Woken calmly

I finally got around to switching my morning alarms (I have 3 set) to my own Android alarm app last night.

The difference was noticeable straight away when I woke up at 6:30am without jumping out of my skin. I felt so much more relaxed, and so I went back to sleep until the 6:45 alarm went off letting me know that I really should hurry up and get out of bed, so I did. The 7am alarm went off telling me I should be leaving the house, and so I hurried along and set off for work. 🙂

I love my app. 😀

Remote Recorder, again

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time working on the next version of Remote Recorder (my Android app for recording TV programmes with Sky+). I’ve listened to a lot of feedback and the main thing requested by people was the availability of listings for TV channels, rather than just a search interface. When I originally made the app I just wanted to be able to search, so I made it just for myself. That’s no longer the case though, as there are quite a few users of the app, and that number is growing every day.

So I have spent quite a bit of time looking at how best to implement this feature and the video below is what I’ve come up with. Keep in mind that it’s incomplete, and excuse the elevator music 🙂

So yeah, that’s the basics of how it will work. There will be some minor differences that I have in mind, like the ability to filter the channels/programmes by typing the name into the box at the top. This next version should go a long way towards making Remote Recorder a much more stable and usable Android app. 🙂

Oh yeah, I also registered a domain name: Remote Recorder. 😀

Bring It! – Getting started

To begin developing my game I downloaded the latest Android SDK and set up Eclipse as explained in great (and hopefully up-to-date) detail on Google’s instructions page.

Once this was working I got the latest version of the Rokon game engine and extracted it into my workspace folder. I imported the existing project into Eclipse and added my own class to the list. I copied one of the examples into my own class and then removed the com.rokon.examples class and files. I changed all references of the com.rokon.examples class to my own class in files like the AndroidManifest.xml file. I missed a few places at first, but Eclipse is pretty good at telling you what’s wrong. I found it helpful to clean the project using the Project->Clean menu item to make sure no errors were left over from before certain changes.

Once I had eradicated all errors from Eclipse I ran the source in an Android Virtual Device. To my immense surprise it was working!

I went into the code and started to strip out all the bits I didn’t want. I kept one sprite around, but changed the sprite texture to my own arrow, and made it considerably smaller.

That was all pretty easy, and I thought things were going to well until I realised that I now needed to get down to the harder stuff. The user would need to aim in different directions from one point, so I needed a way for the person to change the angle. My first thought was to use the scroll ball that appears on most HTC devices these days. I thought that might be a bit of a problem though, because I was planning on using the scroll ball press as the trigger, and that might lead to people accidentally pressing it when they didn’t want to.

I decided that it would be cool to have the character point towards where the user pressed on the screen. The problem with that is that code is required to work out what angle to rotate the character by depending on where the character is, and where the player has pressed on the screen. I managed to find various little bits and pieces online that helped me come up with a decent solution.

That looks very complicated, but it’s not that bad, really. The angle is worked out using the position of the centre of the sprite and the position of the press on the screen. I’d explain it in more detail, but that might take a while. You may notice the +90 near the end of the rotation line. Unfortunately that’s a bit of a hack to add 90 degrees of rotation to whatever angle is given to me. It works, so I’m fine with that for now.

Now when I run the “game” I see an arrow on the screen. If I press on the screen then the arrow points at where I pressed. If I move my finger while it’s pressed then the arrow follows my finger around. A good start to coding the actual character.

Now to climb the rest of the mountain!