The Real World Software Development

We’ve attended ILDA conference 2016. The goal was to present our latest innovations and to attend Laser Jockey competition.

New Fiesta for MAC

We’ve been developing new laser show software Fiesta for MAC for almost 2 years now and let’s be honest, it was not an easy task. We’ve struggled with lot of technical difficulties. But it was about time to come with some new software. And Laser Jockey competition seems to be a perfect opportunity to test the new product in action.

No matter how hard we try, we always end up in rush before presenting some new product or we want to do some nice new laser show. And it was the same for Laser Jockey. The first usable version of new software I got 3 days before we left to ILDA conference in Baltimore. And guess what – it was terrible. I missed so many features I can’t even count. And even the already finished features were not tested and working as they should.

hotel development

Hotel development 🙂

I’ve been playing with the software for a while and I came up with list of top features I need to fix or develop immediately, so I can attend the competition. Both our developers worked so hard and finally one afternoon before we left to USA I could start preparing my new laser show effects.

While flying over Atlantic Ocean, I found out we could improve some features even more. And since my colleague Marek was there with me and we’ve had about 5 hours of waiting for the next plane in Detroit, I ordered some more features. I bought the adapter for American 110V socket and Marek has spent several hours working on my crazy ideas at the airport. And we did the same in hotel, where we had to wait 4 more hours for check in. I bought us some fruits and we’ve worked till evening.

The next day we could finally do the presentation for the new products of Showtacle. In case you haven’t seen the video, you can watch it here:

After the presentation, it hit me – oh crap, we can’t even set drawing size and position of the lasers in the laser settings :)! I know it sounds incredible, but by trying to create as nice effects as possible, we forgot to implement basic stuff. And that could be a really big problem, since the audience scanning was strictly forbidden at the competition. I talked with Marek and he has spent one more night adding the possibility to adjust the drawing size and position of every laser. I found him sleeping in his bed at 3am in the morning. He fall asleep while the compiler was building new version of the software 🙂 … Anyway, he was able to finish all the features before the setup for LaserJockey and I was able at least to change the position, size and inverts of all the lasers.

Of course, while Marek was developing the features, I’ve used the software to produce nice laser show effects. And it is really cool. I really love the new way of creating beautiful laser show scenes for more lasers.

We’ve used new Moncha.go for the competition. Everybody who saw our setup was laughing:


Moncha.GO stacking saves a lot of space

And it is funny indeed, but it is practical as well. As you can see, this DAC-tower is able to control up to 6 lasers. Plenty of space saved on your desk!

There were 9 people attending the competition and most of them used the software from American company 🙂 .. I was the only one using Moncha devices with beta-version of Fiesta for MAC, which was never used to actually do laser show. You can imagine I was pretty nervous. And that’s probably the reason why the show I did was not as good as I would like to. My music I got was quite ok, although I’ve never heard it before. Here you can see last 30 seconds of the show:

We were not able to shoot all the show, because in all the rush we forgot to actually press record 🙂 … But it’s showing some nice laser show scenes you can get with the new software.

live deck

New software running on Mac OS X, controlling lasers from Moncha.GO

Proud ILDA competition winners


Michal Pokluda (me:) and Marek Dubovsky (main developer of the new software) after the Laser Jockey competition

And we were lucky enough to achieve second place. Well I’ll be honest – of course I wanted to win. But realizing we’ve used beta software (or I should say rather alpha software) which was never tested, developed just a few minutes before the competition and preparing new laser show scenes for maybe 5 hours in total – it’s not that bad. Well – we’ll see in Bratislava next year 🙂 . Anyway, congratulations to Derek Garbos, who did a nice show and achieved first place and also to Timothy Walsh, who was third.

The question you might probably ask now, why should I use products from a company, who does development like we do – a complete mess without almost any time schedule. Well because we care. We test our software before our customers do in field. And because we like to do new things. And yes, we don’t have solid feature list when developing – but it’s because we try to improve the new ideas immediately after we find out, this or that could work better. And to be honest I like a little mess – because in my opinion, the greatest ideas are born from rush, sweat and dirt.