• Week 29

    5 May 2013

    With Detling wrapped, something that was loosely meant to be a week off.

    Not a holiday per se, but no client work. I think, in the end, I took about half the week off, and the rest rightly falls into Phil’s definition of work – nothing for a particular client, but definitely work on my own professional output.

    I spent a little longer futzing with electronics, and mainly running into some horrid issues with bitwise maths that just weren’t entertaining enough for what was meant to be a relaxing week of research – so I put them to one side.

    Instead, I spent much of Monday exploring the viability of a particular approach to a project (which is currently called Swinside). In this case, that was the integration of MIDI control surfaces, Ableton Live, Quartz Composer, and using webservices to generate text to be rendered by Quartz. (It’s a fun, if bizarre, toolchain to work with).

    By the end of the day, I had an ugly demo up and running – practically a screensaver – but it was a real blue triangle moment for me, and super-satisfying as such.

    Blue triangle moment” refers to a story I can no longer find the Gamasutra link for, so consider it apocraphyal: early Playstation devs, working on getting code running on their new devkits. They slaved over lots of things for a while, and at the end of their labour… a solitary blue triangle was rendered on screen. They cheered. Their project manager was less than enthusiastic – all that time just to make a single triangle appear? No, they explained, it’s not just a triangle. It’s a triangle that an artist drew in his 3D program, saved to disk, and we just imported the artist’s work, told it where to appear, hit build, and got an executable game. The blue triangle may be underwhelming, but it was proof the pipeline worked. Within another week, they had textured, animated, 3D characters appearing on the PSX. The hard work was proving the interconnection in a functional system – not rendering the triangle alone. The triangle meant much more than itself.

    What I’ve learned is: yes, the bits I’m thinking about joining together would join together. An interesting feasibility study.

    Otherwise, I spent the week in a variety of work-related meetings. Most were interesting early-stage conversations and some hypotheticals, although a very short piece of work – Wilton – has emerged, with After The Flood in a few weeks’ time. That should be interesting.

    And, finally, I appear to have got myself an accountant. Freeagent has got my quite far, but I’m going to take an expert’s advice when it comes to tax returns.

    Update: Tom Stuart rightly corrects me – it’s a black triangle, not a blue one.