A Few Portfolio Links

As part one of the long-term “putting myself out there a bit” plan, I’ve put together a mini portfolio site. It also means that the URL doesn’t give a 403 error too.

There isn’t much there but at least it’s something to point people to, and hopefully it’ll appear in Google at some point.

Build an HTML5 Game: Some Reviews

Build an HTML5 Game CoverI’ve found three decent reviews for my book “Build an HTML5 Game“, and especially pleasing is the fact that two of them seem to be from exactly the target audience i.e. developers with existing web skills who didn’t realise how easy it would be to use those skills to build a game.

First up, there’s Matthew Helmke’s review which you can read on his site:

I really enjoyed reading Build an HTML5 Game. The writing is clear and easy to follow, the examples are good, and the concepts provide a solid foundation on which you can build. This is not a comprehensive “everything you will ever need or want to know about game programming” sort of book, but rather a clean and enjoyable entry that helps you over the first hurdle of writing that first game. It then gives you ideas and tips to help you know what else is out there so you have a bit of a roadmap to continue learning as you figure out what sorts of games you want to create.

And then there’s a review on I Programmer:

The descriptions of all of the ideas are clear and easy to follow but only if you already know something about the technologies being used. This is not a book for trying to learn JavaScript or even HTML/CSS. It would make a good second level course on the techologies, but only if you were interested in building a game.

And finally this review by Sandra Henry-Stocker on IT World:

The starting point of Build an HTML5 Game: A Developer’s Guide with CSS and JavaScript is something that completely snuck up on me. In my time as a volunteer webmaster, I’d never considered taking my web skills much further than a church web site with just a tad of moving text and a slide show “walk” along the nature trail. The features of HTML5 that have made it a contender for game development were simply lost on me. With this book, the proverbial lights came on. And while I haven’t yet jumped in and tried to build my own game, I now understand what is required and might just give it a shot.

Fingers crossed that this helps the book sell, of course, but they’re great to see in their own right.

Cycling London to Eastbourne

Board games by the sea!

For the spring London on Board event, and as part of training for the London Revolution ride in (gulp) two weeks, I decided that I’d cycle down to Eastbourne rather than take the train.

The route out

For the outgoing route, I went for this one, which, with the ride from Leyton to get to the start, was something like 85 miles (I think). I wish I had it exactly but unfortunately Strava crashed somewhere around Tower Bridge and I didn’t notice until I was about 30 miles from the end. So on the Strava plot it looks like I teleported.

The route was hilly, and long, but the weather was good. I left home just before 9am and was in Eastbourne by 5pm, and I think I stopped for about an hour total along the way. The route was definitely scenic and mostly quiet, though, although getting over Beachy Head at the end was a challenge I could have done without – more because of the traffic hurtling past than the hill itself.

The route back

For the journey back, I went mostly by a different route. I’m still not sure I shouldn’t have just left it for another day as it was raining when I set off which meant my phone shorted out for about 45 minutes and I was navigating by guesswork and trying to remember the route down, and wondering at what point I might just have to find a station and get on the train.

I also didn’t fancy the traffic around Beachy Head again and relied on Google’s directions to take me out of Eastbourne, which proved to be a mistake as I spent five miles or so bouncing along a muddy bridleway aka National Cycle Route 21. It was not the way I wanted to start an 80 mile ride. I’ve also learnt now that a hotel breakfast is not the way to fuel up for a long ride; I didn’t feel like any useful carbohydrate made it into my system for about the first four hours, so it was quite a slog. It did, however, mean I had some pace left in my legs when I got back into London.

The full journey, apart from the bit where the phone didn’t work, did make it onto Strava though and you can see it here, if you are interested in such things. Particular highlights would be rescuing a lamb that had its head trapped in a fence and having to walk through newly laid tarmac over a level crossing (that was closed as they were still laying the tarmac) with steam from the rain falling on it around me. I hope my cleats didn’t leave too big imprints in their nice new surface…

Other things

– Beachy Head road, as mentioned before, is not pleasant, although the downhill is rather fun
– Pains Hill and Titsey Hill are pains in the titseys. (Or actually legs, but that doesn’t really work.)
– The area around Biggin Hill is rather nice for riding in, if you can face the hills
– I really should have taken some photos
– Hills: why? Just why?

So would I do it again? I’m not sure, but only because I couldn’t take any games with me. The October meetup will likely be when the days are short so I’d have to leave earlier in both directions, so we’ll have to see how much I’m riding next spring.

The links again

Long and mostly quiet London to Eastbourne route
Shorter but still quite quiet Eastbourne to London route
The route I actually took back