Gamer Footprint Update

25. February 2015 11:32 by Cameron in Gamer Footprint  //  Tags: , , , ,   //   Comments

It's been a little while since I've updated everyone about Gamer Footprint. Development is picking up with me spending more time each week. I've been primarily working on the backend since the last update, but I have added some functionality to the fronted too.

Users can now register/login using their Google, Microsoft, Facebook, or Twitter account through OAuth2!

Xbox and PSN account linking is now functional and you can see your Xbox Live and PSN presence if you have linked your accounts. Currently, the profile page polls the server every 20 seconds to see if there is a change in presence information. However, I'm looking at making this more like a push notification service from the server through SignalR. The trick will be setting up individual user presence push notifications as it will rely on polling on the server and only pushing to the client when there is a change. I attempted this a little while back, but I couldn't get the connection management quite right to cancel running tasks. I will attempt the push notifications at some point, but it's not a high priority at the moment.

I'm reworking my data persistence and scanning algorithms to update a user's played games on PSN, Xbox and other platforms. Once that is complete, there will be a sort of timeline feature that incorporates all actions that a user wants displayed. Tracking of games played and achievements/trophies won't require a login, but if you want to share your online status with your Gamer Footprint friends and the community, due to privacy settings on each network, you'll need to link your accounts with Gamer Footprint. As of right now, there is no way to view games that you are actively online playing on PSN if you are not a friend of someone. This shouldn't be a big deal though. Rest assured, your information is safe and no passwords for Xbox or PSN accounts are ever stored on our server.

I will be posting more updates in the coming weeks so stay tuned!

My NES and SNES game collection

7. April 2013 18:01 by Cameron in   //  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,   //   Comments

It's been a while since I've posted a new blog post. I've been fairly busy with life and work lately. Over the past couple of weeks, I've been expanding my NES and SNES game library. I plan to collect several original titles that I enjoyed playing as a kid. Some of the games that I recently acquired for the NES are:

  • Donkey Kong Classics
  • Tengen's Pacman
  • Tetris
  • Othello
  • Mario Bros. Arcade Classics
  • Castlevania I
  • Castlevania II
  • Castlevania III
  • Duck Tales
  • Dr. Mario
  • Caesar's Palace
  • The Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout
  • Tengen's Road Runner
  • The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle
My NES collection is rapidly growing as I previously only had these games in my library:
  • Super Mario Bros. / Duck Hunt
  • Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Home Alone
  • The Legend of Zelda
I plan to add the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trilogy, Megaman 1-6, Metroid, and several other great games to my collection. Megaman collections can easily go for $150 or more on eBay while a single copy of Megaman can be easily $30. I'm hoping to find a collection with all six games when I'm ready to add them to my collection. I love super Metroid on the SNES so I'm sure that the original Metroid will be an excellent addition. Metroid has held its value fairly well over the years. Copies of Metroid typically sell for $30 or more. I will also be adding a RetroZone NES PowerPak to my library so I can play translated Famicom games and homebrew. I would like to try my hand at NES development with 6502 assembly too.
 
For my SNES, I recently added these games:
  • Sim City
  • Donkey Kong Country 3
  • Buster Busts Loose
  • Kirby's Avalanche
  • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
I've got quite a large collection of SNES cartridges that I've been building on over the past few years:
  • Super Mario Kart
  • Super Mario All Stars + World
  • Super Off Road the Baja
  • Jurassic Park
  • Donkey Kong Country
  • Donkey Kong Country 2
  • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
  • Chrono Trigger
  • Starfox
  • Mario Paint
  • Final Fantasy II
  • Final Fantasy III
  • Super Battletank: War in the Gulf
  • Super Caesar's Palace
  • Super Mario RPG
  • SNES PowerPak
  • Super Gameboy
  • Super Metroid
Since I have a SNES PowerPak, I can play most all translated Super Famicom games, homebrew, and almost all of the SNES games available. I've used my SNES PowerPak for development of my own and playing various hacks or ROM translations. Even though I can play nearly every game available for the SNES using the SNES PowerPak, I still enjoy collecting the original carts. 
 
One may say that it's cheaper to just use a NES/SNES to USB adapter and play games on an emulator, but it's just not the same as playing on the original hardware. I grew up in the 1990's and the NES/SNES were a big part of my childhood. Arguably, I'd have to say the SNES is my favorite console as it's one that I played the most. I didn't have an NES at home as a kid, but I used to play at friend's houses. I have all the emulators and ROMS, but nothing compares to the feeling of playing a game they way it was meant to be played, on the glorious consoles themselves.

Nearly finished with my XBL Scraper and starting my PSN Scraper

3. December 2011 14:31 by Cameron in PhantomJS, Xbox Live, PSN  //  Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,   //   Comments

I've made a ton of progress on my XBL scraper over the past couple of months and am nearing completion. Features include grabbing a user's full list of games and achievements for all time as well as pulling a subset of information based on a date range. I implemented the date range feature because I wanted to speed up incremental updates. One of my beta testers has reported it takes about 15-20 minutes to do a full dump of his information. He also has over 100 games with about 40-60 achievements each.

Right now, my XBL scraper only pulls down information for the currently logged in user. I had thought about having my users on my site provide their login information for pulling down their achievements and recently played games, but there are huge security concerns with me storing Xbox LIVE user names and passwords in my database. One disadvantage to me pulling information from other user profiles is that any achievement that I have not unlocked the image will be returned as a grayscale image. This is not a huge issue though. I'm more leaning towards using my own account to get user data instead of other users' accounts because I don't want to be burdened with security of storing their credentials on my server. If people want color images for achievements, I will just need the community to submit their color images for their achievements to the database. I have also been thinking of a way to have my script run idle on my server while waiting for input from the caller. This will hopefully speed up processing of the data.

On the PSN front, I have begun analyzing various data sources for getting trophy data and recently played games for a PSNID. I've started developing a similar script for pulling information for a PSNID. The PSN scraper is still in its infancy, but it is making steady progress. With my analysis of PSN trophy images, it appears that images for trophies will be returned as color images for public trophy profiles and personal trophy profiles. However, the locked trophies show a locked image next to the trophy. I'm hoping to get community involvement to submit complete trophy images for the locked images. With the way that PSN shows earned trophies, with enough people in the community, the missing images should easily be filled in automatically.

I plan to release premium subscritpion APIs for these scripts in the future. Please stay tuned for more information.

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