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Community Focus – Lowlines

If you are long-time Destiny player, you may remember a time when the only way to move your gear between characters involved endless visits to the Tower. To solve this problem, we created an API to let you move your gear around on your personal device of choice—using the right application, of course. There was much rejoicing. We also decided to allow the community to use that technology to make amazing applications to do everything from organizing your gear to finding clips of yourself in the Crucible.

Our focus this week is a pioneer in the Destiny application developer community. Please meet Lowlines. 

Welcome to your community focus! Tell us a little bit about yourself and what your role is in the Destiny Community.

LL: I am an Australian web developer with a passion for building tools for the gaming community. During Destiny 1, I maintained the unofficial Bungie API docs and helped other community developers build their own apps. I have also been known to record the occasional Pilgrimage Lore video while on patrol in the Dreaming City.
 
Thanks for assisting others in the creation of cool apps. Where can we find you on the internet?

LL: Here is where you can find me. 

Twitter: @lowlines
 
What has been your favorite subclass and weapon?

LL: I love running my Hunter as a Nightstalker, though Blade Barrage has been a nice change to the mix! My favourite weapon would have to be the No Turning Back kinetic bow. I have racked up over 28K kills with it since Petra gave it to me in Spider's Hideout.
 
Fine choices. Tell us about your site. It looks like more than just a few maps.

LL: My website is a space that allows me to share my passion projects with others. It provides me with a way to hone my skills and showcase how the web can be used as an extension to the player experience, particularly with the help of public game APIs.
 
Folks might be most familiar with the maps project, which is an enhanced version of the in-game Director and can be viewed from any device with a web browser even when you aren't playing Destiny 2. I've also been collaborating with other community developers by making my map data available for them to use. Websites like D2Checklist can deep link to a specific location and I've even made it possible to embed the maps into other websites like you would with Google Maps, which has been a useful feature for clans that run their own websites.
 
The gear viewer is another project that is a porting effort of Bungie's in-house web-based model viewer used to display 3d models on bungie.net back during Destiny 1. Despite being incomplete and fairly experimental, a lot of community artists have found it to be really useful for inspecting gear models for references while other community developers have used my code to build even cooler projects like the Catwalk by Josh Hunt or Chris Fried's experiments with VR!
 
Near the end of Destiny 1, I even put together a little community challenge where you had to go on a boss hunt to help Cayde fill his Pokedex!
 
These are just some examples of the types of projects I've worked on, and I make stuff for other games too! I am constantly coming up with new ideas for projects, and my website is the place you can go to check out some of the more fleshed-out ones!
 
Those are all cool projects. What got you interested in making maps and API features?

LL: Around the same time Dark Below came out, I learned that bungie.net had added a new API for moving items between characters. Seeing that I suddenly no longer had to make trips to the Tower to change my gear was really eye opening, and ever since, I have been advocating to see more games with APIs.
 
For why the maps in particular, I played a lot of Borderlands 2 prior to Destiny and there was this really cool interactive map I remember using to keep track of collectibles on my iPad. There were no APIs for checking your profile data back then, but I just loved having such a tool on my companion device, and once I saw how the Director had evolved with Destiny 2, I knew I had to combine those two experiences together!
 
Do you have any new features planned?

LL: While I plan to continue supporting the maps for future Destiny content, I am looking at a way to make it easier to keep track of pursuits and all the activities you can do each week. Braytech.org has this really neat "This Week" view that shows a lot of the type of information I want to highlight on the maps. However, I've been working on the maps project for about eight months now, and much like making a game, it gets harder to keep adding new things on top of the existing code without the possibility of breaking something else. So it requires taking a few steps back to analyse what is there and find the best approach to move forward, and that takes time.
 
I have also been working on another project that looks at tracking changes to your profile data during a given play session. Examples include things like knowing when an Exotic item drops, how many kills you got with a given weapon, or even how many times you've killed Ghaul! I'm building it as a Twitch extension streamers could use to engage with their viewers and for running fun little community events like a boss hunt. Eventually I'd like to evolve it to a point where you might be able to do things like recreating an entire Crucible match by tracking all the players in the current activity and stitching it together to produce live stats. It's still in the early prototyping stages at the moment, but I will be looking for folks to test it out once it is more fleshed out. I'm also open to ideas folks might have as there is so much data that you can track in the APIs, and I'm not even 100% sure what is possible yet!
 
We fully understand the risks of changing complex software. Anything else you would like to add?

LL: None of what I or any other developer within the community do would be possible without the amazing work folks like vthornheart at Bungie do with the APIs. They enable us to create awesome tools like DIM for managing your inventory, to keep track of your collections with DestinySets.com or track clan milestones and plan raids right out of Discord chat with bots like Warmind.io. Destiny has such a thriving developer community because of Bungie's openness to let us use their APIs, and I am so glad that I decided to try the Destiny Beta all those years ago!
 
Thanks for taking the tools we made for you and putting them to good use. We appreciate you taking the time to tell us about yourself and what you are working on.

If you are interested in using Lowline’s API features, check out his website at lowlidev.com.au. We are already on the hunt for our next community focus. If you have a suggestion, make a post using the #CommunityFocus tag.

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