Whilst 2020 was a year like no other and has been more than a little tricky for most people, there is a slight silver lining… we can now be trusted unequivocally to work from home! This is a good move in the right direction IMO as being a developer I have found working from home has really helped with my productivity!

Without the day-to-day distractions of the office, I found I could really knuckle down and get my head deep into code. Don’t get me wrong, I love a little social by the coffee machine and a cheeky beer on Friday at our desks, but a 5 minute distraction when you are writing up the core logic to an app or plugin can set you back 30 mins before you really get back into the swing of it and invariably there will be another distraction as soon as you do. I’m almost certain this is where 90% of bugs come from…

So, for me at least, 2020 has been a pretty good year in some weird way. I’ve been involved in multiple dev projects and all have been pretty successful to varying degrees. Nearly all of it in C# – where I’m most at home. In most cases I can’t really share what I do, it has to go through a whole procedure or vetting by our marketing guys and gals to make sure I’m not giving away trade secrets and the like (I totally get and respect that), but in this instance it is public and I can totally share what we do at RBG as a developer…

Introducing… Reveal!

RBG Reveal started off as a R&D project (out of hours and in our own rooms) to leverage the power of the awesome Unity Gaming Engine to add to real-time interactive rendering to our VDC services. This seems all the rage these days (especially with Unity Reflect), but thinking back only a few years ago, we were all still just creating static images or rendering videos. Well, no more!

This has been by far one of the most fun dev projects I’ve had the pleasure of working on. Maybe because it started out as more of a passion project… I will admit, this took quite a bit of persuasion and many hours of my own time (and my partner in crime – another Dan) to get the project approved and into our Dev pipeline, Development is NOT cheap!!! But when it got the thumbs up we didn’t waste any time cracking on.

What I’ve learnt…

Now dear reader, if you are already a dev or are aspiring to be one at your firm and you have a good idea that you think should happen, then here is some tips I’ve learnt over the years…

  • Learn how to write a solid Proposal
    This is really important! Also, be honest and try not be sucked in by your own bias. It’s tricky to write a proposal impartially for something you feel strongly is the best thing ever, but by thinking through it, you will realise there might be some aspects to your idea that fall flat. Better to get these things out in the open early or they WILL come back to kick you in the bum later.
  • Create a Proof Of Concept (PoC)
    You will need to spend quite a bit of your own time creating PoC’s… I know this sounds like working for free… but in my experience, having a PoC, no matter how basic, can really sell your idea. Not only that, but it also helps you discover any hidden problems further down the road, that again, WILL come back to kick you in the bum later. These hidden problems lead to my next point…
  • Do your research
    Of course this is a no brainer and sort of falls into the writing a proposal and PoC parts. But, doing your research is important, especially if your idea is quite a big one or extends into the unknown a little. Sometimes you will simply find some technologies you need are quite expensive, or some of the features you want to add are beyond your skillset. This is good to know in advance.
  • Don’t over-promise…
    I’ve seen this a fair few times (and even done it myself a fair few times in the past too). It’s easy to get carried away in the excitement and think way ahead before really thinking how to get there – “sure – I can do that! Pfft… easy!” you say, and later on realise it isn’t as easy as you initially thought, or even worse… you can’t deliver! If you’re not sure, just say “I’ll look into it” and go back to researching.
  • Don’t give up
    Don’t be disheartened if your boss isn’t sure. Remember, dev isn’t cheap. For you, this idea is a no-brainer, but from your boss’ perspective, they also see a monetary and resource cost to this work and have to think about how much return of investment this gives back to the company. Sometimes you just need to keep being that annoying dev that doesn’t shut up about this idea they have or give your boss some time to mull over the idea and see the full value of what it is you are proposing.

Well, as usual thanks for reading and I hope this helped! 🙂