12 July 2013
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Galaxy Explorer: Polishing continues

The past two days have been spent replacing some of the text with icons in Galaxy Exoplorer, generally tidying up the UI, and implementing a few more 3rd party APIs to handle things such as sharing.

It’s amazing what a few, flat white icons created in Inkscape can do.

Galaxy Explorer New Look

I also created an app icon, just a simple stylised galaxy spiral on a slightly-3D background.

Trying to steer clear of the glossy as much as possible, with all this flat, modern UI mania.

GalaxyExplorer128

For Twitter and Facebook, I purchased Prime31′s Android Social Networking plugin. I’ve got it up and running, but I have yet to actually trigger a sharing action. I also purchased Prime31′s Etcetera plugin, specifically for email composition.

I’ve implemented email, Facebook and Twitter in my Shiva apps, and it’s not to hard to do if you write a small amount of Java. It was a lot of work getting Shiva to handle little bits of Java though, so I didn’t want to waste any time figuring out how to get Unity to do the same, and then figure it all out for iOS, etc.

Billing is still not complete. I’ve created the unlock product, and I’ve got Unibill managing it OK.

What’s slowing me down is that I have to implement these API assets keeping in mind that this app could potentially have a half dozen different versions, some of which may not have access to billing, may use different ad networks, handle sharing differently, etc.

From past experience, I knew that I was going to encounter this particular problem. Because of this, I’ve been working on a side-project, a wrapper class called “Utils” which sits between my apps and all of these 3rd party assets.

The idea is that every app I create will import this Utils asset and simply call a static function, such as Utils.ShowBannerAd. This will then call Mopub, or the ad plugin that happens to be active on the current platform, handles all the setup, and whatever else needs to be done.

If anything ever changes, I can simply fix Utils in one of my apps, export the updated asset, then pull it into my other apps to upgrade them.

It’s sort of a plug-in of plug-ins.

That’s the theory, anyway.

I was actually well into implementing something similar in Shiva when it went belly-up. It was a very long process because Shiva’s asset store had so little on offer, forcing me to implement everything myself.

With Untiy, I can just write the “glue” that sits between my app and the API I want to target.

Much simpler.

Anyway, while the app is largely complete, it’s looking like release will happen next once I’m completely satisfied with it.

Then I can begin work on my second project which is going to be a rewrite of Transmutation, testing just how effective my “Utils” wrapper solution really is.