Craig Mattson (Personal Website)
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News, news, news! (29/01/2010 07:31:32 AM)

I don't generally re-post news items but today will be an exception. The Herald Sun (one of the two leading daily news papers in Melbourne) has been quite amusing today covering how flawed the law is in Australia.

Notorious sex fiend on the run, but Herald Sun cannot identify him because of privacy concerns

We have an escapist in Victoria, and a potentially dangerous one at that - and we can't publicly name him in the view of possibly catching him? A perfect example of the law protecting the guilty. I'm also impressed that the ankle bracelet does not have GPS tracking in it? What the hell? I seriously hope this guy doesn't re-offend before being captured!

Driver fined for blowing nose in van

This is just pathetic. Yes, it happened in the UK - but seriously! Blowing your nose in traffic? Apparently in comparison, this is as "dangerous" or "bad" to speeding and drink driving (particularly if you align the fine issued with Victorian fines). I seriously hope for the sake of Australians that this ridiculous law doesn't come into effect. Surely there are better things the police could be doing with their time instead of booking people for being hygienic! This guy however, was named - unlike the offender in the first article.

Man 'filled parking meters with glue'

Probably the funniest article I have read all week - and potentially the most amusing thing to have on your Criminal Record. I love the bail condition though: "that he not go within 20 metres of any parking meter, and is due to face North Sydney Local Court on February 23". Turns out this guy can't be named (or the Herald Sun didn't investigate who it was). At least we know Parking Meters in Sydney are now safe for another week.

Cheers,
Craig Mattson.

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Very, Very Basic Game Prototype! (17/01/2010 12:13:06 AM)

Hi All,

Yes - it's 2:20AM in the morning and I've been on a role working on a prototype of a little 2D game I'm in the process of creating. For those who don't want to read the details can just go to the prototype located at:

URL: http://www.craigmattson.net/Development/BlammersGame/setup.exe

This is a ClickOnce application, so things install a little differently (to your AppData folder as a Web Application). Why do this? Well, it makes it easier for me to push updates to anyone that wants to test the game logic. Everytime the application is launched, a check will run on the URL to see if there is a new update. If there is, it will automatically update. Pretty neat technology! It'll also pick up the prerequisites for the XNA Framework.

So, what is it? It's a pretty simple game concept. You click balls and they disappear. Ideally, I will put in logic for colour combinations, not missing balls, accuracy etc... The game is anticipated to be a sandbox game - so you keep going until either time runs out, your threshold is too low or something (yet to be determined). Feel free to make suggestions. Whilst I'm prototyping the game physics, I figured I'd better use XNA as it's pretty quick to prototype a 2D Game up using it.

At the moment, it's pretty plain. You get a menu screen and if you left click - you're given a blank canvas. Right Clicking on the screen will generate a ball that will float to the top of the screen. If you click the ball (slightly off centre to the right), the ball will disappear. So nothing thrilling at this stage - but if you want to keep your eye on it. Download, install and get the framework sorted out.

Once I'm satisfied with the game logic, I'll export to Zune (i.e. the Microsoft MP3 Player), Xbox 360 (I'll add Controller support) and then port it to the iPhone. I'm hoping soon that something like the following screenshot will appear on the App Store:

 

iphone_screenshot_636

 

Anyway, I'll keep you all posted.

Cheers,
Craig Mattson.

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HorsesRUs.net to close 31st January 2010. (14/01/2010 08:20:15 PM)

Hi All,

Just letting you know that as of January 31st 2010, Horses 'R' Us will go offline as a forum indefinitely. It's been a great 8 years of running it but due to increasing hosting costs, lack of income and support staff moving on - I can't keep the forum running. Thank you to all those who contributed in some way - it's been a great little project and I appreciate all your efforts. It's also time for me to move on and look at new projects as well.

I'll keep you posted.

Cheers,
Craig Mattson.

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Key Performance Indicators for Programmers? (08/01/2010 12:50:45 PM)

Another Friday passing by ... slowly and I'm at work trying to determine what Key Performance Indicators apply to programmers. Maybe I can get some suggestions? Here is my list so far (feel free to agree / disagree - and keep in mind these really need to be tangible).

  1. Ratio of Defect / Bug Fixes versus Change Requests;
  2. Efficiency of code versus hours of development;
  3. Problems solved within allocated timeframe;
  4. Defect / Bug Fixes related to implemented Change Requests;
  5. Number of regression issues, and;
  6. Application stability (calculated by server uptime);

There is some argument to Quality of Code, but the problem is - how is it measurable? Performance and efficiency may be identical (or close to) for varying code. How does one differentiate between what is quality code and what is not? One developer may use less lines of code but the code may be less readable? Another developer may put too many comments into code, name things properly so it is easier for other developers to understand? There is also the fact that not many HR Personnel at review time who understand code well enough to make that distinction. In fact, unless you have the code peer-reviewed by a third party organisation (which may also have confidentiality impact as well) - how do you justify? 

Anyway, I'm kind of keen to see what others use to measure KPI's particularly aligned with an industry where a developer is hired for initiative and knowledge in problem solving rather than their ability to remember a large number of key words. At the end of the day, it's how we solve the problem that is important; not whether we can code in Low-Level Assembly and solder together our own circuits to produce an electronic abacus.

Cheers,
Craig Mattson.

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New Multi-platform Game Idea... (iPhone, PC, Xbox 360, Pocket PC (03/01/2010 01:08:27 PM)

Hi All,

Aside from doing absolutely nothing over the last 10 days (well, it's been a holiday away from work - but really looking forward to going back), I'm on the hunt for a graphics designer who would be interested in doing some tile-based 2D / 3D work for a small game plan I have. I'm kind of between projects at the moment, but one idea I have could be relatively successful in the indie scene. Something that would take about 6 weeks development time once I have the resources at my disposal to piece together.

Requirements? Well, not much really - just looking for a modern 2D Cartoony style of drawing. Things like Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario Bros, Knights on Rush for the iPhone, World of Goo etc... just something graphically easy on the eyes.

These ideas aren't huge, or designed to generate a substantial amount of income, but there would be benefits to the right individual.

Cheers,
Craig Mattson.

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