Friday, January 6, 2017


Hard to believe it has been a month since my last post here!  Somehow I always expect there to be time for catching up on sleep and getting some extra work in on my personal projects when I have time off from work but I don't know if that has ever actually happened.  It certainly didn't over the most recent holiday break but I did still manage to make some really great progress towards the Alpha release.

Over the last month I have nailed down almost all of the content to be included in the Alpha; I decided to expand it just slightly to include a few more secrets and side quests and I am really excited about the current state of it.  I have also been spending a lot of time (much more than I really want to actually) packaging it all up into something that should be easy to install and play.  While it is a breeze for me to play from my IDE (Integrated Development Environment, aka the thing I type in to make the program) getting it to install and run from a couple simple clicks takes a bit more work.

Currently I have a Windows executable (.exe) and installer (.exe) that both seem to work (yay!) as well as a plain zip file with Windows .bat file and *nix shell script.  I also have the start of the Mac OSX .app and possibly something that might install on a Linux desktop.  This week I am planning to finish the Mac and Linux installers if I can so that hopefully next week's post will contain links to the actual goods.

For those who are interested in the nuts and bolts, The Elementalist is written in Java and requires a Java 8 runtime.  The Gradle build tool does a great job of assembling .tar files and .zip files that system admins and those familiar with Java can be relatively comfortable working with but for most folks this packaging really isn't user friendly.
  • Windows users typically expect an executable installer that can be double clicked to start an installation program that will guide them through a program installation with another executable being added to the start menu and possibly the desktop upon completion.
  • Mac OSX users mostly expect a disk image (.dmg) that contains an application (.app) that can either be an installed by double clicking or simply dragged to the Applications folder and launched.
  • Linux desktop users expect to have to compile the binaries themselves after searching out the dependencies on internet forums and tweaking a number of build files for their specific system environments (mostly kidding, sorry *nix folks!).
Making all of those things happen with software from the Java ecosystem that plugs into build tools is unfortunately like assembling a tiny ship in a bottle.  It can be done but you'll probably be old and angry when it's finished (or older and angrier in the case of us already old people).  Anyway, I think I have most of those dogs licked (or however that goes) but I want to get all of the installers tested at least once before I go foisting them onto you good people, so bear with me just a few more days.

We are almost ready to kick this party off!

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