An Overdue Update, 2015

A long overdue update on myself, leaving Lanica, joining Black Gate Games, Platino, GDC, relocating, and my new role as CTO.
It’s really hard to know how to start this blog; I haven’t written anything since October 2014 and a LOT has happened in that time. I’m going to break this up into sections so no one is subjected to the entire rant if they’re only interested in when my new tutorials will be available (and where, it wont be Techority), where Platino is at, etc.

Grant, 6 months on
The last time I posted, I’d just returned from Kentucky, where my former partner and closest friend died. Many of you have written to see how I am since, but I’ve been pretty bad about replying; the concern has been most appreciated, but I’ve been a little overwhelmed recently, my apologies.
I wont lie, I’ve had some very dark days – every decision I’ve made the past several years has been based on myself, Grant and one other family member, and all the recent choices I’ve had to make have been harder as a result. I miss him terribly.
That said, for the most part, I am OK. I have pictures, the video he made for me that day, an iPod with a lovely message engraved and many, many memories.
I was with him until the end, as I’d always promised; and though I wish that “the end” had not come for decades and had been under very, very different circumstances, I am very glad I was there and made his last 36 hours as nice as I could.
I could not have been more blessed to know him; he was incredibly sweet, and making me that video, which I saw the day after his death, gave me a way to see his face and hear his voice, telling me that he loved me, was proud, grateful to have me – and that I should be happy, and he would watch over me wherever he went next.
Between that, and the support of my closest loved ones, I have gotten through the worst of it and carry on. Those of you who offered to bring food, who provided a supportive ear and who hugged me tightly in the middle of a store because “You look like you need a hug”, or came over and provided me with happy distractions – I am very thankful for you.

Lanica and Platino
I am no longer with Lanica, as Platino was acquired by Black Gate Games, where I now work. (We’ll get to that in a minute.) I loved my time there. I loved my team and the Appcelerator crew. It made sense for me to go with Platino; there’s a lot that can be done with it now it has more resources, and I’m still committed to making it the best 2/2.5D cross platform mobile engine for game developers.

Of course, this was not a decision made lightly – it took great time, consideration and advice from my mentor, Carlos. I’m grateful that he has, and continues to, contribute to my life and career, fostered my work ethic, nurtured my professional aspirations and taught, (and continues to teach,) me to be better. I wouldn’t be here without him, and although leaving Lanica has been sad in some ways, and of course very difficult, like all change, it is a very positive thing for Platino, and I could do so with conviction, thanks to his support .

Black Gate Games
The new owners of Platino – the company I am now with. Some of you who have been following me or @PlatinoEngine (run by me) on Twitter will know that I am not the only familiar face here; Hetal has joined me, which I’m very grateful for, he’s been an asset every time we have worked together in the past and I know he will continue.

I am working with some truly excellent people, including Elonka Dunin, and my new “boss”*, John Gould, the CEO of both Black Gate Games and Avatar Software. He appreciates my eccentricities, understands the fact I’m nocturnal most of the time and thus cannot attend meetings before noon and acknowledges I work best when I am not micromanaged.

*He also accepts I refuse to have a “boss”, the company may change, but I haven’t ;-)

Platino / My role as CTO
I could go on about this, how I’m very excited about what we’re working on, how the next update will fix some existing bugs but also make Platino much, much easier for developers with some great API changes (including how touch events are handled) and more – but I wont. You will see these things for yourself and we’ll be keeping you posted in newsletters and on the Platino blog – you don’t need to hear my excited rants here.

As CTO I will be managing the engineers working on Platino, prioritizing feature implementation, overseeing other in-house projects and continuing to work on code and technical documentation when time permits. (Don’t worry, I will still be writing tutorials and newbie-intermediate content; my first job title was “Evangelist”, and it will always be a big part of my role, whether it is engaged in during working hours or not.)

I understand this is not a role that is common for my age, or gender come to that – but I’ve been in this industry for many years; it, like myself, is young. I have a very appropriate skill set for the position, from communicating with my fellow developers regularly to understand what features they want to see, as a developer myself using the tools I work on and as someone who has worked with enough people and SDKs to not only be intimately familiar with the technology but also to know on a higher level what NOT to do. I look forward to working closely with all of you and ensuring that all of our developers receive the level of support and input they deserve – that doesn’t mean one dev can ask for Nokia 3310 support and I’ll get it done, but it does mean every request will be reviewed, documented and seriously considered.

My new tutorials
If you don’t know Javascript yet, you’re about to have a very gentle, fun way to learn. (I know a lot of you only know Lua; that’s OK, knowing Lua you can pick Javascript fundamentals up in a day. I hadn’t touched it before Platino and I was able to create a full boggle clone in just one day with some API docs and basic logic I already understood from Lua.)
These will be hosted on LearnPlatino.com and updates will be announced on Twitter. (Right now it’s a blank site effectively. Not for long!)

I’ll be converting all previous tutorials to Platino, and in the near future, so please, stay tuned.

Techority
I will no longer be supporting Techority in ANY way. I understand some of you may not approve of this decision, but I get a LOT of emails for bugs, complaints, etc about the Corona SDK, a product I haven’t supported for over 2 years. I am truly sorry to those of you who feel desperate and reach out for help because you feel no one is hearing you, but I cannot give Platino developers the attention they deserve if my time is split. So, any corona emails, do not expect a reply. However, if like most who email me, you’re unhappy and want to talk about your options, feel free to get in touch. You wont find my cell number online, but it’s in my email signature – I’d be happy to talk with any of you. Thank you.

Udemy Course
My Udemy course on Titanium, which will also help new Platino developers (although it is by no means a requirement, simply a helpful resource) has been delayed, but only for a few months to allow me to prioritize my current work, and organize my personal situation. Stay tuned. I hope to have it online no later than the end of June, although with any luck, supposing it gets approved on initial submission, it may be available as early as the first week of May.

GDC
GDC 2015 was excellent – I met a LOT of amazing people and had the opportunity to be interviewed by both Intel and Playboy. It was a great way to bond as a team and minus a very, very bad bourbon* that left me out of action the last Friday of the conference, it was an incredibly productive week. I am looking forward to seeing what can come of possible collaborations with all of these new connections, how they can help us improve Platino or give our developers more resources, and how we can help them improve their own projects.
*The manager of the bar has since reached out. I’m told on my next visit he’ll have some far nicer options for me; I guess we’ll see!

I’m not living in the Bay Area right now
I’ve moved out of the Bay Area for now. It is temporary, but not necessarily short term. I will visit for conferences and to see friends or personal reasons if they come up – but minus anything drastic happening, I’ll be in Arizona for the next year or so.

This was an extremely painful decision; it was the only place that ever truly felt like my home – but things happen, change, evolve – and I decided I needed some time away, both for personal reasons and for logical ones. Financially it couldn’t make more sense; I move into a nice 4 bedroom apartment shortly at almost half the price of my previous 1 bedroom, and tax is basically half.

San Francisco will, in time, become my permanent home – but until then, if you’re a developer in Arizona, reach out – maybe we’ll grab lunch :-)

Some Misc Bits
I hope to start writing to App Developer Magazine again in the coming months, update this website more often with both tech and entrepreneur based content shortly, (I do miss writing!), I should be at AnDevCon in Boston at the end of July, and with any luck I’ll see some of you there. More to come soon!

In Closing
The past ~20 months or so have been amazing. I have lived in the greatest place in the world, near some of the people I love the most, in the center of the world of technology and entrepreneurship. I have enjoyed working in an office with amazing people, both those I’d known for years and new friends. I have traveled to Barcelona and spoken at Mobile World Congress, (thanks to Intel and Carlos for this opportunity,) I have wandered around the new Levi’s Stadium, learned all 32 NFL team names and cities, along with Pi to 30 digits, I have played with technology that has yet to be released to the public, and I’ve eaten more pancakes than I ever thought possible.

Not everything has been smooth; but thanks to the love and support of those close to me, I am in good shape. I am proud to be the CTO of a company with such an amazing team and excited to improve Platino and carry on the work we started at Lanica. I am eager to spend some time in a bigger place, with ample room for a proper office setup and to see a little more of the country while I attend events and meet more and more of you in person.

I look forward to a productive rest of 2015 and to sharing it with all of you.

Peach Pellen

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