Alpha Centauri 2

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri & Alien Crossfire => Modding => Topic started by: Maximus Thalos on June 01, 2019, 09:12:41 PM

Title: Project Tablet Centauri
Post by: Maximus Thalos on June 01, 2019, 09:12:41 PM
(https://i.imgur.com/QqwOuhd.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/MmcHMXr.jpg)

I would like to introduce Tablet Centauri.
A stock-a-like additional interface for mobility and ease of access.



   This 'mod' started out as a means to make AC portable and easy to use on tablet devices that have touchscreen functionality. I have quickly realized the potential of an onscreen button HUD that makes quick and convenient actions. This is an incredible benefit to anyone who may not be able to use a keyboard in a efficient manner, or at all.

Mission Statement:      
-Create virtual keyboards for ease of use on Windows based devices and desktops.
-Use in game resources to create a stock-a-like look for virtual keyboards.
-Utilize any blank black bar space in AC with higher resolutions.

Requirements:
-Windows 10 or Windows based devices
-Hot Virtual Keyboard third party software
https://hot-virtual-keyboard.com/

Disclaimers:
   These keyboards and point releases are as is. I'm doing the best I can with what I have. I'm not here to make custom keyboards for everyone. 2 jobs and 3 days a week maybe of free time combined with the attention span of a squirrel; efficiency does not make.
I will help you learn the software and try to help you create the keyboard you want. I will answer as many questions as I can but the point releases are as functional as I can get them at the moment. Everything Is new to me as well and this endeavor was started a mere few weeks ago.
   As far as the graphics go I will lend a hand in that. It was a pain getting Photoshop, Windows, and HVK to cooperate with each other. Eventually I will release some graphic sets to aid in making your own backgrounds, as they were the longest and most troubling part of this project.

Software Notice:
   Hot Virtual Keyboard is not free. It is a free trial (Shareware) that eventually expires. However, after it expires you will loose 0 functionality and only be subjected to automatic close after a eventual degrading time limit. After the software expired it stated I had 230 minutes till close. After a few days it shrank to 220,210,200 and so on. Unknown what happens when you reach the end. Retail was $30? but I believe the constant sale that is going on it will continue. Should be able to pick it up for $19.47. Wouldn't pay more that this. Of course cheaper is nice but I'm invested in this project and bought at least one copy for my tablet.

Alpha Centauri Installation:
   I have GOG's version and not that much modification beyond that besides a custom faction. If somehow this Key Mod gives you trouble in that regard, I'm sorry. Alpha Centauri looks decent in very few resolutions on a tablet. After testing all the resolutions I can cycle through, I've found 1440x900 and 1280x768 have the best 'fit' for the lower interface. Higher resolutions make it impossible to read in-game text. Lower resolutions significantly decrease the available 'dead-zone' space available for keys without overlapping any element of the game.

Tablet:
   I have a Nuvision Tm800w610L 8in tablet. Small, under-powered, crappy, cheap little Chinese mass-produced touchscreen. Its what I got and for AC, its all I need. Most windows based tablets are capable of the same resolutions regardless of make and model.

A few things to do before installation of the mod or starting AC.

Resolution:
   Tablet should be set to whatever the set requires first thing.
   CUSTOM SCALING DOES EFFECT AC AND HVK SIZING
   For the sake of development I have to turn off my scaling from 125 to 100 while testing.


The Taskbar:
   Alas, the position of the taskbar at the bottom of windows gave my endless trouble. HVK doesn't like positioning itself over the taskbar. Even running a full-screen application it will slide itself just above where the taskbar should be. Fixed this by moving the taskbar to the top of the screen. So far I haven't found a workaround for this.

Adjusting specific settings:
   After installing HVK, a few changes in the settings may need to be made depending on your device.
   The small  keyboard icon is most useful if Hidden up on the taskbar.
   
(https://i.imgur.com/syJAEBZ.png)(https://i.imgur.com/C9H04hh.png)(https://i.imgur.com/M3DsMcD.png)

You may have to restart HVK for some scaling changes to take effect.

Mod Installation:
   Pretty simple. HVK is default installed to C:\Program Files\HotVirtualKeyboard. Open the zip and drag all files accept for HVKActions.cka into the keyboards folder. HVKActions.cka needs to be put into the Data Folder. IF YOU BUY HVK then you can load the settings file included. This feature is not available during trial.

Installing Future Mods
   I recommend deleting the previous copy over files  before installing new ones. Make sure to exit HVK first.

THAT BEING SAID LET'S GET STARTED!
Title: Re: Project Tablet Centauri
Post by: Maximus Thalos on June 01, 2019, 09:14:08 PM
Roadmap:   
1. Initial release. (troubleshooting installments)
2. Keyboard key graphics enhancements
3. Graphics set release
4. Virtual Trackpad integration?
5. 1280x768 version
6. Icon\Pictorial key set
7. Desktop large full 1920x1080 Version
Title: Re: Project Tablet Centauri
Post by: Maximus Thalos on June 01, 2019, 09:16:09 PM
1.0 Release Notes
- Offers basic functionality to play with touchscreen alone for the most part.
- Basic graphics set to look stock-a-like.
- 4 Key sets. (General, Combat, Terraforming, Keyboard
- Designed for 1440x900 tablet resolution.
- Desktop Semi-capable (not to intrusive or disruptive to native game play)
Notes / Bugs:
Arrow keys can be used to navigate certain menus.
Can't make the white outline go away on graphics (HVK)
CUSTOM WINDOWS SCALING DOES EFFECT AC AND HVK SIZING
Different default color styles do work under Appearance Theme in Settings.
FOR SOME REASON when you install the mod one of the keys will default to its original setting. Its the C key. Its supposed to say CENTER CHANGE. Mostly affecting the Combat keyboard.

(https://i.imgur.com/1E4tfPg.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/noefnqc.png)
(https://i.imgur.com/1prDoOC.png)
(https://i.imgur.com/Sgkmelk.png)
Title: Re: Project Tablet Centauri
Post by: bvanevery on June 02, 2019, 07:04:19 AM
I don't do tablets, but thought I would mention, how I once upon a time adapted to an "inadequate" mobile device.  I used to always play on a full sized keyboard with a numeric keypad for moving units around.  Well my 2 remaining laptops don't have numeric keypads.  They do have 4 arrow keys.  I use a combination of touchpad click and drag, and more rapid arrow key moving.  The touchpad dragging was quite awkward at first, but over a few years I got used to it.  The arrow keys tend to get used when I'm moving over larger distances and don't have to worry as much about exactly where I'm going.  It affects my play style somewhat, wanting to move on NSEW squares because it's easier, but I am quick enough about click and drag that the arrow keys don't determine my behavior.