Over the last couple of days I’ve been spending a little bit of time playing around with (and getting really excited about) HTML5 Canvases.

Canvases let you define an area on a web page onto which you can draw on using Javascript. You are pretty much free to do what you want in this area, right down to drawing individual pixels.

This has got me rather excited…

A long time ago…

When I was at school my IT life was monochrome and 640K of RAM seemed like an unimaginable amount of memory, I used to write games. I probably should have been doing my homework, but missing a few assignments doesn’t seem to have done my career any harm.

I’d hack away and then once a week me and my friends would all get together at the then offices of Daily Information, and we’d show them off at the computer club they’d hold there.

Life was simpler back then; we didn’t need fancy 3d graphics or photo realistic scenery (Wolf3D and RotT were then state of the art). The bar was set low enough that spotty teenagers could hack together playable games in a weekend.

Going back to my roots…

A central theme of our little hacks was the maze game. These were simple in concept, but there was a lot you could do with them. Over time as our experience in the craft grew, these maze games increased in sophistication – containing traps, soundtracks and even AI monsters – but still held true to the same basic template.

Ever since then, every time I’d learn a new language or build software for a new platform, one of the first things I’d do is write one of these simple maze games.

They were a simple “known problem”, but required you to use most of the key concepts you’d likely need – input/output, files, loops etc – and made for a much more interesting “hello world” program.

I must have written the same basic game a hundred times (I even wrote one for the Psion Workabout), and in keeping with this tradition, here’s one I wrote for HTML5 canvas/Javascript the other afternoon.

It’s not anywhere near the level of sophistication I’ve done before, but it has got me excited about the possibility of hacking some fun little games together. I think I may have to go through some of my old disks, and see if there’s some code from those days that deserve a new lease on life…

Aww… I’ve gone all sentimental.

Gosh! Well it seems almost like yesterday that I was writing my last new year post.

It has been a busy year, and I have to admit, it has been in the most part pretty damn awesome.

The year began with me and some good friends drinking champagne and vodka on the side of a mountain in the Czech republic, followed by some random wanderings in eastern Europe.

I travelled more: first to the Czech republic and Budapest, I visited Paris, had a skiing holiday in Austria. I went on an epic road trip to spend summer camping in the Czech paradise and flew to visit with a friend in Berkeley.

Speaking of flying, 2011 was the year that I finally obtained a dream of mine and obtained my pilot’s licence. Weather permitting, by the time you read this I would have already taken up my first passenger!

I continued to climb, and found a new activity – capoeira – which filled a space in my life I didn’t even know I had, and made some great friends in the process.

I got involved in a monthly ad-hoc band practice and started learning several new instruments.

I helped build some awesome software, I went to some awesome parties and I met some awesome people!

In the coming year, it is my hope to make 2012 even more awesome. I hope to travel more, and indeed I hope very much to be living in a different country by the end of it.

I plan to advance my flying career with some RAF aerobatic training, and at the very least fly across the channel to go climbing in Font.

I intend to learn not one but two languages to, if not fluency, at least to the point where I can have a conversation with someone beyond how to find the train station or how many cats I have.

On with the adventure!

I am using the scheduled post feature to publish this for the new year, since with any luck I will be drinking vodka on the side of a mountain somewhere in eastern Europe. However, as I write this the UK is in the grips of Snowpocalypse 3, and who knows if I made it.

Anyway… 2010 began in the grips of Snowpocalypse 2 and was the year we saw the awful Digital economy bill come into law. We had an election of a new government, and the self-destruction of the Liberal Democrats – a party I am sad to say I supported.

It is safe to say that 2010 was a year of change, and for me – although no year is entirely without its stress and upset – overall the year has been exciting and positive, for which I’m thankful.

Professionally, I have been lucky to meet and work along side some of the most incredibly talented and delightful people I’ve ever met – from technological luminaries to emmy award winning journalists to Harvard university faculty to members of the music and media industries.

I’ve had the chance to have creative and strategic input into some awesome projects – some of which are out already, and others I can’t wait to show you.

Personally, I’ve got to travel to some interesting and wonderful parts of the world, sometimes for work and sometimes for play. I’ve got to meet some lovely people and have some awesome experiences I will remember forever, everything from sitting in a park watching the sun set over Berlin to zip-lining off a mountain in Nevada.

I’ve also had the opportunity to satisfy a life long ambition of mine and learn to fly – I will always remember feeling of terror when my instructor sent me on my first solo flight, and the feeling exhilaration and accomplishment once I realised I was flying by myself!

I look forward to finding out what 2011 has in store, I know it is unlikely to end up with me living in the same country as I do currently, but more than that I can’t say…

Bring it on!