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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Three new Samples: Triangle, SpriteText and Downloader

I've posted three new open source samples to the apps-for-android project: Triangle, SpriteText and Downloader.

The first two samples, Triangle and SpriteText, show techniques that would be useful to anyone using the OpenGL ES 3D graphics APIs to write Android applications. The samples contain several reusable classes that may eventually be incorporated (in some form) into the SDK. Chief among these is the GLView class, which abstracts the OpenGL ES book-keeping code from the rest of the application. GLView helps handle the extra work OpenGL ES applications have to do when the activity is paused and resumed, and when the display goes to sleep and wakes up. In the Pause/Resume case the OpenGL surface has to be recreated. In the display sleep / wake-up case the entire OpenGL context has to be recreated.


The first sample, Triangle, shows how to use the GLView class and the OpenGL ES 3D library to display a spinning textured triangle. Think of it as the "hello, world" of OpenGL ES apps. Because it's relatively simple, it's a good place to start when experimenting with the OpenGL ES API.


The second sample, SpriteText, shows how to efficiently display screen-aligned text using the GL11Ext.glDrawTexiOES method. SpriteText contains a reusable LabelMaker class for drawing static text and screen-aligned images, as well as a Projector class for finding the 2D screen coordinates corresponding to a 3D point, and a MatrixTrackingGL class for keeping track of the current transformation matrix. Finally, it shows how to use these classes to display a milliseconds per frame counter. A ms/f counter can be helpful for tuning graphics performance.


The third sample, Downloader, shows how to add a downloader activity to your application. The downloader activity runs at the beginning of your application and makes sure that a set of files have been downloaded from a web server to the phone's SD card. Downloader is useful for applications that need more local data than can fit into an .apk file. For example a game could use Downloader to download the game's artwork, sound effects, and level data. The Downloader activity is designed to be a drop-in addition to your application. You customize it by supplying the URL of an XML configuration file which lists the data files that need to be downloaded.


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