Aurélien Gâteau

Pixel Wheels 0.14.1

written on Monday, November 18, 2019

Last week I released version 0.14.1 of Pixel Wheels (I am a bit late with the announcement, it has been a busy week).

The "Side buttons" input mode

I am happy to say this is the first release to include changes from other contributors, thanks to Tim Schumacher and Julien Bolard!

Here are the most important changes:

Inktober 2019, cats!

written on Sunday, November 3, 2019

I participated again to Inktober, the yearly challenge where you draw and ink one drawing a day each day of October. The Inktober web site provides a "prompt list": a list of words for each day, which you can (but are not forced to) follow.

Inktober 2019 prompt list

I followed it as it helps me come up with drawing ideas, and I also picked "cats" as a recurring theme, so all my drawings are filled with kittens. This makes them very Internet friendly, since as we all know, the Internet was created to share cat pictures, right?

SFXR Qt 1.3.0

written on Monday, September 16, 2019

I just released version 1.3.0 of SFXR Qt, my Qt port of the SFXR sound effect generator.

Screenshot

There aren't that many new features for end users:

  • A new wave form: Triangle.
  • A new file format: SFXJ.

The new file format opens the road to adding new features. I have a few ideas in mind, will see how it goes.

Nevertheless, this release brings several under the hood changes:

Pixel Wheels 0.13.0

written on Monday, August 12, 2019

Fixes, fixes, fixes

I just released Pixel Wheels 0.13.0. This new release contains mostly fixes, small improvements and polishing. One of the most visible of these changes is the new "Championship finished" screen which appears if you finish a championship in the top 3:

Harvester reached the first place!

I am also happy to report that an annoying bug causing white vertical lines to randomly appear on the road has finally been fixed. It turned out to be a "classic" case of texture bleeding. The white vertical lines were caused by the first column of the "crossroad" tile sometimes being drawn next to the "road" tile...

Bleeding tiles

libGDX provides a tool called TiledMapPacker to repack tilesets and add padding around individual tiles to avoid tile bleeding. Unfortunately this tool uses some libGDX classes, so it requires an OpenGL display to run. This is a blocker for automated builds, so I wrote a simple script: pad-map-tiles. It only does tileset padding, but for Pixel Wheels I don't need the other features provided by TiledMapPacker.

Some behind the scene changes happened too: the code base now uses Java 1.8 (was about time!), a more recent version of Gradle and the APK contains 64 bit binaries, as required by Google Play nowadays.

Pixel Wheels 0.12.0

written on Thursday, June 20, 2019

I knew it had been a long time since the last Pixel Wheels release but I was surprised when I opened the changelog and realized version 0.11.0 was released in 2018... It's high time to get 0.12.0 out!

So what are the main changes in 0.12.0?

3 new vehicles

The 2-Deuch:

2-Deuch

It is inspired from an car which was very popular in France in the second part of the 20th century.

The Harvester:

Harvester

It comes from the country side, as you may have guessed. If you have ever watched or drove an harvester, you know the steering wheels are on the back. This makes this vehicle a bit special to handle, give it a try...

The Rocket:

Rocket

A joint production from my son and me. This one is faaast!

Using std::unique_ptr with Qt

written on Thursday, May 30, 2019

Qt memory handling

Qt has a well established way to handle memory management: any QObject-based instance can be made a child of another QObject instance. When the parent instance is deleted it deletes all its children. Simple and efficient.

When a Qt method takes a QObject pointer one can rely on the documentation to know if the function takes ownership of the pointer. Same thing for functions returning a QObject pointer.

What the rest of the world does

This is very Qt specific. In the rest of the C++ world, object ownership is more often managed through smart pointers like std::unique_ptr and std::shared_ptr.

I am used to the Qt way, but I like the harder to misuse and self documenting aspect of the unique_ptr way. Look at this simple function:

Engine* createEngine();

With this signature we have no way to know if you are expected to delete the new engine. And the compiler cannot help us. This code builds:

{
    Engine* engine = createEngine();
    engine->start();
    // Memory leak!
}

With this signature, on the other hand:

std::unique_ptr<Engine> createEngine();

It is clear and hard to ignore that ownership is passed to the caller. This won't build:

{
    Engine* engine = createEngine();
    engine->start();
}

But this builds and does not leak:

{
    std::unique_ptr<Engine> engine = createEngine();
    engine->start();
    // No leak, Engine instance is deleted when going out of scope
}

(And we can use auto to replace the lengthy std::unique_ptr<Engine> declaration)

Nanonote 1.2.0

written on Sunday, May 12, 2019

Time for a new Nanonote release!

Screenshot

This new version comes with several changes from Daniel Laidig: you can now use Ctrl+mouse wheel to make the text bigger or smaller and Ctrl+0 to reset the font to its default size.

He also fixed the way links are displayed: they now use the theme color instead of being hard-coded to blue. If you use a dark theme, this should make Nanonote more usable for you.

Nanonote now speaks German, thanks to Vinzenz Vietzke.

Yokadi 1.2.0

written on Sunday, February 10, 2019

I just released version 1.2.0 of Yokadi, my command-line todo-list.

Nanonote 1.1.0

written on Monday, February 4, 2019

Several interesting changes landed in Nanonote recently, time to release version 1.1.0.

There are a few fancy indentation improvements: pressing Tab when the cursor is at the beginning of a list item now indents the whole line, making it fast to create sub lists. Thanks to Daniel Laidig for this contribution. Conversely, pressing Enter on an empty list item now unindents the line, then remove the list bullet.

URL detection has been improved to allow the +, % and ~ characters. This should greatly reduce the number of partially highlighted URLs.

The application is now available in Spanish and French, thanks to Victorhck for the Spanish translation.

Building Qt apps with Travis CI and Docker

written on Saturday, January 19, 2019

I recently configured Travis CI to build Nanonote, my minimalist note-taking application. We use Jenkins a lot at work, and despite the fact that I dislike the tool itself, it has proven invaluable in helping us catch errors early. So I strongly believe in the values of Continuous Integration.