When FableVision completes a project, it’s usually our artwork that gets all the attention. Which is completely warranted, our art team is incredible, but a lot of times the development and programming that’s gone into a project is one of the last things praised. The way we see it, our finished products should hum along so smoothly that you don’t even think about what’s under the hood.
“For me,” Jordan Bach says, “a job well done is not either technical or creative; it's got to be both.”
Jordan is one of FableVision’s talented senior developers. We sat down to chat with him for May’s FableFriday about his impressive work at FableVision and an extensive hobby list, including knitting, an appreciation for a good stew, and his green thumb.
It seems like most folks at FableVision have a story on how they got here, what’s yours?
In college I majored in math, but I also got a music degree as a cellist. So, my head is happy doing analytical, technical things, but I also really need to be creative. FableVision is a perfect fit for me—I do programming, but I also get to contribute ideas to the cool products we make. I’ve been working in the kids and education field for a number of years, and have come to realize that this is something I care deeply about: making meaningful experiences for kids.
Can you explain your role at FableVision?
I'm a senior developer. I take the amazing art and animation and music and writing that everyone on the team makes and glue it all together by writing code.
We just released the conclusion of Mayan Mysteries with Dig-It! Games. From a developer’s perspective, what were some of the challenges and successes working on this project that went from an online game to also an iPad app.
Mayan Mysteries is a really substantial game—it's brimming with puzzles and learning activities. Because of its size, we wanted the online and iPad versions to share as much code as possible, but we also wanted it to feel like whichever version you’re playing is the best one. Also, we needed to structure the project in such a way that nearly everyone in the studio could be working on it at once and not get in each other’s way. It was a challenge to get this set up correctly, and truly rewarding to get to work with practically everyone in the studio!
What’s one of your favorite features in Mayan Mysteries?
I love the first moment when you travel back in time to see an ancient Maya site. It’s jaw-droppingly beautiful and gets me every time. It’s surprising to see the ancient ruins look so fresh and new.
As a developer you must be learning technologies daily, how do you stay current with the new programs?
Staying up-to-date is crucial at FableVision. We work with so many different and new technologies. One of the best things I can do is learn from others. I try to ask questions and am curious about what my teammates are working on. I've found that the biggest enemy to learning new things is pretending like you know everything. So I try not to do this!
What’s your personal favorite FableVision project and why?
Snappz, which is a scavenger hunt app designed for informal learning spaces like aquariums. It's a totally unique app that gets kids looking up from their phones and exploring the world around them.
More about Jordan
We know you're a crafty guy. Name some of your hobbies:
Lately I’ve been knitting a lot for my nieces and nephew. I'm learning to sew stuffed animals and quilts. I enjoy cooking. In the summer I spend a lot of time gardening. I love to read and am active in the literary society for one of my favorite authors, Barbara Pym.
What item are you most excited about for your garden this summer?
We're putting in gooseberry bushes this year. Everything in our front yard is edible: we've got a vegetable patch, blueberry bushes, and now gooseberries. I can't wait to make berry preserves! Also, we've planted our back yard with items native to this geographical area in order to attract and feed as much native wildlife as possible. I can't wait to see a new type of butterfly or bird this summer!
Favorite thing to cook:
Anything with fresh ingredients from the garden. I particularly enjoy cooking soups and stews. I know just enough about cooking that I can ad lib a soup with whatever's on hand in the kitchen and garden. It feels like a creative experience, and is usually even edible. My favorite dish to cook for company is a cassoulet, which is just a fancy stew.
Favorite food that you hate to cook:
Cookies. They taste so much better when someone bakes them for you! (Editorial note: we agree.)