HM3: What I’ve been up to

For the last week and a half or so I've been trying to figure out one key feature that presents as two different ones. To wit, I've been trying to load saved characters from the server instead of just from the ones you choose to save locally to your hard drive.

The key factor here is that these server-based character templates are in XML. Which is basically text.

Which in essence means this feature also would allow you to import and export characters as text, just like you could in HeroMachine 2.

I've made a lot of progress so far. I can successfully import saved XML files from the server and translate them into actual live characters in the program. I can also export any currently loaded character as an XML text list which you can copy to your clipboard, paste in a text file or email, and send to friends or whatnot.

The last piece of the puzzle programming-wise is to figure out how to let you paste the XML text into the program directly.

The other piece is figuring out where to put all these new choices. Right now I have introduced tabs to the File Load/Save screen, named "Your Characters", "Templates", and "Text". The Text one is what I haven't really coded yet. But basically it'll turn the traditional file list into a big empty text box which if you're in Save mode will be filled with the text representing whatever character you've got loaded up at the moment. And if you're in Load mode, it would be empty, waiting for you to paste some text into it.

Anyway, it's been slow going, with lots of false starts slowing things down, and even more niggling little details that have to be worked out along the way ("Where does this menu go", "What kinds of warnings do they get", "Why can't I convert a string to a &$%@#% date", etc.), but I am getting closer to having it ready for test.

I know it's been a while since the last update, so I just wanted to keep you all informed about what's been going on behind the scenes here.

18 Responses to HM3: What I’ve been up to

  1. Hammerknight says:

    Will this allow you to import text from HM2 into HM3? What exactly are the benefits XML?

  2. Blackjack says:

    Good luck working out the kinks!
    Wish I knew more about XML to help, but I’m a networker, not a webdesigner. Sorry.

  3. Me, Myself & I says:

    Thanks for the look behind the scenes Jeff. Looks pretty good back stage. This could certainly prove useful for backing up characters.

  4. Arioch says:

    This is great!
    I really appreciate you keeping us informed, anyway.
    Keep up the good work!

  5. Jake says:

    I’d been wondering what was going on. After the big debugging and user interface upgrade, I didn’t realize there was still more going on with the coding. These upgrades have made the program a lot better. Even so, I can’t wait until we get back to adding new items. Every update feels like Christmas morning where I have all of these new toys to play with. Keep up the good work.

  6. NEON_N64 says:

    That sounds great Jeff. For a long time I’ve been wishing for a saving system that could give us more control over our files, so I’m very exited about this 🙂

  7. Myro says:

    That will be so great when you finally get it working. Thanks so much for everything you’ve done with this program, Jeff.

  8. ams says:

    I’m with Hammerknight. If there was a possibility of uploading HM 2 files on HM 3, you are Santa Claus!

  9. Natri says:

    Me again, sorry to disturb but when I loaded my character today I was suprised to see it had four feet. I took a body without feet, but now there are feet added to it. How come? And what can I do?

  10. Jeff Hebert says:

    No, this will not allow conversions between HM2 and HM3. The two are completely different. Sorry.

    XML makes no difference to you as the end user, it’s essentially just a big long string of (admittedly better organized and marked) text.

    Natri, some of the item sets still export a version of the Body that has two feet attached. I need to go back and clean that up. I *think* that if you reload the basic body set it should overwrite the one brought in by whatever the incorrect other set was. If not, it’ll just have to wait till I get to minor bug squashing.

    I’m starting to get to the end of my enthusiasm for coding, so after that it’ll be contest prize item creation and then probably on with the male-female item conversion.

  11. Mark says:

    Great news Jeff! I’ve been anxiously awaiting this addition.

    I know a thing or two about XML and XSLT, and if congress dosen’t get it’s act together, I could find myself with an abundance of free time on my hands very shortly. Let me know if I can help.

  12. ams says:

    @Jeff (10) BUMMER! That would have been great! Keep on doing a awesome job!

  13. Watson Bradshaw says:

    you are a code writing warrior Jeff, keep up the good work.

  14. Simon says:

    Will this mean we can send pictures to friends as .txt files?

  15. Me, Myself & I says:

    Simon (14) yup, that’s what it means.

  16. Jake says:

    An idea I just had, could we have a “Copy Proportions” button?

  17. @Jake(16): If you’re going to be in my head, I’m going to have to charge rent. ;p

  18. Simon says:

    @M,M&I(15) WooHoo! That’s really handy