I'm back!

I’m Back!

After a final uni year full of fun and frustrating projects, I’m back at Team Cooper and hopefully here to stay this time. For those that don’t recall, I was Team Cooper’s first placement student back in 2010 and during my year and a half here, I helped with many projects including Cricket Skills, Tron, YellowBrick Race Tracker and Unclean Canteen. Although those projects were fun and interesting, I think the most challenging and hilarious game I worked on was Pupstars, a game for Brass and CBBC involving two puppet dogs and various musical instruments. Hacker and Dodge never fail to make me laugh and I still try and catch them on TV in a morning.

It looks as though I was missed during my year out because as soon as the last piece of coursework was handed in at uni I’ve landed back at the office in full time employment. It feels good to be back with the team again in the middle of all of the creative happenings and, instead of slaving away every hour of the day to get coursework finished, now it’s mainly office hours so I get to sneak in a few free evenings and weekends when we’re not too busy.

The last year has been a good one. I’ve been given the opportunity to enhance my skills in developing 3D games which is the direction Flash may be heading in the near future. Being back at uni gave me a chance to program a PS3 game  – not many students can say they’ve done that before! My final year project involved using a Kinect to control a Flash game.

All of the interaction was achieved through writing a custom AIR extension to translate Kinect data between C++ and Flash, which was then visualised using Stage3D. There’s nothing like using cutting edge technology (most of the libraries used were still in Beta) as not a lot of references were available so any problems had to be dealt with without much help. I used a lot of my time getting the rigged model to react correctly to the players actions as the Microsoft Kinect SDK only provides joint positions which are no good for animation. It was a very large maths-induced headache concerning various calculated angles and known limitations but I think I managed to get a good balance in the end. I’m quite proud of how well it works now and I may even use it in any future projects if any cool ideas come along.

I think the experience gained over the final year at university will definitely come in handy, both at work and also in my own personal projects. I’ve been talking to Tim and Emma about how Team Cooper are looking to expand in the near future and it all sounds exciting. The last year was useful but now I’m looking forward to more challenging and gripping projects here at Team Cooper.

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Meet the team: Phil Alderson
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