Having previously worked at Digital Animations in the late 1990’s, I returned in 2002.
By that time, they had rebranded as DA Group. They later rebranded again as Yomego and one final time as Digimania in 2007.
Sadly, Digimania entered into administration in early April 2017.
My three most recent projects at Digimania have been:
Before Muvizu, I was involved in many bespoke projects for clients such as STV and Motorola, and experimenting with exciting ways to use new technology.
Three projects that stand out from this era are VCT, Charisma and Yomego Messenger.
Virtual Character Technology (VCT)
An evolution of the groundbreaking technology behind Ananova, the world’s first virtual newsreader, VCT was DA Group’s patented 3D avatar product.
VCT was featured on the BBC’s Tomorrow World programme with a character called Maddy who interacted with the presenters on-camera and responded to viewer’s questions in real-time.
My participation with VCT included porting the graphics engine from OpenGL to Direct3D and implementing an ActiveX control which allowed virtual characters to be embedded into web pages and streamed high quality speech audio from a text-to-speech server.
Charisma was a multi-purpose back-end system for dynamically creating and delivering customised 2D and 3D videos, animations, images and other products to customers via SMS, MMS, e-Mail, etc.
I was responsible for architecting the overall system and developing the core application, the main features of which were:
- SQL Server database interaction using ADO.NET.
- Plugin-based design to dynamically route requests through modules that perform tasks such as mood analysis, 3D rendering, MMS encoding, delivery, etc.
- Robust and reliable, coping with a multitude of software and hardware errors.
- Self-diagnostic, reports minor problems via e-mail and more serious issues via SMS.
At the start of the smartphone revolution, Yomego was a pioneering mobile app that allowed the user to customise an avatar, then purchase images, videos and animations of that avatar, or send customised MMS message to their friends.
My main responsibility was to develop the Java application on the handset, which featured:
- Communication with the Charisma platform via HTTP and SMS to purchase content and download new features.
- Real-time image decompression and display that allowed us to fit hundreds of re-colourable images into a single 64Kb application.
I found an old showreel on YouTube that shows some of the projects that DA Group were involved in around the time I rejoined in 2002.