Flash on the Beach 2010 Review

Wow. Another great year for Flash on the Beach. The doom merchants may well have predicted (or desired) it’s death but the evidence in Brighton this week demonstrated what a great future Flash has. Packed out presentations across the whole event with attendees from all over Europe (shown by the lack of people who had heard of Family Fortunes (Feud) – an amusing circumstance in Seb Lee Delisle’s session).

I kicked off day 1 at FOTB2010 by attending a talk by Conrad Winchester on Robot Legs and Signals. Very interesting and well thought out presentation with a good smattering of code examples. Andre Michelle‘s Pulsatile Crackle session was very well received. More excellent demonstrations of Andre’s apps with some very nice playful audio interfaces. His hilarious ball falling out of tube demo was a treat. Would love to see Andre give an audio coding 101 session… Mario Klingemann next: It was Mario’s session a few years ago – when he broke down the seemingly lesser bitmapData functions – demonstrating how to use floodfill, etc for optimal image analysis that really inspired me to concentrate fully on Flash. All of his sessions have been excellent since including this his last one for at east a year – slightly chaotic but full of great takeaway ideas. His attempt at a jigsaw puzzle analyser and solver was inspired. Such a shame he couldn’t coax it closer to a solution. I’ve been wanting to get to a Stacey Mulcahy session for a couple of years and finally succeeded here – I wasn’t going to miss a presentation with ‘douchebag’ in the title. Stacey is a fine purveyor of fun from the darkest corners of the interweb, I found the session to be hilarious but I still came away with some salient points about social media and the increasing usage of oauth.

The inspiration sessions were excellent. I love Robert Hodgin‘s work and especially love his love for maths. Stefan Sagmeister in the evening looked like a slightly smarter Nick Cave – he kicked off talking about ‘chelly fish’ which I thought was a wonderful pronunciation – his body of work is amazing and he has some great philosophies about working and taking time off to refresh.

Day 2 started off with the Elevator Pitches (I presented 3 Games in 3 Minutes here last year). The standard this year was amazing. I only saw the first 10 or so (I had to go and prepare for my session) but the stand outs for me were Sarah Bird/@AnimNation – 3D in 3 minutes, wow!, Tomek Augustyn/@blog2t – a real web cam eye opener, Tom Vian/@SFBTom – 8 bit sound engine SFXR and Trine Falbe/@TrineFalbe – Do not use bullet points – Trine has l33t preso skills!

Hand sketch of the 'Where in the World?' sketch

Jon Howard's FOTB2010 session as sketched by @UBelly

I was next up with my “Where in the World? InContinent Ballistic Flash”. The session went really well. A poor data feed prevented me showing off the really cool bits of the deep zooming but I skirted around that issue. As I started I was told to try and cut 5 mins to help the schedule catch up so I dropped a little bit of code explanation around the explosions. I’ll do a post soon to cover that soon. It is amazing how simple clean understandable solutions to big problems can be the killer point – I certainly didn’t expect my little polynomial equations from Excel graphs method to be lauded so much in the Twittersphere. Lesson learnt though – I’ll try to come up with some more of those nuggets. The audience was great (thanks guys) and laughed at all my jokes =-)

Swingpants distributes his balls

Swingpants and his balls (photo Marc Thiele)

I love Joa Ebert‘s work but I have to confess I was vainly catching up on the twitter feed about my session rather than concentrating on Joa’s pres (sorry) but the improvement stats sound amazing. Seb Lee Delisle‘s presentation this year was immense. Great interviews with people across the web development world about the state of Flash, why people hate it and what kind of future Flash has. Seb has a lovely relaxed style and a great understanding of how to deliver in an entertaining way. He also has a conveyor belt of some sort if you hadn’t heard. Mind Candy finished the afternoon for me. I met up with the Moshi Monster’s gang a couple of years ago and since then they have become hugely successful. They explained about their Agile methods which seemed to go down really well. To finish the day off I managed to get along to Brendan Dawes session which was entertaining and very funny.

FOTB Audience in the Corn Exchange

Attentive faces of an FOTB audience (photo by Marc Thiele)

I got asked to do the Jam Throwdown this year – a great honour. I was up on stage with Seb Lee Delisle, Iain Lobb, Andre Michelle, Robert Hogin and Julian Dolce. 10 mins each. John Davey had asked me to ‘blow the others off the stage’ – so I did literally or at least digitally. I put in a few hours the night before to pull it off – it seemed to work well. Seb’s crowd ‘beat capturing’ worked excellently and really got the guys going.
By all accounts Iain Lobb’s Zero to Game Designer in 60 Minutes was an amazing session – but I couldn’t get in. Ralph Hauwert‘s session introduced me to 2D and 3D depth fields – something I really need to look into. Ralph is inspired by reading a lot of Maths papers – makes me feel I should read a few more. (and learn to understand the syntax better). I went along to Frank Reitberger‘s presentation (another Elevator Pitcher from last year). Really nice graphical effects and explanation of his processes. Joshua Hirsch and Jared Tarbell wrapped up proceedings.

Another amazing few days. My inspiration batteries have been recharged and I’ll be looking to try and get back as a speaker again next year.

If you’re a Rich Media developer/Designer and haven’t been to Flash on the Beach then why not? It is the number #1 conference in Europe and you are pretty much guaranteed to make a whole host of new contacts.

[ Huge thanks to Brett Jephson @brejep for building a 3D tree model for me to blow up, and to Aidan O’Brien @scaryclown for designing some scenery to adorn my character explosion tests. Last but not least big big thanks to John Davey @FOTB for organising such an immensely successful conference(festival) ]


3 Responses to “Flash on the Beach 2010 Review”

  1. October 2, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Hey John, I’m glad you’ve seen my on stage struggle 😉 I’ve enjoyed your session and ball catching. It would be funtastic if you could release some code for 3D earth rendering and cam angle adjustment (did you use PV3D?). Thanks!

  2. 2 swingpants
    October 2, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    I’m going to put together a method run through for the earth implementation very soon.
    I used Away3DLite for the rendering. It allowed me to have more polys and if you saw my FOTB Jam Throwdown – I had enough overhead to squeeze in a number of animated MD2/Collada models.

  3. October 4, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    yeah cheers… your talk was the highlight of the conference for me. kept looking for you around the conference after i saw your talk, but no beanz

    amazingly, i’m with alot of the others on the polynomial solving way, cool++. the number of times i have wished to relearn calculus, and instead killed 2 hours with calculated guesses at finding an equation to fit the bill.

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