CategoryDevelopment – Easy

The AndEngine PhysicsEditor Extension

[Update] Now supports circle sprites. Also, Andreas Löw, the creator of PhysicsEditor will link to it with the next update of the editor. [/Update]

If you ever created a physics game, for example with my favorite game engine, AndEngine, and wanted to produce a polygonal body, you probably did something that sucked big time. Something like defining your vertices in code. This is

  1. Dirty
  2. Really painful
This is why we looked around and found the PhysicsEditor, a simple to use tool to create an output that describes physic definitions. While iOS integration seemed to work both from the editor into the code, it only provided an AndEngine Exporter-format, but no tool to integrate it back into the engine.
Until today.

 

Capabilities

Here is what it’s capable of:
  • Definitions of (multiple) bodies
  • Definitions of (multiple) fixtures
  • Definitions of polygon shapes
  • Definitions of circle shapes
  • Definition of density, friction and elasticity
  • Definition of dynamic and non-dynamic bodies
  • Definition of sensor and non-sensor fixtures
  • Collision filtering
  • Automatic setting of a body’s user data

 

How to use it

For this part I assume you already know the very basics of AndEngine development. Let’s start from the beginning.

First, download the PhysicsEditor. Open it and import your sprite of choice. I chose the star from the examples project:

Now, draw your physical representation. You might want to use the Shape tracer for that (the wand icon):Now make your settings on the right

and push ‘publish as’. Save your XML somewhere.

Next, it’s time to get the source. Clone the repository using something like git clone git://github.com/ANDLABS-Git/AndEngine-PhysicsEditor-Extension.git. Import the source. Now, make sure you also have the AndEngine and the AndEnginePhysicsBox2DExtension in your workspace. You may have to update this dependencies.

A good match: PhysicsEditor Extension, Box2D Extension, AndEngine and PhysicsEditor Examples

A good match: PhysicsEditor Extension, Box2D Extension, AndEngine and PhysicsEditor Examples

Now in your project, create a new PhysicsEditorLoader-object using the default constructor:
final PhysicsEditorLoader loader = new PhysicsEditorLoader();
Use it to load whatever you want:

try {
loader.load(this, mPhysicsWorld, "xml/", "star.xml", star, true, true);
} catch (IOException e) {
//...
}

The parameters provided are a Context, the PhysicsWorld you want to attach your body to, the base path, the path to your specific definition, the IAreaShape (for example a Sprite) you want your definition to be connected to, whether you want your object’s position to be updated and whether you want your object’s rotation to be updated. And that’s it.

There are some other use cases covered like drawing lines for debugging or loading multiple definitions, but that’s not more than about five keystrokes of additional work. You can take a look at the examples to see what I mean (in case you are curious).
It is possible to use the PhysicsEditor as a tool for level creation. In fact, it enables you to actually ‘draw’ your levels in your graphics tool of choice. Please keep in mind though that the maximum size of an IAreaShape in AndEngine is 2048 pixels, so you may want to use multiple sprites to achieve big levels. Also, memory is low on mobile devices, depending which device your are targeting, you maybe want to think about using a different method than this.

 

A ball jumping on a polygonal physical representation

A ball jumping on a polygonal physical representation

Please keep in mind that this is a very early release that may still contain some bugs and needs some refactoring. Please feel free to leave any issue you discover in the project’s issue tracker.

So far, we have tested the four sample projects on the following devices:

  • Samsung Galaxy Y (2.3.6)
  • Nexus One (2.3.6)
  • Galaxy Nexus (4.0.4)

The new madvertise Android-SDK

Three days ago, madvertise, one of my favourite ad networks, updated its Android SDK in a major update to 2.0. So what changed and what’s new? Here is an overview over the major changes.

First of all, get the new SDK here.

How to make it work again: Renamed classes

When updating the new SDK, there are some minor changes a developer has to consider.

In order to make the naming of the SDK for iOS and Android equal, the names of the classes have been changed. Every class that started with ‘Mad‘ before now starts with ‘Madvertise’. So the MadViewCallbackListener is now called MadvertiseViewCallbackListener and the MadView is now called MadvertiseView. Accordingly, the method to set the MadvertiseViewCallbackListener is now called setMadvertiseViewCallbackListener(), not setMadViewCallbackListener().

The MadvertiseViewCallbackListener now has two more callback methods:

public void onError(Exception exception)

which will be called when an exception in the SDK occurs and

public void onIllegalHttpStatusCode(int statusCode, String message)

which will be called when the madvertise-Server returns something different than a HTTP status code 200. The code you will probably see the most is a 204, which means that the device requesting an ad is not yet known to the madvertise-Server.

Also, the banner-type ‘iab’ has been renamed to ‘medium_rectangle’. However, at the moment ‘iab’ still works.
When you included all these changes, everything should work fine again.

New functionality

The update of the SDK adressed some bugs many of you experienced. Here is an excerpt:

  • Requests are now interrupted when a MadvertiseView is destroyed.
  • No reloading of ads when a phone is turned, keyboard is being opened, and so on, anymore.
  • Banners are scaled correctly now.
  • Before, when the request interval was set to <60, it was adjusted to 30 automatically.
  • The width of a MadvertiseView was sometimes not calculated correctly

There are also some improvements where you have to do nothing to activate them:

  • Animated banners: Ads provided as animated GIFs are now played when the device is capable of doing so.
  • Banners are shown automatically now, so you don’t need a MadvertiseViewCallbackListener to make your ads visible anymore.
  • Ads now don’t acquire space in the layout before they are shown.
  • Multiple ads: You can now display more than one ad on a screen, for example one fixed on top and one in a list. However, the total number of ads on a screen should not exceed four.

And there are some new features you should think of when integrating the new SDK:

  • New banner formats – you can now display the following banner types:
    • mma (320×53)
    • medium_rectangle (320×200)
    • leaderboard (728×90)
    • fullcreen (768×768)
    • portrait (766×66)
    • landscape (1024×66)
  • Multiple banner formats – you can now request multiple banner formats in your XML-declaration of a MadvertiseView like this:
           <de.madvertise.android.sdk.MadvertiseView
             android:id="@+id/madad"
             android:layout_width="match_parent"
             android:layout_height="wrap_content"
             mad:isTestMode="false"
             mad:backgroundColor2="#000000"
             mad:textColor="#FFFFFF"
             mad:bannerType="mma,portrait,landscape,leaderboard"
             mad:deliverOnlyText="false"
             />

The list is sorted by priority. So in the above example, when there is no mma-banner available, a portrait-banner will be shown, when there is no portrait-banner, a landscape-banner will be shown, and so on.

  • Animations: Ads can now be animated when they are received. To add an animation, add <attr name="animation" format="string" /> to your attrs.xml file. Now you can set animations in your XML-layout using mad:animation. You can choose between fade (default), left_to_right and top_down.
  • New request parameters: You can set the gender and age of your users by calling MadvertiseView.setGender() or MadvertiseView.setAge(). As these methods are static, it is recommended to call them before your layout is inflated.

 Conclusion

The new madvertise SDK comes with some nice new features and bug fixes. The new formats are suitable for tablets and phones with large screens like the Galaxy Nexus. I’m curious whether the animation banners and animation of new banners will lead to more clicks.

 

Please feel free to leave your thoughts and questions on the new update in the comments below.

How to combine Madvertise with another ad network

A lot of people asked me how I implement the switch of Madvertise to another ad network. Here is how I do it:

I’m doing this example using an AdMob and an Madvertise view. Of course you can use any other similar networks like Adwhirl or Mobclix as well but I’m assuming you are familiar with including the two SDKs you are using.

At first we need a layout resource, here it is:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<FrameLayout
  xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
  xmlns:ads="http://schemas.android.com/apk/lib/com.google.ads"
  xmlns:mad="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/com.andlabs.gi"
  android:layout_width="fill_parent"
  android:layout_height="fill_parent"
  > 
          <com.google.ads.AdView
            android:id="@+id/admad"
            android:layout_width="match_parent"
            android:layout_height="wrap_content"
            ads:adUnitId="y0ur4dun1t1dh3r3"
            ads:adSize="BANNER"
            ads:loadAdOnCreate="true"
            />
         <de.madvertise.dev.android.MadView
             android:id="@+id/madad"
             android:layout_width="match_parent"
             android:layout_height="Wrap_content"
             mad:isTestMode="false"
             mad:backgroundColor2="#000000"
             mad:textColor="#FFFFFF"
             mad:bannerType="mma"
             mad:deliverOnlyText="false"
             android:visibility="gone"     
             />                
</FrameLayout>

Pretty basic. A Madvertise and an AdMob view. Next step: Get them in your Activity:

 private MadView mMadView;
 private AdView mAdmView;
 @Override
     public void onCreate(Bundle bundle) {
          super.onCreate(bundle);
          /* ... */
          mAdmView = (AdView)findViewById(R.id.admad);
          mMadView = (MadView)findViewById(R.id.madad);
     }


That’s easy too. Next, register an MadViewCallbackListener and switch the views the way you need it. As you have seen the MadView is invisible at the beginning. I assume that Madvertise always brings in more money, so when I receive an ad by them, I set the AdMob view to invisible and the MadView to visible. That’s essentially it:

 mMadView.setMadViewCallbackListener(new MadViewCallbackListener() {
     @Override public void onLoaded(boolean success, MadView arg1) {
          if (success) {
               if(D) {
                    Log.d(this.getClass().getSimpleName(), "MadAd Received");
               }  
               if (mAdmView.getVisibility() == View.VISIBLE) {
                    mAdmView.setVisibility(View.GONE);
               }
               mMadView.setVisibility(View.VISIBLE);
          } else {
               if(D) {
                    Log.d(this.getClass().getSimpleName(), "No MadAd Received");
               }
               mMadView.setVisibility(View.GONE);
          }
     }
 });

Not a big deal. And that’s all. Now you have your own little meta ad network.

 

Please feel free to leave your experiences, questions or suggestions in the comments.

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