Treeki here with some news about patches!

My current project involves getting support for Sprite Sheets into the Horus library that underpins our Windows client and editors. Emmie talked about this a little last month, but I thought you might want to know a bit more!

Sprite Sheets are what we call the latest version of the Fox format, which Farrier/Dewi has designed with input from the rest of the Coders. Of course, we wouldn't have made a change like this without good reasons, and there's quite a few: faster loading (especially in the new web client), smaller downloads, and various updates to prepare for releasing features like lighting effects and double-size art.

The latter introduces a new component to Fox files, which we're currently calling "Aspects". Each Shape can include multiple Aspects - for instance, normal-size and double-size versions of a pillow or table - and Furcadia will automatically pick the correct one. This has required a redesign of the way patches are handled behind-the-scenes, and that's what I've been working on over the past month. I'm quite proud of my efforts so far - even though this new system supports more features, my new code is smaller, cleaner, and faster! Or at least I think it is... I may be a little biased ;)

The Dream Editor and Furcadia client can be moved over to this system fairly easily - I've already got the former up and running with spritesheets! - but the FOX Editor has proven to be a little more difficult, because its editing features use so many parts of Horus that the other tools don't need.

This isn't the only issue: We need to make some changes to the interface to add in support for features like Aspects and the settings used for the lighting system. Gar has been lending a very helpful paw with interface design for these, but all of this stuff needs to be programmed as well.

In order to make this easier, we've decided to rewrite the FOX Editor using the Qt framework. This is a system I've worked with a lot in the past, and it allows us to develop a modern and user-friendly interface with much less work than the older libraries we currently use - which is a boon with our limited resources, and means we can get these updates done faster and create a better end product!

You can see a prototype of what this looks like here! It's still very much a work in progress, and the final version will look much more like the editor we have now - I've only been working on this version for a couple of days - but nevertheless I'm quite excited about it. The difference between developing with Qt and the older framework we were using before is like night and day!

The new FOX Editor in Qt!

I think I've rambled enough now ;) Time to dig my grubby paws back into C++ code!

~ Treeki

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