AuthorTopic: Pixel app for Mobile Phones, programmer wanted! :D  (Read 13349 times)

Offline ilkke

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Pixel app for Mobile Phones, programmer wanted! :D

on: September 15, 2009, 11:04:14 am
WHAT IS IT?
A coupla years ago I was spending hours riding the bus everyday to work, and wished there was a pixelling app for my mobile phone. One evening it occured to me how to make a really good use of the phone's interface and I scribbled it on a piece of paper. Last night I decided to dig out that old sketch and make a mockup, as it might increase my chances of ever finding a person willing and apple to help me make it a reality.



This is a mockup in 176*208, possibly the lowest usable resolution. The app would ideally be able to detect the phone res and adapt, or if that is too complicated then separate versions could be made for 176*208, 240*320, etc.
Note that the canvas size here is only 9x9 pixels, but larger sizes would be supported as well.
The feature set is rather basic, yet the interface is designed to be very rapid to use.

WHAT DOES IT DO?
-Tools: draw and fill
-Foreground and background colors
-Zoom: x1 to x16 (possibly x32 or more on larger screens?)
-Palette editor
-Loading and Saving

I am not sure wether limiting palette size or canvas size would make sense. Probably 256 colours would be too many to plow through comfortably. For starters let's say
-16 color palette
-320*320 max canvas size

HOW DOES IT WORK?
Let's have another mockup, this time with the help overlay turned on (an actual feature, hopefully)



I've been looking at various phones and I tried to stick to the most common buttons.

-The joystick (or it's equivalent) moves the large rectangle (upper right in mockup) around the pic. The rectangle moves in steps of three pixels (unless you choose otherwise in the prefs) to keep things rapid.
-Clicking the joystick switches the tool between draw and fill.
-Digit buttons 1-9 place the fg colored pixel at the respective position within the rectangle. Pressing the same button again switches the pixels color to bg color. Flood fill tool selects the 'target pixel' in the exact manner.
-Left and right softkeys scroll through the palette.
-* and # keys increase and decrease the zoom level.
-Digit 0 brings up the menu with palette editor, save/load, help, options, etc.

This is the basics, there are more details, but probably not that important to most of you.

WHAT NOW?
Since pixel art is not a mainstream niche, let alone on mobile phones, I doubt that this app would ever be commercially viable. If you like the idea and want to support it, then feel free to c&c, and please, please, please...

HELP ME FIND SOMEONE TO CODE IT!

I think JAVA (J2ME) would be ideal, but I guess symbian is also okay. I imagine this is not too complicated to make for someone who has experience with the platform.
Thanks in advance :D
i

Offline VisMaior

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Re: Pixel app for Mobile Phones, programmer wanted! :D

Reply #1 on: September 16, 2009, 07:56:27 pm
If oyu want device-independent app, MIDP only defines buttons 0-10, # and *. It will be hard to do t your way...

Offline Gil

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Re: Pixel app for Mobile Phones, programmer wanted! :D

Reply #2 on: September 16, 2009, 08:05:00 pm
There's ways to make the "return" button, the "OK" button and the "C" button work too. Joystick control is always translated to numerical values though, so no way to differentiate between "joystick right" and "6" for example.

Offline ilkke

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Re: Pixel app for Mobile Phones, programmer wanted! :D

Reply #3 on: September 17, 2009, 01:20:58 pm
@Vis: Thanks for the info! I'll try to see if it's possible to be 100% device independent and if it's worth it.

@Gil: If that is true, then there would need to be a button to switch between drawing and moving the rectangle. Not as pleasant but still usable.
On the other hand, on both phones I currently have with me, I can see that for example in phonebook the joystick scrolls the list, whereas number keys have a different function.
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Offline Gil

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Re: Pixel app for Mobile Phones, programmer wanted! :D

Reply #4 on: September 17, 2009, 05:13:06 pm
Yes, but the phone book is programmed native to the phone, so that obviously works.

I had a look for you and it seems that it is possible to make the distinction in Java.

MIDP calculator seems to do it just fine. This is a calculator and the numbers definately react differently from the joystick. If you have a compatible phone, I advise you to try it out. Very good calculator, excellent control scheme (might give you ideas on what's possible).

http://midp-calc.sourceforge.net/Calc.html
http://sourceforge.net/projects/midp-calc/ (source)

Offline PypeBros

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Re: Pixel app for Mobile Phones, programmer wanted! :D

Reply #5 on: September 18, 2009, 08:38:05 am
I have some experience with a similar interface i developed when i was a kid, on my mouse-less PC.
Very honnestly, drawing pixels with a keyboard proved to be the ultimate pain. It might be better with the interface you suggest, but i still doubt it. On the other hand, I managed to do a few interesting sketches for sprites in the bus on my DS, though it's hard to be precise both with pixels and with colours in such an environment.

Offline ptoing

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Re: Pixel app for Mobile Phones, programmer wanted! :D

Reply #6 on: September 18, 2009, 09:14:15 am
How is it harder to be precise with a keyboard or a joypad (or joystick for that matter)? I know people who made pictures on a C64 with a keyboard and they look brilliant. The tools never are the ultimate limit, but the patience of the user.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2009, 09:18:30 am by ptoing »
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline ilkke

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Re: Pixel app for Mobile Phones, programmer wanted! :D

Reply #7 on: September 18, 2009, 10:03:07 am
Gil, thanks for your trouble, I'll check it out!

@Pype: It's true that mousing or tableting beats keyboard for comfort, but keeping your color counts down always dramaticly decreases time you have to spend pixelling.

The interface should be tangible, in a sense that it makes you feel that you are very close to your work, and in control. Some software makes you feel like painting with a brush tiled to the end of a fishing rod, and it makes no difference if you are using a mouse or a keyboard, it just sucks. I think keyboard pixel programs can be just as great as keyboard music trackers, which is pretty much what Ptoing had said.
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Offline PypeBros

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Re: Pixel app for Mobile Phones, programmer wanted! :D

Reply #8 on: September 18, 2009, 12:39:25 pm
Some software makes you feel like painting with a brush tiled to the end of a fishing rod, and it makes no difference if you are using a mouse or a keyboard, it just sucks.
Well, if you really feel like this is something that could get handy for you ... why not. After all, a good app arise when someone meets the workflow. Many little satisfied people makes less sense than a handful of enthusiasts.

Quote
I think keyboard pixel programs can be just as great as keyboard music trackers, which is pretty much what Ptoing had said.
True when the keyboard music tracker is great (e.g. Fast/Scream/Impulse tracker), though i've seen terrible things such as C64's Music Processor ... Probably just *my* keyboard-based graphic editor s**ked big times.

Sorry if it sounds like i miserably tried to get one more user. I shouldn't be diminishing your project.

Offline Gil

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Re: Pixel app for Mobile Phones, programmer wanted! :D

Reply #9 on: September 18, 2009, 06:54:53 pm
If you find no one to program it, I'm willing to give it a go Ilkke. I was hoping someone with tangible MIDP experience would come along, but if you find no one, I'm graduating as a Java programmer soon, so I'm sure I could do it.

Keep searching for a while though, I'm sure there's better people out there.