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1. February 2015

 

Today I ran into something extremely annoying while typing some JSON for a LibGDX tutorial.  LibGDX uses a naming convention that IntelliJ doesn’t like…  here, I’ll show you what I mean.

 

codeReform

 

Suffice to say… it’s pretty annoying.  What’s even more annoying is there is simply no way to turn this behavior off.  There is however a way to suppress it thankfully.  It isn’t intuitive however, so I figured I would make this post.  So hopefully if you are struggling with turning off IntelliJ automatic code reformatting in JSON, this will be useful to you.

 

Go to File->Settings… menu.  Locate Editor->Code Style settings.   Find “Formatter Control” and tick Enable Formatter markers in comments. 

image

 

Now add // @formatter:off at the top of your file and edit like normal.   Now…

 

codeReform2

 

Much better!

General Programming


9. January 2015

 

I needed to create a sprite sheet for an upcoming tutorial series and managed to throw one together in an amazingly short amount of time with almost no artistic ability.  Good looking art with no ability is something many indie game developers are screaming for, so I figured I would share the process.

 

During the tutorial we use the following programs:

Mixamo Fuse (Free version available, MSRP $99USD)

Blender (Free and Open Source)

TexturePacker (Free version available, MSRP $50USD)

 

If you want more details on Mixamo, I extensively review it here.

 

The ultimate output from this entire process is the sprite sheet powering this animation:

bigguy

 

And here is the resulting sprite sheet, click it for the full resolution version:

a

 

Now finally, the video.  You can watch it in full 1080p on YouTube.

 

Coincidentally, if you want more information on how I created the above animated gif, I used a program called Cryotek Animated GIf Creator, and document the process here.  It’s a very cool program and completely free.

Programming Art General


19. December 2014

 

This is the first of a series of Blender video quick tips that show how to do things ( normally the easy/lazy way ) in Blender you may not already know.

 

In this video we look at how to quickly model organic shapes using:

  • splines/curves
  • edge loop bridging
  • solidify
  • grid fill

 

The video is available in full 1080p here.  I am sorry for the lack of onscreen keys, I thought Camtasia would record these, unfortunately it didn’t.  For future videos of this type I will use some form of onscreen keyboard.  If you have a suggestion, I would love to hear it!

 

Art


17. November 2014

 

As you may be able to tell from some of my recent posts I’ve been working more and more often on my iPad when it comes to creating pixel graphics.  When working on my PC or Mac I have my trusty Wacom Intuos tablet, but on iPad its obviously a much different beast.  First off, unlike say the Surface Pro, the iPad screen simply isn’t made for working with a tablet, so most of the tablets that are on the market are basically glorified fake fingers.  This however is slowly changing as we will see shortly.

 

When it comes to choosing an iPad stylus you are given an amazing variety of options, but actually remarkably little in terms of difference.  Essentially what I am saying is, although there are literally hundreds of stylus available, other than ascetics, they are basically 99% identical.  Let’s look at the various types available.

 

The Fake Finger

 

As I said earlier, most stylus on the market are basically just a fake fingertip on a stick.  When you go to your local Best Buy, 95% of tablets fit this description.  Here is my trusty virtual finger:

s1

 

This is a generic Targus stylus, which can be had on Amazon for about $10.  I picked this one because I found it attractive and comfortable to hold.  If you are looking at a stylus and its $20 or under, all of the following probably applies to it.  They will do the deed, but your contact can be best described as… mushy.  Here is the stylus in action:

s2

 

Let’s just say, high precision work isn’t going to be fun with these.  Basically its about the same as using your finger tip, just without the rest of your hand to get in the way.

 

The Good

  • Cheap
  • More pen like than using your finger
  • Works on any device with any application

The Bad

  • low precision
  • resistance when dragging on screen can be awful
  • palm on screen gives applications fits.

 

 

Personally, I wanted a stylus with a bit more precision, which lead me…

 

The More Precise Finger

 

When you want to do highly detailed and sharp lines, a standard stylus is not a great option.  The contact surface is simply too fat and you have to spend a lot of time extremely zoomed in to pull it off.  Fortunately there is an option and it works incredibly well.

The Adonit Jot.  The Jot can be had for about $30, here’s mine:

s3

 

As you can see, the tip is actually a clear flat disk on a pivot.  As I said earlier, it’s fragile, so you really want to make sure you put the cap on it when not using it.  It’s also magnetized, so it can stick to the side of your device.  I personally find it annoying as hell because it means I have to pull all the change of it before I can use it, and I’m not exaggerating either, the magnet on this thing is stupidly strong…

 

Here is a typical scene when I remove it from my pocket:

5

There is a nice rubberized grip, but the key feature is that tip, here it is in action:

s4

It really does enable you to create very highly precise lines and the friction between the tip and screen is somewhat similar to paper and pencil.  The palm detection will get infuriating though, although I have found a very simple work around Ill share later.  I also have found at certain angles it stops tracking occasionally.

 

The Good

  • Reasonably inexpensive
  • Works on any device with any application
  • High Precision
  • Comfortable

 

The Bad

  • highly fragile tip, always use the cap when not in use!
  • 2 – 3x more money than a typical stylus
  • doesn’t track right at about a 45 degree angle
  • palm on screen causes fits

 

For high precision drawing, this is hands down my favorite.  The difference between using one of these and a standard stylus is night and day.  However sometimes the LAST thing you want is to be super precise.  If for example you are painting, you’d rather have that painterly feel instead.  Well, there is a stylus for you too!

 

The Paint Brush

 

Next up is Nomad Paintbrush Stylus, which retails for about $40.  Here’s mine:

s5

The key feature here is the paint brush style tip:

s6

 

It really feels like a paint brush when you use it.  It’s an impressive trick they have pulled off and it allows you to achieve effects, like feathering and flicking, that you simply can’t with other stylus.  That said, this is useful for painting and that is absolutely it.  Precision is almost impossible ( that’s kinda the point ), and even selecting buttons and such can be a bit irritating.

 

The Good

  • Effectively mimics a paint brush
  • It’s cool, admit it, you find it cool.  It looks cool, it feels cool, so far as stylus go, this one is pretty freaking cool.
  • Most “natural” feel all of stylus used, glides nicely on surface
  • Works on any device

 

The Bad

  • low precision, its by design of course, but it can get annoying
  • getting pretty pricey at $40
  • palm gets in the way

 

 

The Next Generation

 

The future is here and two new stylus are leading the pack!

 

The first is from Wacom, the Intuos Creative Stylus 2 for $80 and the Adoit Jot Touch for $100.  These two products are very similar in strengths and weaknesses.

 

The Wacom Intuos:

s8

 

The Adoit Touch with PixelPoint:

s9

 

Both of these offer 2048 levels of sensitivity, something unique to them in this roundup.  Both are Bluetooth powered.  Both have small “nubs” and both have palm detection software to prevent the annoyances that all of the above offer.

 

Neither is ready for prime time either, which is infuriating, as I so wanted to buy both of them!  That’s my inner gadget addiction talking, and that is a very strong addiction indeed.

 

So, what’s wrong?  It’s two fold, software support and execution.

 

The biggest problem is, in order to take advantage of what these stylus have to offer, it needs to be supported in the application.  Sadly each has only about half a dozen applications that support them.  When an application does support them, the reviews seem to be mixed.  I read review after review for both products trying to decide which one to purchase and in the end decided neither appears ready for prime time.  Too many applications I use ( ProCreate, iDraw, OneNote ) simply aren’t supported yet.  Many reviews state that palm detection didn’t work, or spoke of constant disconnects.

 

Make no mistake, Bluetooth stylus are the future, it’s just not quite the future yet.  Apparently when you use the right application and the device works properly, the experience is amazing.  I hope they get the kinks worked out quickly.

 

Palm Detection, Ghetto-Style

 

One common problem with all but the newest stylus is palm detection.  When you draw with pen and paper, the worst that happens if your palm touches the screen is you might smudge your work slightly.  On a tablet however, the outcome is quite different.  Either your drawing is disrupted completely, or worse, you draw where your palm touches.

 

The work around?

s10

 

I decided to try drawing wearing my workout gloves.  Standard weight lifting gloves have a leather pad across the palm, and at least on an iPad Air, it completely prevented my palm from registering.  Of course, you do have to get used to drawing with a pair of gloves on, but really it becomes natural almost instantly.  A pair of cycling gloves should probably do the trick, you just want to make sure it’s thick at the point the palm makes contact.

Art


12. November 2014

 

The title pretty much says it all.  The installation process to get a fully working Java, Android and GWT development environment up and running can be a bit tricky at times.  These three videos walk through the entire process, from downloading and installing a Java JDK, then the Android SDK and GWT then finally creating your first LibGDX project.  The second video then looks at working with IntelliJ IDEA with LIbGDX, the third video shows the same thing for Eclipse.  Each of these videos walks through loading a project, then running a Desktop, Android then HTML5 project.  Each of the videos is hosted on YouTube and is available in 1080p.  Click the link above the video below to open it directly in YouTube.

 

Part 1: Configuring a Java Development Environment for LibGDX and Android Development

 

 

Part 2: Using IntelliJ IDEA with LibGDX

 

 

Part 3: Using Eclipse with LibGDX

 

Programming


See More Tutorials on DevGa.me!

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