Category Archives: Coding and Development

Disallow debug logging in Android release build

Android_Robot_200So I’ve been doing a lot of Android development over the past several months, and came across the question of how to provide debug logging for a debug build of the library/app I’m working on, but to not let those debug logs flow through to the release build.

At first I mistakenly assumed that, hey, it’s a release build, so surely Log.d and Log.v calls won’t show up?  Wrong.  Android release builds don’t care about debug level, they’ll show whatever logging, at whatever logging level you tell it to.

So at first I sat and thought how I could fix the problem.  I came up with a few options:

  1. I could do what the Android Developer guide suggests one does, and comment out all my debug log lines before building a release build.  Ya, right, uh, no.
  2. I could wrap all the debug log lines with if(BuildConfig.DEBUG) { … }, but that felt unnecessarily painful to have to do.
  3. I could create my own Log class, with its own logic on when to actually log (such as a point 2 above, at the very least), and then just call the android.util.Log methods, but that kind of felt like overkill, as surely the expectation to have intelligent logging on Android is not that wrap the existing logging with your own…
  4. I could switch to old familiar Log4J (or Android equivalent); but yuck, that’s _really_ overkill just to get some logging on for an Android library.
  5. I could write some preprocessor and inject it into the gradle build process, that would go and strip out all the debug log calls to Log.v and Log.d, but, well, that felt like something somebody else would have done already (The world being full of lots of clever people and all…)

I then took to Google, and of course came upon several StackOverflow (Good ol’ SO) questions on the problem, and some good solutions.  It took a bit of reading, and finding more questions and answers before I found the exact solution that worked for me.  With one slight small caveat, which I’ll mention later.  Read on to hear about what I ended up using as a solution.

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Using Microsoft Visual Studio Code as the external code editor in Unity

Yesterday during the Build 2015 developer conference, Microsoft announced and released their new editor called Visual Studio Code (or just “Code” for short).  Code is free, runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OSX.  I immediately wondered if it would be a good alternative to MonoDevelop as a code editor for use in Unity.  After a bit of fiddling, I managed to get it all working quite nicely, with proper code completion etc.  There are some caveats though, it does not work perfectly, but the caveats are easily worked around.

Here are the steps I followed on my Mac:

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My Android development learnings so far

So I’ve been doing a lot of online courses on Javascript (and JS frameworks like Bootstrap and AngularJS), as well as a bunch of courses on Android Development.  Both from Learnable.com and Udemy.com.  I received a 1 year access to Learnable.com via New Relic in return for adding their management agent to my hosting server, and there are several freely available Android courses at Udemy, and I bought a couple when they were $10 each during the new year sale on Udemy.  The nice thing about both Udemy and Learnable, is that you receive a completion certificate once you complete a course.  I’m gathering all my certificates on my Learnings page.

I must say that Android development does seem rather straight forward, or, at least, what I’ve seen so far.  I’ve done many beginner courses, and busy going through a couple of the more intermediate and advanced courses, including a Lollipop dev course, and the way of coding is nice and concise, not a lot of guesswork involved.  I’m even using Android Studio instead of the Eclipse ADT, but still getting used to the differences.

My next step is to code up a few native applications and get them onto the Google Play Store.  Strangely enough, my biggest stumbling block so far has been to figure out under what name I want to release the apps.  Hehe.  Choosing a name is an important step!

And no, all of this learning I’m doing has nothing to do with my work-life, there is no reason I need to know these technologies for work, this is purely for self-enrichment.  I love coding, and there is not a lot of opportunity where I am at the moment, to learn or implement new things like this, so I have to keep up with it in my own time.

Adventures in Unity: How to change the default New Unity Project path in Windows

UPDATE: This was for Unity 4.x, and no longer applies to Unity 5.x

I just re-installed my computer, and installed Unity again, aaah, a clean slate. Upon starting Unity up, I realised that it had the rather daft default New Unity Project path set to something silly like C:\Users\aubrey\Documents\New Unity Project\ – but I gather all my Unity projects in my C:\Development\ folder, so I wanted to change that default path.

A quick Google search found only questions, and no answers, on the Unity forums, as well as StackExchange etc. So I went a digging.

Luckily, it did not take me long to find exactly what I was looking for, which was a single registry entry that needed to be changed.

So here it is:

In there, you will see a String with a name starting with kProjectBasePath.

At least, that’s what it is on my computer. I merely searched for “kProjectBasePath” in the registry, and the above came up. It’s a simple registry string, so once you find it, double click it and you can edit it to whatever you want.

If you store your Unity Projects in a folder under your Documents folder like I used to, then the following value will do perfectly:

Just make sure you’ve created this folder first.

Happy Unity’ing.

Disclaimer:
I do this for the fun of it, and ask nothing in return. If you care to donate to see more, please visit my TipJar page.

Adventures in Unity: Making an object move one step at a time – Tetris-style

I hit a small mental block with Project X (codename for my RealGame™ that I am trying to build in Unity), so decided to try to do something a bit simpler first, and see how that goes, purely as a learning experience, getting used to Unity and its quirks.  I decided to make a Tetris clone.

At first I thought “Hey, Unity has a physics engine, Tetris blocks drop down, I can use the physics engine!” – but alas, no, that’s not the greatest idea, as you essentially need to switch off everything about the physics engine, except for gravity really, to make it work.   Too much work, and too much randomness that could creep in.   Especially if you’re using the 3D engine but presenting it in 2D, as I had intended initially.  I figured the final game could present the blocks in 3D as they drop down, maybe move the camera around a bit depending on which side of game grid the object is, etc.  So I am sticking to 3D for now.

Ah, but the reason you’re here, you want to make an object move on “step” at a time, like a tetris block moves, over time.  I just created a script for that, see it at my GitHub repo: StepObject.cs

Here’s how it works:

Here is just the beginning of the script, we make our four public variables available and initialise a couple of private variables.  Our Start() method merely checks that we have the required variables to be able start moving at startup, if so required, so if we have SecondsPerStep and a MoveDirection is set, we make the Moving private variable equal to whatever you chose in the Inspector for the StartMoving tickbox.

Here is the meat of the script, quite small actually, not very meaty at all.  In every Update, we increase the value of the Timer variable by Time.deltaTime.  We use the Timer variable to count how much time has passed since the last time the object moved.

Et voila.  Done.  Very simple actually.  To use this in a Tetris-like game, you would adjust the SecondsPerStep variable over time as the difficulty increases, lowering that value for each level gained.  You would probably start with a number of 2 seconds per step at level one.  If you create your game grid to be one unit per square, then your MoveDirection Vector would be equal to (0,-1,0).

Please give me feedback if you use this script, and let me know how things go.

Here’s the full script code: