Archive for September, 2011

Busy August

Posted in iPhone Apps, Links from the In-tar-web, Tales from the grind-stone on September 4th, 2011 by MrCranky

Lots of little things this month, keeping us all busy. I was ill for much of it, a fortnight of a racking cough that was driving everyone in the office crazy I’m sure, which put the kibosh on any plans I had to enjoy the Edinburgh Festival. It also made it rather hard to concentrate quite as much as I would have liked on our new project, a re-make of a famous Spectrum / C64 classic for smartphone and tablets. Instead, that’s largely been left in the capable hands of Tim and Dan, with me only providing interference in the form of design notes. We can’t talk too much more about it just yet, but it’ll be announced soon enough, probably when we get some good looking preliminary builds made up that will give people something to talk about while we get the game ready for release.

The iPhone app we made for PASG has finally launched – Hold’em Manager for iOS. That was our focus for much of late last year and this first half of this year, so it’s nice to see it out in the wild. It’s a partner application for users of the Hold’em Manager suite of apps, which are a great tool for any serious on-line poker player. Mind you, I do have to persuade our accountant that the money paid to on-line poker sites during testing are in fact valid business expenses. Not sure exactly what category that comes under in our year end accounts.

I took some time out in late July to tackle something I’d been meaning to do for a while: get us some official Company t-shirts. Here’s me modelling the black version:
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Very ‘man from C&A’, I know. I’d never make a model.

Our month long experiment with allowing people to comment on the blog without registering first is now done with, as I’d suspected, it didn’t really help much with the spam. Instead of a few dozen spambots registering on the site and needing deleted, we got a few dozen spambots registering on the site and needing delete and a few hundred spam comments which Akismet blocked before ever seeing the light of day. We don’t see a lot of discussion here on the blog, so the increased maintenance effort on my part wasn’t really worth it. Back to registration first for the foreseeable future.

Too much time this month was wasted trying to rebuild Dan’s PC, which had taken to freezing on boot and blue-screening. After swapping out every single component (graphics, PSU, motherboard/CPU, HDD, heck even the keyboard and power cable), we eventually figured out it was the DVD drive. Operated as a DVD drive perfectly, but if plugged in would cause failures. As a result we’ve got pretty much all of the bits of a new machine, so now Dan has his own, entirely rebuilt machine with Windows 7 (instead of a hand-me-down server machine running XP). I also get my XP server back, which I’d been missing as it’s nice to have a box I can run Cruisecontrol and background tasks on. It’s doing a sterling job with our tools work for Sumo, which is occupying most of my time right now.

Team Bondi went into administration. Not entirely unexpected, but still not nice when the livelihood of people is on the line. Hopefully it will serve as a warning to other studios as to what happens when you mismanage a project so badly with regards to working hours. However more likely it will all be pinned on Brendan McNamara, and the crunch part will be played down. The people I really feel sorry for are those at KMM (the only other sizeable employer of digital art staff in the area), who escaped Team Bondi and its management, only to find that their nemeses have now followed them to their new job.

Anyway, that’s pretty much it for now, back to tidying up all the boxes of PC components strewn around the office.


Email: info@blackcompanystudios.co.uk
Black Company Studios Limited, The Melting Pot, 5 Rose Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2PR
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Last modified: March 14 2017.