Let’s stop labelling people. We label ourselves, in order to gain acceptance from others, to feel like part of a larger whole, or to claim some kind of “identity”. A neat, easily-parsed silhouette which can be presented as shorthand, like some kind of personality hash. It’s not accurate, but it’s simpler, faster and often more palatable than the hazy, shifting reality. Worse is when we apply labels perjoratively to others; usually it’s to build straw men, their primary purpose to faciliate bad-faith arguments, most commonly on social media.
I’ve had a few friends ask me why we chose the name Old Doorways for our new game development venture. I’ve repeated the explanation enough times now that I figured it was worth blogging about, in case anyone else was wondering. The struggle is real As anyone who has had to name anything - a company, a product, a small human - will know, names are hard. I mean really hard.
If you asked me my opinion of Dark Souls two weeks ago, I would have said, diplomatically, that it was a much loved game which was just not for me. In truth though, I hated Dark Souls. My experience with it had been universally bad. I originally tried to play it back on the Xbox 360, a few months after it came out. I lasted about 3 hours, spread over a few days - a series of mini-rage quits terminated each individual session after about an hour, leading to a final catastrophic rage quit when I was killed by an invader just as I had struggled to a point I hadn’t been able to get to before.
This week, I officially cut the corporate umbilical and am out on my own again. I’m grateful for my time with Atlassian, which is a great company filled with truly excellent people who I’m going to miss. The fact that I stayed for 6 years when my pitch to myself at acquisition time was ‘stick with it for 12 months and then see how you feel’ is indicative of that.
How about that 2016 eh? I mean, leaving aside that a couple of mature western democracies deciding that it was well past time they got a little ker-azy and lit themselves on fire in case it might distract from other problems. Ignoring the 2016 “Cirque de Caca” thing, it’s been an interesting year for me. I decided to try being a game developer about 3 months ago, and that’s been a fun learning experience so far.
TL;DR: SpriteRecolour project page Download binaries (Mac, Win x86/x64, Linux x86/x64) SpriteRecolour example project in Unity Background While doing 2D gamedev work this week, it came to the front of my mind how nice it would be able to easily have multiple colour variations of sprites, without having to have multiple copies of the sprites themselves. There are various ways to do this, but the one I wanted to explore was a classic palette swap technique; the sort of thing we would have used in the 16-bit days.
I’ve thought about having a proper go at making games of my own for quite a while. There’s always been some reason why I’ve never quite gotten around to doing it seriously; all good reasons but when you line them up in serial, you suddenly realise a lot of time has passed. I’ve decided it’s time I stopped just thinking about it. As of today, I’m stepping down from most of my other responsibilities to dedicate serious time to making games.
I’ve been running this blog through a CMS since around 2003. The first version of this site that went beyond manually edited HTML ran on on PostNuke, for reasons I can no longer remember. 🤔 I moved to Wordpress around late 2005, and I’ve basically been running it ever since. It’s served me well, but as you can tell I don’t blog as often as I used to, and it got to the stage that my most frequent use of Wordpress was updating it, rather than adding content.
I never used to drink coffee.
Early in my career, fresh-faced and beardless as I was, while spending my days coding business software and my free time tinkering with 3D graphics, I burned the candle at all 3 ends in a fashion that was far from healthy. The lack of sleep often took a bit of a toll on the old (or at that point, young) synapses, so at first I started drinking coffee purely for the caffeine.
Over the intervening years I’ve grown greyer and more cranky, but in the coffee department I’ve at least become more sophisticated, or so I’d like to think. It occurred to me that maybe others might find this journey interesting, and have written it up below in a long and frankly rather self-indulgent fashion.
So, if you’re a fellow aficionado of the magic bean (or cherry, if we’re being pedantic), or maybe you’re thinking of taking your coffee a little more seriously, perhaps you’ll find this interesting or entertaining, or maybe you’ll just have a bit of a laugh at my expense. It’s a long one, so if you make it to the end, you’re entitled to respond to it however you like, including telling me it was a load of old bollocks.
If you’re sitting comfortably, let’s begin.
Warning: this post contains images of me over the years. I take no responsibility for the damage this may cause to your retina and/or mental state. Time’s a funny thing; it just keeps on passing. There it went just now. And again. And here I am, burning your actual time postulating about how time passes. And again, with that apology. Sorry. I should stop now. Another thing is that we have this impression that there’s a “right time” for things.