Friday, October 17, 2008

WAR Addons

I mentioned a while back that I wrote Chatter: Text Alerts and Last Listed. I have been posting quite as frequently because a lot of the time I normally would use to write blog entries has been going towards writing WAR addons.

So... I wanted to share which addons I have written that are available on Curse.

About a week and a half ago I started working on some Tome unlocks with my Archmage. Unlike the "real" quests, these Tome unlocks are more like easter eggs and you need get the coords for the locations off the forums. It didn't take me long before I got real frustrated with the default MAP coords and so SimpleXY was born.

The short version is that it provides simple xx,yy coords on your minimap and zonemap.

CareerText and LibCareerDB
I really struggled with whether or not I wanted to publicly release these addons. Anytime something is purposefully left out of the default API, it feels like cheating to work around it.

LibCareerDB is the main offender. By default, the WAR API doesn't provide any information about enemy classes. You get name, level, pvp flag and such but not a class/career.

However, when you enter a scenario -- this information is provided in order to populate the Summary window with class details. You actually see this in the form of the icon next to the player's name.

LibCareerDB snags that information and stores it between sessions. This makes it available not only in Scenarios, but anytime you encounter that player again.

In other words, if you have ever played against someone in a scenario -- you will forever know the class of that character.

CareerText was written as the proof-of-concept for LibCareerDB, but it's also the one people will want. It displays the stored career info in the hostile (or friendly) target frame.

So why release it? A few reasons -- 1) another addon with less functionality but similar purpose already existed, 2) this type of addon was inevitable, and 3) Mythic is adding Target Of Target.

I wrote it well over a week ago but didn't release it until I learned about the Target of Target. I don't know why that makes a difference but it just seemed to me like this addon is not any worse than the Target of Target information.

Ethical Dilemma

The whole thing raises a pretty interesting ethical dilemma into how much responsibility addon authors should have for the games they play.

My take is that if I don't do it, someone else will. So why handicap myself because I am being noble?

It's a bit irksome because even if I like the game as-is (i.e. without career information), I feel compelled to write the addon (exploit?) in order to be on an even playing field with anyone else who knows how to write such an addon.

So once such an addon is written, is it better to keep such a thing to myself or to release it to others? Certainly it's in my best interest to keep it to myself, but that doesn't seem fair to others who can't write such a thing.

On the other hand, the time I took to write it should be worth something. After all, while others were leveling away -- I was working on that project. Keeping it to myself and enjoying the fruits of that labor seems the more sensible choice.

Anyway... that type of back/forth thinking is the type of internal debate I always struggle with when I write these things.

Other Addons
I've also written a few that I haven't publicly released. One is to assist with recruiting Guild members. This is raw and won't be released.

Another is called Spotter. This is the one most likely to be released next. It checks for spell range and puts "NR" inside the target frame if they are out-of-range. Combined with the above CareerText addon, this is pretty powerful stuff for my Bright Wizard.

I've also written one called TinyText that is designed to resize/recolor all the alerts you receive. It's only half finished at the moment because I have yet to bother writing all the slash commands. I set the defaults the way I liked them and haven't felt compelled to write the rest of it yet. Another author released somethng similar the other day, so I don't know if I'll bother getting TinyText up and running for the public.

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