Plans for the rest of 2019

2019 is shaping up to be an interesting year so far: new job, new hobbies, change of life direction. All the usual. But I’m planning how to break down the rest of the year.

I’m going to make this blog the main focus for all the things I’m trying to do. A central repository for projects, coding, work, rest and play.

I’m not sure how may times I’m going to post, but I’d really like to make future posts informative and useful. So bear that in mind.

This is what I do.

DevAcademy.co.uk

During the daylight hours, these are the guys that I project manage for. I get great opportunities to meet interesting people / organisations. I also work on developing people’s technical skills to help them change their lives. All very rewarding. I’m certainly going to try and do more of that this year, f’sho.

sprkwd
we make small, beautiful games.

Sparkwood and 21

My wonderful and scrambled organisation that seems to have settled down as some sort of Game Development organisation is still knocking about.

I’m working on games. Two games. Currently doing a lot of background stuff so there’s nothing to be seen there for a while. When something does finally happen you’re totally going to know about it here.

IF you want, you can go and check out how the site looks. It’s cool.

I can’t feel anything below the skin.

Skinny Feels

This is the band I’m part of. When I can’t sleep I make unusual musical tunes that come under the Skinny Feels umbrella.

I’m currently working on an EP called Make Albion Great Again. It’s a series of songs that have been inspired or have inspired some folk horror short stories. Hopefully, all will be published and released by the end of the year. But we shall see. That’s a very positive outlook.

For all the current stuff, go check out the website.

uses this

CodeMonkey

Yes, that’s right. I’m learning how to code properly. Design is dead! Long live code!

Anyways, I’m learning Swift so I can make apps for the Mac. I have a bunch of ideas and I want to see if I can make any of them see the light.

After that I’m going to learn Python as it’s a great all-round language and it’s close to GodotEngine code. And that’s what I’m going to be using to make the games for Sparkwood and 21. Because it’s open source. And has a fairly low barrier to entry. Other than the whole learn Python bit.

Yes. That will keep me out of trouble. See what I’ve started already.

Landscape Series
A fairly old 3D image I had to knock out in 2 hours.

3D

I can’t lie. I love 3D art. I love making 3D abstract art. So I’m going to keep on doing it. Not as much as I used to, but it’ll still happen.

I’ve decided that I will stick up various ‘seasons’ of abstract art onto my Behance Profile so it can all stay in the same place. I can explore different styles and ideas per season, if you will.

It’ll be fun.

As usual, I’m going to be using the latest version of Blender to make these things happen.

Bath
Vector map of Bath

Vector Graphics

I love how detailed you can get with vector graphics and what lovely things you can create with them.

I’ve made a bunch of them before and I’ll be continuing with creating the occasional one of these as and when I can.

I’ll probably stick them on my Dribble Account as and when they happen.


And that is pretty much it. Seems like a lot, but it’s all done slowly and methodically as and when I have the spare time.

On writing

I used to be able to get on writing. I used to be able to write. Well, I used to be able to write well. I’ve had books published (kinda) and I’ve had to write all sorts of essays, project briefs, advertising copy and whatnot.

Back in the day it was part of my creative process to write three (3) pages of absolute drivel first thing in the morning just to get all the blockages and stupid looping brain thoughts out of the way so I had clearer head that could concentrate upon using words again.

But somewhere along the way of things I feel like I’ve forgotten how to actually write. Probably because of time constraints, a change of passions and the rise of dull thumb-flicking social media. I’ve ended up consuming words and not creating them.

I can still bang out a series of statements like there’s no tomorrow. Linking them, however, into some sort of cohesive prose with a beginning, a muddle, and an end seems harder and harder to do. I guess I’m out of practice. And I feel bad about it.

Well, sorry for you, but I’m going to try and change that. So occasionally there are going to be articles on this blog that I’ve attempted to write to get better at writing and to explore various things I am interested in.

Skip over them if you want. Unless you find whatever it is more interesting than the most interesting thing you could be doing right now. But I reckon if I keep writing them, they might get better, more interesting and so on and so forth. 

We’ll see. In the meantime, I’m gonna get on writing.

GDPR compliance

This website has now been updated so it cares about your privacy. Surprisingly, I am a rather private person (even though I blast my things all over the internet) and I think this is A Good Thing. GDPR compliance is a good thing. For you.

You should read our Privacy Policy. It explains everything the best it can.

Uses This

Uses This

Uses This is a website where they interview people about the systems, tools and apps a variety of people use to get their work done. It’s a fascinating insight into how people use things to create things. I thought it might be interesting to do my own and see how that turns out.

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hello, I’m Duncan and I’m a designer. I went through a whole phase of being undecided of what I actually wanted to call myself because I do a whole bunch of vaguely related creative stuff and finally decided on just saying ‘designer’ and leaving it at that.

Some of the time I design things for laser machines to cut as part of the Bristol Design Forge, which is great fun. A lot of the rest of the time I can be found creating weird projects and trying to sell bits of them (unsuccessfully); working on designing small, beautiful games over at Sparkwood and 21; writing weird, bleepy, crappy music as Skinny Feels; and barking at strangers in the park.

What hardware do you use?

I have an early 2015 Retina 13″ MacBook Pro which is my main tool for being creative. It’s maxed out on its RAMs and SSDs so it should last me a while. It’s got an amazing little MIDI keyboard that attaches to it that helps me make musical noises when I can’t sleep and one of them adaptors that turns a string plucked on a guitar into a digital signal ready to be picked up by GarageBand.

I’ve also got a huge old beast of a hand-built PC with 16GB RAM and 1TB HDD and one 256GB SSD for the OS. This is attached to a magnificent Philips soundbar and an equally magnificent Philips 42″ monitor. And a fat pipe direct to the Internet.

Then there’s the backup machine: an old Thinkpad Edge which is about 12 years old and still holds it own when it comes to daily tasks.

I can’t live without my iPhone 7Plus with its 256GB SSD or my Kindle Fire. Somewhere there’s an old iPad One with a whole bunch of manuals stuck on it as all it can do is read PDFs. Plus, I have a Nokia Windows phone that I use as the number I give out for work and switches off at 1800hrs until 1000hrs the next day. No voicemail. Voicemail is bad.

Having said all of that, my most productive thing I own is an A5 handmade leather journal that I made myself. I designed a whole joad of journal pages, dotted notepaper and lists and stuff. Pretty much everything starts as a scribble in this notebook.

Top that with a bunch of guitars by Tanglewood, Fender and Gibson and a Trace Elliot Amplifier, a MIDI Keyboard whose name escapes me, two Trotec Lasercutters and a fully working wood working workshop and I reckon that’s about it.

Oh, and pens, paper, crayons, chalk, charcoal, watercolours, acrylics, bits of leather and a whole bunch of small detail hand tools.

And what software?

I’ve quit using Adobe stuff recently as I no longer felt I was getting value for money out of them so my Mac is full of Affinity Photo / Designer which are my main workhorses. Plus Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Notes and Reminders. I seem to use Atom and Brackets for offline and online coding respectively and occasionally stick stuff on Github or Gitlab. All my websites run off WordPress because it’s the best. I love all the things that Automattic are trying to do.

Music is on GarageBand, interactive stories are through Twine or Inform 7, games through Godot and I pretend to project manage through Trello.

My Thinkpad has elementaryOS and a whole bunch of open source tools for gamedev including Blender, Krita and Godot. All these are excellent products and I’m continually surprised that I don’t have to pay for them. Go Open Source!

The big PC beast has Steam, Twitch and Discord on it. And is synced with SheepIt render farm so I can quickly render Blender scenes / models when I’m not trying to blow things up, shoot things or drive things around cities really fast.

I can’t seem to live without iCloud, Twitter, Instagram and Wave Apps.

What would be your dream setup?

A online and an offline business set up in a warm studio / workshop full of up-to-date devices, standing desks, relaxing tables, the smell of coffee, leather and sawdust. And Radio 4. Plus a couple of good friends to share my life with.

If you want to see what other people use to get the job done, then go check out the Uses This website and get lost down a hole for hours.

Statement of Intent

I’ve finally decided that I need a place on the internet that I have full control of and that showcases the things I get up to.

At the moment, all my projects and art and thoughts and ideas are spread out over a variety of social medias(1) which I have very little control over. So having a place which collates it all and where I can point people to when they ask the what do you do then? question will be of use to me.

But mostly, this is going to be a place where I can start to build my empire from. You see, I have this Five Year Plan which involves moving to a nearby city and getting a dog(2) and running a home-based business. I have all of the skills I need, I just need the time to create and build and develop and grow(3) and this site is going to help me do that.

I’d love it if this was something you could get behind. The act of making myself more public is a way for me to be responsible with my time and effort and use the visitors that stumble upon this site as a way of helping me get on with getting on. I just don’t want to let you down.

Thanks for your time.

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(1) Also, social media is bad and I have recently felt its effects upon my mental health. Less social media and more social needia. am i rite?

(2) In my head it’s a Great Dane, but any hound will do.

(3) I’m not one of those people that has a particular style and pumps out all the same themed artwork. The joy of design for me is the exploration of ideas and the problem solving.