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Ben Wilcox

I'm a web developer, designer, and beanie enthusiast based in Boston, Massachusetts. Check out some of the projects I've worked on below! Want to get in touch? Just send me an email at the address above.

I'm working on making a new color palatte every day. You can read that here

Projects

I do a lot of web development, but I like to explore other aspects of software development as well. Below are some of the larger software projects I've worked on.

The Virtual Heart

September 2015 - May 2016
  • Canvas
  • JavaScript
  • Java Applets

The Virtual Heart was a website maintained by the Rochester Institute of Technology's College of Science that illustrated how the heart works using interactive graphics. Many of these were written as Java Applets and had to be ported to JavaScript. This proved challenging. Most of the graphics involved processing large amounts of data, which forced me to consider performance when writing code.

Along the way, I also set out to prepare the site for future updates: getting it on version control, organizing a git-centered workflow, and setting up an organization on GitHub that future maintainers could join.

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learnVCS

September 2015 - December 2015
  • Sketch
  • React
  • SCSS

learnVCS was a website that illustrated version control concepts for students of RIT's Department of Interactive Games and Media. It described the problems that version control solves and demonstrated best practices with a graph that displayed GitHub repositories. It also had links to other resources that students could use to learn about specific version control systems in depth. I worked as the designer for the site with two developers. I created the initial design and assets using Sketch and helped to implement the designs using SCSS.

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Inspire

January 2016 - May 2016
  • C++
  • NodeJS
  • SocketIO
  • Canvas

For my capstone project, RIT teamed up with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to create new exhibits for the museum. My group created Inspire, an installation that allowed people to discover music together. Users could select artists they enjoyed from a touch display, which would be sent to Spotify's Echonest API to get a similar artist. After that, we would download assets related to that artist, create a short video according to a template we designed, and project it onto a multi-faced spire. I was the lead developer on this project, where I acted as a bridge between the developers and designers and ensured that all the different components of the project worked well together.

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Swipe Rogue

January 2017 - May 2017
  • Unity
  • C#

During my last semester at RIT, I wanted explore something other than web development, so I decided to try making a mobile game. The result was Swipe Rogue, a simple game where players tried to quickly explore a temple floor-by-floor, fighting enemies and collecting treasure along the way. It was made for Android and iOS devices using the Unity game engine. I was the lead developer on the project, which I worked on with two other students over the course of a semester.

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CodePen Experiments

I like to explore new ideas and technology on CodePen. Below are some of my more popular and interesting pens.

See the Pen Dance All Night by B Wilcox (@reccanti) on CodePen.

Dance All Night

  • SVG
  • GSAP

I made this demo as part of the Nightly Sea Creatures CodePen Creative Challenge and it was later featured on CodePen's front page. One of the things I had been reading about at the time was web animation, so I wanted to try it out. I created the creature in Sketch and then exported it as a series of SVG components. To make it "dance" I animated it using GSAP.

See the Pen Rainbow by B Wilcox (@reccanti) on CodePen.

Rainbow

  • SCSS

This was from another CodePen Creative Challenge: Rainbow Text Weekend. With this one, I wanted to experiment with some of the more advanced features of Sass. Though the letters had different background colors and transition delays, everything else could be reused. I made a map of colors and their values, then iterated over them to generate the class for each letter.

See the Pen Wave by B Wilcox (@reccanti) on CodePen.

Wave

  • JavaScript
  • Canvas

Wave was a pen that I made to learn more about the <canvas> element. My goal was to to render a complex animation as quickly as possible, which I did by rendering the shape as a buffer. The basic shape consisted of a large ring with an outer black circle on the edge. Instead of drawing both of these shapes at each point, I drew it once on a hidden "buffer" canvas and copied the image data. After that, I could draw it again at every other point, slightly modifying the rotation each time. The result is much more efficient, running smoothly at full screen while the original attempt struggles to run in a small window.

See the Pen Ordered List Hacks by B Wilcox (@reccanti) on CodePen.

Ordered List Hacks

  • HTML

This was another pen of mine that got picked for the front page. After reading the spec for list items, I noticed some interesting properties for ordered lists. I experimented with them and collected the results in this pen.