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Quest for an Asset Viewer

allspark c++ frontend pixelated voxels programming UIEditor Voxels Asset Viewer
4: Adsense

This is a repost from my external blog http://codingintransit.blogspot.ca

Week 1

What a tough 2 week sprint!

The first task to pick off was getting screen saving and loading working. This was actually really easy to get going because serialization was built into my sprocket system. So in order to save and load all I had to do was serialize out the sprocket data to xml and then for loading I just had to write some code to place the loaded data into the right containers. I also ported over the code for throwing up the save/load dialogs. I kinda cheated when I originally setup the save/load dialogs. I just call the default win32 dialogs rather than create my own dialogs. I neatly packaged it up in my platform code so it should be easy to abstract it out when I do eventually get the code running cross-platform.

The next big thing was fixing the broken window drag functionality. I had a really tough time for this one for stupid reasons. It made for a really bad morning. Basically the problem was that all my mouse handling code was in local space. This works great for some things but when you're trying to move an object and the local space is changing everytime you move the object it creates some serious jitter! I didn't have a good way to expose the screen space deltas which is what I needed to move things properly. What I wound up having to do was calculate the delta based on the parent's coordinate space. I can't help but feel that's going to bite me down the road but for now the mouse drag is actually working better than before I started refactoring the UI system.

Once drag was working I was able to hook up the scale and translate buttons in the gizmo I created for manipulating UI Elements. I decided to leave rotation alone for now. Currently my UIClickable sprocket doesn't take into account rotation. I don't imagine it'd be a tough change, I already have a transformation matrix, it's just that I'm only using the translation element of it. Still I know it's going to be a lot more complicated then just multiplying by a rotation matrix.
I also spent some time just getting all the UI elements working with the UI Editor. While I was mucking around with that I needed to get arrays working with the protoform editor for certain create params. I managed to get them working the only problem is that they only work for simple types. So the problem is that I'm already using comma separated lists for the complicated types like Float3 which take multiple parameters for initialization and the way I'm parsing arrays is a comma separated list. This shouldn't be too tough to clean up in the future, just use brackets or something to separate items between commas.

Another big thing for this week was building a better way of viewing loaded assets as well as providing a means to select what textures to use in a UI element. The old way to select a texture for an element was to open up the xml package, check what I had set the id for on that particular asset and then type that id into the texture field in the protoform editor. I was about to start laying out the components in code when I realized this was a perfect test case for the editor! I always find when I actually start using a tool I find all sorts of bugs and come up with new feature ideas. The first bug/problem I ran into was that objects sorted in the order that they were placed. This was no good, I needed to be able to control the layering. For a simple solution to this problem I decided to use the z value I had been ignoring up until this point to sort the objects. I wrote some code that does a sort whenever an objects z value changed.

So once I had the sorting issue worked out I set about creating the asset entry ui element. This was easy, lay out a UISprite background, UISprite for a thumbnail placeholder and a UIText for the asset name and I was done. Then I realized that I had no way to load the object up and actually hook some code into it to replace the placeholder elements. I decided that the best thing to do was just start pounding out some code and see how it feels. I had the objects loaded into a UIContainer object and set up some code so I could clone that container so that I could create multiple objects using that template. I set up a UIAssetViewer class that held a bunch of these containers and did the logic for swapping out the placeholders. It works but I think it still needs some refinement.

Week 2

In the second week I managed to get the asset panels loaded and populating a UI container. There was another big cleanup operation, I needed to get scroll bars fixed up and switch my window class to use the UIComponentContainer for storing all the objects parented to it. This wasn't too bad of a change it was mostly copy and paste with a few little fix ups. The scroll bar on the other hand.....

I spent the majority of the week working on getting this damn scroll bar working. Funny thing is it's still not working properly. The big problem was that I was trying to debug something that was a few layers deep. Getting all the math working properly was just turning out to be a huge pain. I managed to get something kind of working and that's going to have to do for now. The way it works is that it's designed to just move the components in the container around. It seems easy enough but for some reason I just couldn't get the math right for the life of me. I think it's one of those silly things where if I sit down and draw it out on paper it's going to become painfully obvious where the problem is coming from.

I also spent a little bit of time on cleanup. I cleaned up how I was calculating a lot of my element positions so that it's more data driven. This will make reskinning my UI elements a breeze. As it stood before I would had to have adjusted a lot of math but now it should just work.

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WIP shot while I was getting the dragging working.

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Showing off a few of the different UI elements.

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First shot of the Asset Viewer working.

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Adjusted the dimensions a bit to something that fit better on screen.

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Showing off the scaled down UI. It makes better use of space but kind of loses the pixellated look I liked.

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