I decided to try to learn how to create animated videos. So, I got a subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud and Skillshare to learn via video tutorials. I also bought a condenser microphone for recording dialog. After watching a few classes, I started working on the first video.
The first video is called Bob’s Robot. I drew the backgrounds and characters in Photoshop, recorded and edited dialogue in Audition, and animated everything in Character Animator. Here is the result:
The second video is called Good Advice Unicorn. This time I drew backgrounds in Photoshop, characters in Illustrator, and animated using After Effects. Here it is:
The third (and latest as of writing this) video is called Nutopia 2: Attack of the Legumes. I used the same workflow as the previous video, except I used an inverse kinematics plugin to rig and animate the characters. I also recruited some guest voices, which was tricky but worth the effort. This one is significantly longer than the previous videos, and I think the quality is significantly better. Here it is:
The YouTube channel is called VideoStove. You can find a link to it on the amazing website I created for it.
Anyway, that is what I have been spending my time on lately. Enjoy!
Due to lack of public interest and to make room for other projects, I decided to stop active development on Flavordex and Word64. The apps will still receive bug fixes and my other project, Elementary, will still continue.
These products never took off. They don’t have the number of users to justify the time and effort required to continue development. I would like to use that time to work on some other project, as soon as I figure out what that is.
Over the past few years, my left hand has become pretty much useless for using the keyboard. This made playing most games impossible, or at least that’s what I thought. For a while I could only play games that only require a mouse.
I recently discovered that some people have been able to effectively play most games using face and head movements. The software uses a Microsoft Kinect sensor to recognize facial expressions and head orientations and translates them into keyboard and mouse inputs.
I ordered the Kinect and an adapter for the PC. I combined the KinesicMouse software with Voice Activated Command (software that triggers inputs based on voice phrases) for the less time sensitive inputs. With some practice I have been able to effectively play games like Minecraft, Battlefield, and Overwatch with just a mouse and my face.
I made a game and it is called Word64. It is a word game where the goal is to spell words by connecting letter tiles on a 8×8 grid. You have 3 minutes to make as many words as you can. Here is a picture:
Screenshot showing how to make a word
Check out word64.com if you are interested. Right now the game is only available on Android via Google Play, but that may change in the future. The app is free with an optional paid upgrade to remove ads.
The idea for the name actually came first and the game was designed around that. The letter scores and distribution are based on Scrabble, and the game is pretty similar to Boggle.
Possible future features:
Support for more platforms (possibly Web and/or Windows)
Since my mobile apps weren’t selling, I decided to make them free and release the source code under an open-source license. The code for Flavordex as well as several other projects are available on GitHub under the terms of the MIT License.
I’ve been pretty busy since the last post here. I finally released Flavordex 2 on Google Play and the Amazon Appstore. I also made the first major update to the app today, adding data synchronization among a few other fixes and improvements.
UltraMega Software is no longer just the name of my website. I registered the name as a fictitious business name, so I guess it’s now more real or something. I also had to get a PO box since Google Play requires a physical address on all store listing pages and I don’t want my home address made so public.
I also reestablished the UltraMega Facebook and Google Plus pages which, along with Twitter, is where I will be posting about app updates and stuff.
A few months ago I wanted to check out Android Studio for developing Android apps. I’ve been using NetBeans with a third-party plugin to make my apps. The best way to learn a new development environment is to start a new project, so I decided to start work on a complete rewrite of Flavordex.
It’s getting close to being ready for release. It just needs some polishing.
Here’s a few of the biggest changes from the original Flavordex:
It’s a single app with categories instead of separate apps for each type of journal
Ability to customize categories as well as creating new categories
Many improvements to the interface, especially for tablets
Here’s a little preview of the app on a tablet.
Android Studio is definitely a huge improvement in the development process. Everything is integrated into the environment and it just works. I’ve also converted my existing projects.
After a long period of almost no sales, I decided to make the Flavordex Android app free. As expected, the number of installs has increased significantly. I do not yet have a plan for how the app will support itself financially. I’ll figure that out if the app becomes popular.
The backend is hosted on my own server, which I use for many purposes. The photos are hosted on Amazon Web Services, so that cost will scale with use. Right now it falls under the free tier limit, so its cost is 0 until that runs out.
I don’t want to put ads into the app, but I might put them on the website if there is enough traffic. Another possibility is to accept donations from the users.
I made another app for Android. It’s called Elementary and it’s a periodic table viewer and element reference application. You can zoom and pan the periodic table, and you can see more details about an element by tapping on its block. The details page also has a link to Wikipedia and a video from Periodic Table of Videos.
I decided to make this app free and open source under the MIT License with source available at GitHub. Here is a screenshot:
Preview of the Periodic Table view
I hope it is found useful by someone. I made this because I am interested in chemistry and I thought it would be a fun challenge to render the periodic table, and it was. I also thought it would be handy to have easy access to Periodic Videos, so you can show people why chemistry is awesome.
Since my previous post, I have released the coffee and wine versions of Flavordex, but more importantly I have updated the app to version 1.1. The most significant change is the ability to post reviews online and share them on various social networks. You can see these reviews at flavordex.com.
I think this feature makes the app far more useful and helps promote the app at the same time.