Dierenzoeker

Dierenzoeker!Wat doe je als je een vreemd diertje tegenkomt vlak bij je huis, en je raakt nieuwsgierig? Soms is het leuk om het diertje niet direct weg te slaan, maar om eens na te gaan wat het is. Verbazingwekkend veel dieren hebben allerlei positieve eigenschappen, en het aller grootste deel is de mens totaal niet tot last. Sommige beestjes zijn prachtig mooi en sommige zijn onverwacht nuttig.

Bij Naturalis heb ik meegewerkt aan de Dierenzoeker. Een gloednieuwe mooie gratis app voor Android of iPhone, waarmee je zelf kan uitzoeken wat voor soort dier je hebt ontdekt. De app is eenvoudig te gebruiken, want de doelgroep zijn kinderen van 7 tot 11 maar ook voor volwassenen is het een erg leuke app.

Lieveheersbeestje!Altijd al willen weten wat dat nu voor raar geel lieveheersbeestje is dat je af en toe in de tuin vind? Na wat zoekwerk vind je hem zo, en tegelijkertijd leer je ook nog eens dat dit lieveheersbeestje zijn eigen ‘gewassen’ plant.

Met 300 diertjes kan je voorlopig lekker gaan determineren en hebben de torretjes, kevertjes, spinnen en noem maar op rond je huis geen geheimen meer.

Cats&Dogs

Dog!Cat!The wait is finally over. Cats and Dogs, Boys and Girls, a never ending battle between men’s best friends, combined with the most epic battle of all, the battle of the sexes. Action-packed in just half a minute of gaming frenzy.

An easy and exiting game, now playable on your Android phone. Practice your reflexes as you try to keep up with all the action on your mobile. This hot new game is available as an Android App on Google Play now and best of all, totally free!

The object of the game is as easy as it is challenging. Select either cats or dogs and boys or girls and start the action. Avoid touching the wrong animal or gender. Are you able to get the high score of the day, while only playing one minute? Don’t wait any longer! Get this game now!

View the all time high scores and today’s best scores.

Android update April

After a long wait finally all the pieces are falling into place. I expect I will be able to finish the game soon. As always the final details and polishing up take the most time. Last month I already introduced the entire cast of the game. I also showed you one of the specials you can find in the game. The rest I leave for you to find out playing the game.

I enjoyed creating this game a lot. It is my first Android program, and it was very useful for me to get some hands-on with this new media, and with programming for mobile devices. I expect the announcement for this new game ‘Cats and Dogs’ to appear on this blog, and the android store, somewhere in the next few months.

Android update March

Time to introduce the entire cast of the game.

Cats and Dogs, Boys and Girls.
Cat!Dog!Boy!Girl!

There are still quite a lot of details to work out, but things are progressing. Maybe in a few months there will be a big announcement. One detail more that I will reveal in this post is the name of the game. The name will be quite simple: ‘Cats and Dogs‘.

Android update February

Sometimes you just need to give your mind a break. Stop thinking for a short while and just enjoy yourself for a minute. This is exactly what I am trying to create. A short break and a way to enjoy yourself for just one minute. The game I’m creating will be playable for 60 seconds. After which you can continue your life.

Pepper!60 seconds is all that is needed for the game to be played. In this 60 seconds you will be introduced to the already familiar dog and girl, but you will also encounter a red hot pepper every now and then.

More information next month.

Android update January

I am continuing with my Android game, and right now I have the main interface more or less ready. This means you can start and stop the app, start the game, modify the settings and view the high scores. What is missing is the actual game itself, the content of all the screens, and the method of uploading your personal high score to a website. Still a lot of work that needs to be done.

Dog!Here is another small part of the game. This girl is a little less important then the dog, but she also plays an important role in the game. If you are getting curious return in a month to find out more!

Android update December

Android app!In creating a game using the appinventor I was running into quite a lot of problems. Programming the logic is very simple, but fine-tuning details is in a lot of cases impossible. For this reason I threw the appinventor out of the door and right now I am reinventing my game-app using Eclipse and Java. A lot more flexible and a lot more fun. The only drawback is developing it is not so fast, but this is mainly because there are a lot of things that need figuring out.

Dog!I think I will be needing a few more months to finish my first project, which is mainly caused by the lack of time I seem to have. But still, I will try to publish something every month from now, so I have a good reason to keep progressing. This dog is one of the important parts of the game. Next month something unimportant.

Becoming an Android developer

Android developer!For my upcoming Android game I’m going through quite some new experiences. Although I have been a software developer for over 15 years, this was the first time I created software for an Android phone. Also this was the first time I used graphics make by real designers for one of my privately developed applications.

Appinventor
Somehow my attention was drawn to a new feature which was being offered by Google. The appinventor. You needed to complete an online application form to get access, which I did, and a few weeks later I received an email that I was granted access. After this I started playing around with the tutorial, the example apps and the Android emulator. The appinventor itself was very easy to use. It reminded me of the tool that was supplied by Lego with their Mindstorm set a lot of years ago. The appinventor consists out of three parts:

  • Appinventor. This is where you select the functional items that your application will have. You define textareas, labels, buttons, add graphics, set alignment, font sizes, etc.
  • Block Editor. From the appinventor you can start the block editor. Here you see all available programming, and you can use this to define variables, procedures, loops, etc. The entire process of creating the logic for your application you do here, in the Block Editor using drag and drop. After you get used to the concept it is very easy.
  • Emulator. From the block editor you can send your program to a connected Android phone, or to the emulator, and test to see how it will work.

Images
In an early stage I was thinking about how to make a game that would be appealing to play, but which also would not require a lot of time. Still, I wanted it to be a game that people would like to play over time. It was easy to think about how I would like to see a nice and easy game, and it was clear I do not possess the ability to create nice graphics. I went to search online and found some images I like on the fasticon.com website. I needed to pay around 20€ to be able to use a number of icons I liked, without risk of legal problems. The images looked very professional, and they fit perfectly in the game I had in my mind. 20€ sounded like a good deal, and I was hoping I would somehow get the money back selling the game online.

Developer account
For publishing my app on the Android market I needed to create a developer account. This set me back another 20€ and I needed to register my credit card details, my bank details and a lot of personal data…. a bit tricky but after a small evaluation I thought it was worth it. This meant that I was now able to publish as many apps as I liked, and maybe my game would sell enough to get this investment back, although I doubt this.

Android

Android!Times are changing fast. Mobile phones are turning into small computers, and computers are turning into access points to access the internet. The internet seems to be the place where everything is happening.

In the past you used to work with your software on your own pc, now slowly everything is moving online, where your data and programs can be accessed where-ever, when-ever and how-ever you like, using a pc, a phone, a pad, or what-ever else. A similar trend is visible in hardware. In the past you needed special equipment for a lot of functions.

  • To make a call (phone),
  • for giving driving directions (tomtom or other navigation system),
  • for reading digital books (e-reader),
  • to wake you up in the morning (alarm clock),
  • to play a game (nintendo ds, sega dreamcast, sony playstation, microsoft xbox, etc.),
  • for knowing the time (watch),
  • for knowing your location (global positioning system (gps) or compass)
  • etc.

All these functions are now more and more available online, and you only need to select the size and setup of a single machine to access these functions. This is a great improvement in flexibility for working with and enjoying or consuming ‘information’.

This change affects all of us, and it will effect us even more in the future. People are changing fast, and their needs for data and connectivity are changing with them.

I have started developing for Android, with the recently launched appinventor by Google. It is strange to see that technology is getting more and more complex but for developers things are getting much more simple (although also a bit less flexible). The appinventor is an easy way to construct an application for an Android mobile phone. All the development is done online, and if you want you can download the result to your PC. This means I can start work on one PC and continue on another one, without the need to install anything.

Although there are still some inconveniences I think this is a real step ahead. One of the next steps hopefully will include much better interoperability, where an app created for Android can just as easily be used on a different phone or a PC, or embedded in a website. Soon I hope to publish my first app here, on Leiden365.nl.