"Save" status update

I am still working on the load/save functionality for HeroMachine 3. So far I have the program saving and loading one character, which is great -- that's the heart of the beast. I am currently working on a more complicated interface that will save more than one character (what a concept!), allowing you to pick the one you want to load or save from a list, or to type in a new save file name. That all takes a lot longer in Flash than in other languages because you have to build a lot of that from scratch, but it's more tedious and mind-numbing than difficult.

The long and short of it is, I ought to have this up for testing and use next week, if all goes well.

As a bonus, I can use essentially the same code as a "QuickSave" sort of thing to allow an "Undo" feature. It'll probably be just one level, although if I can stomach it I'll try to figure out how to do more. This stuff is important, but boring to work on, I am itchy to actually draw something.

21 Responses to "Save" status update

  1. Hammerknight says:

    I’m glad you can do the computer stuff. My wife says that I can design and build almost anything I put my mind to, but I not good at the computer program writing stuff. You are doing a wonderful job with HM3.

  2. neon_n64 says:

    Excellent, it’s good to hear the essential save feature is working.

    Save more than one character? That’s an intriguing concept.

    And the Undo feature sounds quite promising.

    Hang in there Jeff 🙂

  3. violodion says:

    Being able to Save to a file will be VERY useful for testing a character’s rendering on different computers — and, different OSes (though for Flash player really shouldn’t matter).

    Am definitely liking to push the applet fairly hard. 🙂 Migrating a started character from an older computer for finishing on a newer computer ought be useful to getting out more intricate concoctions.

    Out of habit saved most everything HM2 should the desire to tweak an old creation strike.

    Nice ideas ‘QuickSave’ and ‘Undo’ are icing, which definitely can be put off for a later stage.

  4. Jeff Hebert says:

    I’m hanging, it’s just … boring. When I’m drawing new items it’s like a fever, I can’t stop. Nights, weekends, I get into this mania and I HAVE to draw. With this kind of incremental feature enhancement coding, I don’t feel that. I have to force myself to do it.

    Which I do, because it’s what I get paid for, but it’s not the same kind of manic fire, you know?

  5. Jeff Hebert says:

    Let me expand a bit — the saving and loading is on your local system only. I haven’t yet figured out a way to share save codes like the text strings in HM2.

    Basically the way this is working is by using Flash’s equivalent of cookies, which just like in your browser are machine-specific. Move to another computer and your save files stay behind.

    There are two ways around this. One is to store the relevant data on a server. That’s pretty complicated. The other is to do some sort of save string parsing like in HM2, but that’s a whole different process than what is currently being done.

    My feeling was always that the long text string was clumsy, inefficient, and confusing to use. I don’t imagine there are a lot of people needing to access saved characters on multiple systems, are there? Is that something important to be able to do?

  6. Worf says:

    Here’s my two cents… I think portability is a very desirable thing. I usually do stuff on my desktop, but imagine I’m going on a trip… if the files aren’t portable I can’t just copy them to my laptop and play with them on the road. Or I couldn’t send one to a friend and say “here, see if you can improve that!” I’d have to send a picture and either try to explain everything I did, or let him spend a lot of time figuring it out…. Or even if I’m going over to a friend’s house and don’t want to take the laptop… I could carry the files on my USB drive and use his computer… but not if they’re tied to my home computer.
    Anyways, that might be just me….. :
    Sorry for the rant.

  7. neon_n64 says:

    I have a small USB drive with a copy of HM2.5 and a .txt file containing the strings of every character I’ve crated so far.

    If I’m bored and I have access to a PC, I can play with HM and my characters for a while.

    I’d like to be able to do something similar with HM3.

  8. kryptkal says:

    I think both ideas are good, but I like the ability to (in general) move my files and creations around on my computer. Evetually I’ll need a new computer anyway somewhere down the road, and the ability to move my stuff from one computer to the other is essential. I’m also one of the poepl who saved the text code from all my HM2.5 creations because I am always going back and tweaking them, moving them around, etc.

  9. Andemas says:

    A big thing for me and my friends in 2.x was the text string either moding within the string or loading up the char on a different computer. (for 2.x I was in school)

  10. violodion says:

    Yo, separate saved file rulez!


    The saved state idea (so it sounds) is a solid interim step.

    It is definitely a defining feature which differentiates HM from other creators. ‘Clumsy’ is a-okay, frankly never heard anyone complain about it (aside from ‘left hand load bug’).

    *Have* heard a few UGO people mention they were holding off jumping on the HM3 alpha until the saved file feature was available.

    HM3’s nature is bringing out the perfectionist in people. A transportable HM3 file ought allow folks to tweak, sketch, and doodle with HM3 at whim.

    Too, HM3 has a higher time investment than HM2. Would not want to rebuild something at a later date for a few tweaks — barring System Restores; crashes; upgrades, updates, et al.

  11. thejay says:

    i say let’s let jeff do his job for a while. i’d like to see a working save system as soon as i may, and the “undo” and “quicksave” options aren’t only nice bonuses, they’re essential – much more than the portability issue. let’s get to it one thing at a time.

  12. Matt says:

    Thanks for the undo and quick save options Jeff, they’re really important on things like Heromachine because I’m always making mistakes 😛

  13. Merrick says:

    interesting, i would like to see the “undo” and “quick-save” options just to see them, as far as the actual saving goes i am surprised no one has mentioned this before but for those that want the mobility to move the characters around and what not from machine to machine why not have the text-string save function AND the other save function, personally i would be more then happy with being able just to save the work period, does not matter if its one character or ten.

    Keep up the work jeff, i am really loving the customization of HM3 and cant wait until its as near as completed as it will ever be considering a program like this is never really finished.

  14. J. Tester says:

    I’m down with Neon_n64 and Violodion on this one, Jeff. I too saved every character I did on HM 2.X – just so i could tweak them as I saw fit, at a later date.

  15. Hammerknight says:

    Jeff, just to add my two cents, would there be any way that you could make a component save. This would be where you could design a weapon, headgear, etc. that you like to use with more then one character. That way you could import it to new designs and just change colors or size. The program Google Sketchup has this, you can import from the same program. This would also allow you to make multiple items like tracks, wheels, etc, without having to build each item again and again.

  16. neon_n64 says:

    Hammerknight, I think that’s a great idea, it sounds quite useful.

  17. Jeff Hebert says:

    Man, that IS a good idea Hammerknight.

    OK, here’s the deal. This discussion has been very valuable for me, thank you to everyone for your input. As a result, before we go to launch I will do my best to have a regular “Save” option that lets you put the files on your local drive, and a separate old-school style “import/export” feature that will spit out a copy/paste-able text box for you to move your save strings around.

    That’s a bit cumbersome, but it should allow your average user a much easier way to save what they’re working on, and the more advanced users a way to have portability if they want it, without having to go through all the hassle of making an account on UGO or whatnot.

    I love Hammerknight’s idea of component loading too, but that’s at odds with the way I have the loading and saving currently set up, where one of the first things it does is to wipe out all the current items. It ought to be doable, but it’s going to take extra work.

    So, in the short term I’m just going to code in the relatively easier load/save to your local drive only. After I get more drawing and bug fixing done, I’ll add those other features if I can, because they’re pretty cool. But it would take too long at this point, when there’s still so much other stuff to take care of.

  18. violodion says:

    Sounds like a need to draw some more components (sub-sets or somesuch). Afterward, head back around to give Save/Load a re-visit upon recharge (or, is that a ‘power-up’?)

  19. neon_n64 says:

    Jeff, I like your plan 🙂

  20. J says:

    Your idea is definately a good one. Being able to choose to save/load more than one would be cool.
    Can you put a button into the program so that once you press widescreen view you can go back? I just wasted 15 minutes of work because of that.
    Also I think you missed one of the animal companions. You have a mouse but no rat. There should definately be a rat

  21. Jeff Hebert says:

    You can press any button or click the mouse anywhere to return from widescreen … Literally any action at all wprks.