New year, new challenges

So, apologies for the lack of updates.  Work in the O2 Lab has been pretty busy in a fun way.  I also been doing a lot in the robotics area (see my youtube

So, as for coding I have been working in Java/Android/Lejos when working on my LEGO robots, a lot of this I have opened sourced on GitHub.

As for non robotic stuff, I have been tasked with learning more about Virtual Reality and learning Unity (Best tool for the job), and I have to be honest, now that I have thrown some proper time at Unity, I really like it!  Virtual Reality is enabled by a tick box.

So I don’t have much to show yet but some cool VR stuff will be coming soon 🙂


Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 09.50.19

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 10.41.43



2 way communication between Lejos and Android : Work in progress

So, one of the big requirements I need from a programming language for the EV3 is to be able to talk to a mobile device.  With the EV3 being newer, less options seem to be available.

I have started work on some Lejos samples to demo 2 way communication via sockets to an Android device.  The current work in progress can be found on Github 

Watch this space!

New version of Virtual Worlds Submitted for Android

Just a small update, the following features, bugs have been fixed.

  • Added feature to turn VR mode off
  • Added feature so you no longer need a game controller
  • Fixed issue with be able to place objects in other peoples worlds
  • Fixed a few crashes!

Please check out

Virtual Worlds

Lets release pre-alpha software! Yeah

So, tonight I decided just to punt out Virtual Worlds.  Probably a silly move but nothing has been happening lately with it due to work stuff, a 3 week long cough, 2 birthdays, Christmas and home life!

I will soon know how bad it is!

I managed to do some useful bug fixes, tested it on a couple of controllers etc.  More will come soon!

What does it have?

  • Main world has little huts which is your door way to the other worlds
  • It has some built in help to tell you what buttons do what.
  • It has some nice new textures but sadly very limiting at the moment
  • You can see other players in the game, pretty poor graphics but that will be fixed very soon
  • You can create your own little minecraft type world 🙂 though very basic!

Whats next?

  • Once I see it in the Google Store, I will test it works 🙂 (releases always seem to cause some odd bug)
  • I need to add some more textures ASAP
  • A way for people to report bugs
  • A way for people to talk to each other!

Google Play Link

Virtual Worlds update 0.1

So, Virtual Worlds, hmm I had planned to release that by the end of the month however a few things have come up!  Man Flu has not helped me code, the snot just goes everywhere!

I have also had a few other things on!

Excuses over, where are we?

  • Started getting a better set of textures together thanks to Gary
  • Made a very rough simple player model which maybe be replaced by a OBJ file
  • Fixed lots of bugs
  • Created a control screen showing controls etc
  • Improved the navigation throughout the app
  • Implemented some speaking help notifications
  • Got Google Cloud Messaging working however not sure why I need it now.
  • Moved to Live server!

Left to do by 1st December

  • Improve player object
  • Finish texture pack off
  • Make scalable zone object
  • Fix any controller issues
  • Allow user interaction maybe using GCM
  • Allow players to fly in zones if they own them to help build them
  • TEST

Wish me luck!

Virtual Worlds : Progress so far

What? a? Virtual Worlds? What a sh*t name?  Your probably right but its just better than Android 3D mmo thingy!

Progress so far?  I would of liked to give it more time but some times I am not in the mood, sometimes I can’t get out of the mood which also leads to lack of sleep!  Last night I had beer! (not a usual thing sadly)

What can you do so far?

  • Register, login
  • Navigate the main world, which will allow you to enter player zones and create your own zones.
  • You can see other players (as cubes) move about
  • Once in your own zone, you can place cubes to make structures (see below) this has been vastly improved.
  • You can climb your structures to make bigger structures (I had to make a stair case to to make the archway)
  • You can enter delete mode in your zone and delete things with ease
  • Started adding back in the voice engine, sound effects etc
  • There are now system text messages to show you important information
  • Players and zones have text above them showing their username









Whats next

So to get it to the point where I can alpha test it I would like to do the follow

  • Create a 3D model for players as they are currently cubes
  • Make a 3D object for a zone, this should grow as the zone gets more popular / better in some way
  • Find a wider range of textures snow, grass, wood, etc
  • Create a control help screen to list gamepad controls
  • Make all commands voice activated (may get dropped)
  • Allow you to send messages to users (may be text or voice)
  • Create some sort of reason to play the game, prices, score boards etc.
  • Implement GCM (push notifications)

The aim is to have a demo zone thats setup for xmas when I release alpha:)

Off to bed!

Android OpenGL ES 2.0 : VBO’s for the win

I am currently working on an Android Virtual Reality framework, project, well not sure what it is.  I have been trying to get different types of objects to render, use different types of devices for control / movement and I did manage to release one game that uses it (I made this in a 12 hour GameJam).

Can’t Get Out

I have been looking at ways to improve performance, before any changes I could only render 1000 cubes at 1 FPS! Ar BALLS

I followed this post on StackOverFlow and that got me to about 5 FPS!

I then read about using Vertex Buffer Objects (VBO’s) and followed this tutorial!

People, this is the way to go, I did not use Stride but I still got 64,000 cubes at 30fps!  Now that’s an improvement!

The sad thing is, this tutorial is from a book I own that I have still not read 🙁  Next missing, read the flipping book!

OpenGL ES 2 for Android: A Quick-Start Guide



Whats going on and what have I learned so far?

Good evening all.  Your probably wondering why I have been a little quiet lately, maybe it was the marathon I just did, or maybe it was all the bloody colds I have had.  Could it even be the kids?

Short version

Though all of the above is valid, things are still happening.  I am still chasing my dream of my own Virtual Reality world (in Android), I am learning iOS8/Swift and also READING BOOKS, the ones that contain stories!

I am trying to slightly step back, review what I have learned, and move forward in a more productive focused way.

New stuff will be coming soon.

Long version (sorry)

As a dear friend of mine once said (paraphrasing) , Burf, you like building frameworks but then you loose interest.  Try finishing something.  He was completely right and this helped spawn Burf Development, and the GameJam event I organise at work.

Since I started Burf Development at the start of the year I have released 2 Android games (both part of a game jam so need work), started sharing code on GitHub and released 6 games and 1 app for iOS!  The largest one, being Hack24 which has had quite a few downloads (currently rated 4.5 out of 5).

I learned some obvious lessons with Hack24.

The first one being that I should of only shipped the game out once I was happy with the features.  I should of waited until APN’s where enabled in the game as this is a great way to remind players to come back and inform them that they have been hacked, robbed etc.

It seems that once the initial download rush is over, it is pretty hard to get that boom again.  On the first few days I was receiving 100-200 downloads a day, now its like 40 a week.

I also had some server issues, I guess I could of done more testing however most of this was down to a time validation issue where the clock got out of sync with the client, this caused users not to be able to login 🙁

Waiting 7-9 days for a iOS release is annoying! Especially when you find a bug within minutes after release!  Do more testing, get friends to do it to!  My wife was top bug finder!

Check the support email, oh boy I never actually expected people to contact me, but yes they do!

Work out a road map, or a plan! I am a little stuck on what to do with Hack24 now?  I feel I keep moving on to new stuff!

Whats the plan now?

Well I have a load of idea’s in Trello,  I have a few started projects and lots of new technology to learn.  I have a ton of online course lined up and have started reading books.  Oh and there are the 2 awesome kids I have to, I try to focus my time on them!  Oh did I mention I have a wife and a full time job!

Android and Virtual Reality

Virtual reality has been one of my favourite topics since I saw Lawnmover man.  I have tried to make my own VR world many time since I was about 12!  VR is now starting to take off with Oculus Rift (Facebook), Sony Morpheus, Google Cardboard and Samsung GearVR plus many others!  Apple sadly has nothing in this area, and so I either develop for the desktop or for Android.  As I quite enjoy learning Android, this is a double whammy!  Also, you can generally release anything to the Google Play store (a VR framework would not be allowed).



Learning Swift & iOS8

As a senior iOS developer, I really need to rock at Apples new programming.  I have played with Swift a bit but I really feel its time to freshen up my skills.  There is also a lot of cool stuff with iOS8.  My aim is to build a couple of simple but pretty apps (master that AutoLayout) in Swift.