This year’s Flash in the Can was another great success, with over 900 attendees and 80 speakers from around the world. Here’s a recollection of the event.
When I got to the hotel on Friday evening, I met Veronique, Chafic and Grant at the lobby. They got into my Odyssey with two students from Grant’s workshop and we went to the hip Drake Hotel for dinner. There I found Andries Odendaal, Branden Hall, Craig Swann, Guy Watson, Hugh Elliott, Jason Chesebrough, Kai KÃ¶nig, Kevin Towes, Pascal Leroy, Shawn Pucknell and many others. After dinner, most people went downstairs to the party, but I had to pick up my wife and son so I left early.
On Saturday, registration began in the afternoon and speakers were invited to the Spin Gallery for dinner and VIP mixer before the awards. I met many old friends and ran into others whom I’ve only met online: Brian Lesser, Chris MacGregor, Paul Ortchanian, Phillip Kerman, Robert Reinhardt, Sam Agesilas, and Snow Dowd. The place was packed when the awards drew closer.
Later that evening I arrived at Colin Moock‘s party just when Robert Reinhardt and Snow Dowd were leaving. Erik Natzke, Joshua Davis, and Kevin Lynch were sitting in one corner, another group of people whom I did not recognize were sitting nearby. Branden Hall was helping someone on the computer, and Jared Tarbell came over and introduced himself. I have been a fan of his work and it was great to meet him in person. Also at the party, I bummed into Drew Trujillo (Dr. Woohoo), who is working on some very cool projects. I went down to the basement game room and found Chafic Kazoun, Daniel Dura, Guy Watson, Andreas Heim & Eric (also from Smashing Ideas), Michael Manh, Mike Chambers, Sean Voisen and Veronique Brossier. Apparently Branden brought over a great multi-player game: Pac-Man vs. for the GameCube and it was a blast. Upstairs, I met Vera Fleischer just before eight of us left and went back to the hotel in my minivan. For some reason, they found the automatic doors of my Odyssey rather amusing.
On Sunday, the first day of the festival, I spent the early hours finishing my presentation. At noon, I went to the Ask the Pros session on OOP in AS2, to co-chair with Branden Hall and Grant Skinner. Unfortunately, Daylight Savings Time started the night before and the clock was an hour ahead. There was no sign of Branden and Grant; so there I was sitting all by myself answering questions from the audience. Shawn Pucknell asked Jason Nussbaum to join me shortly after. Later Grant joined the two of us and answered some questions on the EULA, and we also talked about components and using inheritance. Later Branden came into the room, blamed the clock, and joined the discussion.
My presentation on OOP in AS2 was in the afternoon that day. Before and during the festival, I talked to many people who intended to join my session and they said they have never used ActionScript 2.0, and would rather get an idea of what to expect than listening to in-depth topics. As a result, I tuned my presentation to a more basic level. It was a challenge to balance the content level and present it within 50 minutes to a wide range of audiences. I know it was impossible to satisfy everyone in such talks, but I was glad to see a full house, with many people standing and some sitting on the floor through out the whole session.
That evening a large group of people gathered and went to dinner in the theatre district. Unfortunately, the restaurant was overwhelmed by over 60 people showing up together. It was a long dinner because nothing (except bread) showed up for two hours, and then the manager told us they ran out of food! Chafic had a $28 Kobe burger that wasn’t worth $28. Luckily for Hoss Gifford who ordered the same, no Kobe burger was left and the restaurant gave him a big juicy steak instead.
After dinner, we went to a nearby pub to play some pinball where I met Simon Wacker for the first time. We got back to the hotel rather late; I think I went to bed at around 4 am.
Set the alarm at 8:15 am hoping to see Grant Skinner and Sam Agesilas‘ sessions at 9:00. By the time I hit the snooze button a few times it was almost 8:45. After cleaning up and packing (had to checkout at noon), it was already too late for their sessions. So I dropped off my luggage in my car at the parking lot and went back to the hotel. Met Jared and we went across the street for breakfast. He introduced me to Edward Tufte, who inspired his work. Went back to the hotel to catch some sessions, and later had lunch with Andreas and Eric at the same deli across the street.
Caught a bit of Brian Robbins‘ session on the multi-player game Cowboys & Engines. It’s a good-looking 3D game created with Maya, 3D Studio Max, Director and Flashcom. He talked about latency and problems encountered during the development of the game.
Afterwards, a few of us went to see Colin talk about multiuser experiences. It was a fun session because he showed a couple of great examples: XBox Live in Project Gotham Racing 2 with Hoss in Edinburgh, family video chat, chatbugs.com, atomicboarder.com, Collab.nl, publicstructure.com, and Colin’s own uAvatarChat and uPresence (with some popular recurring visual patterns). Colin also ran his Unity workshop after the festival.
Chafic‘s presentation on v2 component development was next. It was a great session as he demonstrated steps in creating a component from scratch and shared essential knowledge in building components. Later, he hosted an Ask the Pros session on the same topic and invited Andreas Heim to join him. Although there weren’t many people in the room, we had good discussion on components. Chafic had to leave early to catch his plane, and the rest of us stayed to chat. Carl-Alexandre Malartre (from Montreal) showed Mike Chambers and I his documentation app that runs inside the Flash IDE. Mike just released his Flash Resource Manager, which is a standalone app on .Net.
The closing ceremony was next where freebies were flying across the room. Speakers received the Camtasia Studio/SnagIt Bundle from TechSmith.com and a FlashInTheCan flashlight, thanks guys.
A few of us went to a nearby sports bar for dinner where we said goodbye. It has been a wonderful few days and I’m already looking forward to next year’s Flash in the Can.
Here are some of the photos I took. Enjoy!