Solar Explorer: Rolling out an update
After unintentionally being put on hiatus for a few months, it’s time to roll out an update of Solar Explorer, version 2.4.5.
The reason for the delay was largely due to Android bugs on specific devices that the Stonetrip team had to work around, but I had to wait for two builds of the universal app compiler to be released, because the first build had a bug in it that stopped it compiling my apps.
I’ve mentioned previously that some users have been blaming me for a touch screen problem they’ve been having on their ICS custom ROMs. It seems Sony have somehow incorporated this touchscreen problem into their ICS update… I wonder how? Perhaps they took a peek at some code in one of the affected custom ROMs? We’ll probably never know, but thanks to Sony’s developers taking forever to release an ICS update, and not properly testing it, there’s lots of Android apps that users are reporting touch screen problems with.
Stonetrip eventually tracked it down to a problem with the touch screen events not firing when the user stopped touching the screen, and they’ve come up with a workaround that other Shiva developers have reported solves the issue.
With luck, if Sony has implemented the same bug as the custom ROM developers, then Stonetrip’s hack will also work on afflicted custom ROMs. If it doesn’t work, and you are using a custom ROM, then you’ll have to report the bug to the custom ROM developer, because I (and Stonetrip) can’t provide any support for custom ROMs.
One of the outstanding features I wanted to add from the last update was accurate positioning for our Moon, which has been done, so the moon should now be between the Earth and the Sun around the date of an Eclipse.
I’ve also done a lot of work on the spacecraft models using what I’ve learned while working on my Rockets of the Space Race app, which is still under development. I’ve completely re-textured the spacecraft, added some shadowing and increased the detail level. I’ve also gotten rid of any transparent parts and replaced them with polygons, which should improve the performance a bit, and fix any issue with the spacecraft not appearing on certain tablets, due to a bug in transparency rendering in the graphics driver on those devices.
The last thing I did was to replace the Android Market logos in the app with the new Google Play triangular-coloured-thingy.
Rolling it out
Due to the major changes in the 3D engine, I’m going to roll out the update over the next week, starting with the free versions today. If nobody reports any problems, then I’ll release the paid Android updates in a couple of days, and finally the AppsLib and Playbook updates.
If that all goes well, then the equivalent update for Exoplanet Explorer will happen next weekend in the same fashion.