Coffee, Clay and Catching up

Another week ends, and so does April. It was a pretty good month for us here at #EgoProblems, all things considered. Certainly not your average April by any stretch of the imagination. We’ve had contracts and catastrophes, charity and creativity, character design and crap boxes, and one cynical crazy person trying to document it all… How was your April?

Most of this week specifically has been hard slog, it has to be said. I’ve been playing around with a Nintendo Switch devkit for a little while now, and ran into the problem of getting it to play videos.

Background for non-techies: A development kit (or devkit) is the device we test and run games on. Each console has one. They’re like a real console but with extra bits to help us out. Usually. The Xbox One devkit is just an Xbox One, all you do is buy an unlock code to give you developer mode access. There’s always one…

In Unity, there is a class called a VideoPlayer that lets you play videos. You give it the file, and tell it to play. Simple right? It’s great and works on pretty well everything. PC, iOS, Android, PS4, Xbox… But not Switch. That would be too easy. The Switch has its own video player, that follows its own set of rules. Rules that make very little sense, and aren’t really explained… We got there though. I had to modify a shader (how something is drawn), entirely rewrite the script that plays the video, and bang my head for hours and hours following to the letter that routine from a few blogs back (bang head, A&E, dazed stupor, etc…) to finally get it to play… Upside down.

Why?

I… I don’t care. I multiplied the UVs (don’t worry about it) by negative one, and boom. Finally, after 3 days of hard toil, it works. I can move on with my life. The day may come when I have to investigate why it’s rendering upside down, rather than just recklessly flipping it, but it is not this day.

I’m really falling behind with Horde. I’m not getting nearly enough done in the one day a week I have and it shows. I have some catching up to do. I think I might do a livestream at some point to see if that coaxes some fast-paced productivity out of me. Do you guys reckon that would be a good idea? Leave a comment or prod me or something if you’d be keen too see that, and let me know what you’d like to see too. Coding, art, design. I need all of it. I’ll have to lay out a specification if I go ahead with it though, or I’ll just be staring at the machine wondering what to do…

I do have something new to help with my motivation however! I signed up for a coffee subscription the other day. With a company called Pact (not sponsored!). They seem cool. I got all the information up front, can change frequency, cancel, stall or skip deliveries on the fly, and they seem really ethical. The coffee arrived yesterday and it is excellent. It’s one of the few times Facebook advertising has got me, and I’m not bitter at all! I mainly went for it because the first delivery comes with a free coffee making kit that does single cups, and the reason I don’t drink good coffee more is my cafetiere is awful, and a bugger to clean, so it’s not worth the effort for just me. Anyway, hopefully good quality caffeine in my veins will help me focus!

One last, non-dev thing. In light of my usual hobbies being unavailable (climbing centres are closed, parkour is not advisable…), we’ve been trying to get our green thumbs on here. It’s been really fun, but we quickly ran into a problem. We have very little usable space outside. So we have to be creative about how we get enough light, and how we use space. This means we need lots of pots. However, plastic pots are cheap and nasty, and bad for the environment. Clay pots are expensive and don’t ship in bulk. It’s a conundrum. But I’m not going to be beat! I made an investment…

That is 12kg of clay. It cost the same as maybe 3 clay pots without drainage trays. We are going to make our own pots. Should be… interesting. We don’t know what we’re doing. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know how it goes. First order of the day, find a way to waterproof the results so they don’t fall apart when I water the plants… I’ll get on that now.

‘Til next time!
Matt out.

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