News: My Current Projects

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I went into it more on the Z-Net website, but as I announced there I am dropping the Z-Net I project. Reasons aside, what this means is that the plans I had before to start upgrading ZNI past a clone of zbattle once I felt I got all the issues fixed, are now scrapped. I no longer have plans to do so. And as far as fixing issues with it as is goes, well I might do so here and there, but don't count on it. Also what this means is I won't be moderating it anymore myself. There will still be mods, and I will still take applications for more mods, I just won't be handling it myself. Keep in mind though that the rules are still present, even if your not warned or banned as quickly as before. I worked overboard before to help try to establish in users minds that there are in fact rules to follow for proper conduct when using the program, and that overworking went on far to long, eventually taking its toll on me. The project simply stopped being fun, and just became about babysitting a bunch of idiots.

Moving on now. I did enjoy coding at times on that project, but it was hard to do so with the limits I had to place on myself in order to help get the program to be as good of a quality as I could get it. Coding fun for me comes from doing new stuff with code that I've never done before. Not combing over my code over and over again trying to crack bugs and issues. Both major times I worked on that project, I was rushing through it, as it were. Back in 2010 it was because I was challenging myself to do it in 7 days, and earlier this year it was because users had lost zbattle and needed somewhere else to go as soon as they could get it. So I didn't really allow myself much time to catch issues as I was designing it or just write something more properly before the code was out of hand and in need of a rewrite. To its credit, the ZNI code works shockingly well, for what feels like code held together Scotch tape and bubble gum.

Now though, I've decided to move onto a new project. One I can take my time with. One I can actually try and improve my skill with by not taking a short cut when I know a professional would do it another way. The new projects goal is as of yet still undecided. It's either going to be a true Z-Net 3, which mostly means support for emus other than just ZSNES and a Game Room list that's a lot less of a moderation nightmare than the zbattle style. Or it's going to be Z-Band, hopefully with a different GUI and overall design than ZNI. While it would probably be to much of a task, it could also be a combo of both. Managing Z-Band compatibility and writing server code with just ZSNES in mind would be enough work as is. Doing so with other emus and popular games for them would just be crazy.

Right now though I'm just going back to basics. Lately I've been working on new IRC code. The IRC code I use in ZNI was ported over from the EQC Launchpad project, and even there it was ported over from a very simple MS-DOS console based IRC client I wrote back when I was just trying to get the gist of how to even go about writing such a thing. It wasn't a very well done program or anything, by any means. It just more or less got the job done well enough. The new IRC code I'm working on I'm writing almost all from scratch, using what I learned from the old code I used in those 3 projects, and every part is being done in a more stable well thought out manner. I'm writing the code along with a basic IRC client as I feel I have to, to understand exactly how I want it to be used so I can refine it more as I go. There would likely be little reason to want it, but I may release a binary for the thing once I feel it's done. I don't plan to go open source with it, but I'm happy now knowing I could if I wanted to. I would never do so with ZNI, that's how ugly the code is. Still though I guess that doesn't exclude making my next project a team project if I desired it, as the ZNI code has also made me unwilling to do that. But even then that may not be enough. When other people start doing the work, that means less fun for me. And of course I've had bad experiences with team projects over the net. Well, I'm not going to make up my mind on that stuff now, and instead I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Other than the IRC code, I was bored one night and made a mock up program for theoretical new GUI elements for a new Z-Net/Z-Band client. It's nice to see that I can do some of the things with the GUI that I would have wanted to do with ZNI. The mock up is in no way worth showing a picture of though, as I'm really leaving myself open on design ideas as long as I can. It could end up as a tricky balance between retaining the ease of use of the zbattle style GUI as much as possible, but also making something more modern or trying to innovate in some ways. I don't want to fall into making a mIRC clone either.

Ideally the program would look and function so well, it would feel like you can't believe such a thing wasn't made years ago. Like how did we ever get by without it? lol. Or maybe it's so simple, it seems genius! haha. I know, that's a bit of a stretch. But the higher I aim, the better the result! Hopefully... Even if I don't expect that much.


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