Score2Keep 1.0 User Manual

A Game Scorekeeping Utility for the PalmOS and PocketC

Score2Keep Screen

Description:

Score2Keep is a free PocketC applet for the PalmOS that makes it easy to keep score for any 2 player game. Score data are automatically saved and can be exported to a memo file for an ongoing record of the game, date, time, player, and final scores for any number of games. Score2Keep was designed to be extremely easy to use and more efficient than paper-based scoring. Though a number of Scorekeeping utilities have been developed for the PalmOS, the Score2Keep interface has an edge because it was specifically designed to take advantage of hard buttons to speed up score entry and minimize the need for a stylus to enter scores. In real-world use you will hopefully find that Score2Keep makes entering scores fast, easy, and (almost) fun.


Features
:

  • Simple, easy to use interface.
  • Small memory footprint (only 18 KB for the applet, and a total footprint of 77 KB with the PocketC runtime library).
  • Score data are automatically recorded in a database so you'll never lose a scored game in progress when you switch to another application.
  • Allows game score data to be exported to a memo for an ongoing record of games played and their respective scores.
  • Allows "pen free" entry of scores, which is much faster than writing out scores longhand. A typical non-stylus score entry with Score2Keep takes less than 5 seconds.
  • Player and game names are automatically retained when initializing a new score session to minimize the time required to enter this information with a stylus.


System Requirements
:

  • Palm or Handspring computer with OS 3.x or newer.
  • PocketC version 4.1 or newer. (4.1 is the latest version as of September, 2001).
  • 77kB of free memory.

Score2Keep has been tested on both Palm and Handspring handheld computers with OS 3.x and newer. To ensure that Score2Keep functions as it's supposed to, make sure you have PocketC version 4.1 (or newer) installed.

Installing Score2Keep if you Have PocketC :

1) HotSync the PocketC.prc runtime application to your handheld computer.

Installing Score2Keep if you Do Not Have PocketC :

1) Download the free PocketC.prc runtime application from http://www.orbworks.com/wince/.

2) HotSync the PocketC.prc runtime application and the Score2Keep.prc applet to your handheld computer.

A Brief Note About PocketC Applets:

There are many PocketC applets available, and many of them are as functionally good or better than full-fledged applications written in C++. A PocketC applet can be written with relative ease and fewer lines of code than a C++ native PalmOS application since a "library" of PalmOS system toolbox functions is contained within the PocketC application. An applet uses some of the resources in the PocketC application to operate, and this is why you need to have the PocketC runtime application installed on your handheld for a PocketC applet to work. The plus side of having the PocketC runtime installed on your handheld computer is that you will be able to run any number of (usually) free applets, which tend to have a small memory footprint as well.

Score2Keep Source Files:

Source files for Score2Keep, as well as the bytecode applet, are available here.

Using Score2Keep:

Score2Keep was designed to be as simple to use as possible. The interface was designed to take advantage of the inherent qualities of handheld computers with the goal of being easier and faster than using paper and pencil to keep track of game scores. Though you can use Score2Keep with a stylus, you will be able to enter scores much more quickly by learning how the physical buttons of the handheld are used (please refer to the "Interface Overview" diagram below).

Score2Keep automatically saves all game score data to a database when the applet is exited (i.e., you switch to another program, etc.). It will also automatically load the last previously saved data from its database by default. However, you can override these features if you like.

For typical use of Score2Keep you will probably find that you can leave your stylus alone much of the time. The only time you'll need your stylus is if you want to change the name of the game, the names of the players being scored, or tap a specific menu item. Score2Keep has been engineered to use as little battery power as possible (i.e., it checks for user input only as frequently as it needs to, and tries to "sleep" when it can). In real world use I've found that it's best to hit the power button right after a score is entered to help preserve battery power all the more. It's then a simple matter of hitting the power button again to enter another score. Since all score entry can be done with hard buttons, it's a quick process to learn.

Entering a Score with the Hard Key Buttons:

Here's a typical example of entering the number "15" using the hard keys.

1) Hit the "Calendar/Schedule" hard key once. This tells Score2Keep that you want to work with the 10s digit of a score.

2) Hit the "Page Up" hard key once. You should see the score indicator field (the field with a "+" button on its right side) change to "10". Each time the "Page Up" key is hit, the score will increase by 10. Hitting the "Page Down" key decreases the score by 10.

3) Hit the "Phone" hard key once. This allows the 1s digit for a score to be altered.

4) Hit the "Page Up" hard key 5 times. The score indicator field should now read "15."

To enter the score, hit the "To Do" hard key. The boxed border around one of the player names will move to the other player, the score list field for the player will have the new score entry, and the running total score value for that player will reflect the new score entry.

If you want to "Undo" the last entry you made, hit the "Memo" hard key.

Note: The "Page Down" and "Page Up" keys will either add or subtract 1 or 10 points from the score each time they are pressed, depending on whether the "Calendar/Schedule" or "Phone" button was pressed previously. If you continue to hold either of the "Page" key buttons down, the score will continue to increase or decrease. Negative values can be entered if the score falls below zero.

Learning to use the hard keys this way takes a little practice, but you'll likely find that it's the fastest way to enter scores.

Entering a Score with a Stylus:

If you don't want to use the hard buttons to enter a score you can always use a stylus. To enter a score with a stylus do the following:

1) Tap the current score indicator field near the bottom left side of the screen. A dialog window will appear.

2) Write in the score value for the player, then tap "OK". The current score indicator field will show the value you wrote in.

3) Tap the "+" button, located on the right side of the score indicator field.

The new score will be added to the player's score list.

If you want to "Undo" a score entry using a stylus, choose [Edit] [Undo Last entry] from the menu bar.

To learn more about how to use Score2Keep please refer to the screen shots below.

Score2Keep Interface Overview

Sc ore2Keep Overview

The File Menu

Score2Keep File Menu

Score New Game - Basically, this gives you a clean screen slate. Choosing this menu item clears the scores from the player score fields, updates the date and time, and inserts the name of the game and player names used in the previously scored game. You can also use this feature to "zero" out the Score2Keep applet just before you exit, to ensure that no score data other than player names and the name of the game to be scored are read in the next time Score2Keep is launched.

Switch Player Up - This allows you to change which player's score is currently available for an entry. This is handy for scoring a game such as Scrabble (TM) or UpWords (TM), where the first player to play is determined by the first letter drawn from the bag. It's also useful for skipping a score entry for a player when they lose their turn in a particular round.

Log to Memo - Exports all scored game data to a memo named "Score2Keep Games." Note, look for the memo in the "Unfiled" category. This feature is useful for keeping a running record of all games, players, scores, and the date and time they were played in a format you can easily work with in other applications, or on your personal computer.

Save and Quit - All game score data in Score2Keep are automatically saved when you exit the applet, but you have the option to manually save these data yourself, if you like.

Quit (No Save) - Allows you to exit the applet without saving score data. Note that any previously saved score data will automatically be read in when the applet is launched again.

The Edit Menu

Score2Keep Edit Menu

Undo Last Entry - This is a basic "undo" feature that removes the last score recorded for a player.

The Info Menu

Score2Keep Info Menu

About - Information about who wrote the Score2Keep applet.

Help - A basic summary of which hard keys control specific functions within the applet.

Player Name Dialog Window

Score2Keep Player Name Screen

The above screen capture shows you what the player name dialog window looks like.

Score Input Window

Score2Keep Score Input Window

The above screen capture shows you what the score input dialog window looks like if you choose to use a stylus to enter a score.

Memo Export Examples

Score2Keep Memo List

This is the name and category to look for if you want to view the exported game data in a memo record.

Score2Keep Memo Screen

The above screen capture shows you an example of exported game score data in a memo format.

Development Notes:

Score2Keep is my first PalmOS PocketC applet. With the help of a great GUI utility called CControls, written by M. Schlesinger Consulting (www.mscon.de), Score2Keep as a whole required fewer than 1000 lines of C code. CControls needs less than 500 lines of code for all it does, and with an additional 500 or so lines of my code Score2Keep was developed and debugged in less than a month with a "spare time" effort. Having gone through the process of developing a simple applet in PocketC I believe an experienced programmer could create a similar applet in about 3 to 5 hours (possibly longer if the interface layout and graphic appearance is important). Most of the development time in building the Score2Keep applet was spent designing the interface, icons, etc.

If you're at all interested in writing your own PocketC applets go to www.orbworks.com and give it a try. The PocketC development community is very supportive, and there are a lot of great tools and libraries to help you create your own games and utilities.

Acknowledgments:

Special thanks to Jeremy Dewey at OrbWorks (www.orbworks.com) for creating PocketC for the PalmOS platform. Also M. Schlesinger (www.mscon.de), who provided a great resource for PocketC developers with the CControls function library, and CEditor for building user interfaces.

Future Features under Consideration:

  • Allow scorekeeping for any number of people.
  • More database file I/O options.

Contacting the Author:

If you like Score2Keep, discover a bug, or would like to request additional features, please contact me. I originally designed this utility for my own interests, but I'd like to know what you think of it and how you use it. This feedback will help me write better software in general.

Enjoy! :)