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Who wants to test a new Android app? Atari Manual Database

VCS manuals database android

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#26 Rom Hunter OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:26 PM

Sure. I was writing this for myself, decided others might like it. I am not profiting off of any of it, now or ever. 

 

-Thom

 

I know.

 

And I think you're doing a great job.

 

Will test it soon!

 

8)



#27 TrekMD ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:42 PM

I just downloaded the latest version and will be testing it.  Thanks!



#28 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 12, 2016 4:18 PM

and now, I'm theming the app... Trying to stay somewhat to Google's Material Design guidelines, as much as possible.

 

This is, ironically, taking up more time, than any other aspect of app development, due to a combination of the long build cycles (I have to do full builds to see changes in resources, hot swaps don't work), and incredibly convoluted inherited theming practices in Android (which make for pin point painting of items _very_ difficult.)

 

-Thom



#29 TrekMD ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 12, 2016 4:36 PM

Cool.  I was going to ask you about what icon you were going to use for it.  So far it has been working well for me.  I actually installed on my Nexus 7 to have the larger screen.  Looking forward to more.  Well done so far.  :)



#30 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 12, 2016 8:28 PM

Right now, the ONE thing keeping me from doing a beta release, with all the manuals, is a theming issue, where the About menu option displays incorrectly (white on white), and I have spent hours now, trying to track it down...

 

-Thom



#31 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:16 PM

After much work, I finally came up with an icon design that doesn't look hokey, hammy, or cheeesy... Actually, I have two of them.

 

The outer border comes from the Google Material symbol for "Library", the inner is a toss up between the Google Material symbol for Game Pad, or an Atari CX40 joystick.

 

Thoughts?

 

 

Proof 1:

c5AuNuG.png

 

Proof 2:

zvMaRNf.png

Proof 3:

M0TZqX3.png

 

Thoughts? I'm leaning towards #2. Good, identifiable icons are _VERY_ hard to pull off, and this was whiddled down from many more, which sapped all my energy. :P

 

-Thom



#32 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 13, 2016 1:51 AM

Hello, everybody, I am here to formally announce the beta release of the Atari 2600 Manual Database for Android Devices. 
 
It can be acquired here via Google Drive: https://drive.google...U0hrTlV5NnVMaWs
 
It has the following features:
 
* Easily view over 300 Atari 2600 game manuals, in a very intuitive, gestural manner, complete with pinch zoom, and pan features.
* Title search for manual titles.
* Go To Page feature for larger manuals
* completely self contained, no Internet connection needed, after install.
* Works on any Android device running Android 4.0.3 or later. 
 
More features are coming, but I wanted to get this out, so that everyone could use and comment on it. 
 
One bug I know for sure, is that the About action in the Options menu can't be seen (white on white text), I am trying to track down the problem.
 
Credit and thanks to everyone who originally scanned and collated the manual data over the years for the benefit of the community, is expressed in the About activity of the app.

 



#33 Rom Hunter OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 13, 2016 2:51 PM

Well done!

Excellent.

 

Icon 2 by far, btw.

 

8)


Edited by Rom Hunter, Sat Aug 13, 2016 2:52 PM.


#34 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Aug 13, 2016 7:19 PM

Is anything missing? 

 

If any of you have a manual that I do not have in the collection, please get in contact with me, and we'll work out putting it in.

 

Also, the source code to the app and all the data is here:

 

https://github.com/t...09/atarimanuals

 

It should build with a standard Android Studio (SDK) installation. If anyone has any questions about the data format, or adapting this for other platforms, please ask.

 

-Thom



#35 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:15 PM

I really would have thought that this would have gotten a lot more attention...as useful as it is... :(

 

-Thom



#36 MacrosCode OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 3, 2016 7:31 AM

I really would have thought that this would have gotten a lot more attention...as useful as it is... :(

 

Don't be disappointed! Maybe most people didn't have seen it so far (as me).

 

I have looked the video and also think it's very useful!

Badly I don't have an Android device. So is there something similar on the web?


Edited by MacrosCode, Sat Sep 3, 2016 7:32 AM.


#37 TrekMD ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 3, 2016 9:05 AM

I have enjoyed using this.  It is very nicely put together and I love using it on my Nexus 7!  Icon #2 I think works the best for it also.  The Atari joystick works best.  Atari Age also has a database of manuals for many of the 2600 games.  You can probably ask to use any that are available here that you don't have in your collection.



#38 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 3, 2016 1:26 PM

I have enjoyed using this.  It is very nicely put together and I love using it on my Nexus 7!  Icon #2 I think works the best for it also.  The Atari joystick works best.  Atari Age also has a database of manuals for many of the 2600 games.  You can probably ask to use any that are available here that you don't have in your collection.

 

If you notice, AtariAge is mentioned as a source for manuals, there were many different sources, but the big ones:

 

* AtariAge

* GamesDBASE

* DigitPress's Game Manual Library

* AtariMania

 

and many others.

 

-Thom



#39 FifthPlayer OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 6, 2016 2:07 PM

I really would have thought that this would have gotten a lot more attention...as useful as it is... :(

 

-Thom

 

It is well done and useful.  I have it installed on an LG 8-inch tablet running Marshmallow AOSP and it works very well.

 

It might be worthwhile to consider unbundling the manual content as a separate download  (the app can check for it and download at startup).  Doing so would make shipping updates to the app itself much easier, since you wouldn't have to download a 500-megabyte payload repeatedly.  And, it would open the door for downloads of manual packs for other systems, such as Intelivision, 5200, Colecovision, etc etc.



#40 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 6, 2016 4:38 PM

That will take some changes to the app (as I am explicitly including the manual contents as resources, and using the built in OS resource management to help keep the memory consumption down), but I am definitely considering it.

 

-Thom



#41 Hyperboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 6, 2016 6:12 PM

Just installed and got the "That's neat" from the lady so it's a double like from me!

Sent from my non beer holding hand.

#42 TrekMD ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 6, 2016 6:55 PM

 

It is well done and useful.  I have it installed on an LG 8-inch tablet running Marshmallow AOSP and it works very well.

 

It might be worthwhile to consider unbundling the manual content as a separate download  (the app can check for it and download at startup).  Doing so would make shipping updates to the app itself much easier, since you wouldn't have to download a 500-megabyte payload repeatedly.  And, it would open the door for downloads of manual packs for other systems, such as Intelivision, 5200, Colecovision, etc etc.

 

This sounds like a good idea.  There are quite a few apps (many of them, games) that do this. 



#43 syn OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 6, 2016 7:26 PM

I'm looking forward to checking this out!....waiting for it to finish downloading.

EDIT WOW, this is now a must have to me

#44 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 7, 2016 1:42 AM

I tried to make as many of the titles able to be entered from the voice keyboard, as possible...will improve it.

 

As for the pluggable manual database, I shied away from it, mostly because I figured that I would make the time to style each app accordingly, and with the resources embedded, the OS takes care of it even better than if they are assets (Which are handled via a very different pipeline)...

 

The size issue didn't matter so much to me, because the material is copyrighted, and can't really be put on an app store without much negotiating... 

 

but I will consider and contemplate. If I can make front facing activities, so I can keep the UI snappy to get to exactly what I want to get to without adding another level deep (which, I refuse to, this is part of what makes the app so damned useful!)...

 

-Thom



#45 FifthPlayer OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 7, 2016 9:09 AM

but I will consider and contemplate. If I can make front facing activities, so I can keep the UI snappy to get to exactly what I want to get to without adding another level deep (which, I refuse to, this is part of what makes the app so damned useful!)...

 

-Thom

 

You can make as many front-facing activities as you like, and assign each of them an icon resource in the app manifest file.  Thus, one app can have several launch icons in the system app drawer.

You can even dynamically add launcher icons, but it's a little more involved and usually requires the user to restart the device (or restart the home launcher) to see them.  This may have gotten more flexible, it's been a while since I've developed for Android.

I don't have a good solution for unbundling the content that is as convenient as using the platform resource compiler.  I worked on an app that had a huge payload of sampled sounds; it downloaded them from Amazon S3 as a .zip on initial startup, then unpacked the zip file into a folder on external storage.  The list of files was precompiled into the app; if you took a similar approach you would likely want to consider a SQLlite database as part of the download which provides a manifest for all the content given.

If any of this sounds appealing to you, I have the download/unpack code that I wrote here: https://github.com/m...f/ZipDownloader There's probably better solutions out there for doing this sort of thing now.


Edited by FifthPlayer, Wed Sep 7, 2016 9:10 AM.


#46 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 7, 2016 11:10 AM

Thanks a bunch. I'm well aware of the solutions, and the fact that you can expose multiple launcher activities I'm just not 100% sure what I want to do, yet...

 

-Thom



#47 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 8, 2016 11:04 PM

Does anyone object to having the program ask for permission to use the camera, so that high-score pictures can be taken? 

 

-Thom



#48 TrekMD ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 9, 2016 6:53 AM

Not at all.  That would be a cool feature.



#49 WishItWas1984 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 15, 2016 12:12 AM

This thing is nuts. I can't thank you enough for creating this. SO awesome.

 

I have a RetroPie for some other non-2600 consoles and I wish I had an app for those too! lol

 

 

For anyone trying to install this on an Android phone, even if you allow outside apps to install you may not see this in your Download folder. I know I didn't. However, I downloaded ES File Explorer and within that app I navigated to my Download folder and saw the APK, and installed it, just fine.



#50 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 15, 2016 1:28 AM

Thank you. Having made this has made all the wonderful 2600 games playable.

 

Great example, being Championship Soccer... Game 1 is such a dreadful variation of the game, but go to Game 46, and you have a 1 player, against computer, that is fast, and has no out of bounds, and a large goal, so that you can have a nice fast paced, and competitive game...but I would never have found it, IF I DIDN'T HAVE THE MANUAL. :)

 

-Thom







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