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Stick Nodes

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“Stick Nodes” Released!

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So guess what? Well, the title is a pretty dead giveaway, but yeah, Stick Nodes is finally released on Google Play (other Android stores coming very soon, and then maybe even iOS – we’ll see).

There are two versions, a free one and a pro one.  They both contain the same features – the only difference being the free version contains a quick ad on startup and applies a small watermark on export .gifs.  The pro version contains no ads and no watermark.

Stick Nodes Free Stick Nodes Pro

Keep up to date

I won’t be doing too much talking about Stick Nodes here, well, at least not as much as I will on the official website, official Facebook page, and official Google+ page – so check those out for the most up-to-date info (mainly future updates and stuff).

So there you go, 4.5 months of work finally coming to fruition – give it a download and a rating (preferably a good one but you know, whatever).

The app comes with a credits.txt file in the main directory (created on the external SD card), but I’ll also post the contents here:

Stick Nodes by Ralph Damiano
Website: sticknodes.com
Developer: fortheloss.org
Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

Stickfigure credits
Tuna: Bench, Bird, Sword, Classic Stickfigure
Mat: Pistol, Uzi, Sniper
Sean Byrnes: Block Head, Cha Fighter, Shirt Guy
Ralph Damiano: Little Dude, Ninja, Stickfigure, Swish, Bendy Spine, Floor

Special thanks
Peter Bone for allowing compatibility with Pivot .stk files.
Sean Byrnes for being an awesome beta tester and stick-creator.
Brandon Ridener for being humorous.

Stick Nodes BETA!

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So guess what?

The Stick Nodes BETA is live.  If you have an Android device, you can try it out right now.  Here’s how:

  1. Become a member of the Stick Nodes BETA Testers Google+ community.
  2. Follow this opt-in link (while logged in to the same Google account used to join the Google+ community above) to be directed to the Google Play store listing.

That’s all.  Please give it a try and let me know of any bugs, suggestions, or anything else!

How to follow Stick Nodes updates

Want to keep updated on the latest Stick Nodes news and updates?  Here are your options:

  1. The official website
  2. The Facebook page
  3. The Google+ page

Alright, gotta go fix some stuff.  Expect the official release very, very soon!

“Stick Nodes” – Update #6

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So things are coming down the home stretch, just wanted to give an update on where things stand as of today.

Stick Nodes

What got done?

  • Fixed up the text/graphics to look better at lower resolutions (the iPhone 4 resolution is the minimum resolution (960 x 640) I was looking to support).  While lower resolutions (800 x 480) look okay as well, I doubt anyone will be doing any serious work with an app like this on devices that small.
  • Got a more efficient animated .gif encoder implemented.  I was finally able to get something working that is cross-platform, fast, produces quality images, and doesn’t eat up memory while working.  My solution is a bit of a Frankenstein of multiple code sources online but with my tweaks it works very efficiently.
  • Finished the app icons after many iterations of attempts.
  • Loads of minor additions, tweaks, and fixes.

What needs to get done?

  • Implement functionality to import Pivot-made .stk files.  I’ve received the OK from Peter Bone and will hopefully have this feature implemented tomorrow.
  • Add Google Services.
  • Test the hell out of everything.

So as you can see, there’s not much left on the to-do list.  After weeks of crossing one thing off and adding two more, that’s a beautiful sight.

That’s it – things are wrapping up nicely.  Barring any unforeseen huge, crippling bugs being discovered I’d say a July release date is looking very reasonable.

Okay bye.

“Stick Nodes” – Update #5

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No video or anything big this week, just wanted to make a quick update post since it seems like nothing terribly “exciting” is on the horizon in terms of new features or anything.

What’s been done?

I’ve been busy since the last update posts, here’s some of the things that were accomplished.

  1. Successful saving and loading of projects and stickfigures. This was a biggie and required a lot of work in  areas of programming I haven’t dabbled much in (namely playing around with files during runtime). A lot of work also went into optimizing save files. As a result, a typical .stknodes project file is less than 10kb for a hundred or so frames.
  2. Frame background color added, you can now change the background color of individual frames with a color chooser.
  3. Made it so there are 2 frames of tweening instead of just 1.  Can you say smooth animation?
  4. Lots of miscellaneous fixes and tweaks, it seems I find something new to fix every day.

What’s left?

  1. Since this is being built for mobile devices, I have to keep in mind this app can run on almost any resolution imaginable. This past week I discovered that at anything lower than the iPhone 4 resolution (960 x 640), the app begins to look a bit like fecal matter – the graphics get a bit too skewed and the font gets blurry.  This is really bugging me and I’m hoping to discover a fix soon.
  2. The current .gif encoder I have implemented works and is cross-platform, but that’s about all the good I can say about it.  It doesn’t necessarily work well (it seems to take a bit too long to encode things that should only take about half the time) and the resulting files seem un-optimized in terms of file size.  I’d like to find another solution but damn, these things are hard to come by…
  3. Fixes for some very elusive bugs that seemingly pop up whenever they want and can’t be tracked down.

So yeah, I have a little left on my plate before I can release Stick Nodes.  I’m looking at more of a release date some time in July.

In the meantime, more NON-TWEENED VS. TWEENED ANIMATIONS!

Stick Nodes Stick Nodes

“Stick Nodes” – Update #4

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Things are starting to come together now.

First off, the Stick Nodes website was launched.  It’s just a temporary page listing some information, screenshots, and videos.  Once the app is actually launched I plan on making it a bit more robust, maybe even allowing stickfigure / project file submissions to build a library of user-created materials.

Video

Here’s a video I made the other day showing off the animation of a very simple (and mediocre) walk cycle.  More importantly, it shows off the power of tweening, which can be turned on and off with the touch of a button.

Non-tweened vs tweened animation

Here are two .gifs exported from the animation shown in the above video.  The first doesn’t have tweening enabled, the second does.

Stick Nodes

Stick Nodes

When tweening is enabled, the app automatically adds an interpolated frame between each keyframe that the user actually creates.  To keep the video running at the same pace, the FPS is also doubled.  This results in a much smoother-looking animation.

(The two .gifs don’t sync up perfectly because the non-tweened animation has 9 frames while the tweened animation has 17 – slightly less than double.  This is because an interpolated frame can’t be added before the first frame or after the last frame, so the frame count can’t be perfectly doubled.)

 

Screenshots

And here are some updated screenshots of what the app looks like right now.

Stick Nodes Stick Nodes Stick Nodes Stick Nodes

What’s next?

So, what’s left to do?  Well a simplified to-do list would look like this:

  1. Program in saving/loading of both project files and stickfigure files
  2. Undo/redo buttons (Not sure if I’ll actually be adding this into the app, if anything, it may come in a future release. Haven’t decided yet.)
  3. Clean up all the miscellaneous bugs/tweaks/todo’s scattered throughout the code.
  4. Plug in some Google services – basically get it ready for the Play Store.
  5. Release.

That’s all for now, keep checking back here or on twitter for more news and updates as they come.  Also don’t forget to check out StickNodes.com.