Category Archives: Work

Processing sketch – spiral gallery

So, this year, I’ve decided I that I want to do a lot more processing work. As I’m back to the world of freelancing in 2008, I’ll be making a big effort to post a lot of my processing sketches online as I do them. They will probably not be hugely exciting, but I’ve realised that documentation of work is really important – I have insane amounts of experimental work lying around and it hardly ever sees the light of day. Anyway, I haven’t quite gotten the hang of processing in the browser yet – there’s a few technical constraints I have to get to grips with. However, there’s no problem making youtube videos… so here we go – processing sketch video #1: spiral gallery, “autumn”. This sketch loads the first 25 images returned by the keyword search “autumn” on Then in animates them using a fibbonacci derived space packing algorithm, which was developed by observing the growth of seeds in flower heads. I like how it seems quite chaotic but is actually very rigidly defined and ordered.

Processing Sketch – Spiral gallery, autumn from Alias on Vimeo.

Note that this works fine in real time – it’s just that Processing isn’t very happy in a browser at the moment. I’m working on that, and I’ll try to post the actual applet and code soon. Processing is so much fun – it’s a refreshing change to have hardware accelleration! Go OpenGL!

More video flyers…

Here’s the second half of the Slaughterhaus 5 launch campaign. These ones are a bit more well produced, I think. (although obviously still pretty amateurish by Soho/Hoxton standards…:p )

Making videos is so much fun! No writing code, debugging, or any of that stressful crap. And once it’s done, it’s done. Awesome.

The cool thing about this whole “video flyers” idea is that they’re much more effective than regular paper flyers, don’t require physical distribution, and are actually less expensive when you factor in printing costs. Of course, once we start doing location shoots, and hiring Christopher Walken to do guest appearances that might change… 🙂

EAxploitation Games… Overwork Everyone

It seems that the console games industry is on the brink of meltdown due to burnout staff working practices – EA (NASDAQ: ERTS) being the most prominent offender, and the potential recipient of a potential class action lawsuit. This comes in the wake of numerous reports of a corporate culture of abuse, burnout, death march development cycles, and gross management incompetence, according to both firsthand accounts and anonymous rants by family members of developers.

There is talk of forming a Game Developer’s union, not to mention countless op-ed pieces on how to turn out a games project on schedule without losing half your developers in the process. I don’t know how, but I think it’s definitely time for something to change. I’ve eperienced long working hours on both games and web projects, and it’s true that working later and harder on projects is a fact of life in creative industries – however, EA’s alleged approach of a scheduled, unending crunch has got to be a sure way of destroying some of the games industry’s best talent. If I had to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, that career in carpentry would start to look damned attractive…

I, for one, am not going to be buying any EA games in the foreseeable future – and it’s been a long time since I’ve used any of their graphics applications

Would people use a Flash component-specific mailing list?

I’m just as guilty as the next guy of bitching about flashcoders being flooded with “broken component whinging” – people asking loads of component specific questions, which have largely eroded the quality of the flashcoders mailing list – however, I think it would be very useful to have a list which specifically dealt with component problems – thereby getting it all in one place and lightening the load on flashcoders. Would people use a list like this? It would be a good place for the component gurus to hang out, and the more abstract AS questions would continue to go to flashcoders.

Anyway, the list page is here, we’ll see if anyone signs up to it.

MMUG conference notes

Well, the talk last night went well, I think, I didn’t screw it up too bad, or fall over or knock down the podium or anything. I had fun and met a lot of interesting new people and generally I think everyone had a good time. A couple of people have asked for the notes for the talk I gave, so I’ve put them online here:
download MMUG conference notes

They’re in flash fomat, just unzip the files and open the html page. Not sure how much sense they’ll make by themselves, but there’s some interesting stuff in there.


I’m really stoked right now, because I’ve just finished the first milestone of GAMEFRAME, my current project. GAMEFRAME is a collection of libraries designed to assist in creating flash games – it’s an AS2 framework which includes things like world management, sprite behaviours & collision detection – stuff that virtually every game needs. I’ll be talking about it at the meeting this thursday.

Here’s a demo: this demonstrates the usefulness of tree based collision detection (which gameframe makes it really easy to implement) – you can have a large number of sprites on screen at once, all moving independantly and reacting to collisions – with only a small drop in performance. This is it the expense of a small amount of accuracy, but for most games this will be good enough. I’m thinking arcade style shoot-em ups, that sort of thing. Anyway, this demo has 30 enemy sprites, and one hero sprite, moving around freely in 2 dimensions. As you can see, it performs pretty well. I’m pretty happy with the collision reactions, which I just got working tonight, thanks to Jobe Makar’s Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Game Design Demystified. Anyway, check it out, let me know what you think.

Instructions: Note – this is not really a game. Just move the black square around with the arrow keys and bash into the other squares. Refresh the page to start again.
View GAMEFRAME collision demo


I’ve been asked by the London MMUG to do a talk on developing flash games for their next meeting. I’ll be talking about the World/Controller design pattern, which is a flash specific variation on the Model/View/Controller pattern, and also the basics of tree based collision detection. I’ll be posting articles & source on here to go with the talk, either just before or after the meeting.

London MMUG (formerly now have a new website, it’s at:
The meeting is at 6.30pm on Spetember the 18th, doors open 6.00pm.

The details can be found here. Don’t forget to register! Hope to see you there!


André Michelle has released a new package of game related libraries. It’s still in a very early version, but it’s got a good conventional tilemap engine. Check it out here.