I’m still getting the odd comment on my post in April about my back & why I was retiring from Ogre - thanks again to everyone for the best wishes. I haven’t posted any updates since then, both because I don’t want to ‘count my chickens’ too early, because I’ve been busy, and because I don’t want to be too self-indulgent; but it’s been 6 months now, and I figure some people might like to know my status, because it really has changed a lot.
Wow, talk about a ‘bolt from the blue’ here: I woke up this morning to find that I’d been included on the ‘Game Developer 50’ in the November 2010 issue of the long established Game Developer Magazine. It’s entirely, completely bonkers to see my name included in the same list as the likes of Sid Meier and Gabe Newell. Just, wow. 😮 Obviously my inclusion was based on my 10 years working on Ogre - it’s somewhat ironic that I was a GDMag subscriber when I started Ogre originally, and did so with the intention of creating my own games with it, inspired by what I read in those pages.
I’m pleased to announce that I’m finally ready to make my first fully-fledged commercial Mac OS X application available to the world! SourceTree is a user-friendly Mac OS X front-end for Mercurial and Git, the two most popular distributed version control systems used today. The goal was to create a single tool which could deal with both systems efficiently, and to give a developer quick and intuitive access to the things (s)he needs to just get on with building software.
I’m 37, and I’ve been a (professional) developer for 16 years. You would have thought that in that time, I’d have figured out an effective work style which delivered the desired outcomes (code cut, products shipped etc) without causing detrimental knock-on effects - but, sadly, you’d be wrong. I think the style in which I practiced my craft for the first 15 years of my career was much the same as every other enthusiastic developer: you put a ton of hours in.
In a complete and total surprise, my cousin presented to me yesterday the result of a grand conspiracy in the Ogre community to commemorate my time as project lead - a specially designed, unique Ogre statuette! Thumbnails below, click for more detail… I literally had no idea this was going on, or that my cousin had been asked to make the delivery that day (I thought we were just meeting for a social).
It was my birthday this week, and from my wife I received Arkham Horror, a co-operative board game based on the classic role-playing game Call of Cthulhu - which in itself draws much of its content and vibe from the writings of H.P. Lovecraft. Set in 1920’s New England, in contrast to traditional western ‘horror stories’ (vampires, werewolves etc - all a bit pedestrian), Lovecraft’s world is filled with bizarre creatures and unknowable ‘Ancient Ones’ - slumbering horrors in the outer dimensions who threaten to wake and destroy the world, and the ‘Investigators’ the players control - which include doctors, archaeologists, flappers and gangsters - are trying to avert this outcome.
I’ve never really liked Facebook, as regular readers of the blog will be all too aware of, but I’ve been a user of it in the last couple of years, mostly at the cajoling of friends. During this same period of time I also started using Twitter, a service which I was also skeptical about initially. Previously, I’d always relied on my blog, forums and official sites to do my interacting, and I wasn’t sure I needed anything else.
Apple’s new flagship product, the iPad, was only just released in countries outside the USA last Friday, and I was fortunate to get my hands on one on launch day. Like many Apple products, this one has divided people, with a lot of people decrying it as a device looking for a purpose, a device that falls between two stools (not as portable as a phone, not as functional as a laptop), a device that is stifled within Apple’s walled garden.
Giving up the leadership of OGRE was a sad moment for me, but in hindsight it has also been rather liberating. For 10 years I’d spent most of my energy on OGRE or on projects that were related to OGRE. There was an implicit understanding both from the community and from myself that everything I embarked on would in some way tie into OGRE - and indeed my business has always been based on a constant balancing act between how I can make a living while also promoting and advancing OGRE.
For 18 months I’ve been told by a succession of doctors and physios that I didn’t have anything structurally wrong with my spine and that my bouts of back pain were simply ‘standard non-specific back pain’ - ie muscle problems that I should just take NSAIDs for and exercise more. I’d been a bit skeptical because the problems were occasionally quite extreme and seemed to be always centred on one particular location (the joint just at the bottom of my ribcage), but after getting many opinions and one set of x-rays I went along with it.