// why am I so n00b?

Hmmmmm, long time no update. That’s not to say I haven’t been busy recently.

Last month, we released “UnWheel R5”, which seems to have become the (hopefully) final release. I’m pretty happy with it at the moment, all the major bugs are gone, multiplayer is working wonderfully and the online record system is churning records around at a mean rate (and those records still need a monthly rotation system applied, so still some work to be done there). I still haven’t decided if I want to do this all again in Unreal Torunament 2007 or not :).

Elsewhere, I’ve been playing around with DynaBar, and it’s grown a lot. The plugin system has been tweaked to allow better customisation options from the developer side, as well as having options added to improve the user interaction side of things. There are a whole crapload of other options available as well, multiple layers (supporting PNG graphics with alpha transparency), different scanline styles, text prefixes and suffixes, better caching options, etc. In addition, you can choose to have the background be a gradient blending between any two colours, horizontal or vertical, and you can create “groups”, which is a bunch of userbars animated (with fading/blending between bars), and they all remain fully dynamic. Speaking of dynamic, I’ve also added a whole load of plugins, from XFire, to more Last.FM options, to Battlefield 2 and TrackMania, and even RSS headlines and live game server status via Qstat.

I’ve put up a test system here as a sort of sandbox, so feel free to try out all the options and plugins, and if you have any suggestions or ideas for plugins, please let me know. In addition to the designer, there’s a browser available, which lets you easily build the animated groups mentioned above. Also, it all works with Internet Explorer now, which I didn’t bother fixing with the previous version (wasn’t meant to be such a “big” project :)). Source code package will be available as soon as some more testing is done.

In addition, I’ve been re-writing my online Dosage-powered comic viewer - Injector

  • again, this time it’s going fully “Web 2.0” (ZOMG!), so everything’s quite nice and quick. This project still needs a bit of work on the administration and installation side of things before it can see a release.

Aside from all that, I’ve also been slowly building a new UnrealZA site, using the Python-powered Django framework. It really is a wonderful thing. Please excuse me for a minute while I run away from a horde of crazy, twisted, Nevow fans (among others). Anyway, I’ll happily recommend Django any day of the week to anyone looking for a Python web framework.

I’ve also decided I don’t like the look of this site anymore, so I guess that’s another thing to go on my to-do list for the near future.

Update: DynaBar 2 is available, the download link below is out of date.

Finally got around to making a proper release of something :).

Presenting DynaBar, a PHP script which can create dynamic images through the use of plugins, inspired by the Userbars.com website.

I thought it would be cool to be able to have userbars with dynamic data in them, stuff like game server status, stats, etc., etc. to make them a little more exciting. I also wanted to learn a bit more about PHP’s image manipulation, so this proved a good oppertunity for that.

Basically, the whole thing works off a plugin system, which lets you drop in a PHP script (the plugin), set up a config file (the userbar), and link to an image. DynaBar then goes about loading the plugin, requesting it’s data (so it goes off and collects stats, or whatever), and building the final image (putting on the [optional] scanline effect, glossy shine, and layering the text data from the plugin on all of that).

I’ve also created a small designer script, which allows you or any users to create new userbars using plugins or whatever, with their own images and content, in a simple wizard-like interface. The end result is ready-to-use forum or HTML code. :).

Here are some examples, using plugins included in the package:

Image lost in time Simple, plain text (nothing dynamic about it).

Image lost in time This one queries LastFM for which song I’ve played most recently in my media player.

Image lost in time Finally, here we have Battlefield 2 stats, coming from BF2Tracker’s clan XML feed.

Grab the download from the bottom of this post. Please read the README in the doc/ directory.