Last night I started ramping up the abilities of the Sidekick "interface". The first change happened in 1.5.3 where I added a much requested function to "select all" options. Its not exactly what was asked for, but its close.

What it does is adds two buttons to each "optionblock", one to select all options in that block, and one to unselect them all. This is a step toward full selection, but I cannot currently add a select all to a "section" yet, as sections are not actually drawn up as proper containers. I need to change the code a bit and then we can have full section selection in one click.

Buttons were displayed within each "optionblock" by default, and with this morning's 1.5.4 release, some option blocks were set to not show. This reduced the number of select-all/none buttons in the main WM script, especially where select-all/none did not make any sense.

Sidekick developers can now add the parameter hideSelectAll:true to the optionblock declaration to ... well hide those buttons. Actually for ease of coding, they are really still there, they were just switched to input type hidden instead of input type button.

Also pertaining to optionblock declarations is that its font size is a bit odd. Yes I know, it was made to look like that originally, but I think with its future use as a selection box I need to change the font size so it looks like an option, not a subtext. I will have this fixed soon, but for now text size is not as important as getting those sidekicks built for your favorite games.

Yes, you should be making a sidekick for your favorite games. The race is on to get them done. If you want to make your own sidekick, I put up a tutorial page the other day: Sidekick Tutorial. Also this morning I built a makeshift Sidekick Dev Forum. Actually I wanted a blog layout for it, and probably will have one soon, but for now its more like a shanty in the woods. Sorry.

Now, I'd like to get an open discussion going on about what you want from a sidekick interface.

Right now I'm working on getting rid of the sidekick alias needs. Its kinda dumb really. It was a good idea, with bad future problems I had not yet forseen. What I want to do is get devs to simply create definitions for items like this: food:"Food", instead of like this: FVfood:"Food". The script would then add the game's appID in front of the definition when it gets passed to the WM script. It would make coding the sidekick a bit quicker not having to put FV in front of everything for FarmVille. And it would totally negate the possibility of any crossed wires in the future for games that also might try to use an alias FV.

Also in the making is the ability to create subsections. You know how those sections in the options menu toggle open and closed when you click them? Yeah, I want nested ones like that. You should be able to close all the FrontierVille send functions if all you use is sendall. It would certainly reduce the size of the list and save time in scrolling down. I'd also like options to auto-close the last subsection when a new one is opened. Of course if the user didnt want that, they could pin it open. Yes, I like that, lets do that.

Ok, so you can see where Im going with the sidekicks. I want them to be community property and I only really want to work on the core from now on. Im still going to keep up the FrV, TI, RwF, CW, CV and EA sidekicks for now, but yes, I'd like to pass them down to somebody else in the future. I can't play these things forever and new games are coming that will consume my time (yes I will make sidekicks for those too).

Back to sidekick dev stuff: send in all your requests by posting them on the Sidekick Dev Forum, or make a comment at the Sidekick Tutorial. Don't be mad if I move a comment from one location to another or delete it after its been created, its just called housekeeping.

Just so you know, there is a sidekick for FarmVille being created right now. Im not sure if any others are in the works because I haven't heard back on them yet. Recently requested sidekicks include: CoW, Wild West Town, Backyard Monsters. There are already scripts out there for MafiaWars and FarmVille, but there's no reason a sidekick cannot be made to plug into this script.

Happy scripting!

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