Thursday, 7 February 2008

Ultra ultra ultra high priority

One of the problems inherent in a small team like the Moviestorm crew is that everybody has two or three things that only they can do, and on which entire production schedules can sometimes hinge. New tasks arrive in my in-tray every morning, and I rarely get anything that isn't absolutely essential drop-what-you're-doing top priority. I've started classifying them privately as "ultra high priority", "ultra ultra high priority", "ultra ultra ultra high priority", etc. At the moment I'm working on my Ultra-8 task list, although I can sense Andrew, our COO, brewing up an Ultra-9 as I type this.

So. Busy, busy, busy. I thought it might be interesting to give you a sort-of snapshot of what everyone in the team is working on right now. To that end, I sent out a polite but insistent email this morning asking everyone to give me a short summary of their task list for the day. Here are the results, broken down by department as best I could:

bengarrett1971: Rolling out an update to the website, including a new featured director. I'm also investigating a number of potential flash movie players to incorporate into the site in the near future.

Ben_S: Working on the testing for the 1.0.3 release which hopefully happens today unless testing shows up glaring faults.
(Ben emailed me an update a few hours later: "You remember I said '... unless testing shows up glaring faults'? Well, it has.")

Synnah: As you might have guessed, my focus at the moment is on testing the new build that's going out. As usual, there are a number of last-minute issues that crop up before we release, and those need testing and re-testing to make sure they're ironed out.

Dick Swayze: I've been supervising my team of minion(s) in an attempt to get patch 1.0.3 ready for release. It hasn't been going too well so far, but I do have a new can of compressed air, so it's not all bad.

Chris Ollis: I'm currently constructing a large <censored>/<censored>/<censored> multi-use building. Actually, all of that should probably be censored to "building future release assets".

Mitch: Co-ordinating the creation of art assets and visuals for Moviestorm, from design concept to finished article.

layla: Erm ... encoding! We're trying to get a streaming version online for every single movie our users have ever uploaded, and I'm the lucky person who's been assigned the task of converting them all. Also, I'm building stock sets and doing the odd bit of prop modelling if/when I'm lucky.

twak: I've been trying to work up the bravery to record a screencast of our dev environment as a follow-up to this post. Until then, I've been occupying my time by trying to get to the bottom of WMV encoding with's DSJ library - been a bit of bashing-my-head-against-a-hard-surface excercise. I've also been fixing tinting bugs, and getting to the bottom of Moviestorm's memory usage (QA have been shown how to use Netbean's memory analyser, and have produced some rather worrying graphs)
A blog with a graph is better than a blog without

: (Mark didn't respond to my initial email, so I wandered over to his desk, and asked: What have you been working on today, Mark?" The following is his response, almost verbatim) Fixing the <expletive> <expletive> walk cycles, after <a colleague from the engineering team> butchered my beautiful code. This morning, they were all walking backwards. Now they're not walking at all. <expletive> this <expletive>ing thing.

julian_gold: Most of my time today has been spent working on the problems that Moviestorm's been having with ATI graphics cards and drivers. I've contacted ATI directly about this, but I'm still waiting for a response.

Dave: I've spent the day trying to get 1.0.3 out the door. Sorry - can't really talk now. Too busy. QA have just found a whole bundle of new bugs. (If Dave doesn't give me more material next time, I'll post the image of him that's stuck up next to the whiteboard).


matt: Confidential company stuff, mostly, but also ...

Talking to movie-makers of all persuasions all round the world, from first-timers to experienced machinimators and film students, all the way up to seasoned television and Hollywood directors, and finding out what they want from a machinima tool and what films they want to make; then using that information to think of ways to improve Moviestorm. Watching a lot of machinima so I can see what other people are doing and how they're doing it. Promoting Moviestorm via the press and at conferences, shows and other events. And, as a side project, writing my own movie scripts to work out what Moviestorm would have to provide in order to film them in the way I want to see them.

: I am at SIME 2008.

I spent most of this month working out how to make Moviestorm really huge in 2008. I'm still glowing with pride about the article in this month's EDGE magazine that Matt arranged. When we have leaky toilets I fix those too. And I am the only person who knows how a dishwasher works. When I stop crying with laughter I will tell johnnie, layla and Ben_S how good their last video was ...

Giles: Trying to find out where Johnnie bought his new keyboard so that I can get one myself. Far too much 'confidential company stuff'. A lot of it should come about in six to nine months time but in the interim I need to ensure the salaries are paid on time! Fixing the garage and front doors (okay actually I got someone in to fix them). Changing our bank to RBS so that we can play with the big boys and get ready for international business etc. Being amazed at the quality of films that Moviestorm users as young as 13 can produce. This can also be a little scary at times! Generally feeling completely inept when surrounded by the 'techies' profound skills and production capabilities. Keeping an eye on the purse strings so that petty cash can always buy the milk and biscuits for the office.

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