In this blog we talk to Paul Blackham, Developer at GBvi – he’s not always in a client-facing role, but all of our customers and projects certainly see and benefit from his expert programming skill.
So, tell us a little about what you do at GBvi
A major part of what I do is to develop the design tools we use during the early stages of each project process – the ones that help map system design and accurately produce layout data for our customer projects. Occasionally I work on system blending designs too and am increasingly working with the team to gather data for various projector models that we can use in blend analysis.
Typically, what’s your involvement in projects?
My involvement in projects usually depends on the scope of the client requirements. On some projects, we play a key part in the design optimisation process of the display system, helping the client to build and specify the optimum configuration. On others, we are contracted to design and supply an optimised blending system where the client has already signed off on projector layout.
What’s your background?
I have a degree in Games Art and Design, so not really from the sim or viz industry as I know it now, but I still find there’s a huge amount of overlap and similarity in the worlds of simulation and gaming. I’ve spent a lot of time with CAD software, 3D modelling and programming which has really been put to use here.
Tell us about the kind of projects you work, and what you’re most proud of
Unfortunately, we’re unable to mention the specifics of many projects we work on for obvious reasons. Recently though, I’ve been working on the delivery of a project for a search and rescue helicopter training programme. As a display system, it’s actually pretty complex with 11-channels of projection. I’ve recently developed new design tools that have overseen the entire project for us from initial design process through to completion – the creation of the masks was then handled by our usual in-house team.
What keeps you on your toes at GBvi?
We’re always testing the compatibility of projectors which can be a little challenging. If we receive a new enquiry that specifies a model of projector that we haven’t tested before, it’s not simply about pricing something up. It can mean the start of an R&D project where we often have to simulate the client environment by bringing in new screen shapes or material. We need to ensure our performance specification is accurate first time around and have to go the extra mile to achieve this.
What do you enjoy most about working here?
I find it really enjoyable to get into the programming side of things, particularly seeing how the tools I develop consistently produce high standard results and streamline the process. Plus, we have a great office in the Sussex countryside, yet I’m still able to live right on the beach in the bustling city that is Brighton.