Wicklog 24: neuroscientists, new build, and the fossil record

Taking a break from development has hardly felt like a break. I attended a handful of conferences (XOXO, Intentional Play, and Society for Neuroscience) and life always finds a way to fill any empty space.

TL;DR status

  • Version 0.6.0 released, with all the work I did in Sweden.

  • Prepping for another crack at writing a SBIR grant for the new year. (???)

  • Talking with folks about using CL in some real-world applications.

Society for Neuroscience

As an experiment, I showed Crescent Loom at the Society for Neuroscience conference in San Diego. It's the largest yearly gathering of neuroscientist researchers in the world — definitely not the game-literate crowd that I've gotten used to at conferences, so I didn't know how CL would be received.

It was incredible. I hardly had to explain what I was doing; people would walk up and immediately grok what Crescent Loom was and why it's needed. I talked to education researchers, after-school program organizers, and neuroscience professors interested in using CL for their classes. I don't know if I'll go again due to the excessive cost of attending, but I'm so glad I went this year & am excited to start getting CL used in the real world.

I was in the Education & Outreach section, and got the sense that it was not the focus of the conference. We were scheduled for early in the day at the end of the hall, and the area had drastically less traffic than the sections about actual research. It makes sense — SfN is a research conference, not an educational one, so that's what people came there to see. Nonetheless, I chalk it up to yet another symptom of the systematic de-prioritization of structural outreach in academia.

On a not-as-great note: after the last night of the conference, I returned to my group airbnb and was given a gummy candy by one of the other attendees. Turns out that it was infused with THC oil, and I subsequently had the most traumatic night of my life. I'm still trying to come to terms with the disassociation and fear it caused, am pretty emotionally dead inside about it, and have been struggling to fulfill basic tasks for the last week and a half.

If you ever choose to partake in such things, please please please be careful with them or you might end up un-consensually dosing somebody who thinks that unlabeled candy is just candy. Also, don't take candy from strangers, I guess.

New build

All the changes from my two months at Stugan are now live! Changes include:

  • darker aesthetic:

  • neuron detail panel:

  • tutorial sequence:

  • decoration limb category, with floppy aesthetic bits you can stick on:

  • dynamically-resizable window (realized this was necessary after seeing it actually used in classroom demos)

Preserving the fossil record

Jiggering around with the data structures meant that I (unfortunately) had to reset the creature server. It's been on my to-do list for a while to go through the database and capture some gifs of player-made creatures, but I haven't had the time.

If anybody else would be interested in playing the cyber-archeologist, I'd be happy to set you up to document this era of Crescent Loom's tree of life. I'd mostly just like to capture more gifs of y'alls creations like this cute doodle, called "blarg3":

Til next time,



Wicklog 23: Here's the plan


Wicklog 25: load it faster, draw it fewer, show it better