from September 2015

Why does it crawl?
Posted: 27-09-2015
Things are going really slowly at the moment. Quite a lot of this is down to having to write documentation, which is never the most exciting of activities (or is it just me?).
Also, having a full time job and a family tends to eat into available time. Even having said all of that, I can't quite get my mind around why it is taking so long...
As well as writing documentation (or maybe because of it), recent activities have centrered around a complete re-write of the test conditions within the script engine and trying to figure out how to handle the situation where an object which has duplicates can be taken and dropped; finally worked it out but it isn't super elegant; maybe when things have settled down, it can be revisited.
The reason that there have been so many changes required is due to defining a test game script for the documentation which uncovered that writing something which represents what an author may write shows that the thought process during initial developement and the actual requirements do differ somewhat.
Next stop, documentation online...
More progress; just not as much as I'd like
Posted: 15-09-2015
Really close now with the website. Most of the formatting and integration with Styches is done; just need to add static content like the documentation for the script language and a few minor tweaks. It is almost there.....and then I decide to have just one last tweak and it all falls apart again.... Such is the lot of the part-time programmer I guess.
It takes a while
Posted: 12-09-2015
I am reminded to quote a couple of Project management truths.
Firstly,the axiom that the first 90% takes 90% of the time and that last 10% takes 90% of the time.
Secondly, the reason for having a project plan is so we know how far behind we are.
Website registration
Posted: 10-09-2015
Time to reinvent a whole wheel (again); is it deja vu (all over again)?
Feel like I have been here so often and yet I can recall nothing and so have to do everything from first principles. However, I will get it to work.
We now have a way of uploading a game script and then testing it right there in the browser without having to load it onto a mobile device of any sort. This should make the whole development process for authors much more straight forward and reduce some of the frustrations of the iterative nature of this form of writing.
So I keep plugging away; it may not be beautiful, but it should be functional. I am slightly concerned about whether I should be more bothered about security on the site, but to be honest, if everything ws stolen, then the attacker would have a whole heap of free games (well done) and some email addresses that they probably knew anyway. It's not like anyone using the site has got very much to lose, so 'appropriate' measures is what I shall call it and warn and registered users that they risk losing their email address when they register. That's not to say I am lazy about the security but rather that the risk of loss requires a solution that matches the effort and expense.
Onwards and upwards...
Posted: 08-09-2015
The rewrite to allow any object attributes to be used by an author has gone well and is now pretty much complete. Attention has now moved on to the WnP website, with the upload and test section currently occupying most of the effort. After much trial and error, finally got the emulation of a device to work (after a fashion) only to discover that it doesn't work on Safari - grrrr. If I could have a mild rant at this point, who in the hell let web standards be so imprecise? It's a bit like designing a car that will only drive on certain roads and when you come across a new road, you have to redesign part of the car; it is utter madness and I might even go so far as to say that the amount of human effort expended to cope with all of the various foibles within browsers is a complete waste and could be put to so much better use. Personally, I have probably has to spend twice as long on Styches because there isn't a 'standard' as I should have. Multiply that by all of the web code produced every day across the globe - I think you see where I am going. And don't even start me on Javascript....
A major rewrite of Styches?
Posted: 04-09-2015
Currently contemplating rewriting large chunks of Styches such that an author can choose any attributes they like for an object, along with a set of 'required' ones. Thus, we could have a weight and a score and...and...
The downside being a moderate delay in releasing Styches but the upside being a much more flexible framework. Decisions decisions.
Does it all come down to money?
Posted: 02-09-2015
Throughout the development of Styches, in the back of my mind has always been a nagging thought. And that thought was 'can I ever make any money doing this?'. Talking money is trash talk in the Internet age, where everything has to be free and open and 'how dare you charge anything' and i get this. However, I also have mouths to feed and rent to pay, not withstanding development costs, hosting costs and with app development, hardware devices to buy. Should i do all this for nothing except the glory? Should I just treat it all as a hobby and pay out of my own pocket?
Maybe I should. As we know, the target audience for IF isn't exactly huge and whilst one could sell an app for 99p where the target is a potential million customers and expect to sell to maybe 5% of them, when the audience is in the hundreds, I guess you might sell 5 copies; that's not going to keep a roof over my head and the wolf from the door...
Or maybe I could cover the website and app in advertising? I really don't know but I am torn between needing to make a few pounds, treating people right and doing the right thing. More thought needed but currently I expect to just give it all away and worry afterwards.
Styches rampages forward
Posted: 01-09-2015
The app development for Styches continues apace, almost to the exclusion of everything else. It is amazing just how many devices you need to test on even with what is in effect a simple UI. I have decided that the UI needs to be kept to an absolute minimum since the variations in devices would cause any mechanisms put in place to make things 'beautiful' would possibly fail badly on a device I don't have access to. Yes, there are emulators but it is never quite the same as testing on the actual device.
Additionally, every additional requirement regarding supporting resources makes it harder to get a game off the ground (to my mind; you may choose to differ). Simple is best and as things develop, we shall see if there are any ways we can cleverly make defaults for simple views that can be overridden to bring a more tailored game view.
Anyway, nearly there now and I will be looking for beta-testers very shortly to iron out the last hiccoughs...