Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hover Plover Artwork!

Hover Plover Pixel Art by Derek Sneed

In preparation for my presentation on Plover at PyGotham this Saturday from 1:15 to 2:00 in room 5 (check out the whole schedule! It's gonna be a fantastic conference!), I've commissioned some pixel art to demonstrate what Hover Plover will look like once I'm able to get it developed. This is a faux screenshot from the intermediate level game, a 2D platformer that displays both English and steno while you try to keep your broken plovercraft from crashing into the rooftops of an unnamed metropolis long enough to make it to the  repair shop on the edge of town. In this game your plovercraft keeps moving forward at a constant pace, and you're only able to control it in brief vertical bursts by typing the steno stroke on the screen, which lifts it briefly  away from chimneys, greenhouses, water towers, stray cats, et cetera, before it starts sinking dangerously close to the buildings again. After a while, you'll be able to toggle off the steno hints and just write the words themselves. I think it'll be incredibly fun to play. Now I just need to figure out a funding source so we can get the thing made! But I've already got a couple of irons in that fire. More news on that later. Meanwhile, I've got to finish putting together the PyGotham presentation and also start coordinating some bugfixes with Plover's programmer so that it's in good shape for the next phase of development.

My main steno machine malfunctioned the other day (every stenographer's nightmare), and though I was able to fix it that evening with 15 minutes and a couple of screwdrivers (I think the calibration on a few keys had spontaneously gotten wonky, so the "all keys lifted" state wouldn't register), I didn't have time to tinker with it; I had a class to CART. So I fired up my Filco Majestouch with Plover, set the font size on Gedit to 28, and got through the next two hours. It was a struggle; the Majestouch requires harder keypresses than my proprietary machine, so I'm afraid my speed and accuracy suffered a bit. Plover's translation engine also needs a little more sophistication; it made some spelling errors that my proprietary software wouldn't have made. But it was worlds better than it would have been if I'd had to qwerty the class. Being able to carry two steno machines in my bag at all times really gives me peace of mind, and now that the worst has happened, I know that all is not lost if my main machine ever breaks down again. (Though, of course, I'm going to be getting it serviced in the very near future, so hopefully this was a one-off.) Let's hear it for Plover!


Unknown said...

Looks beautiful!

Tom said...

I thought I would post a comment that I just installed Plover on my workstation. I installed in Ubuntu which I installed as a Virtual Machine in VMWare Player (freeware).

I know nothing about Steno other than what I have read on the web since discovering your blog. At almost 68, I have no idea if I will go much further than playing with Plover a bit. But, it has piqued my interest and I though it was worth a try.

Justin Konen said...

Mirabai, have you considered starting a Kickstarter? You would definitely qualify, though you'll have to do some work putting together the profile and some photos/video.

Let me know if you want to do this and need any help! I love this project (though I have yet to actually LEARN the dang thing. . . :-]) and would love to help out a bit if you need it!