Arcadia for Destiny 2: Light From Darkness

Arcadia for Destiny 2
By | October 15th, 2018 | Categories: Interviews

Wouldn’t it be fun if all the relevant apps you needed to take your game to another level were all condensed into a single app? Arcadia for Destiny 2 does just that! The product of an enthusiastic developer named Kris, Arcadia gathers all the useful tools you’ll ever need to play Destiny 2. It goes through all the nitty-gritty of sorting out stats, triumphs, milestones, Xur availability, checklists, vendors, useful links, PVP maps and tips, vendors, and so much more so you won’t have to!

Dubbed “light from darkness,” this nifty app gives players the info to shine and raise their performance to new heights. Of course, its creation process wasn’t without a hitch. It takes time for something as well-thought-out to come to fruition. After all, light doesn’t just spring up to shine brightly in amidst the darkness; it needs a spark to start things off. Here, we talked to Kris about the trials and tribulations he went through for Arcadia to see the light of day.

Meanwhile, you can download the app here.

(1) Tell us about yourself (name/nickname, hometown, age, occupation, favorite games that you play and what platform(s) you play)?

Hi! My name is Kris. I’m 42, the father of 2 kids, and am living near Paris, France. In real life, I’m working in project management and business analysis. Since I was a kid, I always played games from sega master system right up to PS4. I guess I got most of the major consoles at home. I really enjoyed playing FF7, some cool Amiga games. More recently, I like titles such as the Uncharted series, Horizon Zero Dawn, Tomb Raider, and Destiny.    

(2) Do you work independently or in a team? If in a team, how big is it?

I mostly work independently. As for coding, UI, and main ideas, however, a great friend of mine (WCJ Fuhrer) has always been here to push me out of my comfort zone and suggest features which are now available in the App I did for Destiny. Also, I can’t forget really cool guys who helped me localize the App in Italian (Tetsuo Hirashi), and Spanish (Golgo XIII and El Rey Zero), thanks again, guys!

(3) What inspired you to create an app specifically for this game? When did it cross your mind to create your app?

At first, the app aimed to enhance the clan management features from as I found it really hard to get all the info about your clan in one draw. So I started with Arcadia back on May 17 with this idea in mind, “How can I get most of the useful info about my clan in a single place?” It was only possible because Bungie was giving access to their API to third-party programmers. Without this, nothing would have been possible! And I must say this is a great move from them!

Then things evolved quite quickly and it was obvious Arcadia could also help Solo player as well and give them access to all the stats, in-game progress, as well as all the useful info the community could produce and concentrate everything in one single place.

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(4) What programming language or tool did you use to create this app? Do you have any favorite PLs or tools in particular?

I’ve always been keen with dev languages PHP, SQL, some Javascript or JQuery, but one year ago, I didn’t even know a single line of Java for Android. So with the help of Google and Stack Overflow, I started my learning process. So basically now, I won’t say I’m an expert in Java, but I know what I’m doing, and it’s getting easier every day when I spend time on the App to fix stuff, learn from my errors and start to work on new features.

Right now, the App is built with Android Studio in Java and very few libraries.

(5) When it comes to designing the user experience/UX of the app, what motivated you or what influences did you have?

For me, the user experience is a very important topic—as well as localization. While working on project management in RL, many times I faced issues with tools to implement which could probably be technically wonderful and ‘logical’ but lack a user-friendly interface. I tried to avoid this with Arcadia. The first version was really basic with a drawer and menu. Overall, it was ok, but I knew that it could be improved upon before the Destiny: Forsaken extension dropped. I had time to review everything and make something simple and easy to browse. So instead of a menu in one drawer app, the app runs around tabs. Main tabs being at the bottom for easy ‘thumb’ access while single topic ones on the top that could be selected for direct access or just swipe the page with the thumb to reach the desired one.

As for localization, English isn’t my mother tongue and I know it isn’t always used by people around the world, so I tried localizing all I can in Arcadia. Most of the work is done by Bungie for all in-game items and activities, but the app still has some strings to be translated. This is where those great guys we talked about before helped me and contributed to the overall user experience.

(6) From the developer’s and gamer’s perspective, how do you think the app affects the overall experience of the game?

Bungie did a great move by giving access to their API, and the Destiny community is really clever. From the clan website to big community tools like DIM or Ishtar, there are a lot of great ideas that can help the game experience. I basically never go to the Tower Vault to change my loadout, thanks to third-party apps! If you want stats on your latest PVP games there is one site for this! Looking for maps or hints? It’s probably already on Reddit!

Arcadia was built to mix everything in a single place. Of course, I can’t find all the stuff by myself and put everything in the App, but if I feel like a link, a tool or a map could be useful for anyone. I put it in Arcadia (of course with giving credits to the original creators) so it’s available for Arcadia users to benefit from.

This is what I would want Arcadia to be known for. If you look for something with an easy access, then itis probably already in Arcadia.

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(7) Is there any margin of error when it comes to the app’s performance and provided information?

Arcadia mainly relies on Bungie API. If the API is down for whatever reason, then most of the data related to stats or clans won’t be available or refreshed. Also, Arcadia relies on a small server which handles all the clan updates and management. It will check if someone joins or leaves one clan and will collect the last time of play. This is a small server and the provider is OK, but if they have issues on their end, Arcadia server won’t be their top priority. Anyway, until now, things have been running smoothly—with no big trouble. Hopefully, it will last. 

(8) What were your biggest challenges for this project? How did you overcome them?

Cross Android platform compatibility is a big challenge! My philosophy is to give everyone the chance to use Arcadia on all Android devices since KitKat version up to Pie! And let’s face it; it can be a nightmare even for showing just a small icon. I’m still working on it based on the feedback I have been receiving and trying to figure out why this works on a device and not another.

(9) Are you expecting the game’s expansions to change your app’s dynamics and performance? Is it something that you’ve already prepared to tackle?

The last Destiny 2 Forsaken expansion is brilliant! It changed a lot of stuff from the gaming perspective. It also changed a lot of stuff in the way data was reported in the API. Most of the time, I just have to adopt a part of my script and it works fine right after. Sometimes, it’s a little bit more difficult.

Also, new expansions mean more content so there’s more stuff to look into and share in the App.

Basically, I believe the Arcadia background structure can handle the changes, but if something doesn’t work the way I want, I’ll just rebuild it.

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(10) Are there any exciting new developments for your app that you would care to share?

Things being worked on are rebuilding the milestones page and a possible pursuit tracking. I’d like to review the collection page and change some stuff in terms of aspect. A new feature since last week was the triumph page. This one will gain more details and need more graphics enhancement.

(11) Could you share a few quick tips to new players of the game?

Basically, enjoy the game! Play it the way you want it, there are now so many things to do in the game to level up your Guardian solo or with one Clan! Unlock the dreaming city and try to find the challenges and secrets by yourselves. Also, give yourselves a bit of a challenge. If a mission is too hard keep trying, or level up your Guardian.

(12) Any advice you’d like to share to aspiring game app or web developers?

I’m not a dev but always liked it. Today, there are so many places to learn App development. I mostly learned everything from scratch! That won’t make you an expert, but if you enjoy coding and the work you share is appreciated, that’s a great feeling!

Keep trying, make mistakes, learn from others, share with friends, and if you target a specific audience, learn who you want to ‘speak’ to first and enjoy what you are doing.

Arcadia: A Beacon of Hope to Help Fulfill Your Destiny

A well-developed gaming app is like a shining beacon that lights up the way for others. In this instance, it gives you a chance to play the game better. It’s good to know that developers like Kris are out there working tirelessly to improve upon well-loved titles like Destiny 2. With the Arcadia for Destiny 2 app, you certainly have a torch to help you feel your way through the proverbial darkness. Happy gaming!

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