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Jack Everitt was once the newbie; the youthful new employee that joined FXhome back in 2005 when things were much smaller and very different. He’s now one of the veterans, playing a major part in working with the newer arrivals and working on increasingly complex projects.
Outside of work Jack also develops for the iPhone and iPad, with his first app Volt available in the App Store. Drawing on his experience creating the lightning engine for VisionLab Studio and PowerPlug, Volt gives Apple device users the ability to shoot electricity from their fingers. Sort of. Keep reading to find out how to get your hands on a free copy...
1. It's been five years since you joined FXhome. Do you remember what you worked on when you first started?
When I first started, FXhome was on the verge of releasing the Lab products. The first things I worked on were creating some optic effects and testing the software.
2. FXhome has grown hugely in the last couple of years. How different is the working environment now compared to 2005?
The working environment is completely different now. Back in 2005 there were only five of us so we had to all work together on lots of jobs at once. We were all doing customer support, shipping, marketing, testing etc. Now we all have well defined roles so we can concentrate on what we are good at rather than spread ourselves too thin on a myriad of jobs. The great thing is that even though the way we work has changed, for the better, the company has retained that special 'FXhome' atmosphere. I am really proud of the work Emma, Rob and I have been doing!
3. Most of the company went to Vegas in 2009 for NAB. What are your main memories of that trip?
My main memory from Las Vegas was the amazing Kobe Beef Steak bought for us by the guys at TubeTape. I haven't found a better steak since and I am not sure I ever will. It was just an overall awesome experience. I met lots of my peers and learnt a lot about how special effects software is used within the industry - something I don't often get to do when I'm coding away in a room with no windows and doors! [This isn’t true. FXhome HQ has many windows and doors, honest –Tarn]
4. You've been to SIGGRAPH twice, once on your own when it was in New Orleans. What were your impressions of the city and the show?
SIGGRAPH is a must for all graphics developers. There are so many smart people there - just by being there you get 10% smarter via Intelligence Osmosis! New Orleans was brilliant last year. I tried to embrace the party spirit as much as I could down the infamous Bourbon Street. The music in New Orleans was brilliant, I saw so many amazing bands and artists around. The conference was good too!
5. You're off to SIGGRAPH again this year. Anything in particular you're looking forward to?
I'm mainly looking forward to the 'talks'. This is where computer graphics and games developers explain the awesome work they have done in the past year. There are a couple of talks about the special effects in Avatar which are a must!
6. You've also been developing for the iPhone. What attracted you to that platform?
I decided I wanted an iPhone but I could not justify the price tag to my girlfriend - yes i'm under the thumb. So I decided to develop an app to get the funds to buy one! I did the same with the iPad. I also thought it was a good opportunity to gain experience in all stages of releasing a product i.e. design, planning, implementation and marketing.
7. Volt is your first released app. What kind of reception did it get?
Volt has got some great reviews so far. It's gotten a good reception on a few app review websites too - I'm just pleased that the app review sites even bothered to review it! A couple of my favourite reviews from users so far are:
"Yo way up beyoches this game is Hank yo I mean this shushi is off da hook" and "When I went through my junk apps this WASN'T on my list of deletion."
I love the honesty in the second review.
8. Any further updates coming to Volt?
I recently released Version 1.6. It has a new interface and a whole load of extra options. You get more colours and can customise the sound of the electrical bolts! iPad support is coming out soon - if you have already bought Volt the iPad version will be free!
9. How different is developing for iPhone compared to Mac and PC?
The main difference between iPhone development and the Mac/PC development I have done in the past is that I have had to learn a new programming language. My previous development experience has been with C and C++, but I have had to learn Objective-C for iPhone development.
10. Do you have any other apps or personal projects in the pipeline?
I also have a new app in the pipeline which will have an iPad version. I can't say too much about it yet, but I will announce something on my twitter page very soon!
Thanks to Jack for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer those questions. You can find out more about Volt in the Apple App Store.
As a special bonus Jack’s been kind enough to give us ten iTunes codes that you can use to a FREE copy of Volt for your iPhone. All you have to do is redeem the code through iTunes – although it is first come first served, so make sure you’re quick! The codes can only be used once and when they’re gone, they’re gone.
Here are the Volt codes (US only, sorry):
Next week we'll be talking to Rodolphe Pierre-Louis, creator of the Carpe Diem web series.