Friday, 21 February 2014

Summary of the last months

These are some of the topics where I put some efforts in the last 3 months:

Leap Motion
I've played with Leap Motion and their javascript library...producing a sort of Flappy Bird Clones that use leap motion as Controller: http://flappyleap.kissr.com/ it's just javascript and it's pretty simple how it works. Just check the soure code. You need a leap motion to play

Unity 3D
I've started learning Unity 3D: it's a great tool to create 2D and 3D games.... It' pretty easy and very powerful: you can create a game that runs in the most popular desktop and mobile platform. My impression is that it is a tool thought more for 3D modellers but good for anyone: I spent some night trying to move my objects in the Scene in a particular way.. thinking about the math...than I found a function that it did just what I was searching for. I've created a 3D game called Apocalipto for BlackBerry10 http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/42671888/ using just the free assets on the Unity store. It was started as "Zombie and Shotgun" but there is no free 3D zombie in the assets store, so they become Skeletons... than it was hard to bind a shotgun correctly to my main character and it become just Apocalipto ... :D

an old version of the game.

This game support bluetooth joypad connected to the BlackBerry smartphone. BlackBerry sent me 2 really good joypads just for adding the Gamepad support to this game: http://devblog.blackberry.com/2013/11/up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-b-a-gamepad-offer-update/
Think what you want... but the BlackBerry efforts and support to developers is really great.
I think I will publish this game also on play store... I hope soon.

Bluetooth LE and the iBeacon world
It's a pretty interesting topic.. 
Bluetooth Smart will be a huge adopted tecnology in the Internet of Things world(another hot topic): so I've started learning and experimenting this tecnology in multiple platform: OSX, IOS, BlackBerry and Android. 
I've bought and played with different device: bluetooth 4.0 dongle attached on linux, the Texas Sensor Tag and the Coin (an arduino mini pro with a bluetooth 4.0 chip attacheda also able to simulate an ibeacon/estimote).
I spend a lot of time testing IBeacons: you can use a product like estimote, or you can use just a simple bluetooth 4.0 usb dongle with Bluez and some tools.

Google App Engine
Another thing where I spent some of my late night time.
I think GAE is an incredible backend for services or apps.. it is easy, powerful and easy to scale.
But the first reason why, I've choose to learn it, it was Google Glass.
Google Glass can use apps called glassware, part of these apps are software that talk with glass through google cloud.
So, I've started to learn it, just to be ready for the time when I'll create a glassware.
I've created a couple of services with python just to understand how to store data, add authentication and show pages to user.
Anyway, it's the kind of service you can rely on, if you create a great app.


Chrome Web Apps
I've built a simple quiz/game for a contest on opendata: http://pro.europeana.eu
The game is called "Europeana: guess who?":
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/europeana-guess-who/jameiloaoadpfonmpmhkmahpdnmnnaka
Nothing revolutionary...
The interesting things are:
- you can use html and javascript (with some restriction) to create your extension
- the extension easily become desktop application and with this, I mean, it can be launched from your windows or osx launcher (I didn't try it on linux) and they appear like a normal application.
- transform a chrome extension into an android and ios app (not ready for ios right now): http://blog.chromium.org/2014/01/run-chrome-apps-on-mobile-using-apache.html it uses cordova. I've tested the tool to transform my extension into an android app, it works but you have to built an extension with a design that runs well on very small display(phones) but also on very large display(desktop).