Archive

Archive for the ‘Collaboration’ Category

Unity 3D Thoughts

April 24, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve spent the last few months working on a project using the Unity 3D engine and have to say that it’s a pretty solid engine. While on any given day, I’d much rather be using the UDK tool kit, I don’t mind using Unity when I need to.

The unity community is very supportive, and the company seems geared towards helping indie game developers out with making their own video games which is a plus. The engine does not have all of the features that UDK does, like a cut-scene editor and point-and-click scripting, but for developers that are used to C# and XNA, I find the Unity is a perfect tool to help keep development costs down. The transition is not that difficult to make.

One of the things I really like with Unity, is the ability to write code, and then run it immediately. I’m not aware of any way to do that with UDK, which I believe requires you to restart the editor each time you want to compile the scripts and have them take affect.

I’m really wanting to get my current project completed, but I’m suffering from lack of 3D math knowledge, which hinders my development speed. That and building some sort of state manager, which is taking some time.

I am going to spend tonight really focusing on fixing some of the issues I have with my project, and getting a working copy uploaded to the teams SVN tonight.

Advertisements

Catching up

April 23, 2011 2 comments

It’s been a few months since I’ve made a blog post, so I thought I’d take some time to update everyone.

Work has been pretty hectic since November of last year. I’ve completed one project (we constructed a brand new highway) and moved onto a new project in February for some highway improvements. The current project is a two year project, accelerated to just 9 months, so there’s a lot of work to do. When I’m not crunching away on spreadsheets and paperwork at the office, I’m helping my wife out with her new 10 week old teacup chihuahua puppy.

I’ve finally been able to catch a break and get a weekend off, so tonight looks like a good night to work on a project. I’ve been working with FatCow Games on a game using the Unity game engine and have not been free to work on it over the last month or so.

I’ll be posting more n that later on, but for now I’ll just keep this post short. One last thing though, I bought an iPad 2! So I’m addicted to it, and use it for everything lol.

Guest Blogging for Fellowstream

November 11, 2010 Leave a comment

A couple weeks back I was asked to do a guest blog post for the blog over at Fellowstream and so I put together a post regarding my transition from an employee to a supervisor at my current work.

It’s pretty neat doing the guest blogging, I liked the experience and hopefully I can find opportunities in the future to do so again.

Managing a Open Source Team

September 6, 2010 4 comments

Over the years I’ve been part of several teams that had banded together to build various projects. Several short months later the projects were dead and the team was gone. What happened?

One of the more common issues that I have noticed is of people joining the project & then not understanding the technology. Not the internal team technology, but rather the development frameworks and languages used. In most cases, the team members would become frustrated that they couldn’t learn the language or framework at a fast enough pace to keep up with the rest of the development, or they just lacked interest in learning something new.

Another common pitfall is that team members assuming they could develop at their own pace, when they get a craving to crunch on some code they would go ahead and code, otherwise they would contribute nothing. This would leave the team hanging however, as people would let their workload pile up or pass it on to other people when it was asked of them to try and meet a deadline.

Lastly, my biggest pet-peeve and by far the most common, has been people joining a project and then going silent. They never respond to your emails nor do they contribute to the project in any way.

I’m retrospect, there were several things I should have done that would have prevented this from happening. When you advertise for positions within your open source team, it’s important to remember you’re not going to be paying these people, typically speaking. They’re not required to fulfill any part of their role in the team, but there are things you can do during the selection process that will help weed out some of the un-wanted members.

1: Make sure they understand their role and the tools your team is using.
2: give new members a simple task at first to help get them settled in.
3: Ask them how many hours they can contribute, realistically.
4: find out what they’ve done in the past and give them work that resembles their past experiences. Letting them start out in familiar ground will help keep their interests.
5: use a Project Management solution like Fellowstream to help give your team members some direction.
6: hold team conferences via a forum or chat system at least once a week to toss around ideas and keep peoples blood pumping.

Getting a team built using free help is often difficult, but the fact of the matter is that keeping the team together is the truly difficult part. If you can maintain a team on your project, you’ll make a good project manager.

Project Collaboration Fellowstream

August 9, 2010 3 comments

I saw a tweet by TorquePowered last week on a new Project Collaboration tool called Fellowstream and decided I’d take a look at it. After using it for a couple days I must say that my first impressions of it are pretty solid.

The site is in Beta and gives you a sub-domain that your team/company will use. Once you have your site setup, you create a project that’s associated with your Team and create some Milestones for that project. Milestones can be populated with Work Tickets and each Ticket can be assigned to a team member. When you are ready to start work on a Ticket you set it as your current Status and work on your Tickets activity. Once completed you mark the Ticket as complete.
Fellowstream let’s you build groups of users, like one for QA, one for Programmers etc. As you complete Tasks your projects progress is tracked and a progress bar on the projects home page shows how far along you are.

The real meat of Fellowstream however comes with their Stream feature. It works very much like Facebooks stream, were every action performed on the site, either editing an existing Ticket, Comments or deletions are placed in the Stream for all users to see. Project managers and team leaders can log in and quickly see what activities their team members have been up to.

The product is in Beta still, so it has a couple bugs and is lacking a few features that prevent it from being a complete tool, but it’s Beta and the Fellowstream team has been very responsive to my emails. They’re customer service is really impressive and I have a lot of faith that this product will be a stellar collaboration tool when it’s out of Beta.

Go check it out!