New Sandbox features

I have some many things to write about that it was hard to decide where to start. A lot of new features were added in the past couple of weeks, including scene streaming (the possibility to save/load an entire scene either to a file or to a memory buffer), new reusable components, an improved XML factory and even an entire new interface for the Sandbox.

Contrary to common sense, I will start from the very end. That is, the new user interface for the Sandbox which I just finished a couple of hours ago. If you recall from my previous post, the interface for the Sandbox was, well, a bit ugly to say the least:

Web developers are familiar with the jQuery library. This library provides a set of useful Javascript tools to create state-of-the-art web interfaces. And there’s also jQuery UI (which you can learn more about it here). jQuery UI is built on top of jQuery and comes with an entire collection of ready-to-use widgets and themes. Thanks to jQuery, the Sandbox interface now looks a lot better:

In addition to the new interface I also added several new functionalities. Tacking advantage of the new streaming features, I can now save and load any scene created within the Sandbox. I added new/load/save project modal dialogs to handle this:

The script editor is now making use of the Lua mode for editing, which allows for syntax highlighting. I’m still not sure about the dark theme and the font size is a bit small, but I’ll worry about that later:

An asset loader was also added, listing all available assets. Assets are specified using the Crimild XML schema as defined by the XML Factory. This allows the possibility of creating new assets on the fly without having to restart the Sandbox:

I’m still working on node selection and manipulation. I want to achieve a mechanism that allows the user to select, move, rotate and scale any object in the scene (whether it’s representing geometry, a trigger, a camera or any other type of object) using simple controls. Mainly because we’re all using laptops here with touch pads and I want the the object manipulation to feel as natural as possible.  I’ll probably make a video about this once it’s done.

That’s it for this week. Next week I’ll give a brief introduction to scene streaming support, including some design considerations and usage instructions

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