I have decided to put the Reach Stats App on hold for a bit while I work on developing stat signatures for Halo Reach. This is something I was personally looking for, and no one seemed to offer it. After a few hours this afternoon, I have a basic framework for generating stat signatures up and running.
This is still very much a work in progress. There are a number of things I would like to add, and I am waiting on Bungie to release a graphics library they have promised. However so far things are going well. There is no web interface yet, and I have not determined if this is something I would even want to open to the public or not. That being said, if this is something that interests you, post your Gamertag and I will add it to the list of sigs to generate. I could use a few more to test with at this point. I make no promises on how often I will have the update though. Eventually I would like to get these updating at least once a day.
All suggestions on how to improve the signatures are welcome. Just keep in mind that at this point I am more concerned with pulling the stats and rendering the images them I am with how pretty they look. Things like random background images are totally possible, but not a priority at the moment.
Bungie has finally opened up the Reach API to programmers. I was actually hoping they would do this last week when I had a lot of free time. Anyway, I was browsing the website and noticed it was open, so I decided to throw something together real quick to see how accessible it was. I have never worked with a web API like this before, and only have a little bit of experience working with .XML files as a save file format for some of the applications I have written. Obviously, if I am going to be building a large stats application, I will have to get more familiar with the best practices for working with XML files.
Still, I was able to throw something simple together in about an hour and a half. Currently, the program pulls some basic stats about a player, their armor image, and the list of recent games. The API allows me to pull all kinds of data, so cool graphs showing obscure things would not be out of the question. What sort of features would you like to see in a stats application? Anything that the current bungie.net site doesnt do that you wish it would? I am open to all ideas.
So I have been getting questions about what software I have been working on. I normally don’t post anything about work, but I might as well share some images of the latest projects I have been working on.
The first program, called AM Plat, is something that I wrote myself from scratch. The program takes data about arrays of AM radio towers and draws a sketch of them to scale. This image can then be printed, or exported to be used as a map overlay in software such as Google Earth. The towers are described in such a way that they are related to each other. For example, Tower #2 is X feet away at Y degrees from Tower #1. Of course the data isn’t actually in feet but electrical degrees, so some conversions have to be done there before anything can be drawn. To get the data needed, program can connect to a SQL database, can import files from other software, or the data can be manually typed in if the array does not already exist in the database. Of course the program also can save and load projects in its own file format, which is XML-like. The program also has a number of other features such as recalculating the values based on new tower references.
The second program that I am working on is maintaining a rather large FCC Database search program. The program allows the user to search for FM, AM, and TV data from the FCC database. The results are displayed using Crystal Reports. The program also has a number of other features, such as the ability to view the antenna pattern for any tower in the database. I have added a number of new options to customize search queries, and I have rewritten much of the antenna pattern viewer from scratch as the original code was buggy.
So the folks over at Games For Windows Live are running a great 75% off sale for Batman: Arkham Asylum, which brings the price to $12.50. Of course to take advantage of the offer, you have to first install their Games for Windows Live client, which gives you access to their Games on Demand store. I already had the software installed since I used it to buy some of the DLC for Fallout 3, but this is the first game I have purchased using the software. My impressions:
What was good
As soon as I loaded it up, the Batman 75% off sale was right there on the man page in their banner rotation. This made finding the page to buy the game easy.
You are offered the choice of paying for the game with Microsoft points, or directly using your credit card. I have been wanting to lower my Microsoft Points balance for a while now, so I was glad that I could use them here.
Buying the game automatically adds the game to your download queue.
What was bad
The UI doesn’t show download speeds, only percent complete.
The download was extremely slow. Perhaps its because of the sale, or maybe buying games on here always takes this long. Either way it took hours to download the game. Of course I cant tell you exactly what speeds I was getting, because of my first issue.
The GFWL client locked up at about 40% downloaded. This was well over an hour and a half into the download. After restarting the software, the download did not resume from where it left off. Instead, the download started over again. I have never heard of a download manager not caching or downloading in chucks to avoid this. This was pretty poor, and made worse by the slow download speeds.
Once the download was finished, I clicked the install button. I was prompted with some of the usual stuff, such as language and the license agreement. However, I was never asked where to install it. This resulted in the game being installed on the wrong hard drive. I later found the setting hidden in the menus, and changed it to the right location.
After uninstalling the game so I could reinstall to the right drive, I had to download the game for a 3rd time.
I am still waiting for it to download for a 3rd time.
Hopefully I will actually be able to play this sometime tonight. Games on Demand does have some potential, but at this point I would never buy a game using that client over Steam unless Games on Demand had a significant price savings.