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E4: Joey

Joey went from Human Computer interactions in defense on Silicon Graphics to Game Development and retro hacks including a virtual visit to blockbuster in VR at Netflix

The Power Hackers series continues with Joey Cato, an engineer and game developer gone human/computer interface guru at Netflix, telling us about leaving the other Paris (Paris, TX) on his journey to Silicon Valley to become a game developer and consistent hackday award winner for innovative (and often retro) spins on modern interfaces and game. Hear about building original themed pixel hacks in short order to learning how to properly pronounce oraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaange!


what's up everybody how are you doing uh
have the amazing illustrious
joey cato here with me tonight for the
power hackers
joey how are you doing tonight hey guy
i'm excited to be here thanks for having
me all right well
we have joey on the line couple items uh
let's get out of the way real quick so
those of you who had the servo servo is
off so don't go playing with servos
today all right we
that was last night all right i should
have been soldering on stream now
joey on the other hand um this is the
person i told you all about this this is
the guy this is like my hack
mentor like it like i envisioned myself
hacking as cool as joey does now i'm
going to tell you
joey you know what we're we're going to
start with
the other paris texas so joey this is
everybody say hi so
hey and brendan gregg's here saying how's it going brendan
how's it going jane good
to see all of you
um so we are gonna start chilling out
here we're gonna take a look
at um the other paris texas
so that the other paris i suppose
um yeah the other pairs there's only one
paris texas right
yes absolutely okay um this is this is
joey joey this where you're from right
pretty close yeah
the little red splotch there that is
where i was born and raised
lamar county if i if i read that right
in the wikipedia is that
see someone did their research okay okay
we got we got something right
for everybody else by the way i was joey
and i were having a lot of fun
before the show tonight because the
power was out here
and so we did a whole sound check we did
a whole streaming test
in the car i was driving around looking
for 4g
service and joey was a sport he's like
yeah let's let's do it
and then i told joey that there's bears
in connecticut so i said as long
i said joey when you're looking behind
me in the camera just let me know if
there's any bears sneaking up behind us
no fast movements you know yeah
by the way guy uh just just stay calm
so um i you know when when you were
doing that in paris you you
shortly after that you so you did a lot
of computer stuff obviously but then
then i saw this beautiful silicon
machine and and i had to understand like
so before so joey and i worked together
by the way everybody at netflix and
before i met joey at netflix he's he's
kind of like riffling through some old
like you know pictures and i kind of
like see them
hey what's the silicon graphics one what
is going on here why were you
doing silicon graphics things oh uh so
when i was fresh out of college my my
very first job was working in the
defense industry for e-systems and
when i joined i joined the uh the human
computer interaction
group and okay that's like early ui
for defense people that's right okay
i got completely immersed in unix uh
with in this
we we had these silicon graphics
workstations um
if you go back in time like uh
1996. uh these these these babies were
pretty top of the line
um they were used to create cgi
special effects oh yeah let's see
jurassic park and
this is the indigo you got here this is
like pretty serious rendering hardware
yeah these these are not the the the
hobbyist computers you would buy
no no i mean these things are
super expensive i remember like like
fanboying about this as a kid like i
dreamt about and then there was that
silicon graphics laptop they showed in
the movie twister and i was like oh my
god that's
like right i wanted that
this is also like uh in the era where if
some of some of those you might remember
the video what did we call them back
then they were 3d accelerator
cards like yeah and um
but yeah the pre-gpu gpus i remember
like there was a cgi demo of like a
spinning metallic cow
back then it was just so cool to look at
oh yeah that that totally rings a bell i
i feel like i've seen that cow but that
okay we're gonna you left paris texas uh
calvin vander sorry carl vandergeist
was asking if paris texas is like in the
i don't i don't know what movie was
there but i i feel like
you both thanks for the call out the
movie the movie's awesome by the way if
you haven't seen it um
it's nothing like the movie okay
there's a movie about paris texas yeah
so it's part of the story
but you never actually really see paris
texas in
the movie okay the only small glimpse
you get of it is through a polaroid
that looks like some desert wasteland
that has no similarity
so all right got it it's a desert
wasteland i understand um
that no totally not right
that is as parisians or us parasites
we were happy to have a movie you know
named for our town it was a big thing
back then
oh that's great all right wow i guess
i'll have to check
not check that out because it's not at
all historically accurate right
hello stealthar welcome welcome
everybody so
then but after you left that you were
like i'm gonna be a game dev you had
the silicon graphics you knew what
computers could do
you were like i'm getting in i mean how
did you
start because you came to silicon valley
through the game industry right you were
that's correct um it wasn't like a quick
smooth journey
definitely not okay i mean
i guess like most of us uh i guess video
games were responsible for like
motivating me to become uh oh i started
there too
yeah like probably half of chat here is
like either video game like players
esports now there's esports joey like
i love how much things have evolved yes
by the time i was in college i really
seriously wanted a career in games um i
didn't realize how difficult it was
uh to break in right um and so what i
what i
started doing um i started interviewing
with game companies any chance i could
okay and you know if you had after the
first five rejected me
maybe i should learn something from this
so i kept a spreadsheet and i was like
you know i'm all about data like what
can i do
and um over time um
that list of companies that rejected me
agreed about 25
actually okay only 25 come on yeah by
by that point i had already relocated to
and i was doing some aerospace stuff
which was kind of cool okay
but um but you're on the way to
california because that's yeah
arizona's like in the middle right the
slow scenic path okay
you follow the tacos okay got it
absolutely okay and uh
actually it was pretty it was pretty
humbling moment i guess in my career
during that time when i was being
rejected you know the writing was on the
wall like why am i not getting in i
thought i was pretty decent at
programming i mean i graduated i
got a job working in history right this
is by the way
everybody this is one of the best
programmers i know and
think of the number of rejections he's
like just trying to get like a basic
junior getting started mail room
is there mail room programming i don't
know their mail rooms i don't know but
basically like anything to get into a
game company
that's reasonable and like
it just but then i mean you you hit you
hit gold though right because then
next thing you know we here we are
looking at sims 4
i mean this is what like
did it just snap one day did they just
finally realize man this dude knows how
to program like did you just bubble sort
fast enough i mean
what what happened like well it was it
was a journey of self-discovery because
when i when i realized i wasn't getting
uh accepted
i just started asking them directly like
so um why
what's wrong with what where where are
my gaps right and that's where i got the
humbling moment of uh
wow maybe i don't know much about
programming as i thought
and okay and that's when i came to a
deep realization that
i wasn't as strong in like data
structures or algorithms
and so uh what i really try to do is
just use every failure as a feedback
loop to like
tell me what to focus or drill on and i
just kept doing it
and uh long story short by the time i i
had gone through several failed
programming interviews with
uh video games i did get reached uh
ea of redwood shores in california
reached out to me okay i will say
uh admittedly that uh i was a little bit
uh resigned at that point like you know
what i was
kind of accepting like okay maybe i'm
different gaming but i think
i think that attitude that relaxed
attitude of going in and not really
about the outcome it made me less
nervous and
and probably helped a lot in me going
through the interview pretty smoothly so
yeah they made an offer and i was
completely stoked and that was
that's how i got to california basically
and then and then you got a sign you
were working on
sims 4 or was there like some other oh
wait oh okay
i'm missing some steps to go with the
entry level stuff to get there but
okay okay okay oh you were there for a
while yeah so the first
so i joined in 2005 i joined the sims 2
console team
okay and back then current gen was
ps2 and xbox okay and essentially they
were reporting
we had one code base and we were we were
writing it to port to all three of those
uh platforms and okay i had the um
the what i worked on was the uh what we
call the load save target
uh basically if you're using the save
game interface
or to load or save your game uh that was
the ui i had worked on um
okay and that was a fun adventure
i think that's the digital mail room
right yeah
and that was that was a pretty big
awakening for me because uh
when i joined the game company i
realized oh my god there's a lot of
brilliant people here and
you know okay i went through the you
know the classic imposter syndrome
and stuff but uh yeah i just i guess i
stuck through with it and i just i just
tried to learn all i could
through okay i worked with so you were
there for a while oh sorry go ahead good
i was just gonna say i started with the
sims 2 console
and then i moved on uh from that project
to my sims for the wii
okay which was like uh like a like an
early idea of minecraft like a
minecraftish sims i guess if you will
so like you can build everything kind of
yeah but
not as extensively as minecraft
minecraft is awesome let's just say
yeah yeah that's fine
and then okay and i just kept on i guess
that you would say you could say a
nintendo centric path
like the next uh project i was on was uh
on the sims 3 ported to the 3ds no wait
i missed one sorry
uh before that same animals uh
to the nintendo ds yeah okay okay all
right so you were
get you had sort of moved off the pc
unix world and into the game console
world but now
as a game dev and like i mean but those
those game kits were like
super locked up so like was it like
really hard to program
however they i mean how did they manage
like custom nintendo tools or like the
sony tools or like how did that
integrate with the code
um so is actually it went pretty well uh
because i worked with nintendo mostly
um they had a pretty fine
ecosystem of tools like uh for my sims i
had to put together like
the video like the intro video they they
provided the the video player and they
gave you the instructions like okay you
you have to generate uh this number of
under this resolution and then run it
stitch everything together so it was
actually pretty easy in that regard and
then i guess the other thing that made
it somewhat
easier was that we were using a
code base that was uh had been used had
been well tested over time
usually what happens in the gaming
industry or i guess it depends on the
company is uh
once you ship a game they will try to
reuse that code as much as possible
to uh to generate further ports or even
if they start a new project they might
they have to start
somewhere and it's oftentimes they want
to prototype really fast so they'll
sure reuse the node code base and extend
it okay
all right so i mean but it was so things
were pretty stable in terms of like
all that kind of stuff but it was just
because i always thought like i mean a
lot of the like the
little i've done with console
development kits it was pretty
pretty difficult to get to work with a
custom build and whatever
i yeah it wasn't easy i won't i'm not
trying to oversell
something yeah i know i mean and carl is
even wondering like how did you write
code without stack overflow because
i mean there couldn't have been a stack
overflow i mean like if you were like
typing a question on the equivalent of
stack overflow and there's like
guy in the next cube over like joey
stop typing that public good point uh we
didn't have you're right stack overflow
wasn't really
uh what was it the uh the
expert code exchange i think oh yeah
experts exchange
that's right yeah yeah it had like a pay
and like yes yeah they can't stop using
it i think
yeah yeah you have to like pay to see
the answer like they would tempt you
you want this code don't you but like
two lines and then you're like ah
i i can't see it
but fortunately uh because we had a
contract with nintendo
uh we had uh official dev access
like think of it as a a usenet or news
group for
um any kind of dev related questions on
nintendo development
oh and that was internal to nintendo so
you could
share that with other game devs that
we're using right and so if you go on
this forum you would see like a number
of other companies asking similar
questions to you but
they had i have to admit uh nintendo had
a pretty sharp team of devs and they
were pretty responsive on
supporting uh everybody nice cool
well so eventually you were building
the character editor thing right
that was uh oh yeah wait are you talking
about the
the creative sim yeah yeah create a sim
yeah so actually i probably should give
a little more context there uh when i
at ea i was doing i guess the the
environment i started with was c
plus plus okay um but over time my row
shifted because i was doing
ui at the time actionscript was uh
heavily used
and what they essentially did is they
they had their own sort of
uh action script interpreter
and they even used uh middleware like
scale form at some point but effectively
allowed um uh
developers to use actionscript and that
that code got integrated into the final
okay okay so it was like its own runtime
to using actionscript that led me up to
uh so by the time i got to the sims 4
and got i got to use that
okay and that's basically where we meet
because shortly after that you you
i mean obviously you were having too
much fun doing some game programming
and ricky comes along and goes that's
that's enough of that you need to knock
that off
it's time for you to do some serious now
for for everybody else ricky is
both of our first boss at netflix and
he's a fantastic guy maybe i'll get him
on the show someday
um he uh is also from the game industry
he had been like done a stint at sony a
couple other places and he he kind of
what it looked like to see a good game
dev he he was looking at you he's like
he's like
that's enough of that you're having way
too much fun you're going to be
streaming movies i'm going to make you
stream movies now
now he must have said something better
than that to talk you out of this
fun create a sim world to like here's
non-member okay we didn't talk we're not
going to talk about that but you know
well i would say it wasn't exactly a
hard sell for me because
giving giving more context around that
same time that he reached out to me
i was already kind of seeing the writing
on the wall with like flash
and actionscript okay and reading like
you know headlines on a daily basis that
flash is dying
just kept getting worse job said it's
not going on the iphone ever
and then exactly trouble right being in
the gaming industry
you kind of learn quickly you want to
stay uh you got to stay fresh you got to
stay up to date with the latest
yeah and i'm sitting there thinking well
my day job is using actionscript
that has a limited shelf life maybe i
should start looking at this html5 thing
i just heard about
yeah you're like i could go back to that
c++ thing nah let's see what
this html5 thing is all about that
and and that really owned the ui tier
after that i mean that
i was surprised how much it took off
actually but good bet not to stay on
action script
yeah i think i made the good bet there
maybe yeah so
by the time ricky reached out to me and
i found that wait i can i can do
like 100 of the time and you'll pay me
and that that was the sale that that
that works right
i mean that that's that's a real thing
okay so
then you came that's that's where you
made the mistake
of running into me okay so we both join
tv ui and i don't have
many photos from this era
but sooner or later i mean they always
would give you like kind of a fun task
when you get started and then they'd
give you a task that was a little bit
less fun
and you know just just you know kind of
see like you know is this
is this guy going to make it is he going
to be able to do the hard now
i'm pretty sure none of our viewers can
read this properly
because this this is showing one of the
early it has a color it has the name in
a different color
the text is a different color but that
how what how did this happen what what
there's uh there's several layers of
inside jokes here but i'll try to
yeah we're gonna we're gonna let's go
for sort of a surface layer
like i mean so you you joined netflix
you we we went out to a welcome lunch
thing you know because actually all
right i mean
of course netflix is the culture of fear
it's really terrible time so we never do
anything nice but we had a really nice
everyone was sort of chilled out having
some drinks and you know we're
we get to talking you find out one of
your early projects involves
some of the sign up flow for netflix but
that was kind of a different team at the
that's right um but our team was
related to tv like i mean to kind of new
radical hardware game consoles um stuff
that was sort of setting the direction
what was eventually going to get rolled
into smart tvs but
this was kind of like the precursor to
that and we were dealing with a lot of
the r d
challenges for getting stuff to work on
tv where netflix was just a website
having been a website that supported
just dvds it was starting to support
you know darwin had just rolled out i
think at about the point you join
and for context everybody there's about
40 million netflix subscribers at this
today there's about 200 million so
this this is this is a very different
company at this point right but
we we had a nice little wing where our
cubes all sort of met up
and then you know we we start we would
talk occasionally and
this happened so so i think i think that
sets the stage right
yep um do you want me to talk about it
okay um i i think it was the the the
state machine graph
there was another oh my i wish i had the
state machine graph
i i forgot about the state machine
so i will try to summarize or briefly
but one of the things i was one of the
tasks i had was working
uh briefly in the non-member ui space
and uh
before non-member is people who have not
this is mainly signups right these are
people who are not netflix members
so they point yep okay so basically
non-member is
uh the ui you will see if you're either
signing up
or signing in to netflix okay the first
ui that you see that's that's what we're
talking about
okay and it gives you the option to put
in a credit card eventually or do a free
trial or
you've done too many free trials and
you're a bad boy and you know
no more free trials for you and so so it
had to
encapsulate that in your state machine
that you were talking about yeah and
it's it's not like oh it's just four
simple screens no no no
that was it right it was just that
simple right it's a very complicated
like literally a state machine and it's
one of those things like when you look
at the code you can't really
visualize so all i really i think i did
i used what was it att had a product
called graphviz
right i just kind of pieced together the
code to build like this huge graph to
see it i wanted to see what it looked
the entire non-member state machine
yes and uh lo and behold it was it was
actually scarier than i thought
that i i i secretly think that that
might have type cast me to work on
non-member stuff
there's no going to non-member right you
know once once you've touched non-member
you never get to come back right that's
right and you know netflix we're
constantly growing
our team is constantly expanding and at
some point we
sort of split off we had like a
non-member and a member
ui right right for teams basically yeah
we reorged like every three months right
pretty much yeah so we changed the name
of the team uh routinely
too yes yes so you never know what team
you're on you never know who's next to
are you on this team no no you're from
another really okay
but we were we still hung out that first
like year or so
up in that we had that sweet space with
the couch that i would die on and
that was i just sorry i had a flashback
to the whiskey globe
oh and then there was the whiskey globe
i don't know if we're allowed to talk
about that
okay there was somebody somebody thought
it'd be clever to have a and somebody is
also an awesome programmer by the way
but he thought it would be pretty sweet
to have one of those globes that you
open up and you know because they were
arguing about us putting a bar
in that's right that's how that happened
okay he's
bringing this like prohibition era like
earth globe
that has a secret compartment to
basically cheap whiskey
yeah exactly and you would crack it open
at the equator
and the whiskey was there that
that that basically did it uh i you know
what i just
sorry about that crateless i didn't
actually implement a command yet so
this is uh joey cato um
hacker extraordinaire
extraordinaire i could spell that word it also comes
from french which is similar to this
word that's on screen because
when you were working on that non-member
you got one of our first integrations
with a cable company because we had just
i had just worked on the uh the tivo the
what was it called virgin like in the uk
wanted wanted the new ui i'd been
working on that and you know dealing
with the jpeg
whatever you know and we were just
starting to do set-top boxes and then
you were doing our first like payment
integration on a set-top box
and you said that this was like from the
company called orange and i
i remember talking to a french friend
and saying hey have you ever heard of
this company orange and he said
uh and he called me [french accent] guy because guy i
guess in french is ghee
and he said ghee it is not orange it is oraaaange
and so i came back
and i said to joey at that point i said
this is not orange this is
oh and of course it was the inside joke
number one
and so at that point joey was doing some
custom labeling i think on the ui and
all of a sudden he said i need some
proper like artwork to show
what's going on here guy i think you
have that orange logo misspelled it
looks more like
so and uh that basically is
kind of how this happened i kept this
picture because i thought this that
it was one of the funniest moments i
remember like
i remember you you got really good at
saying that because at one point
spitting i think i've lost the skills
since then but it was
so much fun we were just joey and i
would just kind of pass each other in
the hallway like how are you doing
and and that would that would sometimes
turn into disney song right i mean
but that was yes
for those that don't know um
i'm sorry can i say it right please
please please use your friends
comcast of france so to speak okay okay
so they're very
large provider and then we had also done
another provider that nobody could
properly which was i don't want to give
it away it was it was
the b one b o that
oh i think i remember yes okay and we
went like through 10 iterations of how
to say this properly none of us
could speak french we tried saying
um i think i think we never got that
right i i
and again the same friend he's like ah
you give uh orange is now all
orange you have it right it's good this
this is
so i said there's too many vowels there
how could that possibly be right
so that basically yes exactly as jane
has written it in chat
that was and that was another big one
there and by the way yes the
virginmedia tivo that was it physically
twitching thank you
um it was uh an interesting time but we
we got to hacking right because we were
not like we were not going to sit by
just doing these occasional you know
integrations we had some
big crazy stuff to do while we were at
and you i mean i so the first one that i
have here you you entered hack day
but before you did that like you were
kind of like already in this tv
space and you missed a little bit of
kind of like the retro
world and i
saw at this point something that looked
like a television up here
and this this was kind of a now you
you managed to get this is my 80s tv
and what is my 80s tv because this thing
looks pretty sweet i i don't know
what this this does but thanks for
bringing this up
uh this is my my attempt or or
i guess i should say love letter to the
80s i was trying to basically
recapture like the authentic experience
of watching a tv
like back in the 80s um because we had
tvs where you could just
bring up anything you wanted right
that's kind of the way netflix could be
any show anytime
if you were watching on your mobile and
then you started watching the tv it
would like remember where you were and
pick up at the same place
so you wanted to take that away right
you you feel like
enough of that that's not how it worked
a friction full experience
total totally enhanced with friction
type experience that this was the remote
control era where you had to like hit
your brother and be like you know come
on go change the channel like
yes or you hit the remote if you were
angry at others remote this doesn't look
like it has a remote
look at this tv that okay but what so
what was this project
um so yeah this is during my um i guess
my my dark period where i was hating
actionscript and loving javascript
okay and i uh
i had this idea like wouldn't it be kind
of cool to just like take a youtube
video and put an overlay
on top of it um to kind of give it a
feel and then the whole idea of like
like i was sitting there one day like
how do you change channel like what
would it be like to change channels
and i thought well you know if you see
buffering that's going to be boring
you're going to be instantly pulled out
of the experience you'll know you're in
a youtube player
right i realize that if you if you had
something as
simple simple as an animated static gif
or gif i don't know i go with you but
that that's okay i accept the gift
uh if you add an animated gif you know
as an interstitial between
uh the two youtube clips it basically
has the the effect
of like seamlessly changing channels and
that's and when i tried that
when i hooked wrote that code and just
tried it out i was like oh my god i love
and then it just led me down a whole
path of different things like um
i was learning things as i went um
like data scraping like the first thing
i realized was
well if you it'd be nice to kind of if
we really want to make this immersive
wouldn't it be more authentic if we
could bucket
it into like individual years like you
know some of the people
going to this site might think uh well i
want to go to 1983 what was tv like back
and so i had to sort of hand curate a
list of
youtube clips that fell into that that
year and so that was a lot of research
part of that was learning how to scrape
data off of websites like imdb
uh top 100 things like that
okay now i actually pulled up the live
ui so this is the real
website my80stv.com because you launched
yeah yeah okay so and it has
key mo there's max headroom chilling out
there's donating coffees there's by the
way here
everybody you can play with this at home
and it still works right
yeah it's still still there okay
occasionally sometimes there will be
a takedown of a youtube video but um
there's enough content there to keep it
engaging i guess and also what i try to
from time to time is read user feedback
uh i created a google form
basically if people have suggestions for
the site i run a script from time to
time just to repopulate the database
so nice and then it breaks down a
different category so people can really
filter down
to what they want okay so if i turn this
on with music
oh no i have to so if i select
illegally yours there was there was what
oh you had it right there
oh sorry yeah oh yeah with the selection
wow just that you know that static
sells it i i hear you that
i feel like oh and i can i can turn the
knob here
yeah so that was just me playing around
i was learning html5 javascript as i
and just and this is like really the
early days of me like trying to figure
out css so i apologize for anything no
this is awesome no apologies
no apologies this this is amazing i love
this yeah everybody
definitely check this out this this is a
home and you keep this act i thought it
was just a hack but no
no you went you kept it active i felt it
would be a crime to take it down because
i mean i still get
like fan mail and stuff which i really
oh my
god they are saying yo they're saying
great things about you and chat because
they're saying this is top notch
do not apologize in fact jane went
further and said
css should apologize to you oh
thank you so much that's that is
fantastic yeah that
but sorry i didn't mean to run with that
you were
i was going to just say that the my 90s
tv seems to be the more popular one
right now i guess it depends on the my
90s tv
yeah basically it's the same idea but i
just applying it to other
decades okay there it is
and you also disabled the zoom button so
i can't i can't easily zoom here
but i i do have the ability
i think if you hit the f key you can
toggle between zoom levels
oh that way too oh oh oh that's why
okay you actually went there okay you
might have changed it because of the
zoom level
yep that that's my fault we're gonna fix
that this is uh this was written
that's why you disabled zoom that makes
perfect sense now
maybe 2013 i think that's when i started
this okay
very nice that is no there's no reason
there's no react
underneath i just want to say that no
there's no that's why this loaded quick
okay so i'm going to just i'm going to
drop that link in there too for
everybody yeah just check this out this
is some more
great stuff stupak definitely approves
so now from there you were i mean you
were born and bred hacker at this point
because you were just like
messing around with whatever hardware
whatever computers that just happened to
be around
whatever nostalgia effects whatever you
felt like doing a css it was just
it was already in your blood and you
started messing around at that point
with so i have the you
one of your early entries for hack day
was the netflix zone
and this was again sort of on the
nostalgia kick because you had this site
but you took this you took
netflix into vr to recreate a very
non-vr experience what
what what is what happened in the
netflix zone
uh so so as as people probably probably
figured out by now i'm from the older
i wanted to rekindle the memories of
walking into a blockbuster
but with technology of course and the
reason i worked on this hack was uh
i guess the most folks here know that we
do our hack days like twice a year
yeah they're aware we hack i mean
sometimes we don't make it quite
twice a year but you know we we're we're
pretty good
i mean like we do hack a fair bit and
you did this at a hack day
is what you're saying yeah and so this
was a hack day project and what the
reason i picked
this was it was perfect timing because i
i had
luckily uh received an early shipment of
the uh htc vive vr
that's when it came out
and i really wanted to to learn uh vr
by that point in time i guess i figured
out the the easiest way for me to pick
up something was try to make a project
out of it
i had in the past tried to learn things
through textbook but never got anywhere
no and this is this is the spirit of a
hacker right there that that's it
in a nutshell and so it's more context
here is i really wanted to get into
um i had a c sharp and c plus background
and i had
from what i had earlier learned about
unity it had a c-sharp
uh dev environment yeah yeah and so i
thought man i want to try this out so
um so i was trying to learn the vr apis
at the same time as learning unity
and um it was really fun to use by the
way for for any of you that
haven't used unity before oh yeah they
actually so it's very common on coding
twitch you'll see a lot of unity
game dev streams like we actually just
raided lana lux last night
who she basically is in unity every day
oh wow that's awesome um but yeah i mean
it's pretty it's pretty popular
i've seen on the twitch like the science
and tech
part of twitch you know which which you
see a lot of game dev there but
um so you did this in unity with the
that's correct yeah and um basically
the if you can hit the play button if
you want you can kind of see more okay
what's happening uh it's basically
you can interact in this um this virtual
blockbuster if you will
and uh the title we picked for this was
daredevil uh
look at that you've got the actual marco
you you've got the categories from
that's right yeah actually marco uh c
what's his last name calderas i
i'm really bad at name sorry but uh he
was the designer
who was on my team okay and he he he is
to thank for all the you know the great
artwork and assets you see here um
and so he'd probably pick top mix picks
for marco there
oh yeah i i think they're gonna want to
see this is the blockbuster
this is all unity and you're actually
there you are you have the video
a little bit of physics there nice the
musics were free i didn't have to do
that that was going to be okay
okay that's built-in and you can
look at box art and when you pick it up
like daredevil daredevil had just come
out at this point right
around that time it's pretty fresh yeah
and then you would start seeing the back
of the box information
showing up and the video screen is
dropping down this is i never went to a
blockbuster like this i had to go home
yeah mine was pretty boring uh compared
to this the one in paris texas
at mine least okay if you threw it
at the screen it started playing
yeah that was kind of a last minute like
how do we interact
with this tv in the easiest way possible
we'll just do collision detection
throw the vhs you better hit the monitor
or forget it please aim for the center
don't worry i'll expand the collision
rectangle bigger right right
it's kind of that whole wall yeah
funny story here is i think
hours before hack day we actually
picked daredevil as the title because we
really weren't sure which title to use
as the
like as like the main piece and up until
then it was going to be um
orange is the new black but i'm i think
i'm in hindsight i think i'm glad we
went with
daredevil a stronger fit yeah and
also a little more timeless but
wow that is really amazing and you
actually i remember being at the hack
when you did this because you actually
on stage with a vr setup that's right oh
my gosh
uh there's a right that's like the worst
nightmare ever for a presentation i'm
trying to get vr to work on stage with
all the like the cameras and everything
else and the lighting and everyone's
like flashing and
what i mean how did you get that to work
i tried to do an audio thing on stage it
never worked
oh my gosh by the grace of michael
spiegelman and and then the
other judges um what happened was for
those that don't know
you have a really tight uh time window
two minutes
just set up your hack yeah you have a
tight time window to present
right and like uh when we had
practiced we realized okay it's going to
take a long time to set up the htc vive
so yes when we brought this to the
attention of the of the hack day judges
they were uh amenable and
we actually got to go first which was
which was not which is the way to go
there i mean because
have we not gone first there's no way we
would have pulled that off
right okay that is utterly amazing it
worked on stage i remember like
wows in the audience you must have won
for that
i think yeah that was a winner and
actually i have to give a shout out to
um yeah he's a great awesome dude
absolutely amazing dude um last i heard
he was back in
pakistan but i heard he's back in us
again oh did he come back to the u.s
i think so i need to follow up with him
yeah i'll have to go check i i haven't
talked to him in years but
you you hacked with him a lot because i
think the next hack you did
was also i mean so did we productize vr
netflix i mean is that a thing can can
do the blockbuster blockbuster's not
going to claim rights anymore right i
are they out of business
but i guess we do have um i'm thinking
about it what is it the gear vr that
lets you watch netflix
and that's the only oh yeah that's right
yeah i don't i haven't seen too many vr
ports but i mean i think this was a
super fun take on
what it would be like netflix in vr i
but i mean you you you had already
caught the bug you were
like in hard on hack day so every hack
day that's coming by you're just you're
in you're doing it
i love it yeah and actually oh wubba dub
dub you actually know that's uh alex
uh so he's hey alex he remembered that
um the company can't sue you if they
don't exist
jane says and also um being first also
makes you forget about
what come on sure yeah that's true
actually it is if you go earlier in the
voting it it's
harder for people to remember and
actually with hack day politics that's
hard because there's
like not so many people in the room up
front and they come sort of later in the
and i don't know it i never i i won very
infrequently so i whatever the formula
is i don't know what it is
with that sentiment because um
oftentimes we when we did hack day
there were like over a hundred hacks on
a cage yeah yeah it got tough
by the time the audience is like halfway
through that there's so much
um right i don't know if it's attention
span or or
um yup shock level reaction
yep yeah they're just like better if
you're in the early uh part and the
best thing the best attitude really to
have with fact is not think about
winning just do it yeah i
oh i never thought about it basically
but then you you drew something for the
next one because you were ready to go
and so
somebody some fine artist on your team
basically just said all right i got this
you know we're
we're gonna we're gonna go all the way
like in
on this drawing and this drawing
is about my level of artwork i feel
um actually this is better than what i
can do but
and we're seeing miami and we're seeing
and we're seeing a guy with a gun and
stuff is happening here there's there's
some guys running around
and there's a bridge what what what is
this is a very early concept like
i imagine uh game level for narcos
uh imagine as a video game and wow
narcissists had a short period of time
and you went for a whole game in hack
day i mean this is this is crazy
this i would say um you know normally a
lot of hack day events sometimes people
prepare in advance
oh sure sure but i mean like in that in
a really tight time frame you've gotten
this entire game play that's mapped out
on a piece of paper
storyboarded as it were and
executed to like a finished game in like
that this is awesome i mean because
it started off looking like this but by
half day it looked like this
like this is this is what we're dealing
with this is this is the like intro
screen on the game
well i was definitely um leaning on open
source as much as possible like
um so we use something called phaser
it's okay it's a game dev library for
that made it a lot easier because it
does all the hits well you know
yeah don't build an engine on stage i
that's okay and then yeah yeah yeah
go ahead and then uh for the actual
gameplay like the level
uh there's this app called tiled i think
it's a pretty popular uh
level design tool in the game community
okay so use that
in phaser and that actually did most of
the work for us and
really came down to uh adnan was our
level creator so he
for the level design you can thank him
for that wow okay and
this was so in this narcos game because
narcos was just dropping at this point
and we all
had seen the opening trailer where
is meeting the the guy and basically
saying to him plata or plomo
silver or gold no silver or or lead yeah
do you want
do you want the gun or do you want a
and an easy negotiation right there and
that's what they chose and so now we
have the narcos plato
plomo video game and this wonderful
pixel art
fun that that happened here um and
this do we i mean what what so it's a
platformer game right
yeah it was i was trying to imagine like
uh i guess
nes era level graphics like akari
warriors if you will
okay okay but maybe oh right yeah
because you sort of moved like
up and as you were sort of like crawling
through enemy territory and
as we saw on the diagram this is a i
mean this is not a game that would
sell well commercially because took some
shortcuts i will say
oh come on it's hack day i mean you know
how can you possibly have
a full game but the enemy movement is
very simple
waypoint navigation um and what else did
we do there and oh
yeah when you actually get shot at you
actually freeze
so that the bullet can animate perfectly
to you
oh that is perfect
leo was very inspired by the plato plomo
and this was the submission video that
you sent in in 2015. this was
i didn't know he was speaking spanish
he was he was dedicated he was really
and here's the platformer you're running
i mean this is basically the the drawing
oh yeah i should credit marco marco the
guy i worked with on um
netflix zone he he helped with the
character art for this
okay i can't do pixel art that good i'll
just say
yeah me neither
look at this yep take the plot though
my favorite thing working on this i
think was the helicopter
because really i wanted to create the
illusion that there was this
helicopter flying overhead and then it
was going to drop a bomb
so all i really did is i took like a
shadowy image of a helicopter
and just animated across and then for
bomb drop it's just like uh ever
expanding basically i'm scaling up a
circular shadow but
okay i mean it looked pretty convincing
to me i mean i i
i believed it yeah thanks i mean it's
like sometimes when you're writing stuff
it's kind of cool to like
combine like make something that looks
complex out of something simple and that
i thought that came out pretty well
right i yeah i
feel like that came out really is that
still should we
give that to people is that playable
online or
i actually i did actually just recently
post it online
is it gorge.com
pop in pop which stands for narcos plato
oh let me let me try that gorge of
i can type it into your chat here yeah
oh you know what yeah
uh actually you know what yeah yeah if
you got it on slack that'd be even
let me actually make sure it's still up
oh wait i got it i found the link i got
it i found it awesome oh i forgot the
games part
okay so um let me just pull that up so
everybody who wants to
try that out you can you can give that a
go here uh
with oh you've already jojo hacks got it
there we go there's thanks for playing
if see if you can get to the the end of
the game which is
one level very good i think guys bitboy
has more levels than this game
yeah but like one maybe i
went a little crazy on that but okay so
that is that is fantastic um but you you
had already
had the forbidden fruit of having a
video game in hack day
and that led that led
to more i mean like so it wasn't hard
enough just to build one game
like on that kind of time table with the
graphics and the sound and everything
else and the helicopter effect like
you went on what is i mean stranger
games has a perfect
8-bit feel to its title but really it
had the
my 80s tv playback nostalgia like
how how did this hack work oh yeah i
guess background actually
put uh stranger things the the series
for me felt like um
it was very immersive to the 80s you
know how they pulled it stranger things
that just come out like so that you had
done this at that hack day where
stranger things had just dropped
yeah because generally i guess the idea
when you work on hack day you want to do
something fresh and current and
i think around that time it had been out
recently um
yeah of course continuing continuing on
my 80s obsession i
i wanted to do uh anything involving
with the 80s i'm always signing up for
but uh
sure this actually was a progression i
mean it wasn't like i had a concept
laid all out and then i'm gonna go
implement it there's a story behind
this i don't know if you have it in your
your files but
the early very early concept of this i
just really simply wanted to make
a stranger things inspired atari 2600
type of game it's that's almost like
adventure for those that remember
oh adventure nice will robinette right
yeah good call um and but i realized
over time like yeah this isn't
really what i want to do
and then i kind of like i said it almost
killed will
really this this is sort of a mashup of
different ideas uh
my idea number one was i always thought
it would be cool to do something like
mighty's tv but in a 3d
type of situation and i thought
having played around with uh 3js
recently at the time
i figured out how you could take a quad
and render it in 3d
and then if you can at least do that
then you could pretty much
draw or blit anything to that and so
just by
separating or abstracting everything
apart like i could do the game in
like in a siloed fashion get it working
and then just like like the draw method
to draw to this like 3d surface
okay and and then the 3d effect that you
see here what i'm basically doing is i
watched the i went all through stranger
things the whole season one
and tried to find any image still where
they had a tv in the background
and anything that looked like a good
opportunity to like
crop out the tube and use as a drawing
surface i tried to do that
um the fun part was uh trying to get
the 3d quad to align with with
the stencil cutout and to do that
there was no magical math formula i used
i i really all i did in the end was i i
just created a dedicated demo app
that i had keyboard shortcuts to change
like every
degree of movement like translation
rotation zoom all that stuff
and then i would just move it just right
and then i would get like
i guess was it the matrix coordinates
everything yeah i would just spit it out
and then that was
for this still i would use this
particular perspective objection
okay and then you just sort of looked it
up as you were running to put it onto
the screen
and is is this the game that is this on
gorge as well
yeah it's it's up there i think it's
okay come on i can shout the link later
if you want
i wanna i wanna say that this is the
right game here so i've got stranger
games but
i'm not okay that is it um and
so and that would draw on whatever tv
um yeah so what you're seeing here for
example is
or taking the background is that image
still with the stencil cut out
and then uh the that what you see where
i see where you see stranger games
it's really just 2d a 2d uh game
that's projected on a 3j 3js surface
okay and then what i'm you see it's kind
of wiggly and
staticky yeah there's so this is to kind
of make it more retro immersive and that
like what i'm doing there is i'm kind of
stealing a little bit from my 80s tv i'm
taking that
animated uh static but i'm making it
more translucent
okay so you can actually see through it
and uh
but the other thing i did uh which i i
think this up myself i was just kind of
really looking around i was googling
for different effects and the one really
cool thing i found i
i forget who posted this but uh you can
if you take like the red green and blue
channels basically try to make it like a
vintage cathode ray
tube and on a old tv for example
is you have you have an electron gun for
like red green and blue
and for older tvs like i wanted to
create the illusion
that it looked like like a really bad tv
i guess if you will
and essentially what i did is i took the
game screen
and all the red colors we were drawn to
an off-screen
red uh target and all the blue the green
colors were going to a green target and
then finally the blue
for the blue target so you had think of
it as three different canvas surfaces
that each had one color favored and then
i took those three surfaces and then
and then i did a parallax effect so that
effect created like this blur nice i
think if you
oh there it is in the top right hand
corner i think
one of those maybe distortion this
distortion slider if you want to play
around with that you can see it share
oh nice you might have to start the game
okay i'm seeing it with the dots but
yeah let me um
let me let me start the game i don't
know i don't see a sound control to turn
it down so i think it's just going to be
loud but
oh sorry um mute your tab if you want
uh that's all right it's um so
here it is we're we're on there there it
on the other scene yeah
this is this is pretty sweet i mean
there's two games here i don't know if
you yeah there's the van dodge
which is um and then there's inside the
upside down one is basically like a
clone and the other is like a pac-man
clone oh i just died
i'm i'm not good at this okay so i wanna
frogger this and i get to play on the tv
okay i totally got level one dude um i'm
i'm i'm
rolling i'm like speed running this
stuff okay so basically
this game is fantastic i love it
and i can crank up the blockiness look
at look at okay so that's how you did it
with the different
and static oh look at the static effect
oh i should i should admit that a lot of
this wasn't darn during hack day some of
this i did
as polish after hack day because i was
going to put it up on the website
and so okay like the sliders you see
that was not done like the day of the
house yeah sure
i'm gonna i'm gonna blame this on the uh
oh i see it's the static that's killing
me i mean i would i would have been fine
but totally like the static okay so and
if you want to make the the console more
i think the blockiness is like if you go
all the way down on the blockiness
i think that does like atari 2600 level
wow all i'm really doing is swapping out
the the sprites i totally love it this
is this is wonderful
thank you this was an absolute joy to
work on i just it was just fun to really
do something that was
like sort of attached to the stranger
things show
okay but then i have the last major hack
here which
is the so we came off stranger games
that got worked that's available
everybody can try it
um but we went on from there to
because we had not seen any nostalgia
and this is on stage at hack day
here you are presenting you've got two
minutes to set up
while this so joey's setting up over
and you've got the other team is just
coming off you're about to go live and
you've got two minutes on that stage to
sell it
so here's the tv now you're already
really good now i see the sliders so i'm
guessing except now you went
crazy with sliders you have like 20
sliders at this point
so um the back story here is uh i kind
of wanted to do what i did from
my 80s tv but apply it to netflix and
i guess within my first or second year
at netflix i was really thinking about
doing that but i realized quickly that
i didn't quite have the experience to do
it yet there were a lot of
hurdles i'd have to clear like number
one is i i had never written a chrome
so i had to like learn how to do that
and then i have to learn like how the
netflix web browser
the web player wait so what what is this
this took netflix and it puts it into
that same style of like retro so you're
not using anything sorry yeah
it's basically think of it as mighty's
tv interface but it allows you to
it's it's tapping more into like the css
uh filters
to let you override the quality to make
it more vintage
the idea is not to to use the sliders to
make the picture sharper but to make it
worse make it worse so sort of like the
digital version of what bogda did but he
actually got netflix on
its 50s tv
so now available with website and full
content to everybody because now you
know it wasn't hardware but
you you managed to have a million
sliders i mean there were so many
adjustments you could do
you had a logo i mean look at this logo
i mean there's a logo before you get a
logo i just want to call out
the team real quick oh yeah yeah i i did
not do this all by myself i
i definitely learned over over time with
hack days it's it's always good to like
do things in groups i mean that's the
i guess spirit of it is absolutely a
team effort and
this is my uh team samana jeff uh nas
and vishal
but uh yeah they definitely helped a lot
you you showed this i mean should we
actually this one isn't we don't have a
version of that right i don't know
actually uh oh you know what we have the
video don't we
yeah there's a video i think there's a
video in there oh i don't know
i don't know where the video is
unfortunately i can't really put it up
easily because it's a chrome extension
and it's
the chrome extension is written to work
with netflix code which could change at
any time
okay well all right we won't we won't
show it live might be productized
uh someday but this um and then
you you showed this to everybody here's
the logo
um i mean so you were really ready for
this presentation so i probably spent
more time on the logo than i should have
and the story behind this
is i am when uh
when when stranger things season three
came out um i really love that star
logo yeah i thought yeah this is like
perfect 80s
yeah and um all i really did is i tried
to like i went into paint.net or
whatever maybe i don't forget what i use
but um i was trying to like
make the logo for nostalgic flicks as
similar as possible to that so like the
s i literally like
rectangle boxed it and like copy paste
it then i tried to like
i wanted to just i tried to like piece
together everything else but i spent a
lot of time trying to like
just copy paste to make the logo off of
this this is this is just a super cool
and then
and then the best part of this hack is
oh here's the sliders i actually have
here's the million sliders you can
control blur grayscale saturation sepia
hue contrast brightness graininess tube
tube shadow video zoom i mean and then
you had all these like oh and then the
you could sort of set which year you
wanted to see yes i forgot to mention
yeah so the way it worked was if you
picked a particular year
uh whatever was under the netflix
license uh was basically
populated and okay as far as the sliders
uh a lot of those were pretty much
directly using
the native css filter but some of those
were different i think the tube glow was
actually a css blur effect
okay and the shadow was a a css
was it an inset i'm still learning my
css sorry i'm pretty terrible with css
but you
and and this was not like your ultra
specialty this was just kind of like
just playing around with css
kind of yeah this yeah i just i
am so glad that the web platform has
matured because when i
i i don't know if i mentioned earlier
but when i got into web develop
development originally that was like in
the web
1.0 days and it was it was really hard
environment to
adapt but i'm just so happy that things
have evolved over time and now that's
more approachable
that is totally awesome i mean so that
is that is a pretty sweet um
hack i mean so like it again it was done
with the extension that we
pulled that in and um and you won
yeah i'm thankful for that that was
awesome i'm seeing the trophies i'm
seeing the official
shirts look at you you went up you just
done the presentation i'd say i see
steven hanging out there in the
my 88 miles per hour t-shirt which is
enough you gotta go 88 miles an hour
you're gonna see some serious stuff i
like it okay so
that was um yeah jv peak i totally agree
the tool chain wasn't that's an escape
nice okay so um and that
that that is yeah that is just epic i
mean and there you are on stage it's
going to go well
i mean that but always scary when you
get something
there's a funny story here yeah yeah
yeah i hope v shot
is not is not mad at me later but uh oh
no don't look
we had like practice the demo like you
know day or
really one day before or an hour before
trying to get the pace of it
and uh when we were presenting um
v shaw was a little i guess he was a
little nervous the time he
double-clicked instead of single clicked
oh yeah and it it caused us to skip
ahead but uh
i guess thankfully i was watching him do
that and i was i was like oh what do we
and so they jumped ahead i don't think
anyone really noticed it but we skipped
a step in the demo but
yeah that's like a fun one it's kind of
controlled chaos on stage you know it's
kind of like everything's sort of
breaking and
you either roll with it or it just owns
you yeah
what are you gonna do right yeah that's
basically it
so um that left that was
quite an array there i mean i think that
that was just
an epic showing of hacks i mean and
that's not even like all of them i mean
this is just like a
a small selection of of some of the
hackery that happened now
from from there you're you're still at
netflix but
i have then you went down to la
you were with i i actually got to hack
with you down there this was the la hack
day i could
if we could zoom in on the uh the wind
trophy here i've never seen one of these
but um there it is then and you're
hanging out with tyler who
incidentally is on the show next week
uh next week yeah there's
he makes our css go to shame but he is
the css
guy yeah that he knows absolutely
everything about it but
he's building tetris right now in css
like in his spare time but anyway
so you that this hack you even built a
for the hack day i mean that's your
t-shirt for your hack right
uh well i didn't i didn't design it but
um i was no but i mean that was the
prodigal hack
yeah this uh the the high level summary
of this hack was
it was think of it broadly as a an easy
way to notify
uh developers or artists like when you
make changes like if you're working in a
pipeline and
it could be a movie or tv show um you're
working with a lot of
people and you want to stay in tight
communication this this was
the basic hack was to make notifications
a lot easier
okay i mean exactly the right sort of
thing to be shown
and uh this was
this is one of those uh hacks where i i
i didn't really have the idea i mean i
i want to give credit to the to the team
that actually came up with this and i
was i had joined it last minute
to help out another ui developer and
at that time i don't think i was that
strong working with reacts
and i made the for those that use react
i made the fatal
mistake of of having two separate
sources of state if that makes sense
oh no it was a bitter nightmare and i
vowed never
ever to do that again i think the best
way of learning is to just make a really
bad mistake
and never repeat it again yep no that is
totally the right way to do it i think
that that
and it's a great place to learn because
the ante i mean it's just
hack day that's on the line right i mean
no big deal and the thing i loved about
working on that hack was it sort of
uh led me i guess i knew to meet
seinfeld which was kind of a cool
yeah oh i i don't know if we're supposed
to talk about the uh
that that thing but um we we did
we did get to do something like that so
i um i want to pull up this
but it is totally this this website is
bad um because so
it i have oh oh here's the uh
here's the joey okay this is i found the
the original blog for it but um
this this was so we
we had a lot of fun down there we had a
lot of fun up there you you had all
sorts of retro stuff
and the one time that
there was like a really really great so
this whole like journey i mean
how do you describe i mean it's safe to
mess around
during any of these like you know hack
days because obviously you're not gonna
be judged on it's not it's like i mean
well you are judged on it but i mean
you're judged on it for hack purposes
only and it's not like you know so it's
a great time to like sort of explore
try stuff out you know mess around
scratch an itch
learn a new technology is that like how
you don't see yourself stopping going to
these things right
no i i think i mean i i think it's great
having the opportunity
to work at a company that gives sponsors
things like that but it does
actually make it it does shift my
thinking over time because
what i realized is that when you when
you time box something
and you you sort of throw out formality
you throw out rules
and you really let creativity kind of
just take over
um i think it's a more effective way to
build something or learn something
uh there's so many times in the past
where i've tried the textbook approach
like reading reading books on certain
like technology and
i would read through it and then i'd not
i would just drop it and not do anything
with it but
with a hack you're thinking of the end
goal right away and reverse engineering
what you need and i've got this much
time i can only do this much
it has to go on stage i have to show it
well i mean and that brings a focus
right yeah absolutely
and and sort of what i try to do along
the way is
i guess you could call it like a mind
hack if you will but uh i try to pick
something like a an area of technology
i was not familiar with like whether it
was vr chrome extensions
3d et cetera um and just like well
here's an excuse
to do something with it if i don't have
that excuse i'm not as externally
um maybe that's just my own personal
no i i i think that makes sense i mean
and i do want to ask relating to that if
you could pick
one tool that you think somebody an
aspiring hacker
could use like if you said like if you
really want to do a lot of hacking you
this and don't say laptop what would it
my default answer i don't know if this
counts as an answer javascript i mean
okay so you you think like javascript is
like very friendly
hack environment i mean it's not like
super heavy
and you can get a lot done and i yeah i
i think it i mean it shifted my whole
mentality i mean it didn't do it right
away but over time when this whole
ecosystem emerged where you had uh
everybody creating node libraries uh uh
you shifted your thinking and like
rather than like the
the building blocks you were big you
were building things out of larger
building blocks of abstraction rather
than trying to like focus too
much on the detail like slogging your
way through
like if you're making a game for example
if you were doing that in c plus plus i
mean maybe things have changed since
then but
you would spend a lot of time doing the
engine the level design right making the
all the stuff right yep and it's pretty
it takes a lot of time but
when you realize how much if you if you
approach javascript
you're you're you're stitching together
bigger rocks
uh bigger libraries and in some way that
kind of uh creatively
uh right let you break free i think
okay and it and that focus that you get
i mean so you also like that focus from
sort of the hack day like you have to
ship it by this point and
it causes you to be sort of ruthless
with cutting like no i can't i don't
have time to do that
i okay so that type of folk i like that
i mean
but i remember one hack you did that was
not nostalgia at all
there was there was zero nostalgia and
it was a
pretty great hack because as i recall it
was something that
if you had missed like if you if you
were trying to like watch a show
and you just happen to miss the dialogue
you would usually like
sort of stop and rewind and try to hear
it again and you had gone one step
further with that right so
you said no it's not just like if you
missed something if you're stopping the
video and you're rewinding it and you're
trying to listen to it again
you probably have a reason to do that
you probably missed something that was
and you enabled something do you
remember this hack day i know it was
years ago what you're talking about yeah
say say what yeah i think it was say
what and i feel like that was
not a nostalgia hack at all i mean in a
sense i mean this this one was
very much a util like this was a very
useful feature this was like
what was just said what i mean what
tell us about this hack this is like in
the beginning right this is like
right after you've joined netflix back
in 2013-14 i
yeah long time ago 14 yeah 14 okay this
is probably the second hack i worked on
we won't talk about the first hack which
didn't win
but um
so this actually probably the first hack
i worked on that was that came out of
source of pain because i really did
uh for those like i should explain more
that when i watch tv at home
oftentimes i like having the subtitle
zone even though i can read the lips
are oftentimes in dialogue like it's
like it just you know it's not really
discernible so
i always found using the tv remote that
oh my god i'm going through like 12
steps i almost feel like i'm entering a
konami sequence just to get to the
and uh yeah so long and i thought why
can't can there be an easy way to do it
um and some of this was exploratory
so i was reaching out to i guess was it
steve mcguire who who
knew us how our subtitles were uh
streamed or downloaded yeah
and the idea basically is to kind of say
it bluntly
is normally when you watch something you
know you have the subtitles come up
at a particular time in the dialogue a
particular time stamp
and what this basically does is it
it embeds those subtitles in the actual
trick play
but it does a little bit more it does
like not just for like the current frame
but if it takes like the trick play
frame from before and after
and it sort of merges those into one
summary of uh okay i'm gonna
if you're gonna use that word trick play
i'm gonna have to tell them what it is
so this
this this by the way everybody is trick
play is there's no real notion of
or fast forwarding when you're doing a
streaming service i mean
it we have the video you can jump
exactly to an offset but
people still have this notion of like oh
rewind it fast forward it but you're not
there's not a tape in the back room
that's like cycling around
right so to give you that notion of time
and how much you've passed like we show
these little images like below
on the video so that you can kind of see
like what you're where you're jumping to
approximately so that's the those are
the trick play images that joey's
referring to
it's actually basically trick play is
the scrubber with thumbnails as another
way of saying
scrubber being the thing that you scroll
okay so there are some limits okay i'm
trying try not to use too much ui
but um and and so sorry you you
had figured out which two um trick play
were involved yeah but i guess the the
biggest thing i wanted to do here was
just make it
like what is the what is the fewest
steps i can take
just to get to the subtitles because
okay sometimes when i'm watching
something like i'm watching a comedy
like i don't want the subtitles on
because that sort of kills that ruins
it sort of ruins the punch line because
i can read it before he says it yeah
they she says it um yeah and so
oftentimes what i want i just want to
like toggle it on and then toggle it off
was the moment you i think it was you
press the up button
it would just instantly show the trick
play with the subtitles so you
in one one button press you have a
of the subtitles and then you can snap
out of it right away you don't have to
it's not a pattern you have to commit to
you don't have to have subtitles
very good it's just a momentary decision
jane mentioned in that that uh someone
threatened to break up with her
once because she would watch everything
with subtitles on so
you do have some fans of subtitles here
but you're better off without them that
they they do prefer and faffy prefers
the knobs
track through the frames okay but there
we he did give you the knobs now
this is one of the only like like
not nostalgia not game not like this is
a pretty
useful hack right there was a problem
you were sort of after here
yeah and the one time you entered it
that i
saw is also the one time that i entered
in exactly the same category because
there was no nostalgia
category we sort of created it at that
hack day if i just scroll up
on the netflix tech blog you're gonna
see the hack that was in the same
category as your hack
which was netflix on the original
was totally i mean and now again they
didn't have you were supposed to like
pick categories and they had put us
i had chosen something like fun and you
know like you know
silly and nostalgia nes whatever and
they had put us in the same category so
here we have like this
useful like what did that person just
say say what type hack
which people had to vote on in the room
versus this totally ridiculous
absolutely useless but super cool
netflix on the original nintendo hack
which they thought we faked anyway
so there we are category against
category and
you won it and i don't know do you
the end of that like because i mean
obviously i think
the audience made the right choice they
chose the useful feature like this is
the thing that propels netflix into the
guy we don't even know what you're
showing guys
when i heard i won it was it was a
moment of elation but
simultaneously disappointment because i
thought what the hell
it's like this dude just like went off
and roped
he ported the nintend the netflix ui to
run on an
nes natively yep it was dub and cara
it wasn't in the whole team right you
didn't just like do smoke and marriage
you actually did the thing
yeah i did the thing which by the way as
jv peak just asked did i do the nes
before or did i learn it i actually
learned it for this hack now we did
nes programming beforehand because i had
no idea memory mappers worked i didn't
know much of i mean i knew the 6502 from
the 2e but
this we talked about that in my show
this was a useful feature
and that created the category of fun and
which you took an amazing number of
trophies for
i was an awkward mom i think that was
yours was the more famous hack you got a
lot more press on that i think
and yours was the useful hack that we
never rolled out i i don't i don't still
don't know why that wasn't a feature but
that i just remember one of the funniest
moments was at the end of that
you looking at my hack and going that is
like the greatest thing ever take my
trophy and try to give it to you i think
and joey tried to give me the trouble i
was like
no man you won and there's the two of us
like ultra geeking out like
i'm thinking how cool his utility is
he's thinking how cool my nes thing was
i was totally in the wrong category and
we're just both sitting there going like
wow that and i
promised all of my viewers in previous
shows when i talked about the
because they've seen some nintendo
programming with bitboy and some of the
other streams i did
and they said oh you did that thing with
like the nintendo on
like the netflix on the original
nintendo and i was like yeah i totally
did that and they said
man what's it like to win so many
trophies i was like i'm bringing the guy
on who won the trophy
this is the thing is i was working when
i was working nintendo
in nintendo ds development that was 20
years after nes to film i think
you were i know how hard it had to be
oh man that was one of the funniest
moments after i just had this like
rocky image of losing like it was just
super fun but that was
and that is exactly what jv peak just
said that is how friendships are made
yeah we
basically just every actor hey how do
you do it i'm not going in your category
what category what are you gonna be in
joey i'm gonna be not in that category
i think it's funny that the one time you
didn't do a nostalgia hack and i did do
a nostalgic
i went nowhere i literally had no
expectation of winning it was more just
like this
sounds like something i want to do maybe
that's where i went wrong i did i
was like this is definitely going win
netflix on the original nintendo this is
definitely gonna win there's no doubt
about it
nope i even told that to alex like prior
to the show i was like
this is gonna win this is there's no
chance it doesn't win that they don't
mention it here in the dialogue but
that this did not win there's no trophy
for this hack
what i think this may have been the
for the later moment in time where you
wasn't there a commercial oh yeah this
this is the opening of my hand modeling
yes it was castlevania when we launched
castlevania a couple years later and i
pushed the cartridge in to the nintendo
and and pushed it down so this
this this should have been my sag credit
but you know because i blew on the
cartridge and i feel like that's a
speaking line yeah
just to make you feel better i haven't
received any hand model contracts since
uh say what
that's awesome but really that is just a
your your set of hacks here this is
really just absolutely tremendous i mean
even when you did a utility you did the
utility awesome i mean that
that really great um and
you know also that's that's a great tool
set to you know i think for people who
are interested in doing hacks
if you're not hacking go hack like
i mean what are you waiting for like
like you know there's there's kind of no
rules at all i mean so some companies
are like very like notorious about like
oh it has to be like totally
related to this and netflix was kind of
like a little more like laid back like
you know what have
fun get something to work enjoy it maybe
you got a product idea maybe you don't
maybe you just want to have some fun
build some stuff
meet some people and whatever and just
yeah do it and be
aware that if your hack might actually
end up changing your career like
like from hand modeling i started with
javascript i was just like playing
around with it at the time and i just
got oh i really love this stuff this is
actually amazing
maybe it wasn't so amazing in the web
1.0 days but um
it definitely got better no totally i
mean i feel like i got better at each
um jv peak is asking us did you guys
ever join external hackathons
um no no i i yeah
i i haven't actually tried that i
basically hack every day on twitch
so like pretty much like most of my live
coding streams i feel like i'm always
writing hack code because it's
definitely not production code but
never never actually did that that that
might be interesting please
tell me in advance so i don't compete
i mean the series is the power hacker
series this is joey cato
everybody this is absolutely wonderful
thank you joey
so much for coming on the show and
visiting us and
walking down memory lane looking at some
of these wonderful things
and just very inspiring to hear like you
know just just get into a hack
get some javascript you make me want to
program javascript and i don't like
but but i feel like doing some
javascript after this i you know
joey thank you so much oh you're most
welcome and thank you for having me i'm
glad i
had a chance to talk about stuff i love
to do yeah
everyone else feels inspired to yeah
totally and thank you everybody who
dropped by uh thank you by the way there
was some follows in there so i missed
that goodbye we're gonna be taking off
um next stream i'll be up on saturday
doing some hackery stuff so you can join
the discord if you haven't seen that so
just you know i think i think most of
you here have seen the discord or in it
you can always oh of course i shut the
bot off and that's that's
because i had a power outage earlier
today so
that is what you get when you don't have
some bot and that's the reason the
servos that we built last night
are not on there so um i'm gonna some
some bot get on get online okay there
you are some bot thank you
okay so there is the discord so come
join that
i have some of the best programming
emotes on twitch that's what
carl just dropped this is fine there's
also joey you might like this this is my
general uh what i how i view most the
code i write as a dumpster fire
and i've also got the um one of my
favorites this is the
no regular expressions oh and by
actually one one more thing before we
actually tune out
because i see it and i totally forgot to
mention it is
that shirt what is that shirt you're
oh the shirt i'm wearing yes this is uh
a reference to bender snatch yeah this
the bandersnatch branching original so
that is a
great shirt that you got there that oh
thank you it's probably one of my
pieces of netflix uh swag oh i had so
much fun
working they had invited a lot of uh i
guess employees at the time to do
testing of the show
and it was just so fun to go through all
the branching yeah
these were the shows where you could
like choose your own adventure kind of i
mean i know it's not called that but
you could you could decide for the
characters which way the story was gonna
go and you can watch it through multiple
times so
if you haven't seen it check it out
otherwise joey thanks so much for being
here and
everybody drop by either saturday or
next week
we have on uh joey's partner in crime
from the la hack day we have
this man tyler childs he's gonna be
joining us
uh pretty soon so anyway thank you
everybody stay safe wash your hands
social distance all that register to
vote come on
please nothing like last night and
anyway we'll see you later so take care
cheers everybody