Friday, 14 August 2009

If you want something doing ... give it to Rhys

Software engineering is a weird thing. Even though the code language and libraries are usually well-established, on anything but the smallest of projects you'll find the need to write your own custom components, which you'll then use to construct something useful. Sometimes, you see, before you can get to work on the thing you really want to do, you have to spend some time making the tools that you'll then use to make the thing you really want to make. If you see what I mean. It's as if an archaeologist were required to make his own brush and trowel before he could start excavating, or a fisherman had to build her own rod. So software engineers would have us believe, anyway.

The Moviestorm Modders Workshop is a good example of this. Although it's enabled many of our users to create some fantastic addons for Moviestorm, the primary reason it exists in the first place is because we needed a tool to assemble all our art assets into something that Moviestorm could actually understand. The Modders Workshop is the tool that we use internally to build all of our Content Packs.

We recently managed to drag Dave away from working on his exciting new asset management system for Moviestorm 1.1.7, in order to produce this:

No, not the shed. The little pop-up window in front of it. It's a small addition to the Modders Workshop, but one which makes our life a lot easier. The thumbnails that appear in the Set Workshop Object Browser for each set object are automatically generated when the object is saved in the Modders Workshop. Dave's new tool enables us to pick the rotation, angle and zoom of the object in these thumbnails. That means that we create much better, more logical thumbnails for each object.

Of course, that means we'll have to go through our entire back catalogue of tables, chairs, doors, rugs, mugs, cars, trees ... everything. Every single asset needs a new thumbnail. It's going to be a tedious and time-consuming job. It's not a job I want, I don't mind admitting. What we need is a lackey of some kind. If only there was someone in the office to whom we could give all the boring and mind-numbing jobs that nobody else wants to do .... wait a minute!

Hooray! Rhys is back!

Yes, undeterred by his experience as my personal slave for a week of work experience last May, Rhys has returned for a whole month of work in the QA department. Maintaining the proud tradition we've established for all our interns, he's got the boring job. Today is his last day with us, but you'll be seeing the fruits of his labour in a future release of Moviestorm.

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