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A blog about software – researching it, developing it, and contemplating its future.

Archive for September 2019

BREAKTHROUGH

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At times over the last year I thought this post would never happen.

Three years ago I wrote this sad elegy to the first (well, technically second) version of Holofunk.  In that post I said,

Holofunk is going into a cocoon, and what emerges is going to be something quite different.

And the last two posts since then were both about “I’m making so much progress! Hooray for me! Everything will be working any minute now!”

Except… it wouldn’t.  My last two years in a nutshell:

  • 2016 – 2017: rewrote the graphics and UI in Unity, with no audio support at all.
  • 2017 – 2018: rewrote the audio using C++ and the Windows 10 AudioGraph… and found it was impossible to get low latency. Tried with Windows WASAPI with the same results.

It was almost soul-killing, feeling like I had put in all those months of work and it still… sounded… wrong.  Last fall I almost gave up.

BUT.  My old friend and inspiration Beardyman came to Seattle for a gig, and I whined at him about my troubles, and he asked “Why don’t you use JUCE?” Why not, indeed? So I gave it one more shot.

And it worked.  It supports the old ASIO audio standard which I was using three years ago. Turns out that’s the only way to get Holofunk to sound right on Windows. I had written it off because, as a non-Microsoft standard, it probably won’t work on HoloLens. BUT TOO BAD, because the longer I went on with Holofunk still not working, the worse my life became.

See, I have met quite a few amazing artists and humans through this project, and collaborating with them had become a joyous focus of my life.  And I knew this just wasn’t that complicated technically. It was never a question of whether it was possible… but I didn’t expect it to take this many years. I was stunned recently to find my first description of the idea of Holofunk in an email from over a decade ago.

So the longer it took, the more I wondered whether I had it in me to get it working again. I actually pulled back from friends and from events, feeling like until I had Holofunk to share again, I wasn’t bringing much to the party. And moreover I had to use that time to hack.

It was rough, and my family and friends got sick of hearing me talk and talk and talk about how I was making progress, honest. Hell, I got sick of it myself.  But eventually it started to come together again, and earlier this summer I realized the end was in sight. So this past summer has been a sprint, and now it’s finally fully revived and demoable once more. And I’ve got a nice open source looping sound library out of it too: https://github.com/RobJellinghaus/NowSound — no one else has yet pulled it but who knows what will happen next!

I’m working on demos and accompanying videos, so stay tuned (and not for long either — less than a month, tops). But it gives me frankly immeasurable relief and gratitude to say HOLOFUNK IS BACK.  And the fun really starts three weeks from tonight when I demo to Alex Kipman… a goal that I’ve had for at least five years now!

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Written by robjellinghaus

2019/09/16 at 21:26

Posted in Uncategorized