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ASCII Art Generator Beta Test - Jake - Jan 24, 2011 05:52 PM

Wow, been a while since I've visited the forums! Glad to see the progress on the site.

Last night I decided I wanted to re-program an old ASCII art app I made in METAL Basic about 7 years ago, and make it ready for the mac app store. Two long coding sessions later I have a beta, and I'd love some feedback if anyone has any. Here is the page

http://nuclearnova.com/asciiart.php

I can provide serial numbers for a day or two if anyone is interested. I'd like to hammer out any remaining bugs and make a few minor improvements, then announce version 1.0 and submit a build to the Mac app store.

I think one thing I need to do first is make the preview window auto-resize to the size of the finished text.


RE: ASCII Art Generator Beta Test - skyhawk - Jan 24, 2011 08:32 PM

my suggestions:
1) the image well should allow me to drag an image onto it
2) I shouldn't have to click the preview button to see the outcome. I mean, it's pretty freaking fast generating. just make it live.
3) Register is not a main feature of your program and should not be a button smack dab in the middle of everything
4) remove unneeded menu items
5) is there reason for the 512 max width restriction? seems unnecessary to place a restriction like that


RE: ASCII Art Generator Beta Test - Jake - Jan 24, 2011 09:07 PM

(Jan 24, 2011 08:32 PM)skyhawk Wrote:  my suggestions:
1) the image well should allow me to drag an image onto it
2) I shouldn't have to click the preview button to see the outcome. I mean, it's pretty freaking fast generating. just make it live.
3) Register is not a main feature of your program and should not be a button smack dab in the middle of everything
4) remove unneeded menu items
5) is there reason for the 512 max width restriction? seems unnecessary to place a restriction like that

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll get to them these next few days

1. Definitely
2. I'll consider this. It's fast for some things, but try a 300+ color preview and it takes a few seconds. I'll probably add that and multithreading for 1.1
3. It is if you're trying to get people to buy it Wink. Button disappears after entering a serial
4. Good Call
5. Probably not, that would be a pretty big output file!


RE: ASCII Art Generator Beta Test - skyhawk - Jan 24, 2011 09:12 PM

2) multithreading would be baller, as I have 8 processors, and lots of ram... let me CRUNCH YOUR FACE!
6) if something takes a long time to calculate, at the very least show a progress bar (totally tried 512 and colors).
7) preview box should be scrollable


RE: ASCII Art Generator Beta Test - Jake - Jan 24, 2011 09:28 PM

(Jan 24, 2011 09:12 PM)skyhawk Wrote:  2) multithreading would be baller, as I have 8 processors, and lots of ram... let me CRUNCH YOUR FACE!
6) if something takes a long time to calculate, at the very least show a progress bar (totally tried 512 and colors).
7) preview box should be scrollable

1. Done, and you can drag images into the doc icon
2. Definitely, though I'm surprised how I get near 100% CPU usage on my quad core iMac.
4. Done
6. Definitely, adding at least one extra thread will make the UI respond while calculating
7. Yeah, I feel like some users may miss the resize corner, though in the current version I just uploaded it should auto-resize the window


RE: ASCII Art Generator Beta Test - skyhawk - Jan 24, 2011 09:34 PM

7) my image is WAY larger than the size of my gargantuan monitor >_>
Maybe allow smaller font size?


RE: ASCII Art Generator Beta Test - Carlos Camacho - Jan 25, 2011 05:31 PM

Crashed on me.. Am I so horrible looking? Ah I see, your program does ASCII and not Shift_JIS. Just kidding.

* Allow for multiple pictures to be loaded for ASCII animation
* Allow for color palettes to be loaded. For example maybe I just want hues of red
* Since SkyHawk has 128 cores on his machine, can you make a plugin so we can do realtime video to ASCII conversation via iChat? Smile
* Might use some CoreImage filters in this. Like some kind of polarization just before turning into ASCII
* Once it makes an image, you should be able to save the 'settings' you selected used in a kind of scratchpad. So you can go back and view different settings. For example, I might want to try 'xo' in one try or 'c' in another
* I'd like to see the interface of the app have 3 versions. Apple guidelines as now, Kid interface and Retro 80s. With Retro 80's, when displaying the output, have it print from a dot-matrix printer. Cool
* Have a selection tool so that certain areas can be outputted (so I don't have to crop images)
* Some kind of auto uploader to various social sites?
* Have some presets for output that looks like it was displayed on C64, Apple 2E, CoCo, Amiga, etc

cheers


RE: ASCII Art Generator Beta Test - PowerMacX - Jan 25, 2011 06:11 PM

(Jan 25, 2011 05:31 PM)Carlos Camacho Wrote:  * Since SkyHawk has 128 cores on his machine, can you make a plugin so we can do realtime video to ASCII conversation via iChat? Smile
* Might use some CoreImage filters in this. Like some kind of polarization just before turning into ASCII

Actually, there is already a realtime ascii filter for iChat hidden in Leopard:
http://osxdaily.com/2009/12/07/add-24-hidden-visual-effects-to-ichat-and-photo-booth/

And it works in realtime even on my old 1.83Ghz Core Duo MacBook (GMA 950). VLC can do it in realtime too.

So yes, it may be a good idea to take a look at leveraging Core Image because to be honest, I tried this image:
[Image: zoou.th.jpg]

I set it to color, 512 width and... it brought my machine to a halt:
[Image: screenshot20110125at953.th.png]

Little CPU usage... after it started swapping (over 1GB of RAM before I force quitted it).
Blink


RE: ASCII Art Generator Beta Test - Jake - Jan 26, 2011 11:14 AM

Skyhawk, good simple idea. You can select all and change it yourself with command-t once it's previewed, but good option in the main menu.

Carlos, it does have facial identification features and exits when appropriate Wink. All good suggestions though, I have a too do list going with everything here, and if it sells more than a few copies when it hits the mac app store I'll keep adding them. CoreImage seems like the way to go I guess.

PowerMacX, great link, I just wasted about 15 minutes playing with the hidden photo booth features. I hope apple un-hides them sometime, probably saving them for lion now or something. I ran that image on my new iMac and it took a little while but didn't crash. I probably (definitely) need to do some more optimization, or at least show a status bar and prevent it from crashing.

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll start throwing these fixes/features in later this week