It has been awhile since I last posted. The main reason for this is because I have been wrapped in an Internship Year at a Immersive Visualization Solutions Company called HIVE. This internship has afforded me with the opportunity to develop myself professionally, as well as building my experience within a professional environment.
Although I am ultimately interested in working in Games Development, this internship has a vast number of mirroring skills and experiences, which I believe will be to my advantage in the future. My role at the company was as a software developer, but I was also responsible for a plethora of company outreach demonstrations as well as client presentations, visits and business events.
During this time I was able to develop myself as a developer and a person. I have been able to experience a professional development environment, using my established programming skills as well as enhancing them and developing more valuable skills. It also provided me a chance to experience the business side of software development, regularly sitting in and partaking in client specification gathering exercises, client presentations and testing events. Due to the businesses close relationship with the University of Hull, I was also involved in a lot of outreach enterprises, specifically to potential students but also to aspiring software developers from all age groups. This responsibility also saw me take a leadership role, specifically, in organizing our involvement in a local event called Freedom Festival.
In terms of programming, I was involved in a number of different visualization solutions for a number of different use cases. Each of these will be described briefly in this post, but, will also be described in more detail in further post; these will include examples of my work as well as any images I can show.
The First project was known as “Smoke Filled Room” and was a VR training solution for training Fire Officers to navigate a smoke filled room. By design this was an immersive experience, attempting to replicate as many of the senses as possible, to recreate this task in a safe and control environment. The project was created in Unreal Engine – Specifically 4.12, and was designed for use with the VIVE due to the need to navigate an environment with ease. This project was primarily an initial training project, and was primarily created using Unreal Blueprints; a visual programming method very closely mirroring the C++ background logic of Unreal without the steep complexity and freedom. It also provided me experience in using Unreals’ Cascade particle system.
The Second – and biggest, Project I worked on was name V.I.C ( Virtual Incident Command). Another piece of training software for HFRS (Humberside Fire and Rescue Solutions). This software was designed for training Fire Officers to become Incident Commanders; People on the ground at an incident who take command in managing personnel and resources. This was a two person networked solution, using the Occulus Rift as the medium for Immersion. Again made in Unreal Engine 4.12 this solution partners graphical realism with a core library of functionality to allow the “Trainer” to control, adapt and develop a scenario in order to test the limit of the “Trainee”. I worked on this project for upwards of 10 Months, and during this time, I worked full time, experiencing and working with as much of the Engine as possible. It afforded me the creative freedom to push my limits, and expand my repertoire, as well as giving me plentiful opportunities to communicate with clients and users on a personal basis.
The third and final project I worked on was called LIMA. A interactive collaboration planning utility, for use during COMAH events; Planning events for emergency and disaster response. The project was created in WPF. My responsibility during my short time on this project was to create a database of addresses, design and implement the search and sorting parameters on these address. This saw me designing, implementing and optimizing algorithms. In addition to this background logic, I also created the interface for the UI of these feature; done in XML. I also created a wind control tool, creating a visual control interface and converting the values from this into usable vector values for use in an inbuild particle engine.
All the project I worked on during my time at HIVE use Agile software development, with daily scrums and weekly sprint reviews – Using Trello as our chosen sprint board. Naturally, all the project involved source control. This alternated between Git for “Smoke Filled Room” and “LIMA”, and SVN due to its neat integration into the Unreal Platform. All these project were also self documented, and required professional coding etiquette throughout, with code review meetings to ensure a coding standards were met. A lot of the day to day programming was self managed among interns helping to develop our leadership qualities whilst promoting our independent abilities.
This experience provided a lot of opportunities to communicate with people. Most notably our visit to VREXPO. A VR convention in Newcastle, with talks from some of the leaders in the VR space. This day was a great chance to experience emerging technologies as well as networking with numerous industry leaders.
The office was lucky enough to have access to cutting edge technology, seeing me gain hands on experience with the latest VR solutions as well as emerging AR solutions such as Holo-lens.
Overall this experience was invaluable. Offering not only a great platform for learning and self development. But, also a incredible opportunity to experience all aspects of a professional programming environment, from development through to client interactions. I will be taking all I have learnt through to my final year, and I believe the skills developed during this period with enable me to be an infinitely more valuable software developer in the future.