LFPUG invasion!

Last Thursday Mind Candy had the pleasure of hosting the latest LFPUG meetup!  LFPUG or London Flash Platform User Group is a monthly meet up of Flash enthusiasts who either work in the industry or enjoy experimenting with Flash in their spare time!  Each month the members take the opportunity to talk about exciting projects and new technologies in the field.  The night was a great success around 50 people turned up.  Mind Candy provided beer and snacks and everyone had a chance to mingle and chat before the presentations began.

This month there were two presentations.  First up was Rob McMichael who talked us through the recent breakthroughs with Flex Mobile, he showed off some examples of how easy it is to use the Flex API with mxmlc and the sort of components that are currently available within the framework as well as upcoming features in the upcoming version of Flex. The second presentation was made by Tink who told us all about Flex Navigators and he talked us through some very impressive work he’s been doing on some open source navigators.  He showed off some examples of complex navigators that could nest themselves within each other and produce some beautiful effects such as 3D cover flow. It was a great evening and a great way to meet like minded Flash enthusiasts!

The next meetup is on the 27th October and features a presentation on the version control system Git and the methodology of Designers and Developers working in harmony.

Hope to see you there!

All hands on deck

It used to be that if you wanted to get everyone’s opinion from the Mind Candy tech team you’d just have to know which pub to visit after work, for they’d all be sat around a single table, discussing the day’s events over a well earned pint (or tea & cake, depending on your preference). Gone are the days, however, where a single table will seat them, or a single cake feed them, for the Mind Candy tech team hath grown to monstrous proportions!

Tech Team

Enter the first of many Tech Team All-Hands meetups, a chance for us to gather the entire team away from the hustle & bustle of Mind Candy HQ and garner their opinions on the topics of the moment. The team spent the day at the rather luxurious Shoreditch House, chatting about all manner of topics, from source control to nuclear bunkers. There were some excellent presentations on the subjects such as “Scaling services with Scala, Akka and Cassandra” and “Sharding multi-million row tables in a production postgres instance and surviving” (both of which will shortly feature as posts on this very blog).

All-in-all the day was a great way for the whole team to learn about what we’ve all been working on and help solve the next big problems. Getting everyone together once in a while really helps give alternate viewpoints on solutions and foster the great team spirit we strive to keep. Of course, the free bar helps too.

Agile Safari Comes to Mind Candy!

Wednesday saw Mind Candy host an Agile Safari at Mind Candy HQ!

The aim of the Agile Safari is to help members of the UX community get to grips with different techniques to better integrate UX into the Agile development process, as many (if not most) find working within Agile to present a myriad challenges. The Agile Safari participants visit different companies who can then share their experiences of how they’ve approached these problems, and really give people a chance to explore and question how they do things.

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As a UX Designer who has just joined Mind Candy, I was really excited that Mind Candy would be hosting the first Agile Safari at Moshi HQ. One of the reasons that I was so excited to join Mind Candy was due to their forward thinking, steadfast approach to working in Agile. As a fast paced start-up, Mind Candy have a really strong commitment to Agile that is pervasive across the business, and though its practices are far from perfect, the Agile Safari was a great way to show others how we work and get a really interesting and much needed discussion flowing about UX and Agile thinking.

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About 50 people came to hear the Mind Candy panel talk. They were also treated to a guided tour of our office – with a long stop off at our gigantic board of awesomeness to explain how we work in practice (as well as our newly built treehouse!).

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Our scrum master spoke about how we ‘do agile’ in broad terms, then it was over to Martyn, the other half of our UX team, to speak about how Mind Candy have tried to take a user-centred approach since its inception, and how this has manifested itself in the agile process. Then it was over to myself – I spoke around my first impressions of how Mind Candy’s agile thinking is affecting me as a UX designer and the benefits and challenges that this brings. Finally, Axel, our interactive designer spoke about the challenges of incorporating design into agile.

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After the talk, there was some Q&A, and then we were off to the pub to get some really interesting discussions going. It was so awesome to meet other UX designers who face the same challenges but yet share the same keen desire to really ‘make it work!’

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It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and I’m really pleased that we got to host such a lovely bunch of people! Thanks to everyone who came and to Johanna for organising! :)

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Photos courtesy of Cat Burton!

Develop Quiz

On Wednesday (11th May), a team of Mind Candies attended the Develop quiz at the Sway Bar in London. The evening consisted of 8 rounds of questions, ranging from identifying close up images of game characters, to identifying songs played backwards.

Team Moshi!

Teams from many different games related companies attended, and a fun evening was had by all! There were 17 teams in total, and I’m pleased to report that Team Moshi finished mid-table, coming a respectable 10th! The winners of the evening were from Jagex, with second and third place going to Spilt Milk Studios and Peppermint P.

The full list of teams and their places can be found here.