Chart Object now can be added to MMF HWA applications

The Chart Object I wrote for Multimedia Fusion 2 would not allow itself to be added to hardware accelerated (HWA) applications. At the time the object was released, this was a separate runtime. It was disallowed as it didn’t appear to work properly with it – nothing would be displayed (except for the pie chart mode, which writes to an internal buffer first).

Today I started work to make the Chart Object HWA compatible (although not actually take advantage of the HWA). The first thing I did was remove the tests which stopped it being added to HWA applications. I tried it, and it seemed to ‘just work’ so long as the ‘Display Mode’ setting in the application properties is not ‘Direct3D 8’ or ‘Direct3D 9’ (both of which may cause crashes).

Well, I thought this would probably do for now. I’d be interested to know if there are any people who are strongly bothered by the inability to use it with Direct3D. Perhaps if it is an actual problems I will convert it to use off-screen buffers, but I’d prefer not to.

Download the version of Chart Object without the HWA checks

Edit: A quote I found from my notes from Fimbul which – probably fairly – describes the situation:

[T]he graph object. It’s great, but it’ll probably never see HWA, java, etc. It has an excellent function that allows you to get the coordinates for the points, so if you want, you can plot a graph yourself, but you can’t use that in the other runtimes (and I think it glitches even in HWA if you try to use it there). This is another example of something that is already using a form of coding, but that instead of being “click-friendly”, it’s mostly “click-impossible”.

Alas, it was created before alternative run-times, but released at about the same time as them.

Work on Multimedia Fusion extensions

A few of my extensions have known problems with it. I don’t particularly enjoy working on these projects; actually, I pretty much hate it. I have much better things I could be doing. However,  I will try to make the changes when I can.

The known problems are:

Chart Object
  • No support for HWA, which means it doesn’t work in the latest version of MMF
  • No support for Unicode titles, etc.
  • Crash to do with encryption
String Replacer
  • Suspected crash turned out to be due to a different object
Spell check Object
  • Lack of support for additional characters (such as accented characters)
String Replacer
  • Lack of support for additional characters (such as accented characters)

None of these will be much fun at all to work on, or particularly rewarding, so don’t expect progress to be quick. However, hopefully it will happen someday.

Chart Object Released

So, at last, I’ve released the Chart Object, along with the latest version of Ini++ v1.5. I have written many posts about the progress of the Chart Object, so it is great to finally get it released. I’m sure there will be an initial set of bugs, but hopefully there won’t be anything too major.

The Ini++ v1.5 object has a large number of bug fixes from the original release, and works much better. It is worth noting that the compression algorithm is different that before, so if you use compression it cannot open old Ini files.

The latest bug fix in Ini++ v1.5 is to do with the loading of subgroups, which didn’t work very well previously. Essentially, this is a feature which changes the loading and saving routines to take tabs into account. Groups which are indenting are considered ‘subgroups’. So for instance,

a = 1
	a = 2

has the group ‘Group’ and which has the subgroup ‘Subgroup’. The object does not support subgroups in memory, so it is faked by renaming groups to their path. It is hence loading in memory as:

a = 1
a = 2

This feature was always present, but it was previously fairly buggy.

Chart Object Near Release

The Chart Object has been updated again. Only a small number of changes this time:

  1. The ‘Export as image file’ and ‘Copy to clipboard’ actions now take a parameter so you can select the background colour. Of course if you export to a PNG file, black represents transparency.
  2. The vertical text is never rendered using anti-alias.
  3. The ‘Anti-alias’ option now decides if the labels are rendered with anti-aliasing or not. If you export to a PNG with transparency, you should probably turn this off!

Hopefully later tonight I will be able to create a release candidate. Then, providing everything goes well there can be a public beta release.

Speaking of which, I want to know if the Ini++ v1.5 beta release can be upgraded to an official release. Any feedback would be helpful – message me on the CT forums, even if it is just to say “I used it and it worked”. Thanks.

Chart Object and Ini++ v1.5

The Chart Object and Ini++ v1.5 have both been completed! Yay! Both are currently released to Clickteam’s testers, although I don’t think anybody is actually testing them at the moment. This means that either it will be released with bugs, or that its release will be delayed for a while, which is a real shame as I’ve put in effort recently getting this done when I’d really have prefered not to.

It often takes just one or two people to pop-up and try and use the object in a project of their own for it to be well-tested though. Or perhaps I should release it on here as a beta? I’m not sure yet and will have to talk to Clickteam. There are people paying me so I should respect their wishes too.

As for after this, I have other projects. For one thing, I want to pick up OpenTH again. I also have another MMF-related project (not quite an extension but something along those lines). I do have this ultimate idea of a card-game object though. More useful would probably be a set of custom GUI controls in a game-ish style, but these things are horrible to write if you want them to work with all languages, which I suppose I’d have to. Ideas are welcome.

Chart Object Documentation Written

I’ve finished writing the documentation for the Chart Object. I’m releasing it now so that people can see what it features, and also so that any mistakes can be pointed out.

The link to it is here. It is an MHT file (MIME HTML) which is an HTML file with the resources included. Opera and IE can view these files but Firefox can’t without an extension.

The released extension will have it just as an ordinary HTML file, however MHT is a bit more convent for now. One interesting thing about writing this is I decided to write it in Microsoft Word. The latest version of Microsoft Word is actually, for the first time, good at what it does.

Also, there are the following bug fixes: When total of values is zero, there is no longer a crash in pie-chart mode. Also, when there is only one slice to display, it is now rendered correctly.

Chart Object Progress

There has been more progress with the chart object. The changes are:
New feature: Automatic precision detection and new selectors for it in the property pane

Change: Ticks at end of series axis
Bug fix: x-Axis title no longer cut off by two pixels
New ACE: “Is position near graph point condition”
New ACE: “Get current data set number” expression.
New ACE: “Get nearest point to” expression
Change: Hide ‘axis’ in pie mode
New feature: Auto-tick for X axis
New feature: Now using muParser
Bug fix: Scaling fixing
Bug fix: Scaling works now for pictograms again
Bug fix: Display errors fixed with regards to overrunning
Bug fix: No surface on pictogram mode no longer crashes

So the things left to do are:

  • Write the documentation (which I am doing now)
  • Update Ini++ to reflect changes
  • Ask Yves why it isn’t working in HWA mode
  • One or two small things to do with hiding of properties.

It’s about time for Chris Branch to have a play with to make sure he thinks it is OK, and also for the people funding it to have a play with it. And then we have to decide about how it is released. It seems to be ‘the thing’ now to give it up KlikDisk before it actually goes public. It’s up to the people paying for it though…

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