...and nobody cried for more

I strayed back to my personal space again today. I am struck by the irony that I have my own personal space on h2g2, but I can't stop people invading it.

I suppose I'd better put something here about myself, as people seem to keep asking, simply because I'm user number 1.

A brief history of me

I joined TDV (The Digital Village) to work on the first TDV project, which was the computer game Starship Titanic. That eventually shipped (which is another story altogether), and then I split my time between working on h2g2 and the Hitch Hiker game we were planning/developing. At various points, Sean and Jim joined TDV - I had worked with them both at Computer Concepts and Xara, companies you've probably heard of if you ever used Acorn computers.

The Hitch Hiker game was eventually cancelled for many and diverse reasons, and I decided to spend as much time out of work as I needed to recover from the long hours I had been working for the previous 5 years. This took a few months, and as I was enjoying the freedom I didn't start looking for another job for about a year. Then I got a job at Blue52, a games company, where I am currently working. So now you're up to date.

h2g2, and me, researcher #1.

Jim Lynn has said:

"Slacker, who got his ID of U1 by virtue of being the executive producer on the project (and by virtue of being more senior to me, so I couldn't argue with him)."

This is a distortion of the truth, because I got U1 by standard shotgun rules, and Jim knows it. We were in an h2g2 meeting where we decided to number users, and decided that 'normal' users would have numbers above a certain number (10,000, or thereabouts, I think), and that staff would have low numbers. I just happened to be the first person to think of asking to be user #1. Similarly, Sean was the first person to think of asking to be user #7. Double-oh sheven, you see. We were in sight of the numbers, and we called them. Standard shotgun rules.

What Jim really means is that as I was senior to him, he couldn't tell me to fornicate off so that he could have U1 instead. This disappointment has festered inside him for years, and gnawed at his very soul, until he has become the twisted man in the tower you see today. He throws sticks at small children from his grimy cell. It's all absolutely devastatingly true.

Slacker by name...

I'm afraid I haven't written many articles on h2g2, but whoever it was that suggested a search for the 'real' first researcher, you can stop looking. We seeded h2g2 with about 60 articles at the launch on various subjects, written by various writers hired for the purpose. Sadly the skills of many professional writers often didn't seem to stretch to spelling and grammar, so we had to edit them in-house. Sadly most people actually working on h2g2 were, well, busy working on h2g2, and we only really came to the conclusion about the need for subbing about 2 days before launch. So I volunteered to sub-edit them. This took bloody ages. About 2 days in fact. Including sleep, because I didn't. At the end of this mind-numbing exercise, we then realised that we had no text for Douglas' user page, and he was off somewhere half way around the world or something, so I wrote that too. So you can see that text here - it is as strange as you might expect, and I did actually write it after being up editing and writing for 38 hours straight. That is the longest time I've stayed awake for, as far as I can remember. It seemed to touch people, as the bunnies in kilts are mentioned to me periodically by various people.

Here's what I wrote when Douglas died. I don't have much to add to that right now (although here's what I wrote for the front page of our website, which probably captures what I and others felt more succinctly). I wrote about half of the first one in a hotel room in Los Angeles because I had to go to E3 to demonstrate the Hitch Hiker video game we were developing at the time. That was a fairly terrible experience, because I had to be positive about everything, and talk to a bunch of fake shallow people only a few days after Douglas died. I wrote a bit about that experience here, if you care. Footnote 3 is the relevant part.

In the beginning was the nerd, and the nerd was a fighter pilot

I worked on the Starship Titanic game at The Digital Village, so was there from very early on. Sean and I have thought about writing about the years at TDV, just to document what went on, how things happened, why they happened, how we got to know Douglas, and so on. We spent a long night writing lots of snippets of things down on an A4 manilla envelope, to remind us of things to put in. I then promptly lost that envelope, which was spectactularly clever of me, I think you'll agree. We may yet write something about that time. We certainly seem to have lots of pictures, at any rate.

They have to know about your hobbies

So, now I work at Blue52, a games developer based in Camden, London. Ironically, the old offices of Blue52 where I went for my first interview were right next door to the old TDV offices in Bayham Street. Bayham Street seems the home of coincidences - we kept finding bits of old BBC Micro networking equipment (Econet) in cupboards - Sean later found out that the offices used to be where the Acorn User magazine was based. See, it's all linked!

Now, I'm beavering away at my day job, and working on various random programs in my spare time, and trying to write a novel. It's going slowly.

You can see the Church from there, can't you, Madam?

In parting, let me leave you with an observation and some advice. It seems very likely that the current period in your life, no matter how you might feel about it, is a time you will look back on in about 5 years, and think of it as 'the good old days'.

Make sure you appreciate 'the good old days' while you are living them, and not just in retrospect.

Right, maybe people will stop moaning about my page now.


Conversation Title Latest Post Latest Reply
I'm back No Posting Oct 27, 2011
Thanks, but no thanks. No Posting Nov 16, 2010
Happy Birthday No Posting Apr 29, 2010
Happy Christmas No Posting Jun 3, 2009
Bug fixes! No Posting Sep 8, 2008


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