MetaMakers First 12 months ... A year gone by

It has been nearly a year since my PhD was submitted .

Wait,... No, ... it has been a year by now.

Time rushes by and Dr. Gaudl is working on software/apps, on research and on somehow finding balance of life (if such a thing exists.)

In April 2016, I started working as part of the MetaMakers here in Falmouth. Our team consisted until December of only researchers, which is not always beneficial when aiming to release a product and not just a demonstrator.

Due to my time at Fraunhofer, I can relate to the conflict within us academics to work on something interesting and hand it out only when it's done. The problem with that is that a software is in flux and pieces shift over time. The interest in some aspects of the thing your working on shifts and you, or I, start looking into other things which pique my interest. This also means that you, and often I, never reach a final product. The other issue is that you want to hand things out which are perfect, but software,research ... hmm... nothing is ever perfect except ideas.

We managed to get over those hurdles in December, releasing a first game onto the appstore, which is using MetaMaker tech. The game is super tough to play (intentionally) and we could get a glimpse of what it means to develop games using Apple's tools and toolkits (XCode,Swift,Spritekit, ReplayKit, GameSparks aso.)

I am amazed how people can get stuff done with these. Apple charges $100 for a license and the tools are s!$% !!! XCode crashes, the API is undocumented and is more for show as whenever you want to dig deeper, there is nothing there. Gamesparks is great though, if you do research or small indie stuff it is basically free.

We also hired a "real" programmer ;) and it has been super interesting to observe him work and get things. Pete is of super great help and he pushing the software quite a bit.

We have also an app on testflight, Apple's beta program, which is not great and the stats are only partially working. But you can share half working version to testers at least.

Oh well, stop complaining Swen ...

Other than that, we finished a couple of workshop papers over the year and it is good to work with more people now on research. Most of the research for papers kicked in after a form of hiatus as we concentrated quite a bit on development.

One great outcome of our work so far is, that we managed to get tons of school kids and girl guides to test two of our apps. Now we/I need to look through the data we collected from over 200 kids!!!

Retrospect, I came to Falmouth with a set of research goals as the Fellowship offered me time to extend my studies into the areas I am interested in. A mix of personal neglect and also me not driving my own agenda enough, let to the fact that a year is gone and my research has barely taken off.

I found it tough to balance the goals of the team/project goal while maintaining my own agenda. I know my research can contribute to the project goal, but there were so many things to do... and a decent amount of pressure on dev activities.

These are my main goal for my second year in Cornwall:

  • Get my own research done! I have papers which need to be finished!
  • I want to collaborate more with other researchers. (The whole point of research is to learn,discuss,advance,repeat)
  • I have ideas which need to pursued and tools to advance (my new reactive planner and its GP component)!

If I can't get this done, I should leave academia and get back to project work.


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