PoE Build Browser: It’s All About the Builds

By | May 19th, 2019 | Categories: Interviews

Thank goodness for forums. With tight-knit communities that converge in them, hardcore fans of practically any game can share a wealth of resources and tips so that everyone can experience the best that their fandoms can offer. Path of Exile is one such game whose fanbase widely benefits from this scenario. Every player needs a good reference source, after all. As PoE is a build-heavy game, it’s crucial to have a firm grasp of things if you are to progress in the game.

This is where the PoE Build Browser comes into play. It’s a wonderful app that allows players to access the PoE build forum thread directly from their phones. Created by a budding software developer from Spain, it just might be the app that can help new PoE players elevate their game.

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

Hello, I am Alvaro Carvajal (Raggaer), a 23-year-old software developer from Spain. I am currently finishing my Computer Science career (only six months to go). I also work mainly as a web developer for some companies. I only play on the PC. Currently, I am very addicted to Path of Exile and Guild Wars 2, but I also enjoy small games like Enter the Gungeon whenever I need to kill some time.

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

I develop independently almost always. However, I pair up with a friend of mine who helps me with the design of the applications (color scheme, UI, application icon).

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

A good build means everything on a game like Path of Exile. Newer people usually have a hard time figuring out which build to play, so they tend to search the forums for that, but the forums search capabilities are not the best. I wanted to provide a quick way to browse builds using tags directly.

There are several websites that let you browse builds using a tag system. However, none of those sites have a phone application, so it was the perfect opportunity for me.

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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?

The application was mainly done using Flutter, which communicates with my servers (the ones that gather the forum information and shows them on a JSON format). So basically, the application fetches that data and outputs it to the user. For almost all my programming hobbies I enjoy using Go as the programming language as it’s a very simple yet productive one.

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

The main influence was the Path of Exile forums, I mainly tried to use a similar color scheme.

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

I think it greatly helps new players find builds to work with. It also helps users with only one screen on their PC setup as you can play the game and follow your build guide using your phone.

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

Sadly, yes. The main part of the application (viewing build posts) currently has some issues: Handling links is not yet being done how I would like it to be. All links (like YouTube videos) render inside the application. I would like it to use the native applications of your phone instead (like the YouTube application to handle videos inside the application).

Performance-wise I think everything is great, though. Flutter is awesome!

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

The biggest challenge was to render build posts. Currently, every post is a big block of HTML. Unfortunately, the Flutter engine does not have support for rendering HTML. The fix here is to wrap a WebView to render the post information. However, I needed to make sure the web part matches the application design (mainly the color scheme). This is not the approach I wanted to have but is currently the only one that fits what I need.

(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?

Yes, game changes obviously introduce new skills and items. Not indexed builds (builds that the server could not figure out) are saved and mailed to me every day. Almost weekly, I check for new build tags to incorporate into my tracking services so new builds get added into the system.

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

Currently, I would say the link handling is coming along. I would also like to point out that I started working on an application to view the Path of Exile forums with a very similar approach: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=xyz.forum.respoe. Open sourcing is also planned.

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

Just take it slowly. Going with the full meta builds every time can get boring real quick. One thing people misconstrue about Path of Exile is that only meta builds work for the end-game. Just try what you find interesting!

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

Practice is everything. If your main goal is to make apps or websites, you have to practice by making apps or websites. So basically, start doing stuff—even if it has already been done. You will always learn something new from that journey.

Just Do It

So there you have it! You can’t learn to swim while practicing on dry land; you have to go out there and dive right into the ocean. Just as Alvaro so eloquently put it, the only way you can get good at something is by doing it. That’s how you get good at your craft, and that’s how wonder apps like the PoE Build Browser come about. So keep practicing and keep playing Path of Exile during your spare time, because you can now access the best builds in a snap!

Don’t forget to check out our Path of Exile Builds page!

One Comment

  1. rizwan ali June 2, 2019 at 5:18 am - Reply


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