Welcome to this September 2023 update! I had Burger Party and Nanonote releases planned for this month, but that did not happen. I did however release version 0.25.1 of Pixel Wheels.
0.25.0 had a bug where it would complain about a missing controller when started on Android (#398). I released 0.25.1 to fix that. The release also includes updated translations and a fix for the score table not always fitting in the screen (#397).
Beside this release, has announced in my previous monthly update, I reworked the track selector to fit another track, so that I can add a 3rd track to the "Pixel Cities" championship. It looks like this now:
The first row shows all championships. The second row shows the tracks within the selected championship.
Monthly updates are not dead! They just took some summer vacations 😅. Let's see what happened during these two months.
I finally released Pixel Wheels 0.25.0. It's been a long time coming, but now it's there. Here is the release announcement.
This release was made a bit harder by Google Play getting in the way, see this frustrated Mastodon thread for more details :)
SFXR-Qt received a bit of build-system and dependency love. I merged a PR from Mailaender to add an option to use the system provided Catch2 library instead of the bundled one. This prompted me to update the bundled Catch2 to version 3.4.0.
Shortly after the release of Burger Party 1.4.2, I received two new translations: Basque by Josu Igoa (who also translates Pixel Wheels!) and Spanish by YottaMxt. Probably going to make a new release in September to make these translations available.
Keep these translations coming! I am still amazed how publishing the game on F-Droid injected some new life in it!
The Clyde store received two new packages:
I also improved the CI a bit further: adding pre-commit and making it even easier to trigger updates.
Nanonote now speaks Polish, thanks to Marek Szumny. With Danish and Dutch, that makes 3 new translations since the last release. Another app to release in September...
Colorpick is a color picker I built a long time ago, whose distinctive features are the ability to check the contrast between a background and a foreground color as well as an arrow-keys-operated magnifying glass to pick the exact pixel you want to pick. I haven't been active on this app for years. Recently redtide started contributing to it. They wanted to do many changes, and I was not that motivated to work on this app, so I offered to transfer it to them, which they accepted, so Colorpick is now part of the qtilities organization!
As mentioned in this report, I have some releases to do: a new Burger Party and a new Nanonote. Beside these, I have some work planned on Pixel Wheels. I need to add a 3rd track to Pix Cities championship, but that would increase the number of tracks to 9, which would not fit on the individual track selection screen anymore. This means I am going to work on this track selection screen first. I plan to change it so that one picks the championship first, and then the tracks inside it. This should fit the screen.
Finally, after way too long, here is version 0.25.0 of Pixel Wheels!
Let's see what's in the box.
This has been requested for a long time. Pixel Wheels multi-player support was limited to 2 players sharing a single screen, the game would zoom out to ensure all players were visible. This was not a good approach because it imposed a constraint on the track size: in cases where two players were at opposite corners of the track, the game had to zoom out to show the full track on the screen. This could make the game unreadable if the track was too wide. Going back to split-screen solves this, at the price of limiting the player fields of view, as is often the case with split-screens.
So split-screen is back, but it actually got better: it now supports up to 4 players!
In June, real-life got in the way and I did not get as much done as I wanted. Still some good things happened for Pixel Wheels and Burger Party. Let's look at them.
I started a new vehicle! This time it's an old Formula 1 car, inspired from the Lotus 25. It currently looks like this:
I recently stumbled upon this excellent 2014 article about patch review by Sage Sharp: The Gentle Art of Patch Review.
I highly recommend reading the whole article, but my main takeaway is that when reviewing code, one should follow three phases:
I do quite a lot of reviews at work. Sage article made me realize I am often guilty of jumping directly to #3. I have been reflecting on why that happens, and I concluded that it's because it's the path of least resistance.
When I receive a 10,000 line patchset, with 23 commits stepping on each other and no description, the temptation is high to skip phase 1 and 2 and instead say to myself: "I am just going to review the whole patch one line at a time, suggesting new names and micro-optimizations so that it does not look like I clicked on Approve while looking elsewhere".
Since jumping directly to phase 3 is the path of least resistance, when preparing code for review, you should make what you can to reduce the resistance of phase 1 and 2.
Welcome to this May 2023 update. This month was almost entirely game-related, with some progress on Pixel Wheels and a Burger Party release!
It's now fully possible for 4 persons to play Pixel Wheels at once, on the same screen! The engine was already capable of splitting the screen in 4, but the UI part was missing. This month I finished the UI part, making it possible to select the number of players and to configure the input method for each player.
On top of this, Pixel Wheels learned to speak Dutch, thanks to Heimen Stoffels!
Finally, thanks to bug reporter extraordinaire Marek Szumny, a number of bugs have been fixed:
Marek also refreshed the Polish translation, which was a bit outdated.
A few years ago, I published my first Android game: Burger Party. Not the game of the year, but it was good fun!
Google recently notified Android developers it was going to remove apps targeting too old SDK versions from Google Play, so I dived in and refreshed Burger Party source code.
April has been a busy month. I worked on reviving 2-player split screen for Pixel Wheels and preparing to crank it to
11 4. I also made some Nanonote releases and put some work on Clyde too. Finally I started refreshing Burger Party to keep it on Google Play!
As I wrote earlier, split-screen is back in Pixel Wheels. 2-player split screen already works and I am busy getting the game ready for 4 players. The engine already supports 4 players. I "just" need to update the UI to do the same, but it's easier said than done.
So far the vehicle selection can select up to 4 players and the internals support 4 different inputs.
What remains to do is:
As I explained in my previous status update, I decided not to dive into LAN based multi-player for Pixel Wheels. Instead I am reworking the existing shared screen multi-player mode. It's going to use split screen again and support up to 4 players.
I am making good progress so far. The game engine is now capable of showing 4 players:
This is not finished though: (more than) half of the battle is reworking the game screens to accommodate up to four players. The above screenshot is a bit misleading: the game engine shows 4 racers, but not all of them are controlled by players yet.
One of the challenging parts of this work was the vehicle selection. Until now, in multi-player mode, Pixel Wheels have been showing one vehicle list per player, like this:
That design does not scale to 4 players: 4 vehicle lists would not fit on the same screen, and even if they did, it would look very cramped. Taking some inspiration from Mario Kart, I reworked this screen to use a shared vehicle list, where each player controls its own selection.
This was tricky to achieve because the code for this selector was not created with multiple players in mind 😅. After much refactoring, I managed to pull this off. It now looks like this:
The screenshot shows only 2 players, but it should scale to 4 players without issues.
After a very long pause, I am happy to announce the release of Nanonote 1.4.0.
Nanonote is a minimalist note-taking application. It consists of a text area, a context menu and... that's about it!
It's handy to jot down short term notes, as a temporary place to collect copy'n'paste blocks, to draft a long response for an instant messaging app without having to fear pressing Enter too soon or any other use you can come up with!
Nanonote can also be used to write TODO lists. This is even better now in 1.4.0 thanks to the new task feature from Daniel Laidig, which lets you quickly create and toggle checkable tasks with Ctrl+Enter.