Monday, April 06, 2015

Hiring a games engineer who likes animated films!

We're hiring an engineer with 3D games experience, who likes animated films!  Please share with your game-developer friends!

Evertoon lets users create 3D animated videos by taking regular text in an iMessage-like interface and automatically turning it into a movie with avatars acting it out. Like this video.

We are a small team with experience from Disney, Moonbot (2011 Oscar for Best Animated Short), Microsoft Games, and Google. The company has raised money from Greylock and other notable investors.

  • Design and develop features in Unity3D C#, including avatar customization, camera movements, user inventory, UI, audio / music
  • Implement an user experience for using photographs to personalize avatars and backgrounds, and automatically creating a movie from written text 
  • Help build a two-sided artist marketplace where third-party artists can sell 3D models, animations, and videos to users 
  • Develop social features including sharing, commenting, and integration with social networks 
  • 4+ years experience with object-oriented programming 
  • 1+ year Unity3D experience. 
  • Bonus: Objective-C / iOS programming experience. 
You will receive a competitive salary, benefits, and significant stock equity. Please send your resume to jobs AT!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

traveling to the Amazon (the jungle, not the company)

I went with friends for a week to the Amazon jungle.

Here I'm with the amazing Sha-mayn, and also my friend Axe (leftmost) from survival school.  

When I met Axe, she was living on an island in Kenya.  Now she's living in a cabin in Colorado with no running water or electricity.  She studied anthropology at Harvard, and earns a living as an art sculptor and an editor for Hollywood screenplays.  

Axe brought a polaroid camera.  Here's a polaroid taken while we were on the Amazon River.

This photo also shows K, who ran a safari lodge in Kenya for 3 years.  She told us about dealing with a zebra who fell in the swimming pool, and a swarm of bees that attacked guests who had to jump in the pool to get away (the zebra had been removed by then).

Sha-mayn in our open-air room, in an indigenous community of 100 Colombians.  The village only has electricity from noon to 2pm and then 5-10pm.  Most of the village only got toilets during a big community project two years ago.

We debated whether the village would benefit or be damaged if they got internet access.  I think it would mostly be detrimental.

One night, the neighbor got drunk and was shouting.  His teenage son came over, looking very worried and glum.  Our host went over to help.  I marveled at how much support people give each other in a community.  There are still alcoholics in the village, but everyone helps out.  In a city, no one would be there to help the young son with his alcoholic dad.

We also stayed in Puerto NariƱo for 3 nights.  It's a 6000-person town with no cars allowed.  

There were many toddlers running around laughing, carrying large sticks that they found on the ground, cavorting with trees.  It was nice to see the change from San Francisco, where these toddlers would be strapped into strollers, and only allowed to have occasional scheduled playdates, where they'd eat carefully supervised gluten-free food.

There were very few people on the Amazon.  During a two-hour journey, we'd see someone maybe every 30 minutes.  It was very calming not to have sounds of the city.

I had culture shock when we got back to a city with motorcycles, cars, and all the urban noises.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

cycle of addiction: 99% frustration, 1% pure elation

I'm watching the behind-the-scenes commentary of the movie "Field of Dreams", while working.

Because, you know, the commentary is about cinematography choices, and the movie is about believing in your own crazy passions and dreams.  So it's very relevant.

The director says:
"Kevin [Costner] would want to talk about the take.  And at first it just drove me crazy.  Then I realized you work for hours bumbling through a scene till you finally get a take right where everything is right, where the camera works right, the light is right, the actors are right, the background is right.  There's a moment where it feels good after a couple of hours of being frustrated.  He wanted to stay in that moment another couple of seconds.  He wanted to just feel good before we started feeling bad about the next scene."

I'm very amused by this. That's how programming feels! Your code doesn't compile. Eventually it compiles, but it crashes immediately. After a couple more tries, it runs but the entire screen is black. Finally it looks right, but runs too slowly.

A couple hours or days later, it all works.  The unittests pass.  It runs quickly.  You're on top of the world!  You go mark the task completed in your project-tracker.  Then you get to feel frustrated with the next task!

It's so addictive. It's hard to imagine not being hooked on those moments of elation.

This cycle also describes entrepreneurship.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

hate is not the real problem

Hanging out with my brother.

Brother: "Sometimes we get product feedback that's really negative.  Like: 'This is the worst idea.  You should take a shotgun and put it in your mouth.'"

Me: "What!"

Brother: "If people have intense negative feelings, that means they care.  If you listen to them and incorporate their suggestions, there's the potential of converting them into being your biggest fans."

Me: "I guess it's like how the Lord of the Rings book fans felt about the movie.  If the movies had been bad, they would've been the most vicious complainers.  But because the movies were good, the book fans became the most obsessive supporters."

Brother: "An intensely negative reaction can be converted into an intensely positive one.  The real problem comes when they are disinterested.  If they get bored and go do something else, that's when there's a problem."