Jason L's Weekly Progress Update


#1

I thought I’d follow Andrew’s lead and create my own thread to follow my general progress on different projects I have going on.

As most of you know, I’ve spent the last 7 months enhancing the mapping tool Trizbort. With the help of @AndrewS who helped immensely with testing, documentation and ideas, I think we’ve been able to add some great features and make it a more robust application. In the next week or so I hope to release a new version that adds what I think will be a pretty useful feature. You’ll now be able to create elliptical rooms and rooms with rounded corners (each corner can be controlled separately). There are still a few quirks with the way connections are connecting with the non-square rooms, but I hope to get most of those worked out before release.

After the last release which added support for exporting to ZIL (based on the work by @vaporware), I hope to begin work on Hugo export support which a few have requested.

In non-Trizbort news, well there isn’t much activity lately. I’ve got the beginnings of a cataloging system for IF games which I’ve been calling Chimera (I had a reason at one point, but I don’t recall now what that reasoning was.) It’s in the very early stages of development and in fact may not work well on anyone’s machine but my own at the moment…but I do hope to get more work done there.

Game wise, not much going on. I’ve done a few hours of work over the last few weeks on my IntroComp from last year, but nothing to write home about.

Well that’s it for this week, hopefully more progress for next.


#2

Is “Chimera” similar to “Spatterlight” in the way it provides a loader for all your IF needs?

If so - cool! There used to be Grotesque, but some important issues never got ironed out. I don’t remember what they were anymore, but I remember I had to resort to a lot of little hacks to ensure I got my whole collection in there.

I eventually stopped updating it. It wouldn’t import the games properly anyway - it would misteriously skip over some files, when importing, so keeping it up to date was laborious, a chore, and Not Fun. And it didn’t take into account that some games didn’t actually need an interpreter to play.


#3

To a certain degree yes, I’m not real familiar with Spatterlight, but I will definitely be looking at it to see what I can incorporate.

I actually thought of creating this because of Grotesque. I thought it was a great idea, but for the general user, it was be way too difficult to get running, especially on a Windows machine. I hoped to create something along those lines, make it easier to install and get up running and then add the features that I was looking for.

Currently Chimera is windows only, as most of my stuff typically is, but I suspect that will be easy enough to change down the road. It is very much in the early planning and development stages.


#4

That’s awesome. I reiterate, in case it’s useful for you, that my biggest problem was that it was a pain to add new games. Individually it worked well enough, but - well, you know the size of my collection, right?

It also had a habit of ignoring games with UPPER-CASE EXTENSIONS, so although it would have an option to automatically import new games, I never really knew which games woulc fail to be imported.

From my perspective, that was the biggest drawback. If you could somehow make it easy (or, well, easier, and more reliably) for new games to be added - ideally a number of games at once - it’d make all the difference.


#5

One of my main goals early on was to work on making it easy to add games (whole collections as well as individually), as I know from my own personal usage, I wouldn’t use it if it was difficult to add stuff.

So I’m curious, do you have your collection in a single folder? are they further broken down into sub-folders based on some other criteria? I know everyone will be different but I’m curious how you’ve got your’s structured. Do you store any other files (walkthroughs, maps, …) with your game files?

Jason


#6

Just noticed Chimera–looks like you’ve kept busy between that and Trizbort! I’d be interested to read this progress, too. I know I wouldn’t mind having the ability to manage walkthroughs and maps (or even notes) with a game, as I often leave one for a long while.


#7

See for yourself. :slight_smile: https://mega.co.nz/#F!LkkmWZQS!5v2eiVbVtcwwii6IVj7rwQ

It takes about five minutes to load, but once it’s loaded it’s very fast to browse. I recommend reading a short novel while it loads.

Essentially, my main cathegories are developer/platform. Only big developers are worth an overall cathegory of their own: I have Infocom, Legend Entertainment, Level 9, Magnetic Scrolls, Phoenix and Topologika, Scott Adams and Adventure International, and Textfyre Inc. There are also some exceptions in the form of collections, or just stuff that really belonged together regardless of platform: Adventure, Apollo18+20, Eamon. The rest is platforms: ADRIFT, AGT, Alan, Inform, Hugo, QUest, SUDS, Spectrum, Commodore, Amiga, Apple II…

WIthin each folder it’s all cathegorised alphabetically. There are 26 sub-folders in which are the actual games, in in their subfolder.

You’ll find Curses: in Inform and Glulx --> C --> Curses!, for instance.

Each game folder has all the documentation relevant to the game. I didn’t always bother to download the maps, or the hints or walkthrough, but if I did they’re all there. I certainly did make sure to download everything that could be counted as “feelies”, and necessary - or merely suggested - for better enjoyment of the game.


#8

Well didn’t have a ton of time this week to work on much…however, it was enough time to put out a new release of Trizbort (1.5.9.1). This really only has one big feature and one pretty nice UI improvement. You can get it at www.trizbort.com

First new feature. You can now have rooms with rounded corners (each corner can be set separately for roundness factor) , elliptical rooms, and each room can individually be toggled between straight edges or hand-drawn edges. They seem to work pretty well and really opens up the possibilities for map improvements. I’ve got a bit more work to do, mostly around how well connections are handled on the elliptical and rounded edges (mostly with the connections in the corners). But I thought I’d get the release out into the wild and hopefully get some feedback.

Next up for Trizbort will be hopefully a Hugo exporter, some improvements to the ZIL export and of course some improvements to the shaped rooms.

Outside of that, I hope to get some work done on Chimera. After the discussion with Peter, I’ve built my own excitement around the project so hoping I can get some momentum on that.

I also, try to make even a small improvement to one of my games in progress. Small progress, but some nonetheless.


Trizbort Update
#9

That’s my role in the big scheme of things. I’m a catalyst. :wink:


#10

I think small improvements can be very useful. It just keeps your game on your mind. And if you say “Yeah, I made a change, but it wasn’t the sort of big change I know I can make,” that’s a big win for you. It’s gotten me through slow times. Sometimes it takes a day to make a real change–sometimes I sit down and say, while I’m here, why not change that, too?


#11

Well, not much progress on anything this week. It was an incredibly busy week with personal family stuff, so not much time outside of work to sit at the computer. I did however, make a few small improvements to Trizbort based on some suggestions from @AndrewS. Still need to finish some of those up before publishing anything, but some small progress there.

On another note, I thought of another game I’m wanting to write and started working on the base mechanic that will be central to the story…now just to wrap a decent story around it. The mechanic may be kind of fun to code even if it never turns into anything more than that.

Well that’s really all for this week.


#12

Nice! This is what led to my Sketchbook: coming up with fun mechanics to code which wouldn’t necessarily enhance story or gameplay.


#13

Awesome! Sometimes working hard on one project, you say–wish I was also X, Y or Z…and it turns into something.

Also, yay random bugs popping up! Someone found an interesting case that’s probably a one line fix. It’s cool to know people we don’t know about are using Trizbort.


#14

Been two weeks in-between updates. I wish I could say it was because I was so busy working on Trizbort or coding a new game or something, but alas, it’s not that…just busy with work and kids activities.

Anyway, I’ll keep this brief as I want to use some of my small amount of free time actually working on projects. Trizbort, I’ve done a few small things, nothing major, but getting close to enough for a new release.

The IF project I mentioned the last update, I bailed on and threw out. Not because it was bad necessarily, but despite my initial excitement on it, I became quickly bored with it. Instead I’ve begun work on a game I put on the shelf about a year ago. It’s something based on a story from buddy of mine (an unpublished author and a fellow IF enthusiast from the 80s) who bought and restored an 1850s farmhouse that really has quite a history. He wants to write a set of young teen / young adult stories based around the history and had asked me to write some IF on it as well. I had gotten as far as creating the map last year before we both found other things to keep us busy on. Well coincidentally enough, he picked up his side of the project again and wanted to see if I would continue on. So I’ve been busily working on finishing the map, getting some base descriptions in place and building a story around it. He and I are going to try to meet bi-weekly at least to work on finishing this (and a few other projects the two of us are working on).

Anyway, that’s been my life whether you wanted to know about it or not! :grinning:


#15

The cooperative project seems awesome. Definitely keep us posted!

Also congrats on getting 11 stars now for the trizbort repository.


#16

So here we are a week or so since my last update (though it wouldn’t be hard to keep up through other posts on this site).

So here are a list of my accomplishments this week:

  • More work on my new collaborative WIP, still fleshing out descriptions and the map in general. Slow progress, but progress nonetheless.
  • Released new version of Trizbort. Didn’t really announce this one too much (other than on here), more out of laziness than anything else, but there are some cool new features and fixes.
  • Working on new release of Trizbort. Thanks to @AndrewS on his much needed testing, he’s uncovered some bugs, some of which have been there for some time and we’ve come up with some new items as well. Hopefully working towards another release soon.

Felt good to have a good week on some of my personal projects for a change…been hard to get time in lately so this has been refreshing.


#17

So following in @AndrewS footsteps, I thought I’d resurrect my weekly progress thread, if for no other reason than to encourage me to do something each week so I can have something to talk about.

This week:

  • Fixed a bug that was reported in the latest version of Trizbort. Seems the room properties window was always opening in the top left of the screen. That was kind of embarrassing…not completely sure how I managed to make that happen, but it was an easy fix.
  • prepping for the next minor release of Trizbort, which I hope to release in the next week or so.
  • Worked on the WIP a little, not as much as I wanted though. This is the one from my other recent thread
  • Managed to get some work on a few Unity items (ok, not necessarily IF related, but still I’m happy I’ve made a little progress there.

Big news, is I’ve started working on Trizbort2. This is the complete rewrite of Trizbort. My plans are to keep all the functionality of the current Trizbort, but improve the code-base so some other requested features can be more easily added. Genstein did a great job on the original and there will be much that will come over verbatim, but there are some general structural changes that are needed to make it more expandable and maintained. Once that is done, I’ve got a list of needed features and enhancements that will hopefully make it into this new version.

I’m still pulling my notes and thoughts together and am putting together a Trello board to track the progress. I’m just beginning so it may be sometime before I get even a rough alpha version, but I plan on announcing that here first if anyone is interested in trying it out when it’s ready.


#18

Whoa, Trizbort2. Exciting news! Best of luck with that, and congratulations on all of the other progress.


#19

So this week was pretty busy in my real life (started a new job on Monday so all that kept me busy) so not as much accomplished as I had hoped, but a few things.

Biggest accomplishments were organizing some of the Trizbort2 Trello board cards to get myself better organized and made some small progress on Trizbort2. Below is a very early screenshot (like way early concept shot, so it will probably change greatly before all done)… What it does show however, is something I’m kind of excited about and hopefully it will be a helpful feature:

You can now have multiple “projects” open (that’s the set of tabs at the top), each project can have it’s own set of maps (yes one or more)…that’s the bottom tabs. My thought on the this is the project is your high-level, so this could be the “Zork” project, then each map could be perhaps different logical areas, so you could have a separate map for the above ground area and one for the below ground. Proof of concept at the moment, but I’m thinking this could be pretty cool especially with a few of the other ideas I have planned.

Not much to look at yet, but hey I’m making progress.


#20

Very cool.

Haven’t had much to add to these weekly progress threads, but I’ve been reading with interest.