Nick Pelling's pitas page

30th April
Went to http://www.pcgroup.com/ and read the whole Judicial Review document for the IR35 stuff. Very interesting - I love a nice bit of jurisprudence, me. Wrote a code skeleton for my new compressor. Looked pretty good... until about an hour ago, when I noticed that some data could remain unresolved. Bah. Don't know what I'm going to do to fix it (but I'll probably come up with something tomorrow). Now its off to evening wine class with the fancy Schiste Dore wine from the South of France. If it's a pup I'll just crawl under the table...

April 29th, later on
OK, OK, so maybe I was a bit more hungover than I thought this morning. :-/ Went to Walt & Cleone's amazing new house, to be met by a pheasant begging for food on the back step. (In the words of the wide-mouthed frog) "you don't get many of those round here". The blackbird nesting in the clematis in our little garden suddenly seems rather mundane, bah.

29th April
Hey - I'm not as hungover as I thought. Pretty second-rate beer festival in the Wetherspoons "Coronation Hall" in Surbiton yesterday... so bad we wandered down to the Hogshead halfway throught the afternoon and had some Ketts Rebellion and Fool's Gold. Sure, it was 50p more a pint, but what the hey.

28th April
Damn - Steve invited me to a stereoscopic film premiere next Tuesday, and I'm already double-booked (with wine class and an end-of-season chess match). Bummer. Couldn't get to sleep last night, so sat downstairs and finally devised my new compression scheme. I've been searching for this for a couple of weeks: I worked out what it would look like and what feature of the data it would exploit, the only question (I thought) would be how to write a decompressor. It turns out... that both decompressor and compressor need to be equally devious to satisfy the constraints. I'm not worried: if it works at all, someone (possibly me) will find a way of speeding it up 10x or more... they always do.

27th April, evening
Well... the TV guys seemed pretty receptive, so I'll contact the camera-person I worked with before (on "House With A View") and see what she's up to. And as they were right across the road from CRL/Sensaura, I dropped by to see Peter Clare - they're finishing up Sensaura/PS2 for their 1.0 release next Monday, so didn't have a lot of time to chat. They're very much up for applying their mad spatial skillz to mobile phones etc, which was a pretty good fit as that's exactly stuff that I looked at earlier this year just after I worked for Tonemaker. Specifically: the "cocktail party effect", for those of you into all things psychoacoustic. Also: Crawfish want me to sort out some more of their compression problems, and I had a good chat with Keith B about it - sounds OK. It's been a pretty good day. :-)

April 27th, continued...
Tom the producer is still on voicemail - bah! Apart from the "3D Pocket Pool" manual having the cut'n'pasted icons from another game, I've also noticed that it doesn't explain the rules for Killer anywhere - which was really stupid, as that has a tricky user-interface for setting up games with up to 8 human/computer players with varying amount of lives etc. What a mess.

27th April, morning
Been looking at a load of (UK) newspapers' coverage of computer games. At first glance, reviews often seem to be a curious mix of strangely uncritical prose and random scoring. Interesting... but a bit patternless. I'm also off to see Game Network today, the games-specific TV channel that started in Italy and is now expanding to the UK. It's funny - it's as if I'm playing fox AND hound today, and I don't know which one I prefer. I also need to find a (UK-based?) screenwriting agent for my Duke Nukem script, before the film goes into production! Dons of Quixote are playing in Spain this Saturday, so I guess I'll have to wait to catch Luke (& Steve Rockett) in V8 Pack in June.

P.S....
It turned out that nothing had been stolen, but at 7.15am you don't really want to start the day dealing with people acting shiftily, do you now? I'm more of a 10am starter meself. :-) Also: checked out the manual - doh! What are those load/save icons on page 3 all about? They're not in the blinkin' game! Virgin, Virgin, Virgin - what were you thinking of? Phoned Tom to blow my top, but he was on voice mail. Just as well, really. 11 copies for the whole of the mainstream press - wow, that's really thin. However, I designed the game for kids AND for adults (a very Disney two-track thing, I'm such a mass-market kind of guy), so who should I pitch to? Decisions, decisions...

26th April, morning
7.15am - bang bang bang on the door. Yup, it's those "3D Pocket Pool"s arriving from Virgin, normal post (not recorded or anything). And check *this* out - one corner of the box had been ripped open, leaving the games open... it really looked like one had been stolen. Julie runs out and complains to the postman (who's running off at speed) - he says "we postmen don't have time to rip off people's mail" before driving off at speed. If it weren't for the fact that loads of our letters (especially bank-related correspondence, ouch) arrive with a corner of the envelope seal torn back... as if someone had done just enough to have a look inside... then I wouldn't be just a touch paranoid about the whole thing. Look - I haven't read a Philip K. Dick book in years, but sometimes it really does feel as though we're under surveillance of some sort. It's a good job the security services here are mostly inept, or we'd be in *real* trouble.

April 25th, later on
Spent all day trying out new compression algorithms. Gave up, eventually. Then phoned Tom G at Virgin about the US version of the game and Nintendo of America approval. Bad news, of course. An August 2001 release? Why am I not surprised? *tcha*

April 25th, in limbo
Hey, looky here what's about to land on my desk tomorrow - 11 copies of 3D Pocket Pool, for me to do the UK promotion. On the plus side, this is good because Virgin wouldn't normally give a monkey's about anything as small as a non-licensed, non-branded, Game Boy Color game. On the minus side, I now have to figure out a press release, figure out which newspapers/magazines will give me the best return on my time, and get on with it. Press launch? Maybe, just maybe... as long as I don't have to buy the first round. :-)

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