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

MyAvatarEditor.com Live

Last night I pushed a working copy of MyAvatarEditor.com 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 myavatareditor.com 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.