Thursday, September 10, 2009

Avatar Core 0.5.0 + My Avatar Editor Lite

Avatar Core 0.5.0 has now been released on the project page (both SVN and ZIP download). The release notes have more information about the changes made.

It should be noted that the SVN repository has been redesigned to also include documentation, examples, and a library SWC for the framework. The location of the source files have moved a couple of directories deeper as a result, so you may need to make some changes with respect to classpaths/source path references. The ZIP download also reflects this restructuring, though it only includes the source code and the same selection example as before.

"My Avatar Editor Lite" is now a new demo example. The source is currently only available through SVN, though you can browse the demo source files through the project page. A live version of My Avatar Editor Lite is also viewable online. It's a great example in that it uses a lot of the features of the framework.

I've also combined the two new demos from before (with Fred) into one demo now listed in the SVN examples. It modifies position, scaling, and rotation using mouse interaction. However it doesn't go so far as to incorporate Constrain behaviors. The original demos will probably remain on the wiki for now unless they end up becoming incompatible with new releases.

So what's next? For one, the documentation will need updating. I don't think it covers a lot of the new changes very well and is pretty lacking in other areas too. With that, also more attention given to the documentation on the wiki. Then, its just a matter of tying up and loose ends preparing for a 1.0 release for production use.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Avatar Core Rendering My Avatar Editor Characters

I recently got an example using Avatar Core to render My Avatar Editor character heads up and running. It uses the same visual assets but none of the original codebase (My Avatar Editor does not use the Avatar Core framework; it was created before work on Avatar Core started).

Clicking on the head will get you a new random variation.

This will ultimately become another demo, but I still want to add controls for modifying characteristics - almost to parity with My Avatar Editor, but lacking anything that would unnecessarily over-complicate.

In doing this exercise, as expected, a number of additional bugs and limitations were addressed. They will be fixed in the next release due out with the completion of this demo.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Avatar Core 0.2.1 (SVN Only)

The svn repository for Avatar Core has been updated with the 0.2.1 changes. There shouldn't be anything broken, per se, in the current 0.2.0 download, so you can continue to use it for testing purposes. That download will get updated for the next release.
The next release will probably be a 1.0 release candidate. I'm going to sprucen up the documentation a bit more and try to make a 'lite' version of My Avatar Editor with the framework to see 1) if its possible, and 2) if it's easy, to moderately easy to use. Any problems found in that attempt will be fixed for that build.

If anyone has any bugs to report or feature requests, now's the time to do it. (And doing so through the blog is fine for now.)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Avatar Core Updates

A bunch of new Wiki pages have been added for Avatar Core, adding a little more in terms of explanation for the different parts of the framework. When I get around to it (though probably not any time soon), I'll try to include some additional visual aides and maybe demos, or links to demos that cover each specific topic.

Speaking of demos, the source code for the previously mentioned demos have also been posted there (Demos wiki page). However, there have been some problems with the hosting for where the files are hosted, so they might not be accessible at the moment.

When writing up some of the additional wiki documentation, I ended up adding a few more things to the framework. In other words, version 0.2.1 is looming. But I also just ran across another issue which is a little more serious and something that could require some additional changes to the API (never fun). I'll have to think about how to solve that problem and weigh in convenience vs. performance and all that jazz. Without getting into too much detail, the problem essentially boils down to art being loaded far often than it needs to be.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Avatar Core 0.2.0

Avatar Core version 0.2.0 (beta) is now available on through svn on the project page. The API documentation has also been updated. The release notes for 0.2.0:

=== 0.2.0 (August 28, 2009) ===

There have been a number of new API changes, as well as a reworking
of how parenting is handled. The new approach allows Constrain behaviors
to work better with parenting. In addition some rendering changes have
been made that change the effects of parent transforms on their children.

- Added Viewport.resetContent()
- Added a padding parameter to Viewport.fitContent()
- Added ThumbnailArtSprite class
- Added SourceLoaderSprite class as a base class for ArtSprite and
- Renamed AvatarArt to AvatarDisplay to prevent confusion with with the
Art/ArtSprite classes
- ArtSprites no longer redraw themselves (i.e. their feature) when their
feature property is set. This was creating many more calls to draw() than
was necessary, though may require additional manual calls for updates
- Scaling a parent feature no longer scales its children; child position,
however, is still affected by scale
- Renamed Transform to Adjust to prevent confusion with flash.geom.Transform
- Instead of mirroring features with a negative scale, flipX and flipY
properties have been added to the Adjust (Transform) class
- Fixed a bug in Adjust.add and Adjust.subtract where x and y were flipped
- Renamed "update"-related API in Feature and Avatar to "redraw"
- Changed parent-related API in Feature (removed getParentFeature, added
parent, [internal]parentCount, [internal]updateParent)
- Features are no longer hidden if their parent cannot be found. They are
instead left visible and treated as though they have no parent
- Added Feature.getConcatenatedParentMatrix()
- Added Avatar.updateParentHierarchy(). This is called frequently through
other APIs but may be necessary to call to make sure the parent
hierarchy of an avatar is accurate
- Added getDefaultPropertiesInXML to IXMLWritable, helping to reduce the
inclusion of default values in generated XML
- Range class now has a steps property
- Separated Constrain.position (Rect) to Constrain.x (Range) and
Constrain.y (Range)
- Removed Rect class (was only used by Constrain before)
- Constrain uses its Ranges' steps, if provided, to apply stepping
to constrained values
- Constrain is now applied to feature adjusts (transforms) rather than
directly to art sprites to allow child adjusts to honor the
- Added, making it more convenient to access Constrain
behaviors in a feature
- Other minor bug fixes

Complete ReleaseNotes.txt.

The wiki pages, demos, and non-svn downloads still need to be updated. I'll try to get to those in the next couple of days.

New Demos Preview

I've been working with some simple sample applications of the framework preparing for the next, soon to be released build of Avatar Core (0.2.0). The purpose of these samples was to make sure the features that have been implemented into the framework can actually be used when applied in the real world (vs. looking good on paper). The samples will be available for download and presented as demos on the Avatar Core project page when the 0.2.0 build is released.

The two sample demos previewed below demonstrate manipulating feature properties (position, size, and rotation) and the use of Mirror and Constrain behaviors. They use a new character I whipped up for these samples that I like to call Fred.

The source for each demo only amounts to about 150 lines of code - this including the XML descriptor for the avatar (which takes up about 60 lines by itself). Again, these will be available (in FLA form) when 0.2.0 is released, shortly.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Considering new Avatar Core logo

This morning I was thinking about making a new logo for Avatar Core. The current logo looks too cold and doesn't really say "avatar" when you look at it, despite my attempts to incorporate an "A", a gear (being a framework), and a character's head - one which ends up looking more like a cycloptic robot.

I was also thinking, given that the project is based off of My Avatar Editor (and hosted from that domain), that maybe the logo should be more reflective of that project. I quickly slapped together two new variations of that logo which could serve as a replacement for the current Avatar Core logo. Anyone have any preferences? Stick with the current, go with one of the new variations, or think about it more and come up with something else?

Granted, the logo has no functional bearing on this project, but it is a fun aside to coding.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back in the Saddle

I've started to get back into development of AvatarCore (the offshoot project from My Avatar Editor to serve as a framework for new avatar viewing/editing clients). So far I'm mostly just re-familiarizing myself with the codebase. Luckily the getting started docs I wrote weren't too shabby, so that hasn't been a difficult process. At the same time, its also good coming into a project with a fresh eye so it's easier to see where the problem spots might exist. I'm happy to say that it hasn't been too bad so far, though I do wish that some of framework was simpler. It's been a tough process trying to mix simplicity and ease of use with functionality. I'm not unhappy with what exists now, so not much of that will change.

Having said that, I've already been making some changes that are beyond simple additions or name changes, particularly with parent handling, that could potentially have a substantial impact on programming clients using AvatarCore. I'll try to release an update with those changes fairly soon. In the mean time, I had hoped to create some more sample applications to weed some of these issues out. A 1.0 release isn't going to happen until I'm able to whip together some scenario applications covering most if not all of the framework's capabilities.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Avatar Core Development Stall

For the moment, not much work is being done with Avatar Core. There are two main reasons 1) Busy with my day job (really busy) and 2) I'm not entirely sure where I want to go with the API.

The API is particularly important as JavaScript comes into play. There's two sides of Avatar Core with JavaScript. One side is the ability to provide a JavaScript API for talking with Avatar Core in SWF form (as seen in My Avatar Editor). The other side is being able to port the entire Avatar Core framework to JavaScript allowing for it to be used without the Flash dependency. And really, in general, it is good to have a solid, simple API for working with frameworks like this. The question is, how good is it now, and can it be "down-ported" to a less-capable environment gracefully. At the moment, I'm not sure, which is why I'm going to think about API direction for a bit before movin forward much more with improvements and other fixes, particularly what it means in terms of having a JavaScript implementation.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Avatar Core 0.0.5 Beta

A new release of Avatar Core is now available. This release is 0.0.5 beta. I figured it's far enough along now to take it out of alpha and bring it into beta, though I'll have to admit that kind of identification is fairly arbitrary (just look at how long Google tools remain in beta...).

For anyone wanting to keep track of project updates, I'd suggest not following this blog but instead keeping an eye on the Avatar Core project feeds of which there are a number to keep an eye on. I'll probably only update this blog moving forward with major releases or otherwise notably important news.

Next on my things to do is work on documentation. The API has already been updated, but I want to include better descriptions and getting started information on the wiki. Currently, a lot of the content there is no longer accurate.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Avatar Core 0.0.3

Avatar Core 0.0.3 is now available from the Avatar Core Project Page. The same structure of the framework remains mostly the same, though a lot of the API has changed. A lot of this is a result from the increased focus on allowing Avatar's to be able to be self-contained, without needing a library to link to. Currently, this does introduce a problem with some features of the framework (which will have to be figured out in the next release), but I think overall it's for the best.

The live demo has also been updated (and can be downloaded, with the framework, from the downloads page).

More information about this release can be found in the release notes.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Avatar Core 0.0.2 Download Update

For anyone not wanting to mess with SVN on google code, I've added a download of the demo in the downloads page that includes the demo with the full framework source code. This will give you the necessary files to compile the sample right out of the box, or at least get you the full framework source code in one download without SVN.

FYI, the demo was created with Flash CS4. However, all source code is in external .as files, so you could easily recreate the FLA files in CS3 if you have that using the AS files as document classes for their respective FLAs. You can see a live demo here.

Keep in mind its still early, and changes may yet be made to the framework resulting in changes in functionality and/or API.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Avatar Core 0.0.2

Avatar Core 0.0.2 source code has been uploaded to the project on google code. More information on the changes can be found in the release notes. I'll try to get some more info on the wiki and a sample application in the downloads section a little later.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Avatar Core Design Basics

I've updated the wiki for the Avatar Core framework with the basic design of the framework. Source code is available now, but I'm already making some changes to it that I'll probably upload within the next couple of days. I hope to spend a lot more time working with this next week when I have some more free time available.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Avatar Core

I'm naming the new avatar framework Avatar Core. It will be (isn't yet) hosted on Google Code under MIT, just like My Avatar Editor. In fact it will essentially be under the My Avatar Editor umbrella, using as its home page - of sorts.

I've got a new, very simple Avatar Core demo online using a couple of the Mii character assets from My Avatar Editor. Like My Avatar Editor, it consists of two SWF files, the editor (seen in demo link), and the viewer. The editor loads the viewer, reads its definition (which it, in turn, loads from this XML file), and provides appropriate selections. Both the editor and the viewer were written in less than 100 lines of code each (not counting the Avatar Core framework). Because of the flexibility of this framework, you could potentially grab these SWFs now, put them on your server, and use your own XML definition and graphics to completely change the avatar and all of its features including what it displays and what it could potentially display as well as the options provided in the editor interface.

There have been a few changes in the XML since the last post. The most important are a couple of new features including default transforms and parent definitions. A transform represents how an avatar feature looks (position, scale, rotation). A default transform lets you specify a start transform when a feature is added to an avatar for the first time. Not a big deal, but helpful in terms of having these settings defined in the XML. Before, transform properties were only defined directly within avatar features. Now they exist within a separate transform object.

Parent definitions are definitions that another definition is attached to. Consider an earring on an ear. Both are separate features, but if an ear moves up and down the side of an avatar's head, that earring should follow it. By specifying the ear as being a parent to the earring definition, when the ear moves, so will the earring.

There have been some other naming changes and enhancements to reduce XML verbosity as well. I'm not sure if this will be the final format, but I think it's looking pretty good right now.

Moving forward I'll probably focus on more avatar/editor examples using more features (such as constraints and colors). This will hopefully also flush out any bugs if they exist.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Custom Avatar Editor Solutions

While its great that My Avatar Editor is open source and available for anyone to download, use, and/or modify at will, the solution it provides is primarily targeted towards recreating the Mii channel editor on the Nintendo Wii. The approach to the application's design and how it works with data makes it a little difficult to repurpose the editor for other situations. Before releasing My Avatar Editor, I did my best to make it easier to change that, but in the end, it didn't make too much difference.

Realizing this, I thought it would be a good idea to create a more generalized framework for developers that could be easily manipulated to match various requirements - this especially with the recent interest the My Avatar Editor source. And last week I started doing exactly that.

So far so good.

What I have, which is very limited, can produce some simple results on the avatar definition side of things, but sadly (I think), I may have made the process more difficult than it needed to be. In a way this is good because it means more features and flexibility, but it's also not very good in the fact that if people really want to use this thing, they're going to have to be able to understand it. I can say, however, that because I was using My Avatar Editor as a model, I'm pretty sure that this new framework could be used to easily and completely recreate My Avatar Editor from scratch. And hopefully its flexible enough to be extended to do much more.

A run-down of the features and what makes it so complicated (and, really, it's not that bad, I mean I've only been working on it in my spare time for a couple of days ;) includes:
  • Constraints for avatar features including position, scale, and rotation
  • Control over feature arrangement, including having one feature consist of multiple visual assets that can exist both above and below other features at the same time
  • Feature-specific color transformation groups
  • Everything defined in a flexible XML format
The last bullet point I think is the most important one, and really the others revolve around that. The importance here is that anyone can completely define avatar features in XML - not just the avatar itself (though it is also defined in XML) - but the actual features that are possible for the avatar to use and what they look like. These collections of features are known as a library, and you could potentially swap out libraries with each other to completely change an avatar visually without modifying its internal definition. And because they're all managed by XML, they can be easily changed outside of the context of the actual editor/avatar viewer applications.

Ok, ok, ok. You want to see where it's at right now? I wasn't going to show anything, but since I talked so much about it, you're probably curious. Ready? Here's an avatar it can show on the screen now:

WOWEE! I know you're floored. Maybe more interesting is the XML used to define this. You can find that here. Of course keep in mind that all of this is subject to change.

The idea is to hopefully release this along side My Avatar Editor as open source under MIT. I have a lot more work to do, and my day job has me busy at the moment, but I'll continue to post updates to the project on this blog. Also, as you might have guessed, the target platform is Adobe Flash Player, though I will not be targeting Flash Player 10 specifically as I did with My Avatar Editor. I'll be making this one also Flash Player 9 compatible.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Minor Update: Version message and Character updates

I pushed a minor update to the editor, one which should gracefully fail character SWFs for Flash Players below 10, and which allows more frequent updates to the local shared object (flash "cookie") and URL links of avatars. This new version is I think I've updated all the files in their correct locations for downloads.

Are you using My Avatar Editor on your site?

Are you using My Avatar Editor on your site? If so, let me know. I plan to have a links section showing off how others are My Avatar Editor on their own sites. Post your link in the comments section below and I'll add it to to help spread the word.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Avatar Editor SWF Files Posted

I've pretty much wrapped up the Developers page and have posted the latest My Avatar Editor SWF files in the Download section of the site. These SWF files are what you would need to put My Avatar Editor on your own personal web page should you want to use it there. Included in the developers page are APIs and samples of how you can interact with the SWF files with additional scripting, either via JavaScript or with another wrapper SWF using ActionScript.
JS Example | AS Example.

The full source files have not yet been posted. However, it's mostly a matter of me gathering the files together and writing up a README, etc. That could possibly happen as early as tonight, but more likely sometime tomorrow. I'll create a new blog post when that happens.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Progress Update

Today has been a fairly productive day. I've spent a lot of it writing and finishing up APIs for use by developers. This means the source will be available soon.

I think that I should point out, that even though I am spending a lot of time "cleaning" and making the source "better", given the way this project matured, many things are still just plain ugly and hacky, and by no means in line with best practices. What's more is, I'm not changing that. It works now, so why fix it if it ain't broke? Sure, I am adding and renaming some things to make it easier to use, but I'm not touching some of the less impressive underlying architecture. It's just not worth it.

As for writing, I think I have the Guide Section pretty much done. Currently I'm working on the Developers Section. As with the guide, I may update that gradually as its written. Once finalized, the source will be uploaded google code and people can get started using it on their own sites.

Friday, February 13, 2009 Live

Last night I pushed a working copy of live to the web. There is still a bit of work to do, especially regarding the guide and developers pages. That will be filled with time. Most importantly is that with the site live, and having the editor off the temporary beta page, avatar URLs will work for opening avatars and sharing them with your friends.

Additionally I've added a new page under a directory called "show" which will just show the character, full screen in the browser, without the editor interface. Example:

You may notice that depending on the shape of your browser window, the character will be seen either in full or just as a head. Clicking on the My Avatar Editor logo will open that character in the editor.

I haven't yet decided if this page will be integrated into the editor or not, or even how useful it is, but it's there for anyone who's interested.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Blogger Avatar Gadget

One of the ideas behind allowing the graphical assets of an avatar character to function outside of the editor was to make it easy to place the avatar in the context of your website or blog without the extra interface or controls. I quickly made a little Blogger Gadget (a.k.a. Widget) which places your avatar in a sidebar item for your Blogger blog. You should be able to see an example of it on this blog over to the right - yes, that's me, and yes, the beard is new ;)

I did this through the simple blogger post API, not through Google's widget format which meant I just set up a simple html page with a form and hit a button to make it happen. I haven't decided if I wanted to make something link this visible on the site/editor or not, since under the current setup, it would pull the avatar file from sucking away precious bandwidth... but maybe it wouldn't be so demanding that my server couldn't handle it, and if it is, I could always stop hosting it!

Note: Feel free to play with the page posted above. To work with your own avatar, you would need to edit the content in the blogger page that appears after hitting the Add Avatar button and replace the avatar code string with your own.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Avatar Editor RC 1 + AIR Deskop Application

Release Candidate 1 for My Avatar Editor is now online (same link as before). Included is an installer for the Desktop version of the editor (built using Adobe AIR). The desktop version supports the associated file types .mae and .mii, drag and drop, and... well, really, that's about it :) Everything else the web version can also do.

Changes include, but are not limited to:
  • AIR implementation updated for Flash Player 10/AIR 1.5
  • Favorite Color selection now updates when a new character is loaded or randomly generated
  • Legacy XML parser should now be fixed, allowing loading of older-style XML
  • New XML format has been finalized (?)
  • The assets loaded by the editor (the "character") can be displayed by itself (demo; similar examples were made before but required another wrapper)
  • Remembered character data has changed to allow multiple Flash SWFs to use the same data (editor and character) so when you load the editor for the first time for RC1 it should show the default boy instead of your last character; this will only happen once and your character will be remembered from this point forward
  • File menu button now at the end of the tabs at the bottom of the screen rather than being in the "General" tab
  • Layout for the image export screen has changed
  • You can now zoom in twice as much as you could before in the image export screen
  • More code refactoring...
Check for issues, report any problems. This will likely be, or be close to, the final released version of the editor as it would appear on the main website... which I have yet to make.

Concerning the XML, I've decided to leave it alone. The idea of mapping the colors to hex codes kind of made sense for making it extensible, but the values can just as easily be checked for length or prefix to determine what they are specifically indicating (id value or actual color). Not confusing the real data any more than is necessary seems preferred.

In terms of releasing the source, I have some documentation I still want to complete before that happens, not to mention making sure there aren't any more issues to contend with. It'll be soon, though.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Beta 2 Posted [Update 2]

The current transitional beta page has been updated with beta 2 of My Avatar Editor. Changes include (but may not necessarily be limited to):
  • Fixed lower hair for 8th style (row 3, column 2) on page 6
  • Some interface reshuffling (tab reordering)
  • Titles over avatar characteristics/options
  • Shadow is a semi-transparent solid; this should cause less problems exporting
  • Option to remove shadow from export
  • Transparent backgrounds for exports show as a checkerboard
  • Client-based (as opposed to server-based) save/load
  • Binary files saved with the extension .mae
  • New XML format (NOT finalized, see this note)
  • New randomizer algorithm
  • Flash Player 10 required
  • and a whole, heck of a lot of code re-writing
Known issues include:
  • The avatar link will not work
  • Users may experience problems saving using Internet Explorer on Windows Vista
Report additional issues as comments to this post. With any luck, I'll be able to clean it up enough this weekend to make it available for download... actually, the "big game" is this weekend, isn't it... make that next weekend :)

As noted by Tommy, the eyebrow rotations in the latest editor beta were off. This was the result of a copy-and-paste typo where I accidentally had the maximum number of possible rotation values set to the number of possible colors ;). This should now be fixed. The new build version is which you can check for in the top right of the File menu. If your number is lower, clear your cache and reload the page.

Update 2:
As reported by Mapi, I've included a known issue that users using IE and Vista might have troubles saving files.

Random just got less... Random

I just finished up a new random generator that takes into consideration visual appearance over pure randomness. So, for example, it's less likely that eyes will be sticking out the edge of a head, or that a mouth will be above the nose. It also takes into consideration some other factors such as not having beards for girls. You can always add them later ;) but the random option won't be doing it for you. Below are examples of 6 random characters created, in sequence (i.e. I didn't do a bunch and pick out the best - I only did 6), by the new random generator.

You may note that boys can still have makeup. I'm going to go ahead and let that pass...

I'll probably update the beta with a new drop soon (once I clean up a few more things).

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Changes in Avatar XML [Updated]

Its likely the pre-proposed will more or less stick. However, in the code redesign, I'm also re-evaluating how the data in that format is presented. I brought up the xml format values before, and how they should be "readable" in the sense of their data (not the hierarchy format) and decided to go back on that. The idea before was that the values themselves should make sense when editing them by hand. However, in working with those values directly, I've found that the trickery there was more confusing - and maybe that's just my perspective as a developer. But, additionally (also as a developer), it will be much easier to manage that data if how its presented in XML mirrors how its presented in the binary.

Particular cases include:
  • eyeY: inverted
  • glassesY: inverted
  • moleY: inverted
  • mouthY: inverted
  • mustacheY: inverted
  • noseY: inverted
  • eyebrowY: inverted, offset by 3 (it's minimum value is 3, unlike the others which are 0)
  • mingles: inverted
  • eyeType: value converted to order presented in interface
  • eyebrowType: value converted to order presented in interface
  • hairType: value converted to order presented in interface
  • noseType: value converted to order presented in interface
  • mouthType: value converted to order presented in interface
The new format will not present the data with this kind of filtering and will use the raw data. This means that you cannot just copy values from the old format to the new and expect the same results. However, the editor should be able to consume the old XML format as well as the new, so loading an old XML character will allow you to get an updated XML file with the correct values.

I think I've decided to go back on what I've said here. While most of the values will remain unchanged (relating to the format), I think there will continue to be one exception. This exception, however, is a new exception - not one listed above. It's for colors. Instead of an integer ID specifying which number of a pre-defined set of colors is to be used, I figured it would be better, moving forward, that a standard hex color be specified instead. This goes back to extensions and adding more functionality/possibilities than that which is possible for current-day Mii characters. If you're going to eventually allow specifying any color, some random number isn't going to cut it given how colors themselves are represented as numbers (in hex). So, for example, instead of having a favorite color of "10", it would be 0xFFFFFF (or #FFFFFF), meaning white.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Status Update; Plan Changes

Originally, I had intended on completely overhauling the editor interface for a new and unique look that not only changed what you saw, but how you interacted with the various features of an avatar to change them. Those plans have been dropped. Due to time constraints and the already delayed release, I instead decided to leave the editor much as it is now, as seen in the Transitional Beta.

But interface isn't everything. There is still a lot of work to be done under the hood.

So far, all Big N references have been removed. Additionally, the new Flash Player 10 save and load features have been implemented allowing for the editor to save and load avatar files without requiring an interaction with the server (making it easier to use on your own site or when offline). I have taken some time to do some code refactoring, but it's still very messy.

In fact a lot of what's left is cleaning up the mess. When I first started the editor, focus was put entirely on parsing the Mii character binary files as saved on a Wii remote. Providing a preview was an afterthought (and by far, the hardest and most time consuming portion). Since the preview was built around the Mii file parsing, there really isn't much wiggle-room in terms of extending the editor to do more than what's supported by the Wii. And I can't tell you how many times people have requested to add a hat, or a new hair style, or something else that is not Wii Mii-compatible. In order for the editor to be useful outside of editing Miis, that will need to change. And it is on that which I'm currently working.

Oh, and I haven't done anything new with the XML format I proposed earlier. I guess I'll have to work on that too ;)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Down but not out

In case you've been worried, My Avatar Editor has not been forgotten. I have been slowly fixing things, reorganizing code, (removing any references to Mii or Nintendo) and getting it ready for release.

Originally there were a couple of version blockers that stalled me, i.e. waiting for Flash Player 10 to release, then waiting for AIR to support Flash Player 10. Then I just got caught up with work and other things that just kept me from coming back to MAE, but I've finally been able to work on the editor some more bringing it closer to release.

And what does release mean? It means hopefully 1) will have the editor up and running, and 2) the SWF and all its source files will be available for download by anyone who wants them. This will allow you to edit, modify, enhance, or customize the editor any way you see fit (legally, unlike my original mistake) for personal or professional use. Currently, I see the licence being MIT.