Archive for August, 2005

Bank Holiday/TIGA

Posted in Tales from the grind-stone on August 30th, 2005 by MrCranky

There are few things better in life than being able to get away from things for a nice bank holiday weekend to some quiet, peaceful place where you can forget about all the stress and workload back at the office. I’m a little stiff from walking up a huge hill in Glencoe on Saturday, but probably stiffer from all the drinking done on Sunday with the torrential downpours outside. 🙂

Anyway, much fun was had, and it’s motivated me a bit to get some serious work done on the code, and maybe even to dig Torque back out and try to achieve something with that.

On an unrelated note, we are now a fully paid up Associate Member of TIGA! I’ll be tinkering with the front page of the site soon to show our company logo and blurb about us, rather than having the blog as the front page – to help give us a bit more professional image. 😀 I’ll be putting the TIGA logo on there as well.
TIGA logo

Festival goodness

Posted in Tales from the grind-stone on August 22nd, 2005 by MrCranky

Well, its been a bit since the last post – I’ve been taking a few days off to enjoy the Edinburgh Festival (or more accurately the Fringe). I love this time of year – all the comedians and theatre and music. The city becomes a bustling mess of chaos; the kind of place where you walk down the street past a man with an enormous foam painted head and hardly bat an eyelid. Of course, the bustle has its drawbacks, especially when I’m taking the other half out for a nice meal and trying to get around the city, only to be thwarted by masses of tourists who insist on stopping in the middle of the pavement and looking blankly at the buildings around them. After that happens a few times, I think I could be forgiven for laying into the people around me with an umbrella and shouting “Get out of my way, I’M LOCAL!”.

Anyway, some work has been done around that, including more server machine twiddling, web development work for Flame Multimedia, and a little bit more tools coding. On this week: more of the same, as well as some more promotional stuff to find contracts.

On a brighter note, Sony have finally set a release date for Brave (the game which occupied our lives for a good portion of the past few years, for anyone who doesn’t know). I was worried for a while that SCEE were just not going to release it, but it looks like they were just keeping it in wait for some reason. Hopefully we’ll see some higher-profile publicity for it, I’d hate to see it slip past the public. We learned quite a few good lessons from the technology behind Brave, and there are quite a few ideas which we’ll be reusing in future development. I’ll be trying to p
ick up a copy in September, although being a bit stingy, I’ll probably wait till they’ve discounted it a bit first. 🙂

Sorry, I can’t hear you

Posted in Tales from the grind-stone on August 11th, 2005 by MrCranky

Well, after some tortuous effort and a lot of patience, I’ve finally wrangled the new kit into submission and its now running nice and stable with a brand new and shiney installation of Debian on it. I’ve still to transfer over the Subversion and web repositories, or to get the Samba stuff working properly so that I can do backups simply by copying over the network, but its all looking good. Only slight problem is the volume of the fan, which unfortunately means anyone coming in to talk to me has to speak in a very loud voice. But such is the price to pay for shiney new toys, and it only has to wait until I get a new (quieter) fan delivered soon. Also new is a better printer and a flatbed scanner, meaning I can hook up a PC-based fax machine as well, which should prove useful.

On an unrelated note, we’re actively seeking new contracts to pitch for again, and advertising ourselves to the various games companies in and around the UK; to let them know we’re here, what we can do, and to see what they need done.

Also managed to finish Peopleware and give the Design Patterns bible a good going over as well – both highly recommended, and I think I’ve gotten a lot out of them. I must admit, it was a bit scary to see all of the bad management pitfalls mentioned in Peopleware were represented to some degree in my previous jobs. Still, they’re in the past, and hopefully I can avoid making them for our company in the future. 🙂

Sugary goodness

Posted in Tales from the grind-stone on August 2nd, 2005 by MrCranky

Beefy energy has been replaced by sugary tea and chocolate biscuit fueled highs, but that hasn’t stopped me completing the first pass of the file packing tool. Still to be done today are some more tweaks to the coding standards, as well as starting on a script to run doxygen on our code nightly and publish it automatically on our internal development wiki (so that all the documentation is available in one place).

Another couple of days in Dundee are also called for later this week, so I’m going to spend the train journeys boning up on Peopleware (DeMarco, Lister) and Design Patterns (Gamma, et al), both development essentials kindly loaned to me by Pete. Possibly if I devour those two quickly enough, I’ll devote some time to planning out a tools development road-map.

That Monday feeling

Posted in Tales from the grind-stone on August 1st, 2005 by MrCranky

I’m actually feeling quite energetic this morning, oddly enough. I credit it to the lovely roast beef dinner I cooked last night. Can’t beat a huge slab of red meat and enough yorkshire puddings, tatties and veg to feed a whole family.

Onwards today – we have Pete in reviewing the code thats been written so far; since its all very common code, it’ll probably be used as a reference point for the style that we use in the future, so its quite important we’re happy with the way its laid out. Also we’re continuing with the tools development, and I’m going to be looking at the automated build process to see what we want in it to help us develop nice clean, portable code.

We’ve also got some second hand kit being donated soon – over onto which we’ll switch the source control and build processes, and reserving a machine solely for backup purposes (instead of relying solely on off-site backups like we do now).

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