Explaining Patterns and Matches in RegExr

RegExr 2.0 was released a little over 2 years ago. If you haven’t used it, it is a great way to test, preview, and share Regular Expressions. We’re committed to updating and improving RegExr, and in January we quietly pushed out some features to help inspect and explain patterns.

Check out RegExr here.

The New “Tools” Bar

Initially, RegExr only had one tool, the “substitution” panel, which let users show sample text with matches substituted using an expression. It was hidden by default, unless a pattern included a substitution expression. This tool has been renamed “replace”, and is now part of a larger “tools” bar, which we hope to continue growing in the future. In the meantime, it has a few other useful tools that I’ll describe below in more detail. Continue reading →

Job Posting: Visual Designer

We are currently seeking to fill a job opening for a full-time visual designer in Edmonton.

The Role

Are you passionate about designing amazing digital experiences? Interested in creating engaging, usable UI on emerging platforms for incredible clients like Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, Adobe, NASCAR, Atari, and EA? Want to build best-of-breed apps, games, and experiences that run on everything from desktop, tablets, and phones, to smart TVs, VR, and robots?

It can be a challenging role, but you’ll be part of one of the best interactive teams on the planet, ensuring you have the training to excel, and the support to do it without too much stress or OT.

Requirements

Strong visual / aesthetic UI design skills. A passion for designing interfaces that are genuinely usable, engaging, and beautiful on a variety of platforms and screen formats. A working knowledge of typography and how to leverage it appropriately.

Any experience level is welcome (passionate junior to proven senior), but some industry experience is valued.

Bonus Points

Experience with any of the following get you bonus points, but aren’t a necessity: motion design, HTML / CSS experience, illustration, formal UX / interaction design experience, sketching (paper & pen), writing skills, prototype / walkthrough presentations.

Compensation

We offer competitive wages based on experience and proven ability. We strongly believe in a work / life balance and offer regular hours, benefits, and performance bonuses.

Applying

You can apply by sending an email to jobs@gskinner.com. Please share a few examples of interesting or innovative visual designs that you think best reflect your skills and interests.

The Lab: Experiments From the gskinner Team

Sharing code and visual experiments has always been a huge part of my professional life. Experimentation in Flash launched my career, and remained an important theme in my presentations for years. I exhorted audiences to make time for play, but ultimately forgot to follow my own advice.

As the company grew, and life got busier, I lost the habit of building things for fun. I’d dabble now and then, but there was no real concerted effort to create something worth sharing.

This seems to have affected much of the industry. The lab section used to be an integral part of every agency’s site, now they are rare, and when they do exist, tend to be really sparse.

Come visit the gskinner lab.

Hex grid experiment.

It’s time for that to change, at least for us. We’re launching our lab section today. It has a decent smattering of experiments already, and we’ll add to it as time goes on.
Continue reading →

The Dragon Age ISS

In 2014, we worked with BioWare to create the ISS: an interactive, animated cinematic of a player’s history in the first two games of the Dragon Age series, narrated by one of the characters, Varric.

When we first met with BioWare’s online team to discuss the Interactive Story Summary, we were floored. It’s always a privilege to work with one of the best game development companies in the world, and the ISS presented a challenge that was perfectly suited with some of the tech we have been focused on for the last few years. The goal of the ISS is to summarize the complex narrative and decisions that players have made in previous games in the series, and give them control of those choices leading into their latest chapter, Dragon Age: Inquisition.

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Game Design and Life

I spend a lot of time thinking about video games, from concept to completion and then some. Whether making, playing or being involved with the community, there are a few things I have noticed that I’d like to share.

Game design is equal parts organic and structure, but the more time I spend with both the process and the end product, the more I realize that there are hidden, underlying core values in game design that closely resemble the six human needs. The more of these values/needs the game hits, the subjectively “better” the game is.

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The Evolution of Video in Flash

Back in the good ol’ days, Flash was very popular among many for playing media. It was used, online and offline, for displaying animations, showing presentations, and general advertising. Though there weren’t all that many options back then, such popularity still came mostly because it was simple. It was able to animate vector art very smoothly as opposed to large, clunky .gifs, as well as allow users to use simple interactions like mouse clicks and keyboard input. Macromedia Flash itself also had a very simple interface and UI, and was used in schools all over to help teach students multimedia and animation.

As the internet evolved, so did Flash. As video playback started to become popular, Flash had no choice but to adapt to keep up with competition and provide its users with the best experience possible. This involved cutting corners, taking back-doors, and even adding a whole new programming language to the mix at one point.

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Keeping it Grounded: Why We Avoid the Cloud (Sometimes)

The Cloud

Don’t get me wrong, the “Cloud” is great. Being able to utilize existing apps and not having to worry about updates or security is a huge time saver. But when it gets down to it, “In the cloud” is a buzz term. When translated to laymen speech it means “Storing your data and running your applications on an offsite server, somewhere”. It’s that “somewhere” that is a legal gray area for us, and for certain clients. For example; let’s say we’re working on a project for Microsoft, but are storing documents and files on Google servers. The two companies can (and do) collaborate, but what if they don’t on this project? And we’re storing sensitive Microsoft information with Google? It could cause legal issues if a dispute ever came up. This is the primary reason why we choose to self-host the vast majority of our infrastructure. The services we self-host include a Git server, bug tracker, wiki, file syncing server, and a custom built timetracker. Having a local server host all these services allows us to be extremely agile in development and with our workflows.

Continue reading →