need to be modified.

 

Right now I’m working on implementing the implementing of the Game Adding and Removing UI, here is a preview:

 

Aurora_GameWindow1

 

See you in a few weeks!

February 21, 2011 / sguergachi

Development Diary #6

Hello World!

So I had some time this weekend to do more than I thought I would do.

First: Here is the initial Design for the Settings menu, I might change some things but this looks pretty good right nowSettings_Screen

Second: You will notice in the Settings design an item called “Aurora Surface” all that is is a simple feature I will in the future implement to allow users to easily change the skin of every single possible image in the Aurora Game Manager desktop UI, it will be made possible a separate application which will allow you to preview each .png image separately and easily change each one, then export the package and let Aurora Game Manager to use it as its new UI skin.

Third: I managed to do a couple backend stuff, which include:

– being able to back out of any of the screen accessed from the Main dashboard screen

-And more instant transition from startup screen to main screen

these two things I did not expect to be done in only a couple of days but It turns out just a little Object Oriented re-architecting can do magic at times.

That’s all for now, I uploaded what I have done to the sourceforge website.

Next week I might have the Settings UI done in code and uploaded.

See you then!

January 30, 2011 / sguergachi

Development Diary # 5

 

So this week has not been productive due to school work, but I did manage to reproduce a design for the gamer profile, here it is :

 

 

Gamer_Profile_Wrk

 

I also managed to start planning the projects progress on a tracker called Pivotal Tracker, this should keep me better on track and speed up development. Here is the public link to the project tracker incase you are curious: https://www.pivotaltracker.com/projects/185797

 

See you next week!

December 30, 2010 / sguergachi

Development Diary #4

hello world!

 

So right now I am concentrating on finishing the basic UI functionality of the Gamer Profile, Here is what the work in progress looks like right now, although I’m not fully happy with it. I need to figure out exactly what kind of game data gamers are looking for and what will make the gamer profile even worth looking at, I don’t what it to be THAT feature nobody ever uses. So some more thinking may be involved in the designing and structuring of the profile:

Gamer_Profile_Wrk

 

If you look closely you can see something interesting on the right side of the profile screen, and that’s Badges. The idea behind bringing a game feature to a game navigator did look kind of odd at first, but this is very common now a days in the console world where you get Xbox achievements or PlayStations Trophies, its still something put into the gaming platform to make it not only more attractive to gamers but also to make it a fun way to show reputation and experience. I fell PC gamer are as if not more competitive then console gamers yet their is little to no “reputation” counter on PC gaming platform such as Steam, GameSpy, even Xfire has barley a competitive reward system in place, all they have is the basic Hours counter or an achievement system built by or for the game it self (Steam). Being able to tell how much time you spent on each game is something I planned to implement from the start of this project, but it only recently came to me that rendering this application fun is the best way to keep people using Aurora. Although the badges right now stem only from time played on a game, they are still glorified digital objects you can use to show off your powers, and remember this works on any game, not like the other platforms which need to manually make sure they are compatible with the game you want to play (GameSpy Comrade) or even allow you to have some kind of achievement from a game you did not buy online (Steam), if the game has a name then you can get a badge for it.

There are currently two type of badges, the funny goofy ones and the serious business hierarchical ones. If you look at the above design you see their are two “level” badges showing the specific stage of each badge (Pro, Elite) and the actual Level of that badge (Each Badge has 3 levels before passing to the next stage of badges). Then you see the “10 hours continuous” badge where you played a game non-stop for 10 hours, these are supposed to be the funny badges which don’t have any purpose other than to be randomly given out for random funny reasons. I think such a system would be more powerful and allow for more game support out of the gate, however having game specific badges is also the logical next step in the Badges feature where game related jokes could be the titles of the badges or where the badge levels could be called according to the game (Infantry, Warrior, Knight for one game and Soldier, G.I, Black-Ops for another game).

 

This is only adding to the amount of work that already needs to be done, but if it means this feature will increase the value of Aurora considerably I would be willing to spend the extra nights working on it Smile

 

That’s all for now!

 

-SammyG

December 21, 2010 / sguergachi

Development Diary #3

Hello World!

 

Today I decided to start and finish the aInfoBar component in the Aurora Engine as well as put it into the AuroraUI. The aInfoBar component is simply a news scrolly thingy you see on news programs like CNN where the flash news scrolls in text across the bottom of the screen

I achieved a lot today by finishing pretty much everything described above. Although it took some time to figure out a way to be able to make an unknown number of labels to scroll and to allow some space between each label, and to be able to make the whole thing sit on a continuous and self contained loop. But Its finally done, and I should be able to upload a snapshot soon.

Right now I don’t have any data to provide or show, so a default message will be seen in the snapshot until the whole back end stuff is done.

 

That’s all for now!

 

-SammyG

December 19, 2010 / sguergachi

New Website!

 

Hello World!

 

So I Just Finished Building a brand new website that literally took me a whole day to design code and upload, but its done, and I like it. The website is considerably small and only has a few pages but that’s all I need for now, When the final release of Aurora goes online I will be buying a domain name and redesigning a full fledged website on a platform called Squarespace, the hosting and design is all done on their website, they also have a nice content management system so I will also move this blog there.

But anyways checkout the current website here!