Hello, and welcome to Create Your Own Choose-Your-Own-Adventures!
August has come and gone, and with that, a new version of the visual editor arrives.
You can see the progress here, with a view of (a messed-up version of) the tutorial adventure's structure.
The next step is to start adding menus and the accompanying functionality. It's a long road, this visual editor, but I'd like to think it'll be worth it!
Another month, another update.
This month has had me focusing on the most complex and difficult part of the site: the visual screen editor. The current version is written using SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), which are great for drawing cool shapes and lines, but less effective at being responsive user interfaces, which unfortunately is the main thing I need it to be. I feel like the current implementation isn't bad at all, but every time I wanted to change something it was a huge headache.
To that end, I'm rewriting the whole thing (as I'm doing with most of the site). As I hinted last month, I started just by getting some boxes and lines on the screen.
Since then, the boxes have become draggable, the lines have become dynamic, I gained the ability to set a background, and I've implemented the color-coding feature that shows which screens connect to the one you're hovering over. Now that I have the foundations in place, I can start connecting it to the database to grab the current adventure structures and show them as we're more or less used to seeing them in the visual editor.
See it here!
In the meantime, I also took a couple days and set up the site to use hashtag navigation; that means that even though the site is a fluid experience that almost never requires reloading the page, as you traverse the different parts of it the URL will still change, so you can bookmark certain areas or use the back button. It's a bit technical, but maybe some of you will understand what i'm talking about; in any case, I hope all of you will appreciate it once you're using it!
It's been a very busy month at the ol' "real job," and the work I've done on Choosology doesn't come across in a screenshot very well.
But I've added and polished the comments and rating for the adventure view, fixed several longstanding bugs, and now I'm taking on a new, scarier part of the site...
I will simply leave you with this:
the culmination of many hours of blood, sweat, and tears...
Time for a monthly update!
The screenshot this time around is even full-sized!
I've been spending my time on the adventure-viewing experience. At this point, adventures are perfectly viewable, rateable, and commentable! I still want to make a few new improvements, but the drudgery of updating the old modules to fit into the new hotness that is Choosology is mostly complete (with the major exception of the picture management pages).
You may also notice the "Return to previous screen" button; this will let you traverse back through the path you took, so you can go back to an interesting fork in the path and take another one easily. I have another trick up my sleeve regarding this functionality, but that will have to be another month's update...
Since the Search screen is fairly complete (in a phase 1 sort of way), today we have a screenshot of the adventure-viewing screen (work very much in progress) right here.
I'm using the existing Tutorial adventure just to test it out. As you can see, the existing picture and styling remains (except for the font... that didn't quite make it in yet). All of your adventures should survive the site upgrade with no problems.
I've also put the choices in their own box, and they're invisible until you hover your mouse over that area. This is also where the rating/commenting modules will be at the end of your adventure, but now it won't be so obvious that you're at the end of an adventure until you actually read the whole thing.
Finally, you can see that the viewing screen still has the logo and login widget at the top of the screen, but the background is black. This is because when you view an adventure, you go seamlessly into "theater mode" to read the adventure with minimal distractions. The site navigation is much more fluid now and it's always clear that you're on the site, even though each individual adventure has its own style.
Feel free to leave any thoughts or suggestions! And in the meantime, keep writing those adventures!