Thursday, July 25, 2013

Reply Machine: Static XML/JSON replies for application testing

Update: Reply Machine is now Echo : A free online service to create custom JSON/XML/HTML/Plain replies for application testing.

As I'm moving forward with small applications for learning purposes, here comes a new web application: Reply Machine.

Reply Machine is a free online service to create static XML, JSON, and raw replies for application testing.
This service can help in a situation like when I need to create a simple reply that does not deserve to setup a local service, or when I want to integrate my application with a colleague who knows nothing about web development.

The idea is simple: 
  • Write the reply you wish to receive
  • Set the reply type (xml, json, raw data)
  • Hit the 'create' button.
The output is a link to use in your application for testing

There are some advanced options as well:
  • Delay: In case you want to delay the time between your request and server reply.
  • Encryption: If you have sensitive data in your reply, you can save the reply as an encrypted text and pass the password each time you request the reply. (the output URL has all you need, just try it)

Try it now

Monday, July 22, 2013

Diamond Reaction: An HTML5 Chain Reaction Game using Crafty JS

I've been away from blogging for a long time. Maybe because I've not been learning code-detailed topics. I've been more like learning the basics in topics I've never tries before (like PHP) and learning some theoretical topics.

Anyways, this time I'm trying a new approach to gain more experience. This was I can gain experience from anything I want to learn. So here is my almost-full game implementation of an HTML5 chain reaction game called: Diamond Reaction.

Play Diamond Reaction now

Let's talk a bit about it:

I wanted to make a game for fun, with the focus on game mechanics. So I started thinking of some ideas that can be fun for a 'mario-lover' like me. Whenever I think of an idea, I search about it and see how frequent I find the same mechanics on the web. Till I arrived at this concept that did not have a big hit before: chain reaction games.

If you look at a game like Angry Birds, you can find the game mechanics are not that hard or new. But the theme is what made it a big hit. I'm doing my game for fun and experience and I'm not a graphic designer, so I started searching for the common simple themes for the popular games these days, especially on Facebook. The most noticed theme was the cartoonish diamonds theme (plus bubbles and animals). So I picked this theme because It will not need much effort to make, plus it actually makes the game more fun to play (you can search for chain reaction games and see how boring their graphics are).

Since the concept of chain reaction game is not that hard to implement, and I already know how to use Crafty JS framework, the game did not take much time to get to the first demo.

I thought about adding a small feature to add more fun and challenge to the game: highscore and leaderoard. but I did not to keep user data on my small server. So I decided to add an optional Facebook login button to login with Facebook credentials so that I can use the Scores API the Facebook has.

These kinds of small games can get boring if I did not find the right balance for the game. Since it was a very small game with no big details, fine-tuning was made easily by playing and -trial-and-error.

Missing features:
- No sound was added, maybe I can add it later.
- I'm not satisfied with the current balancing.
- Add more items and surprises to the game to make it more fun and engaging.

Play Diamond Reaction now