👋 Our new book on Unity is about to come out! We think it’s our best yet. If you’re interested in game development, please check it out?
The O’Reilly Software Architecture Conference 2019 (SACon) just wrapped up in New York City, and I was privileged enough to attend as a speaker with my friend and colleague, Tim, and partner and colleague, Mars. Together, we presented a session called Entity-Component-Systems and you: they’re not just for games anymore, and Tim and I did a book signing for our recent title Learning Swift (3rd edition), as well as a Meet the Experts session.I was initially quite sceptical of the SACon, because the idea of an event based on ‘software architecture’ conjured up images of very dry sessions on traditional, serious enterprise architecture, presented by uninspired, uninspiring people. As it turns out software architects, and those who attend software architecture conferences, are incredibly passionate, interesting people, who are the very opposite of the straight-laced faceless people I imagined.
SACon was a melting-pot of interesting ideas, framed around the discussion of software architecture as a profession. O’Reilly’s conferences are always polished, well, run and all that good stuff (disclaimer: as might be obvious, O’Reilly is my publisher), but the attendees and speakers are what makes any conference shine. This conference definitely shone.
All the sessions that I attended were excellent, but the highlights of the conference for me were definitely the following talks:
- Katerina Iliakopoulou’s talk on architecture of the New York Times recommender systems
- Vasanth Asokan’s talk on the architecture used to test in production at Netflix
- My friend r0ml’s talk, Technical Debt: a masterclass
- Seth Dobbs’ talk on leadership principles for architects
- The keynotes from Trisha Gee, Mark Richards (interviewed by Neal Ford), Stuart Halloway, and Glenn Vanderburg (go and check out the list of recommended wide-reading he posted after his. keynote, too!)
The ‘hallway track’ was also exceptional, and we had some fantastic conversations with attendees on topics ranging from the rise of the Rust programming language to the use of ECS in non-video games to the merits of the Swift programming language to designing video game engines, and beyond.
Tim and I really enjoyed our book signing, and found ourselves face-to-face with one of the biggest queues we’ve ever had for a book signing, and had some excellent conversations with developers, architects, and team leads who were excited to learn Swift from our book, or share it with their teams back home.
Our ECS talk went well! We had a packed room (which was also one of the most palatial conference halls we’ve ever spoken in!) and got 5-star reviews with great feedback.
If you’re interested, you’ll find the slides from our talk on ECS are available via the conference website. You can also find a video embedded below, or on YouTube, or O’Reilly’s Learning Platform. (if you have an O’Reilly Learning Platform subscription, we strongly recommend watching it there!)
There’s some follow-up resource we want to share with attendees of our talk. We hope you find them useful!
- Catherine West’s RustConf closing keynote on Rust for Game development
- Entity Systems are the future of MMOG development by Adam Martin
- ECS and DoD slides by Aras Pranckevičius (Unity)
- Data Oriented Design and C++ CPPCon talk by Mike Acton
- Machine Architecture: Things Your Programming Language Never Told You talk by Herb Sutter
- What Every Programmer Should Know About Memory paper by Urlich Drepper
- The amazing talk on Blizzard’s implementation of ECS in their popular game, Overwatch, from GDC 2017
A few weeks ago I attended, and spoke at, my 10th OSCON conference. I regularly say that OSCON is my favourite big conference, and every time I attend I’m reminded why I love it, and how much I love it: OSCON is a fun, relaxed, and very approachable place where companies and people involved in open source as contributors, consumers, and users, interface, work with, and have fun with each other. It’s unique in perspective, content, and value. And it’s super engaging everywhere from the lunch hall to the hallway to the sessions and in between. You should go, if you get the opportunity (O’Reilly runs a wonderful diversity and inclusion program, which make me able to help you make it along!)
This year was OSCONs 20-year celebration event! 🎉 If you have a Safari subscription, you can check out the videos from the event here. There’s also a collection of keynotes and interviews from the event on the O’Reilly Media YouTube channel.
On the Monday, Tim, Jon, and I presented a 3 hour session on Open source game development with Godot. Godot is an amazingly polished, and entirely open source, game development engine; Godot is a project of the Software Freedom Conservancy, and is aggressively competitive against the big commercial engines, like Unity and Unreal. I largely led this tutorial, supported by Tim and Jon. We got great feedback from our attendees, and had a full house. I’ll post the material from the workshop in the coming week.
On Tuesday, Tim, Jon, and I presented a 3 hour session on Machine overlord and you: Building AI on iOS with open source tools. We covered everything from CoreML, to Vision, to Apple’s Turi Create Python libraries. Our attendees loved it, and gave us great feedback; it was a fun precursor to our new book, Practical AI with Swift (more on that soon!) You can find the material from this OSCON session right here.
On Tuesday night, I stepped way, way out of my comfort zone and presented a 5 minute Ignite talk on The realities of weightloss. This talk was based on a seed of an idea that Mars had, which I’d taken and run with in a slightly different direction (with her permission). It seemed to resonate with the audience, and I got a lot of thanks, and hugs, from people afterwards. ❤️
The next day, Wednesday, saw us doing our traditional book signing (for the latest Learning Swift) in the O’Reilly Media booth of the expo. We had a huge line of people, and signed for about 45 minutes. It was great fun! The O’Reilly staff treat us like royalty, which always makes us feel very special.
On Thursday, in the second-last slot of OSCON 2018, Tim and I teamed up with Mars to deliver an entirely-live coded talk on Learning Swift with Playgrounds. Mars wrote all the examples, designed the flow, and really got thrown in the deep end—and she totally nailed it! Tim provided an excellent narration of proceedings, as Mars live-coded her way through the demos (with Xcode crashing, as is custom!) We got many fabulous reviews, with the talk getting a 4.9/5 ⭐️ average. We were thrilled. You can find some notes here, and the fabulous Playground that Mars wrote here on GitHub.
We really love working O’Reilly, particularly our amazing editor, Rachel Roumeliotis, who has risen the ranks of the company while we’ve been working with her (absolutely no connection to us working with her!) and is now a VP of Content Strategy.
We’re doing a bunch of great projects with O’Reilly over the coming year or two, including finishing up a new edition of our iOS Swift Game Development Cookbook, as well as a new Unity Game Development Cookbook, a Head First Swift book, and a brand new title, Practical AI with Swift. More updates on all of these soon!
Our latest edition of Learning Swift is available, and getting a bunch of great reviews, and our Mobile Game Development with Unity remains a fabulous guide to building games with Unity. Check them out?
I’ll leave you with one of my favourite tweets of the event, which someone sent following our Learning Swift 3rd Edition book signing:I can’t wait for next year’s OSCON: July 15-18, again back in Portland!
The conference that I help run, /dev/world/2018, is selling tickets!
We have amazing keynotes from the following people:
- A Software Engineer from Savage Interactive, creators of hit iPad art app, Procreate
- Quentin Zervaas, creator of Apple Design Award winning app, Streaks
- Richard Moss, author of The Secret History of Mac Gaming
And we have workshops!
- Quality assurance and testing fundamentals for small teams
- Refactoring a horrible codebase guided by tests
- Adding AI to your applications with TensorFlow Lite for iOS
- Property Based Testing in Swift
- UX for Developers
- xcodebuild for fun and profit
- Accelerated App Development Using CloudKit: Idea to Featured in a Week
- Ada on an iPad?
- Batteries and Locks: Modern Tech from Ancient Times
- Build your own synthesiser
- Building Frameworks Natively in Swift
- Dancing with Attitude – Building experiences with CoreMotion
- Designing for iOS: Resources You Gotta Know
- Fun with fudge factors: prototyping vague things
- How to go from bad practice to best practice
- How To Make It Look Like You Know What You Are Doing
- Let’s settle this UI/UX thing once and for all
- Machine Learning …without the Machine
- Making a visual novel in HyperCard
- Mis-using Bluetooth wristbands to enhance cognitive accessibility of an app for inpatients with severe brain injuries
- Performance Tips & Tricks with Unity on iOS
- Push Notifications and the Limits of Innovation
- Rewriting Alamofire: Into the Core
- SIL for First Time Learners
- Solving the Massive App Problem: Rearchitecting a 5 year old codebase
- State Machines are your friend
- Structuring Your Code with the Model-View-Presenter pattern
- Swift, for Objective-C OGs
- The State of MVC
- There And Back Again with the Roundtrip App
- Tools for testing, logging, and analytics-ing your code
- VIPER for iOS
We’ll also have a dinner keynote, during our famous quiz, from Paul Fenwick! It’s going to be amazing! Grab a ticket?
I’m super, super, super excited to be back at OSCON, my favourite conference, in Portland. This year you can find me at the following bits of OSCON:
- Monday, 16 July 2018
- Tuesday, 17 July 2018
- Wednesday, 18 July 2018
- 3:15 PM “Learning Swift” book signing
- Thursday, 19 July 2018
You should also check out the following sessions, from my friends:
By popular demand, we’ve extended the /dev/world/2018 call for presenters by one week, to 22 May 2018! Get your talks in! You will be amazing!
The iOS, macOS, Swift, and general Apple development conference that I help run, /dev/world is looking for presenters! We’ve opened the CFP for our 11th event (we’ve been going for 11 years! That’s nuts!) and we’re very excited.
If you have a good idea for a talk, please send it our way! I might wear my space suit again.
- Seumas McNally Grand Prize for Best Independent Game
- Excellence in Narrative
This is a truly stunning result for a really cool little game.
From Thursday to Sunday I was lucky enough to be up on the relatively remote West Coast of Tasmania, in the Tasmanian-style resort town of Strahan, attending the first residential of the year-long Tasmanian Leaders Program (TLP).
TLP is a annual program (I’m part of TLP12, the twelfth intake for the program) that takes participants on residential retreats and linking sessions around Tasmania, exploring personal and professional development issues and activities. I’m told that it’s quite a competitive/exclusive/prestigious program, and I really wasn’t expecting to be offered a place.
I met 30 interesting and passionate Tasmanians, and had a great weekend doing all sorts of activities. I’ll post more about what we’re up to as the program progresses!