Fun & Games - Oblique Strategies

Description: - Selectable content from any of the 4 original Eno/Schmidt/Norton Oblique Strategies sets.
- Includes the widely distributed unofficial "HyperStack" version. (as"edition 0").
- Minimal and unobtrusive UI draws focus toward the content.
- Intuitive device-like operation and behavior.
- Easy one-click action.
- Supports multiple instances.
- Complete and automatic recall through restarts.
- Efficient use of screen real estate.
- Uses 0.00% CPU when idle.
- Eye-soothing transitions.
Author: cerberus
Version: 1.0
New in v1.0: 1.0
- "i" button behavior further refined.
- Appearance and functional tweaks for use outside Dashboard.

- Cyclical flip for all transitions.
- New animation.
- Shadow for scrolling text (see 0.8b).

- "i" button less persistent.
- Graphic tweaks.
- Stable release candidate for"simple melt effect" version.

- Shadowed text is way easier to target.
- Full support for multiple instances...
- Click on "done" button selects new strategy.
Uploaded on: July 8th 2005 at 12:04 AM
Rating: (3.83 stars)   [Show Detailed Ratings]
Downloads: 979 (all versions), 666 (this version)
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How do you change the card manually? Or the card set for that matter? This is nice, but your "intention to create a functional... desktop fixture" has already failed because I can't work it! I notice that launching the widget again brings up a new card, but that is seriously inconvenient. This is nice, but not as good as Guy D2's Oblique widget, here -

Posted by: knifehandchop on Jun 28, 05 (7:11 PM) for version 0.7a (previous version)   View Detailed Rating

To change the card, you must click on the text itself; it is easiest to aim for the vertical stroke of a letter. Perhaps I ought to include a "Read Me" file with these simple instructions.

That the widget selects a card when it is opened is actually a convenience feature because that is the main function of the widget ! It did not occur to me that anyone would object to that behavior. It will also select a new card when the back side is closed, also saving a mouse click...

I think my philosophy of software design is different than Guy D2... I see the "cards" as ideas in their purest form, I think that adding any UI elements to this window state; (e.g. a control button, a graphic "theme", a physical representation of a "card" ) would be distracting.

Guy D2's widget is very nice; but it uses the graphic design from only one side of one card from the fourth again revised edition; and it uses standard UI elements and controls, and behaves conventionally.. ( status and prefs are not always recalled). Although I started work on my widget beforee Guy D2's was released, I knew someone would make one like Guy D2's.. It has a solid graphic design, nicer than the standalone OSX app. Which itself is derived from the HyperCard stack version:

What Guy D2 needs to do is get a hold of a real physical deck and really emulate the look of the cards, otherwise his widget tries to give a history lesson, but fails where the rubber meets the road. That is why I continued to develop this even though I never programmed with HTML or javascript and I had no idea what CSS was before I started!

I wanted different features, and I think some will appreciate that there does not need to be a box or a background or a graphic theme, or a control button.. just an idea... Anyone with average hand-eye co-ordination can click on an idea... But if you feel challenged by this, then consider it part of the game (unless I become convinced to add a button here....).. and does cool "widget" things.


Posted by: cerberus (developer) on Jun 28, 05 (10:15 PM) for version 0.7a (previous version)  

I love it. Heck, I never knew this "Oblique" thing existed until this widget. And personally, I agree. This no-nonsense implimentation of the oblique ideas is beautiful because of its simplicity. Nothing to distract. Just the words.

Thank you. Very spiffy. I keep it on my desktop all the time with the Amnesty program.

Keep up the great work!

Posted by: adambyte on Jun 29, 05 (1:36 AM) for version 0.7a (previous version)   View Detailed Rating

Great widget idea with a really nice design and implementation.

Posted by: sculley on Jun 29, 05 (2:39 AM) for version 0.7a (previous version)   View Detailed Rating

Ah OK, I have it working now, though on 1680x1050 resolution it can be a little fiddly. I've come round though now, I agree with you, that these are more true to ideas in a pure form, but it is also nice to have the card turn over like in the Guy D2 widget, a sense of mystery of "what's on the other side?" is lost without that. That said, your widget is indeed very slick, and now I have it working I do like it.

Perhaps though the clickable area could include a space around the letters, clicking somewhere on "2" to get to "4" can easily end up with me returning to the desktop. I'm not trying to be overly-critical, I just want your widget to work for me.

Good job though anyway.

Posted by: knifehandchop on Jun 29, 05 (5:54 PM) for version 0.7a (previous version)  

Hi knifeandchop;

I really took your comments to heart and I want to thank you for helping me develop my widget.

I have added a text shadow that is subtle, but it is there enough to stop a click through. Now it is very difficult -not- to hit a letter... and even the centers of 'o's and 'c's will now trigger.

As far as the card flipping, I was intending to replace my lame animation with that effect, but really perhaps it is just a case of me not wanting to copy Guy D2.. and also every widget that uses the same effect. What I really like about Guy D2s is how it keeps flipping in the same direction.. I will look into the method he used to do that...

Also now my widget supports multiple instances, the edition will remain unique for each instance, but a new instance will keep the last edition setting you used, yet draw a new 'strategy'. This means that the device now acts more like a real deck of cards than most other widgets that are similar in nature... You can open one after another and draw different strategies and can set them to different editions and this will remain. All will persist over restarts.

You can download using the same link that is posted now.. It is version 0.85b..

Also I touched up the graphics.. I am really bad at this and I only know how to use bitmapped shareware graphics took forever and was hit and miss and not as fun as trying to write code.. Probably if I knew how to morph and animate, or understood really how alpha channel works... or could get into the OSX quartz engine.. the morphing event could work better. I wanted a morphing effect, but to morph an image into the text.. I don't know if it's really possible...So I settled on a "melting/evaporating into the abyss" effect....I agree that it's not what I want, just the best I can do at the moment... and could be much better.

I am open to ideas on that, or any aspect of this project. I will do my best to make this a quality piece in every way. Thanks again for testing it, please let me know if the "target" issues are solved now.


Posted by: cerberus (developer) on Jun 30, 05 (9:48 AM) for version 0.7a (previous version)  

Also thanks adambyte and sculley for your positive comments ! Please download the latest version using the link near the top of this page.


Posted by: cerberus (developer) on Jun 30, 05 (10:02 AM) for version 0.7a (previous version)  

No, I prefer the evaporating effect, to the card flipping. The way the Guy D2 widget flips in the same direction is indeed cool (I hadn't thought about it until you mentioned it) but yours benefits from being different to that. Having multiple instances of the different decks is great, but the fading effect is more mysterious than a "flipping card" - it's like having Eno's spirit in my iMac. More like an intangible idea, which is what the cards represent.

Clicking issues - much better now! Though I would like to be able to click anywhere in the widget's area to change "card", it is much improved. I also noticed just moving the cursor over the deck number changes it, which is very handy.

I do realise I've *almost* gone back on myself about the card change/morph, but I think the key is that I like both, and thanks to you, I have two versions to choose from.

I'm happy to have been able to help - that's what this site's all about after all; posts of "gr8 widget c00l!!!111!!" aren't really that helpful.

PS - I'm being cheeky now, but it would certainly be nice to see the marquee of credits on the "back" of the widget faded towards the edge. The nebulousness of the widget is lost seeing the words appear crisply from an invisible edge. That reminds though, it's cool that your widget actually has three "sides," very unique. Nice one.

Posted by: knifehandchop on Jun 30, 05 (8:41 PM) for version 0.7a (previous version)  

Oh, and the first card of the new widget, I wonder if you did that on purpose? For me it was something like "Find better fading effects." =)

Posted by: knifehandchop on Jun 30, 05 (8:43 PM) for version 0.7a (previous version)  

.. the first card...

Is random.., but it is possible I could program it to specify the first card, or just the first card for the first run ever on the machine...but I refrain from claiming that space and IMO it would at least violate the spirit of Eno's copyright on the work.

I also noticed just moving the cursor over the deck number changes it, which is very handy.

Now in 0.85b you need to click on the number or the word "edition", because a mouse sweep to the closebox could change it inadvertantly and you might not see that.. Let me know which way you prefer..

Guy D2s widget has 3 sides also. I like his rendition also... Now I've been to his website so I see he is also committed to providing a special experience for the user.

It will be interesting to see if anyone comes up with a 3rd widget.. The guy who made the OSX standalone posted on his site that he wants to make a widget version, but if he can write a standalone app, it should be easy.. Maybe he doesn't have Tiger yet... I wonder if Eno does...

So Guy D2s does not flip in one direction only... but I thought I saw this and now I don't recall which widget out of hundreds does this "circular" motion... The very idea of it is at once soothing and stimulating to me. Did I see this in an actual widget or just imagine it -should- be that way for Oblique Strategies... ?

If anyone finds an example of a widget that does flip in the same direction twice in a row and changes the image every time, then please let me know.

As for fading the edges of the scrolling text out.. great idea knifeandchop !! I will try it tonight. Thanks again for your great help.


Posted by: cerberus (developer) on Jul 01, 05 (12:33 AM) for version 0.7a (previous version)  

I am very close to getting both a constant flipping in a "clockwise direction":... No other widget seems to do this !!! It is just so fun to flip it this way... wow !!!

...and this can be followed by the melting effect, although I am attempting to see if they can happen simultaneously, or try to fool the eye this way...

Wow.. watch this space.. and thanks so much once again knife and chop... I will not forget about your great idea to fade the text edges, that is the next thing on my list..

Also for the next version, I made the flipper "i" button less persistent. It will only appear if you roll over certain areas on the widget...such as over the button area itself.... This is a subtle change, but it gives a more solid feeling of control over what the user should be able to control.


Posted by: cerberus (developer) on Jul 02, 05 (12:45 AM) for version 0.7a (previous version)  

I will rewrite the scrolling code for the rear using "canvas", which is an Apple method for javascript to use Quartz for drawing objects. An example of this is the "World Clock" widget, which uses canvas to rotate one single image for each hand on the clock, So perhaps there can be much smoother text and feathering the edges will be easier to implement.

I have now a widget which will flip counterclockwise normally, but always in the -same- direction (spinning) as you select strategies, (The "coin flip" widget does this, and I used that code as a template)... I will try to actually see if I can make the user spin it without even pausing... I am still debugging this new version, but please message me privately if you want to try an alpha version with the new "spin" feature, as requested by knifeandchop.


Posted by: cerberus (developer) on Jul 02, 05 (11:19 PM) for version 0.7a (previous version)  

Cerberus, you didn't imagine it, there is at least one widget I know of that does a circular flip motion, the great an ever improving Gifraffiti.

Anyway, must try out your widget now...

Posted by: neeKlamy on Jul 05, 05 (6:49 PM) for version 1.0 (current version)  

I want to like this widget, but the refusal to work within familiar UI guidelines is extremely off-putting.

Perhaps you could release a version that functions in a sensible manner instead of goofy melting effects?

Posted by: BonzoESC on Jul 19, 05 (3:30 AM) for version 1.0 (current version)   View Detailed Rating

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