Build Something

I write this blog, in part, as a response to the impermanence of Twitter and Facebook. If I’m going to have the audacity to post publicly on the internet then I want it, good, bad or indifferent, to be permanent. I want to build something.

You’re fucking swimming in everyone else’s moments, likes, and tweets and during these moments of consumption you are coming to believe that their brief interestingness to others makes it somehow relevant to you and worth your time.

We’re just starting 2014 and Rands nails it again:

When you choose to create, you’re bucking the trend because you’re choosing to take the time to build.

And that’s a great way to start the year.

Go read The Builder’s High.

C# Memory Management for Unity 3D

If you’re developing games in any space or developing anything in the mobile space you’re going to have to be concerned about memory management. A lot. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing it manually, reference counting, using ARC or garbage collection. If you’re pushing the envelope in any way the details of how memory is managed matter greatly. In Unity 3D the C# garbage collection is one of those details, and there’s very few articles which deal with it specifically. Wendelin Reich just changed that:

I learned the hard way that in game development, you cannot rely on automatic memory management.

Wendelin Reich’s C# Memory Management for Unity Developers

Developing an art style for The Witness

Part of what 3D artists do in games is to create a world which looks great within the engine and the chosen style. Sometimes, often, the style is realism. The Witness is aiming for a different look:

So we began an exploration of different techniques we could use to achieve a sort of stylized realism. We needed to be able to capture the essence of our reference imagery while not being quite so literal. It also had to be free of gratuitous visual noise, plus appealing to look at and explore.

I guess great artists do this consciously or unconsciously. It’s interesting to see it written about. I can’t wait to see the final game.

Eric Anderson’s On the Rocks

Visual Studio 2012 Supports Debugging Optimized Code

Bruce Dawson reveals this great feature. A year ago this would have been incredibly exciting to me. Even now it’s great news for native developers using Visual Studio:

It turns out that Microsoft shipped this feature in Visual Studio 2012, but forgot to tell anyone. This could be the most important improvement to Visual Studio in years but it s been almost top-secret.

Microsoft really should be shouting about this. Debugging Optimized Code – New in Visual Studio 2012.

What’s really amazing is that this isn’t considered a make-or-break product feature. IIRC Watcom C++ did this around 1996. Visual Studio survived. Watcom didn’t.

How Do Good Ideas Spread?

We yearn for frictionless, technological solutions. But people talking to people is still the way that norms and standards change.

What makes a successful company? People and culture must be at or near the top of the list. Sometimes company cultures need fixing. If you’ve ever been involved in an effort to change culture you’ll know that it’s hard. Really hard. Atul Gawande has a great article on changing social norms in the world at large in the context of medicine. Culture is a social problem. Forming it and changing it is as low tech as you can get.

… people follow the lead of other people they know and trust when they decide whether to take it up. Every change requires effort, and the decision to make that effort is a social process.

Atul Gawande’s Slow Ideas

Playscript: Actionscript For .NET

Miguel de Icaza:

PlayScript is a superset of ActionScript and it was based on Mono’s C# 5.0 compiler. PlayScript is ActionScript augmented with C# 5.0 features.

Zynga’s PlayScript allows developers that have some ActionScript/Flash code to bring their code to any platform that supports the ECMA Intermediate Language (Microsoft .NET and Mono) and blend it with other .NET languages.

But the PlayScript has a fabulous feature, it allows mixing code in both C# and PlayScript in the same compilation unit.

Playscript

There have been a bunch of interesting new languages on the .NET platform which haven’t reached critical mass. Are there enough ActionScript developers and code out there to make PlayScript viable?