What a day!!!!!

Today has been literally the busiest I have ever been. I have been literally coding all day. I have been working very closely along side our designer Laura. We have been implementing the last of her fantastic designs to the program. As you know, programming throughs up numerous errors and problems which are not ideal at this stage but I have to say Im really happy with where we are. I have the program home with me tonight and I will be putting some of the final touches to it and Laura has got 3 pages out of the folder which she needs to implement the last of the Audio. We plan to meet early in the morning and just insert those files back into the folder and that means it should be complete. Of course there are areas that will need tidied up but I have no doubt that it will get completed without any problems.

Today I had a number of great results. Firstly I have got the Keypresses working in the program but im slightly worried about the “G” keypress because for some reason it just isn’t reliable enough. I have went through the code of it with a fine tooth come and couldn’t find the problem. I also got the score counter working out to the leaderboard but in the end I just wasn’t happy with the way it was displaying. It would keep deleting the previous player and it just wouldn’t store the variable that was in the code. As a group we just decoded that we would implement our own team names into the 7 slides and leave on of the boxes on the leaderboard free for the player. We just thought it was inevitable that we had a leaderboard in the program either way. I spoke to the programming lecturer Ken and he said it was a huge undertaken to put a leaderboard in to the program and that it was something that was very awkward. So i made the decision that I simply didn’t have the time to focus on one thing, no matter how important it was because if I did the program wouldnt be finished. I also changed the time on the clock throughout all of the files. We put it originally at 30 seconds but after user testing we discovered that it was to short so we decided to up it to 45 seconds which gives the user that bit of extra time.

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OMG………..we’re so close to the end!

The last few days have been long, 9 to 9 in college; fatigue is being fended off by sugary drinks and sweets, good times!

The last few days have been filled with tension, frayed feelings and great work. It makes for a good work environment. I am extremely proud of the group over these long days; they have really shown that their dedication is alive and well!

I have been pouring my blood, sweat and (metaphorical) tears into getting the art room made up and cleaned and ready for the unveiling of the awesomeness DoodleBlocks. Between painting, drilling, sweeping and mopping I am really happy with how the room has cleaned up. There is still plenty of cleaning to be done. Laura and I got our prints sorted today and Laura’s work has yet again far exceeded my expectations. We will be putting these posters up tomorrow and I will be getting the rest of the room sorted and looking sharp. One of the biggest tasks I have been concentrating on over the last couple of days was to get the interactive pen working with the projectors, this took a fair bit of time but I am really glad to say that I got it working, and working really well! The software that I managed to get is really high-tech and works great. The users will have really great control over the pointer as they are drawing and creating the images. I am really glad that we are able to use this tech in our project.

Today I conducted some user testing using the big pen and the words that we got. The people that took part in the game had really great fun and there were many laughs had. This is really gratifying to see people having such fun with the bare bones of the project. I have no problem saying that DoodleBlocks will be hard to beat on the day. The user interaction that will be involved will really help us stand out from the other fantastic projects being presented.

Tomorrow is the “show and tell” day and I am really excited to see the reaction from the lectures and to see them having fun using our project?

Conor and Paul have really been pushing the programming over the last while; it is really great to see it coming together! Their efforts have been really great and they are really great at getting the whole thing done!

I have gotten some really great feedback from the audio lecture about the audio I have created for the whole thing. I am delighted with this as I have put a lot of effort into getting everything to sound like it all fits in with the project.

Over all this experience has been one filled with good times. We as a group have really worked well together and it was a really joy to be a part of the whole process. This may well be the last blog post I put up here so, I guess this is goodbye! 🙂

Finito

Well its finally coming to an end. Doodleblocks is coming to its final week in Dundalk Institute of Technology and it has been a truly wonderful experience for all (i hope). This week was a very top heavy week for us all, we all had a ridiculous amount of work to do, it seemed that some aspects of the project could have been started earlier but thankfully we will definitely get it all finished for the lecturers and their grades tomorrow.

we have tweaked and changed a few aspect of the project. Paul feels he doesnt have enough time to successfully implement the leaderboard so we are going to have to drop it, its a pity but its the only way to get the project done in time. There were some things that i have been working on today and this week, i edited the animation to remove some parts regarding the old technologies and i created several novelty sized stationary items to decorate the room and they look great. Early this week i successfully managed to get the code working so that if the A key is pressed it moves onto the next round. This was vital because the makey makey is coded up to the a key and as a result the program runs smooth! next is to code it to the s key to move on if the word is not guessed, (the red button). Its up to Paul now to put this code that i wrote into all the files that laura has been animating so tirelessly on over the past week!

This is probably the last blog post that I make in contribution, over all im extremely proud of Neil, Paul and Laura and the work we as NCLP Designs have accomplished. we overcame many setbacks and hinderences but we will have a great project on the day and i cant wait to show it off! I feel its a great representation of the work that we have all done throughout the year!

Almost there

The last few days have been really hectic from my point of view. I have been coding the program and as of from today Iv had a lot of success. I have the team name running throughout the program. I achieved this by setting up a “Global Variable” which basically lets you open up one action script file and put variables into it and it will work for several different SWF files. This was all new to me because I hadn’t really worked a whole lot with global variables. We had worked with them on a minor scale last semester but this was a whole new level for me. Thankfully it has worked out really well for me and I have also done a lot of research online which has helped me hugely. I also got the scores to run throughout the program. We originally wanted to have a 10, 20 and 30 score for easy, medium and hard but we just simply didn’t have the time to get that completed. I wanted to have something finished ion the scoring area because we were in danger of having nothing until today. I will most definitely work on a back up file to see if I can implement our original plan to have easy=10points, medium=20points and hard=30points. At least now that I haves something to put on to our leader board. I also have got the “when A is pressed” go to the next round. I have to say, lecturer Derek Flood has been a huge help to me because he has really guided me to getting these problems working the way that I wanted.

Next up is getting the final score uploaded onto our leader board. That will be tough but i really expect to completely get that finished tomorrow. I am not sure how it is going to work but I really am confident of it working. I have done loads of research and I think the global variable is going to be vital for me to get this done.

Below is the name which is empty at the moment but if you go to the Intro page and type your name in it will go throughout.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 19.27.21

Below is the score been controlled with the Global Variable.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 19.27.45

Below is the code for the users name been controlled by the Global Variable.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 19.27.52

This is the code that lets you press the “A” key to give you points if you get it right and to go to the next round.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 19.28.51

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 19.29.23

Smoothing Out the Final Designs and Program

It is now the final week of work for us to get everything working perfectly for our project. On Friday each of the individual areas such as the programming, designs and audio will be due up on disks. We will also have our ‘Show and Tell’ presentation where we demonstrate our full working project to the lecturers this coming Friday. We have all been putting in really long hours and a lot of hard work to ensure we get the project up to the highest standard. My job for the last few days has been to go through the program and implement the audio, implement the final animations which then have to be synced to the audio and to change the timer animation so it is ten seconds per round. Unfortunately, I have had to rearrange the layers and frames for the current Flash files that we have to make sure that everything runs correctly from level to level, which has been consuming most of my time. Each time a frame is moved the animations go out of sync with the correct pages so it has taken a lot of time to arrange each layer properly. As we all need to work off the one program at the point it is becoming trickier as each of us have contributions to get the program working as a whole. We are working with code across over fifty Flash files so our workload is becoming massive. Paul is doing a lot of work in the programming area while trying to sort the leader board so it will remember scores across all of these files, which he will discuss in his blogs. This will later need to be implemented into the program that I am working on.

As for my progress in this area over the last few days I have gotten it 95% complete. Tomorrow, I will only have another four small animations to create and then sync to the audio and then the animation will be complete. Here are some video links of the Animals and Sports rounds to show the progress. As you can hear in the video there are some issues with how the audio ambience sounds loop in both rounds so I have flagged this with our Audio Technician, Neil. It will have to be fixed up either through code or else by extending the actual mp3 file. The only other audio that needs to be added to these particular files is the ten second timer for when the timer graphic appears.

My jobs for the next couple days will be to finalise the last few animations, finalise and host our website (to include a leader board that we can edit manually), create the stickers that will lead people to our project and to get everything printed off such as our posters and flyers etc. With a lot of hard work it is all achievable. At the moment I am a bit anxious about hosting the site as I have done research but since no-one in the group has any experience I am afraid it could get tricky. As I know a couple groups have created websites I am going to ask which websites they found the best to use to host the site or possibly if I get a chance to speak to our Web Development lecturer as she could point me in the right direction.

In other news we now have an Instagram page up and running as part of our PR which can be seen here > https://instagram.com/doodleblocks15/. I will be taking some photos over the coming days of our installation, more user testing and hopefully even some of the lecturers testing out our project at Fis to add it to our up and coming website gallery.

The final push

With the finish line in site for us we have entered the last couple of weeks. The pressure is on to get everything up and running by no later than Thursday as we have a “show and tell” to present on Friday. Friday will be the day when everything gets set up and the lectures go around and look things over.

From an audio stand point I am feeling really confident with the work I have produced thus far. I have about an hour’s work left and I will have fulfilled my role as sound engineer. I sat with an audio lecturer today and we talked for a while about the last element that I have to produce and he gave me some really great pointers and really helped me figure out and transcribe what I had in my head. There is nothing worse than staring at a blank canvas with an idea in your head.

There however are issues with some elements of the project that have yet to be completed and some issues that arose that have until now been unforeseen. I spent time creating audio files that were to be played as the user goes through the options screens, but I only realised that with the multiple .SWF files that have been created for the project the audio will not flow how I would like it. This is something that I will need to consider when finishing up my section of audio. As I am sure the other group members will blog about the leader board element has yet to be implemented into the project alone with other elements. The lecturer Ken has not been available to offer any assistance over the last few days. This has really slowed the progress of these sections.

I have said to the group that if we have not made any progress on this front by Wednesday evening that we will have to just scrap the leader board and think of something else to do. One option that could potentially work is to simply have a board with markers so the players could write down their accumulated score to be displayed. This is by no means an ideal option but I would rather have something in place then nothing at all. This is one option in many that I am sure we could collectively come up it and implement.

All this being said I am still very happy with the progress and work that everyone is producing and implementing. With only 5 days or so left to work on the file we will be pressed for time but I am sure that when it comes down to it DoodleBlocks shall be the project we have imagined and what we will show for the Fis show we will be able to stand by and be proud of!

Scoreboard

The last few days have been really disappointing from the scoreboard point of view. We cant seem to get the score to across a number of different SWF files. I have got the score counter working on the first round but I cant get the score to carry on to the second round and third round and so on. I have emailed our programming lecturer, Ken Sloane, who specialises in Flash and actionscript but have got no reply. I also got our supervisor to email him twice just so we can arrange a meeting to see if he can point us in the right direction. Laura and I put most of today into working with certain elements that we thought might be of some benefit to us and maybe might have got the score counter working through the different SWFs but unfortunately it wouldn’t work for us. This is a really crucial part of our project and getting the whole scoring system up and running. We will need to make some headway with it tomorrow and hopefully if Ken is in he will give us a few minutes of his time and point us in the right direction.

Update

So this week has been really successful. As it stand all thats left from the programming side of things is the actual leaderboard and to get it up and working the way that we wanted. I have been trying to get in contact with the programming lecturer Ken, but im having little success. I really need him to point me in the right direction on how we get the final score counter out and on to the leaderboard. Iv spent a fair few hours working on this and I have the score counter up and running so im hoping its only a matter of getting the final score counter shipped out on to the leaderboard. I think other than that, we are in a really good place. Laura is doing brilliant work on getting the website up and running. The website looks really cool and I have no doubt the end product will be excellent. Neil is finishing the last piece of Audio of and Conor is installing the buttons for the score counter and when they are pressed the scores will tally up and increase when the user gets a word correct. All in all I think we are in a good place. Over the next 6 days we will be just trying to add any little extras that we think might add to the experience for the user and of course trying to get this leaderboard up and running.

Group Meeting and Work Plan

Today, we had a meeting to sit down as a group and discuss our progress and what else has to be finished in the next two weeks. We are getting so close to the end now and since all exams are finally completed and our projects for all other modules are handed up we now are able to solely focus on our group project and making it the best we possibly can. For our audio we are very nearly near completion with only a few sounds such as the timer and some sound effects to be finalised. In terms of the design we have the five animation screens ready to be implemented into Flash and the website is also near completion we just need to add the link to the leaderboard once it has been created in Flash. This week Neil and Conor have volunteered to paint the boards on Thursday which is a great step forward in seeing our project up and running. We will be setting our project up fully next week in the art room for full user testing to ensure that the words we have chosen are suitable for each difficulty and that everything works when the full installation is setup. We also will need to create our jumbo pencil that will house our tool that will allow the users to draw onscreen. In terms of the programming we have been having some difficulties with getting the leaderboard to register and add the players score between all files which is something that we will have to put a lot of work into to figure it out. As Paul will discuss in his blogs we have been trying to locate our programming lecturer to make progress in this area. As I will have my design jobs complete by later this week I will be assisting in the programming area to help getting the leader board up and running as much as I can. One of the main objectives for us is to make sure we have everything setup well in advance so we can invite people in to use the installation. We figure this is key to making sure everyone has a fun, user-friendly experience while playing DoodleBlocks so we can work on making our final improvements based on this feedback.

Update

Today was a really successful day for me. I spent the entire day getting all the pages linked up together and getting the random word generator working on them all, which did take a fair bit of time because there was different problems with “Instance Names” and so that there wasn’t any added duplicate functions. I had to add extra little pieces of code so that the program wouldn’t crash. Next up for me is just getting each ofd the SWF files laid out in terms of getting the correct files working together. This is very straightforward and shouldn’t take a lot of time. The code is already in the program so its just a matter of changing different pieces of the code to match our navigations sheet. Conor also has the buttons working for the user to skip pieces of the the program if the get the correct answer so we just have to wire them buttons up to a little bit of code so that when the button is pressed it will take the user to another part of the program.