Archive for the ‘Games’ Tag
I recently returned from the Brighton based conference Flash on the Beach. It was my second year of attendance and once again I had an amazing experience. It has been a tough year for the Flash world and this definitely was a strong theme over the four days of talks and workshops. I caught a number of sessions related to establishing and understanding what has happened and how to adapt to the changes in the industry. I’m going to run through some of the highs and lows of this years conference and try and capture my thoughts and feelings about what was ultimately a really valuable time for me.
– Grant skinner kicked off Monday morning after the keynote. His talk was excellent as usual. He covered numerous projects that he has done that started out as experiments or play. He talked about how his adhd-like nature can lead him to distraction from client work sometimes and how he has harnessed this to create many interesting side projects, often feeding back into the client work and leading onto greater things. It was a fascinating and funny talk and a pleasure to watch. He went on to provide methods on how to invoke time to be able to do this, to take twenty minutes a day and devote it to coding fun, to “Find the time” and “Learn to love to learn”. He talks a bit about this theme on a recent post that can be found here. It is so easy to slip into the habit of neglecting to ‘play’ and this was a real reminder of the tangible benefits and enjoyment that can be drawn from doing so. Some of the examples of projects of this type included Androideroids, Regexr, Perfectr (as yet unreleased), Kaleidoscope and his Playing Records experiment.
– Lee Brimelow‘s talk entitled My Head Hurts was very insightful, pragmatic and encouraging and left me feeling positive about Flash’s future. Lee is a Platform Evangelist at Adobe. He made some interesting points and observations about the resulting fallout (and misinformation) generated by Steve Job’s ‘Thoughts on Flash’ blog.
– Seb Lee-Delisle‘s talk, ‘What the Flux?’ was probably my favourite of the conference and covered similar subject matter to Lee Brimelow’s. Seb decided to talk to some major players in the open web community to gain some perspective on how flash is viewed from outside our own community. What he discovered was quite sobering stuff and did not leave me feeling overly warm and fuzzy inside. There is obviously some venom felt towards the Flash community, and it was interesting to hear Seb say that it’s partially our own fault for the weaker aspects of the content we have produced over the years. The talk was great because it managed to trawl though so many complicated issues and summarise it all into really useful information and comment. The overall conclusion was that we all needed to keep on learning new tech, keep adapting and keep being passionate. It was a great call to arms and kick up the backside and definitely a talk worth watching, Flash developer or not, if you can find a link to it online. It ended in an on-stage game of Family Fortunes that he had built using an iPad and Wii-mote controllers. I also had the pleasure of talking to him at the bar afterwards and discussing his talk further. What an lovely guy he is.
– Iain Lobb‘s game design talk, ‘Zero to Game Designer in 60 Minutes’, was excellent. The venue was packed and many were unable to get in. He used a demo-suite created using his latest game-engine to illustrate the many subtle nuances that come together to make a pleasing gaming experience. You can play with his demo here. It enables you to play with camera movement, character movement, physics, feedback, enemy behaviour and many other components of gaming. One particular insight I loved was the explanation of how Mario games feel so ‘right’: Mario has three times as much gravity applied to him on the way down as he does on the way up.
– Seeing the work of artist/coder Robert Hodgin, the man behind the iTunes Visualiser!
– Bumping into the FDT team on Brighton Pier and chatting to them about their great product face to face.
– Having after-party drinks at the Dome Bar right at the conference. £1 drinks and plenty of room for everyone = much better!
– Stefan Sagmeister‘s manatee blowjob joke, oh, and his talk in general. Again, the theme was one of experimenting and play (in the context of sabbaticals). Inspiring stuff.
– Having at least one strand of every talk session being signed for the deaf audience.
– Leaving the conference feeling inspired, engaged, reinvigorated and ready to do more (this is probably the thing I like most about FOTB).
Lows (actually these were very hard to come up with…)
– Although I found it all quite amazing, I think I saw too much generative art this year.
– For me, there was a lack of talks containing tangible, valuable, help and advice such as gotchas, code examples or best practices.
So all in all it was an excellent and valuable time. I will definitely be back again for more. Thanks to everyone involved for making it so good and to all the people I met and hung out with. It was a pleasure.
I spent yesterday at the Flash Games Workshop at the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol. The day was graciously organised by @dancourse, one of the directors of Thought Den, a local digital design and build agency based in Bristol. Myself, @seventy9 and @dancourse spent the day trying to hammer out an AS3 game. I had the bright idea of leveraging the freely available Box2D physics-based framework to make a gravity-based planetary spaceman rescue game. It soon turned out that Box2D is an incredibly powerful framework with a very steep learning curve – the kind of learning curve that might take more than an hour or two to get rolling with! So, much of the day was spent painfully trying to make the simplest of things work within an unfamiliar code base.
I find it’s difficult times like these where real breakthroughs can happen in learning to code…. and so on paper it may not look like much was achieved, a lot went on in the old brain department. I had a great time hanging out with and working with my two other coding pals for the day and I left feeling inspired to do more and finish the game we had started. In fact @seventy9 worked on it more that night and so things have progressed even further already. I will post another blog if/when we get our little game into a viewable state.