Photo Cube Link

Photo Cube Link
Photo Cube Version 3.2 now available!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Photokube 1.9 released!

1.9 is live on the Market!

New features:

Horizontal Positioning
Finer control of Positioning, Size, Rotation Speed and Tilt/Wobble. New range is 0-100.
2.5 times the size of background images, much higher quality.
New quick Size and Position screen, launched from double tapping the Wallpaper.
Quick links to this site and to email Dusk Jockeys.

What's next? Well, a holiday back to England for a week, so not much. After that, here are the next set of planned improvements. The aim is to make this Wallpaper as easy to use as possible.
  • Presets: Save your entire current settings as a preset, so you can have quick access to multiple looks. Maybe even make some default layouts, if the image licensing can be sorted out.
  • More Quick Settings: Want to add Rotation, Special Effect, Frame Style, Floating Panel count to the double tap settings overlay screen. Wouldn't it be nice to click on the Vintage button and see the cube immediately change colour?
  • Shake/Bounce effect. Thanks to David for this idea, if you shake the phone it would be nice if the cube bounced around the screen before coming back to rest in your selected position.
  • Movement: As an alternative to the above, actually have it auomatically bounce around the edges of the screen.
  • Gallery mode: Choose an album folder on your sd card, and the cube will display random photos from that album each time it is visible. Potential issues with cropping, but would be ideal for first time users.
  • Mini-game: Click on the panels to hide them, if you click them all within a certain length of time, the cube rewards you with a little dance or super spin, bounce or something.
Anyway, hope you like the new version. As always, email for comments, questions or help.

Version 1.9 ready

Few more tweaks for the quick positioning screen, ready for release tonight.

First off, the Settings app now promotes the new Size and Position feature, I will use this green text area to show all the new features from now on:

Then the Size and Position screen can only be launched from double tapping the wallpaper, not from the recent task list. It now has a more streamlined look:

 As soon as you start dragging the cube, the info panels disappear so you can see the whole screen and the draggable boundaries appear in red. Stop dragging, and the info panels come back.

Start dragging the edges to resize, and once again the info panels are temporarily hidden, so you can more clearly see what you are doing as you resize the cube. Stop dragging, back they come.

Off to the Market with you!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cube positioning complete(Redux)

Well, I spoke too soon... not quite complete because I realise just a bit more work and I could put resizing in there as well.

So now you double click on the wallpaper to see the overlay, which just shows an appropriately sized green square. Tap inside the square to move the cube around, and the horizontal and vertical indicators appear to help guide you:

And you can resize the cube directly by dragging on the edges of the square.

Works very nicely indeed. All that remains is to make this quick settings screen look nice when in Landscape mode, and also to account for the slight offset in the cube position when not on the centre home screen, I need to line up the square and guidelines correctly.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cube positioning complete!

So, the last idea was the best. Activate the transparent Positioning screen on double tapping the wallpaper itself. Then you are guaranteed to always have the wallpaper in the background, so you can see the widgets.

Also added some guideline crosshairs, so you can see exactly where you are putting it, which helps when the cube is rotating; it is not always easy to see where the centre is. (Also, when you double tap from the Live Wallpaper picker, the cube is shown in the background but no longer updating, I unfortunately have no control over that. So at least the guidelines can help you work in that unusual situation. Ideally I would disable the double tap enitrely in that situation.)

So here it is:

I will still leave the existing settings in there for fine tuning, but maybe put a note in the Settings screen of how to access the Positioning. Bit more testing, and then to the Market for version 1.9!

However (and as usual!) doing this has given me another idea. If I double tap to enable quick positioning, why not double tap to launch a generic Quick Settings screen, with not just Positioning, but access to Effects, Frames, Size etc from different tabs overlaid on the transparent window.

So you could see your cube spinning, hit the different Effect from thumbnails say down the side or along the bottom, and see the cube change immediately. That is probably for a later version though, a bit more work, but definitely do-able.

Update: Added new borders to show the valid draggable area for the cube as below. Just one more bug to fix, then ready.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

More work on cube positioning..

Well I got it working, but there are issues.

So here we have a screenshot of the Positioning screen, which is launched from a regular Setting button in the Photokube Settings app.

When this is clicked, I close the main Settings app, and bring up this special transparent window with overlays for Title and the Checkbox at the bottom. That shows through the actual homescreen, with the existing cube wallpaper. 

Then any clicks or drags on this screen are translated appropriately and passed through to the Settings as if the user had manually made changes to the horizontal and vertical settings themselves, and the wallpaper cube in the background immediately responds.

Works a treat, as if you are dragging the cube yourself, and you can accurately position the cube to fit around or next to other widgets on the screen.

However..  whatever you happen to be looking at when you launch the Settings app will be what you see behind the transparent Positioning window. If you launch it from the homescreen, then great, you see the wallpaper, and the cube. If you launch it from anywhere else, e.g. the app tray, then you see what that as the background instead, which is not that useful.

So I ideally I need to somehow replicate what the Live Wallpaper picker does, and get an image of the real homescreen onto which I can then overlay my own cube. That is better because it shows the actual other widgets on the screen.

Failing that, I guess re-create the Photocube background and show the spinning cube in its entirety within my positioning window. Still will work ok for control, but the user wont be able to see the rest of the homescreen widgets, so will be more trial and error if they are trying to position the cube in relation to a widget, e.g. in the top right corner.

Another idea would be to launch the positioning window directly from the homescreen, via a double click or something. Then I would know it would always be visible through the transparent window... Hmmmm. That sounds like the best approach maybe..

Friday, June 24, 2011

New features completed...

Thats right folks, done the increased sensitivity on the Vertical Position, Cube Size, Rotation Speed and Tilt, they now go from 0-100 as opposed to 0-10.

Also added the Horizontal Position, and a Slide with Background checkbox which disables it when checked.

Finally added the higher quality backgrounds, which looks very nice on the phone. The background images now are almost 2.25 times bigger. See below, click for larger image.

So just about ready to release a new version. But I had a crazy idea about how to improve the positioning, and even size.. wouldn't it be cool if you could see the home screen in the background as you were playing with the settings? Some sort of translucent screen? Or better yet a button which showed your actual home screen and allowed you to place the cube exactly where you wanted, and maybe even resize using pinch to zoom*. Anyway, we will see how that goes the next few days, and if it is not trivial will add it to the next major release.

* Why is pinch to zoom so called? Because you actually pinch to zoom out, not zoom in. Guess there is no obvious name for the opposite action to pinch..

Sunday, June 19, 2011

New features coming..

Will be starting work shortly on some requested features.

First off want to change the granularity of the settings, everything that currently has a range of 0-10 will be changed to 0-100. Naturally any existing settings will be converted proportionally; if you setting was originall 4, it will become 40. That will give users more fine control of sizing, positioning, rotation speed etc.

Next will add feature to position the cube horizontally as well as vertically. Of course, this will interfere with the current horizontal position based on swiping the home screen right and left, so this will have to be an optional setting. Either the position is set manually, or is determined by the current home screen position. This has been requested by some people with tablets, so giving them the extra precision in sizing and positioning should really make the look cube good on a larger screen. For example, it could be shown constantly spinning in the top left corner.

Finally, larger hence better quality background images. Warning, technical info follows... This currently done by OpenGL texture mapping. Under OpenGL ES, all textures have to be powers of 2 in size, so must be 256, 512, 1024, 2048 etc on a side. So currently there is a single 1024*1024 square bitmap that holds all the images, the top 1024*512 holds each 256*256 image for the 6 cube sides (yes with a bit left over!), and the bottom 1024*512 holds the background image. As the aspect ratio for the background is 4:3, this means the maximum background image size that can fit into the bitmap is 683*512. That is just about ok on high res phone screens, but will start to look a bit average on larger screens like tablets when scaled up to the full screen size, particularly in landscape. So the plan is to have an entirely seperate texture for the background, a 1024*1024 block, which will be able to hold a 1024*768 background image, should look a lot better. Just need to check I can allocate the extra memory, and also neatly handle any existing lower res backgrounds. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Photokube 1.8 released!

Whats new in this one? The new icon for a start, and new promotional graphics:

And to justify a new version, two cool new special effects, Invert Hue and Invert Colour:

Invert Colour gives the classic photographic negative look, whilst Invert Hue swaps the colours round without swapping the brightness or contrast. Gives a cooler temperature look to the photos..

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Photokube Icon

Noticed that I get a lot more sales when Photokube is listed on the front page of, so am pretty sure that people like it if they actually see it. So going to do a bit of a marketing push.

First thing, need to update the icon. The existing cube with Android logos in different colours is cute, and very Androidy, but doesn't actually indicate what the purpose of the Wallpaper, namely to show your own photos. So the new logo shows some typical usage, a picture of a person, a flower and a balloon to indicate people, nature and landscapes. Hopefully if people see this when scrolling through the market they will be more likely to stop and have a look.

Click for a larger image, the 1st is 512x512 in size for promotional purposes, the others are internal sizes used on the phone itself, corresponding to the various screen sizes out there.

Let me know what you think..

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Better Screenshots

Solved the issue of the dodgy OpenGL screen shots. Wrote some code for a special Screenshot mode, when enabled that freezes all movement of cube and panels, so that I can manually rotate the cube to where I want it to be. Tapping the screen randomly positions the floating panels.

That gives a static image that can be captured nicely, voila!

This one is at the native resolution, click for bigger:

Now all I have to do is learn about HTML, so I can do some really simple stuff on this blog like showing the above images side by side...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Floating Panels

Floating panels now in Photokube!

From 0-10 panels that show one of the pictures from the sides of the cube, appearing in a random position with random rotation, size and direction.

If you tap on a panel, it spirals into the screen and disappears, only to be regenerated off screen and appear again. Playing around with it gives me another idea for some sort of mini game within the wallpaper, see if you can make them all disappear within a certain time limit. 

But what would be the reward? Hmmm.

The panels look a bit jagged in the screenshot, there is no easy way to smoothly capture a moving OpenGL image from the phone, particularly when it is rotating. It appears as smooth as silk on the actual device, of course.

Bit of testing, then should update on to the market in the next day or so.
If it proves popular I might add mini cubes instead of panels.

First Post!

Here is a promo image of Photokube Live Wallpaper, in all its spinny rotatey glory. Sample images courtesy of photostock.

And here it is in action:

Currently working on my next wallpaper, but will be adding a new feature to Photokube later tonight. Hopefully the update will hit the Market tonight or tomorrow.