This time around, we have a visit to our sooty stage from a great author, who has been around the 'scene' for quite some time, Udorn! LootLog and QuestMaster are the two offerings we will be discussing, today, but AuctionMaster is another fan favorite.
Without further ado, strike up the blaze and welcome Marc Ewert to the stage!
Marc comes to the World of Warcraft AddOn Community from Bremen, Germany, an area where people are known as “fish heads,” meaning they are “very cool and controlled.” Perhaps it is this philosophy on life that allows Marc to balance creating useful AddOns and working as a software architect at a mid-sized IT-company.
After attending college in Berlin and graduating with a degree in computer science, Marc began creating AddOns as “one-man-show” projects.
“All my AddOns were born because [the game] was missing some functionality...I like [creating AddOns] where everything from design up to taking care of the ‘community’ was made by me,” he said. “This [process] reminds me of the early days in IT-business.”
In order to fix the flaws in the game he was playing, like having to scan the chat log for items in dungeon-finder raids, Marc would write an AddOn for it after a process of trial and error.
“I write a small prototype and play around with it,” he said. “If it’s good, I start to make a real project out of it with configuration, description and a pleasant look and feel and then I release it at Curse.”
His AddOn “LootLog” was born to accommodate casual players who want to play new raids.
“[With QuestMaster] I was able to form it to fit my needs and add, for example, a support for achievements,” he said. “I also wanted to build a GUI library, which is contained in QuestMaster...but I have never released it as a standalone library.”
Another one of Marc’s projects, AuctionMaster, has been his biggest learning experience.
“The greatest problem was finding a good name for my AddOn,” he said. “It was called ‘Vendor’...in the forum, some people told me ‘I like the AddOn, but I didn't know it was meant for auctions.’ So I changed the name from ‘Vendor’ to AuctionMaster.”
Despite taking on other projects, such as a shopping list application for Android called “VanillaShopper,” Marc continues to slowly update AuctionMaster and is thinking of taking on more AddOns.
“I always fix AuctionMaster immediately after Blizzard’s patches...currently I’m again more motivated to code WoW AddOns, so I will probably add some urgently needed features like disallowing self-undercutting and a search interface that is understandable for people without a computer science degree,” he said. “Another feature I have in mind is one that would allow mass posting of auctions.”
Knowing how difficult it is to code AddOns at times, Marc shared some resources he used along the way, stating “[A] great help was the FrameXML code from Blizzard itself".
The FrameXML code contains nearly all of the Lua code needed to form the WoW interface. It could best be used to “design things similar to the look and feel of WoW,” according to Marc.
As an IT software architect, Marc frequently programs with Eclipse and, luckily, it has a few Lua plugins that provide such things as syntax highlighting. Marc, and even we here at ITF, recommend “LuaEclipse." Once Eclipse is installed, you can obtain LuaEclipse from the plugin menu or from its LueEclipse site. *At ITF, we also highly recommend NotePad++, that, via a plugin system, can provide Lua syntax highlighting, nice repository tie-ins, et cetera. Eclipse can be a bit much for a first-timer, but it is definitely a powerful, fully-featured tool.
Marc, who lives in Berlin with his lovely wife, Handan, enjoys working out, playing Mah-Jongg (a Chinese game similar to Rummy) with friends, and reading fantasy books, such as the Shadowmarch series by Tad Williams.
Despite being an urbanite, Marc has a special love for the Swedish countryside, to which he has traveled twice to enjoy its beauty. It would be nearly ideal, except for the lack of a decent Internet connection!
LootLog (LL) is especially for those who are delving into the new LFR tool. Tired of watching as the omnipresent chat spam runs by, to see if you have won an item? Leave your glasses behind and grab this AddOn!
There is a simple, to the point configuration, for those who want to configure a minimum loot level, fade time, class, and colors.
Look at Udorn, stealing all of the goodies!
QuestMaster (QM) combines quest and achievement monitoring into one, very handy display; no need for two or more AddOns to perform what QM does out of the box.
As with LL, there is a straightforward set of options, allowing you to easily customize the appearance to match your personal tastes, ignore some quests, based upon your liking, and to show all accepted quests, rather than just those you are 'following'.
Marc really stands out, at least partially due to his dedication to answering users' questions and helping with issues. It is tempting to just release something sort of into the wild, but taking the time and making the effort to help out, often with little or no thanks, is what really makes Marc shine, even amongst the other star authors in the community.
We truly appreciate Marc taking time to hang out with us, even if it will take a while to get the soot our of his suite! Look for some upcoming enhancements to AuctionMaster and we will try to contain ourselves, as we anxiously await his next creation.
'Into the Fire' is brought to you by Curse. In addition to some other features, we primarily highlight not only the work, but also the people behind it. We do this by inviting some of our AddOn Author friends to bring their AddOns and tell us a bit about themselves and their creations - beckoning them into the fire, if you will. =)
Feel free to contact Nechckn, via site PM, if you have any particular Authors about whom you would like to know more, AddOns you cannot live without, or quirky questions. We will not normally reply to individuals, but will try to include the people and topics you find of interest.