Monday, March 26, 2007


Our grad show was last Wednesday evening, it went well. There were a lot of people there and the response seemed to be good. I had a complete disaster at the beginning of the night, just before it started i thought i would check my site one last time only to discover a big red message saying the site had been disabled! I hurried back to D10 and then couldn't log on to my provider of reach them by phone. Eventually i realised that i must have run out of band width due to all the uploading and downloading i had done in preparing for the show. I was then forced to upgrade my account to get some more space. But this took time so i was left with a temporary URL during the show.

It was just typical that my site has been up for the last year and a half and will be up for the foreseeable future but it was down for the duration of the show. rubbish.

after i fixed the site the show went well, i chatted to a lot of people and people seemed impressed with my work.

law and money

We had some usefull presntations about legal issues and accounting in the last week. THey were very interesting and although there wasnt time to go into depth about specific issues i did get a sence of what to look out for and be aware of.

One thing i learnt was what a P45 and A P60 was for, i cant belive i never really wondered before, i used to just stick them in a folder. i never questioned why i was always put on emergency tax when i sterted a new job. fool.

The legal advise we recived but a lot of it was going over old ground i had learnt before doing my engineering degree. I was quite good at, i remember scoring 95% for a question on web crime.

nwther the less both guys were very knoledgeable and the presentations were informal and interesting.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Nearly finished

Thought i should write a general post about the fact that my time as a D10 student is nearly over. Its going to be a busy last couple of weeks with a lot of writing to be done as well as cleaning up all the work i have done over the course ready for my portfolio.

I have learnt a great deal from the course and it has ended up being beter than i could have hoped, In a lot of respects i think that i have learnt more from the course than any one else, i feel that i started off with very little knowledge of the interactive media industry but now i feel very confident.

CSS Training

Today we had CSS training from Jake Rayson, he was a great teacher and like a lot of people i have met recently strainge familiar, I'm not sure if its because I've now met every kind of person in the world or that i have genuinely bumped into him in the past somewhere. Anyway, it was very interesting and although most of what he talked about was going over old ground i did pick up a few interesting bits and pieces which made it very worth while, for instance; i have always used float when laying out colums and he prefered just using margins. It was very useful to see how a professional works and hear all the little tips he has picked up on his way. I didnt agree with everything that he said but i think that he wasnt trying to preach that his way was the best way, it was just the method which he found was the best for him and others who may have to follow his code.

During the day i realised that a lot of the things he as showing us i had picked up at sequence during my work experience, it was great that there was a corolation between what Jake was saying with good practice and what i had experienced in industry.

Overall it was a great bit of training, i would have liked to have done a couple more days, I'm hoping to use z levels for my portfolio site and it would have been useful to pick his brains and avoid any pit falls.

Work experience

For my work experience placement i went to Sequence, a web company here in cardiff shamim was placed their as well. Sequence are quite large and it was a great opportunity for me to experience all areas of the web development process from initial concepts and meetings with the client through design and development to testing and support. Two weeks was a nice amount of time to get settled and see what really went on, the first week was mainly testing and getting to know the people and structure of the office. We attended a scoping meeting with Phil Murphy about a text message based quit smoking system which was very interesting, we also got to see a lot of projects as they were being signed off and tested.

In the second week i got a lot more involved in CSS and HTML for a new project sequence was starting, i got a lot of support and advise from the designers and developers, the team atmosphere was very apparent and not what i as expecting. The company seemed like a great place to work with a lot of friendly people, i was quite sad to leave at the end of the 2 weeks.

I think that going to Sequence was hugely beneficial to me, it aloud me to see a company where people specialise and are able to concentrate on their strengths. A broad knowledge base is very important but i would like to think that in future employment i could skew my time quite considerably toward the things I'm good at and enjoy.

Promo cymru

The second major project which we have compleated recenly is the 2 person client led brief. Carol and i chose a brief from promo cymru to construct an add on for a cardiff youth web site they were constructing. The brief was interesting and gave me a chance to have a go at PHP back end programing a well as xml with flash.

The solution we decided to go for was a flash map where the users to the site can upload their images and link them to areas in cardiff. This worked well and we are very pleased with the result:


I rally like the design carol came up with and the although the concept isnt particularly original i think we acheaved what we set out to. The finished product does work but more so than any other briefs there is a lot more we colud do if we get any time in the future, the posibuilitys for the product are almost endless.


Just realises that i have forgotten to post much regarding the two major briefs we recieved this year. The Mygo 5 person brief was the first, D10 was split into 2 teams, on my Team were Carol, Rob nick and Gareth. Our brief was from a company called MYGO, they wanted us to build a "casual" flash game for their bluehyppo game zone. The brief was very open and proved to be a lot of fun, we worked very well as a team and produced a great piece of work at the end. The game we made was called Orball, it was important to us that we produce a game which was unlike anything else yet would be easy to pick up and play. This brief was a chance for us to create something which could be very personal and reflect our personalitys yet still fullfill the brief. We took a lot of influence from locoroco on the PSP, we liked the fun and simplicity of the game as well as the style and sound. Here is a link to our finished game hope you like it:


I am very pleased with the result and a lot of people have said very nice things about it, the only complaint is that it is too hard, but that just seems to keep people playing longer.

Monday, February 26, 2007


We have had a few very interesting visitors so far this year. Leo from Sequence popped in to show us some flash games he had been working on for the BBC and Dr Who. Having visited the BBC at the beginning of the course it was very interesting to see a project from another angle, as a client the BBC seem to be quite particular about what they want. My current work experience at sequence has given me yet another angle of the same project. I think that I would definitely enjoy developing flash games in the future. Leo seemed to really enjoy his work; the only thing I worry about is if I would be able to get a job/career as soley a flash developer. I doubt it unless I worked in a very large company and I would then probably be churning out the same stuff night and day. Also it would be risky because if flash fell out of fashion I would be out of a job.

We also had a visit from greenfields, a blue tooth broadcasting company. They travel to events with a load of blue tooth transmitters; the event organizers hire them to broadcast advertising or multimedia content directly to customer’s phones. They had had some impressive results and although I usually keep the Bluetooth on my phone turned off I would switch it on to get a free animation or something useful like a map of the event. The advantage of using blue tooth over traditional paper based flyers is large, there is no waste and you know that your message has been read. I don’t know what greenfields charge but I imagine that at a big enough event it may even be cheaper to set up a few transmitters rather than have to pay for the printing and distribution of hundreds of leaflets. If the content you send out is good enough people my end up forwarding them to their friends which you probably wouldn’t do with a paper flyer.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Contraction and Convergence

Since christmas a lot of people at D10 have been working with James Cook on a student campaign on a mission to stop climate change. I was charged with creating a game to put on the website, idealy it would be viral and the kind of game which people would send to each other and tell people about.

It was a great project and i really enjoyed the chance to try out new things and work on a project on my own. here is the finished game:

here is the link to the original site

From the project i learnt a lot about managing my time, we had 2 other briefs at the same time. I put a lot of hour in, mostly in the evening but it never felt like a chore, i really enjoyed making the game. It i not the most oringinal game but because of the time constraints i felt i couldnt risk making anything to blue sky. I would like to say a big thank you to james for giving the final game his designer magic.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Monday 4th December - Friday 12th December - bp alternative energy + christmas

I was very exited when this brief first came through, it was a chance to develope my flah and action script skills and i was looking forard to working with carol. The brief was to make a game for bp's alternative energy web site. The game needed to show different forms of energy generation and the pros and cons of each one. The website seems to be a bit of green washing by bp but at least its something. We decided to make a sim city type game where the player is given a country and has to add power stations too it creating enough power but without creating too much C02.

It was a pleasure to work with Carol and we encountered no real problems with the brief, we just go on with it and tackled any issue as soon as it cropped up. I like the finished game we produced, here is a small version:

for a larger version please go to full size version which is currently on carols blog.

i will stick it on my portfolio at some point but i probably wont have time for a while. The hardest and most time consuming thing about this course at the moment is keeping this blog up to date though it is helping my typing speed.

i had a nice relaxing time over christmas and was given Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, i was suposed to be reading a copy of the google story that james gave me but im now hooked on snow crash. Its a great book and an interactive media clasic, it was written in 1992 and has alot of elements of the modern web in it mainly second life. im about half way through and i dont want it to end at the moment, im kidding myself that reading it counts as study. I will stick it in Amazon when ive finished to see what they can sugest at what else i should read. I really like the dystopian future vision, very H G Wells.

Apart from alot of reading ive also been looking int what makes a good flash game, ive been looking at all the best games on the web and trying to work out what makes them good. Having an ineresting style and clean look apeals too me but i think more important is the quality of the animation and physical realism, thing in the game have to behave as you would expect them to. If something dosnt behave as you would expect in real life then the illution is broken and the magic is gone. In the next game i make im going to study my animation books to try to capture som real phisical reactions in objects and charectures within my game.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Monday 27th November - Friday 1st December - Flash

I was really looking forward to a week of flash training, I've done quite a bit before getting some solid training was very useful. Here is a small movie I made during the week.

It was great fun and I learnt a lot during the week and understood more of what I had done in the past. Our trainer Neil Jenkins, his site is He was a great trainer and we got a lot done in the short period when he was here. I spent most of the week experimenting with game ideas which was great I hope I can make time to do more.

On Friday a father and son team came in to give us a talk on their site It was an interesting talk although it must be hard work for little reward, setting up your own company didn't seem like an impossible task.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Monday 20th - Friday 24th November - Sound design

The first few days of the brief were used to catch up on bits and bobs, I used the time to work on my individual reflective commentary on the Dreamweaver brief. I also clean up some of the group work. It was good to have a few days of more relaxing work but by the end of the week I was ready to start something new.

On Thursday and Friday we had John-Paul Jones in to teach us about sound design, The first day was Audacity and the second day Reason. Audacity can be downloaded free Its a great program which I was introduced to a couple of years ago, I used it to record audio streaming from the net. The program is easy to use and quick to learn, on Thursday we used it to record the first paragraph from "Moby Dick" and then chop it up and alter it .It was quite good fun but as we had all used audacity in our digital stories and our 3D work I didn't feel that I learnt much I didn't know about the software. I did learn a lot about sound formats that will probably be very useful.