Saturday, 6 September 2008

So what's been happening?

Try not to jump in fright at this, but this is a new post.

Yes. Really.

It's been a while, hasn't it? Well, allow me to explain the post-nuclear-blast-esque silence. You may remember that I was being constantly attacked from all sides by the dreaded exams
as I wrote my last post. Well, they got worse, and I was soon spending a steadily increasing proportion of my time revising every day. Ultimately, all my non-school-related projects were all but forgotten, and Slipslide 2 was but a distant memory.

Thankfully, my revision was not in vain, as I got a 1 for every subject (1 = A, for those of you unfamiliar with our system)! However, Slipslide was left to gather dust for months, and it wasn't until I stumbled onto this page again a while ago that I remembered about it. In the time that passed between the hellish onslaught and my fateful rediscovery of the long-lost relic that is this blog, many events have taken place. Some were
exciting, some were intriguing, and some were nifty, and if you continue reading I shall elaborate on the most significant of them.

Firstly, I have begun learning C++, which is probably around 50 times more confusing than Python (yet 50 times more powerful at the same time). I've come some way with it, but it's unlikely I'll be doing anything spiffy with it for a good while as there's a massive amount still to learn.

Back in the world of Python, a few friends and I recently started what seemed like an incredibly simple project - a program that lets you make text adventure games in Python using a node-based system - but has grown in complexity as all the little things that you normally take for granted (text boxes, for example) have proven near-impossible to code properly, and the code structure (originally completely modal, with GUI elements designed to be usable by other programs) has melted together to form a big ugly monstrosity that will soon be near-impossible to safely edit. So we're going to have to consider redesigning the whole thing, possibly coding GUI elements co
mpletely separately and adding them in when the whole thing's finished. Whatever approach we take, it's definitely going to involve a friggin' massive flowchart.

Now, while this project is being semi-restarted, I have started on a little side-project - a Python-based image gallery program not unlike the Firefox PicLe
ns extension, but in 2D and with file info display and a full-size image viewer (with zooming and panning). It's proving to be challenging so far, but I have managed to get it to load images, resize them to fit into tiles, draw them to the screen in a grid pattern and display the details for whichever image you hover the mouse cursor over. Next comes some spiffy mouse-driven scrolling and scaling effects which can't really be described through text but are illustrated in my crude drawing on the right (click to view it properly). Admittedly, it doesn't do much better at conveying what I mean. But all will become clear when I post screenshots if it in action when I get it working!

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