On Art and Programming

My name is Maxwell Huang-Hobbs. As stated before, I am a first-year student at the University of Toronto, intending to specialize in computer science with a minor in art. I do most of the design work and art assets on EnigmaSM projects. I've been programming on and off since I was 12 in one form or another, and I've been drawing since before I can remember. They have become more or less immovable constants in my life, and pursuing them has become second nature because of that. I may not be the best in the world, but no one can going to stop me from trying to get better.

Most people say that programming and the visual arts are diametrically opposed, but I don't think so. Both are practices concerned with the individual's pursuit of beauty — in programming, that is usually found in the simplicity of algorithms and efficiency of runtimes, where as in visual arts it is found in the composition, emotion and execution of a work. In my opinion, it is the presence of a creator's unique fingerprint that makes something art. At the end of the day, it's all about the pursuit of beauty by different metrics.

This passion for programming has lead me towards experience in Python, Java, Actionscript, Ruby, and Javascript (particularly jQuery). Though it can't really be called programming, I have experience working with HTML and CSS. On the art side, I also have experience working in Adobe Photoshop, and am currently in the process of learning the ins and outs of paint tool SAI and Adobe Illustrator.

In my free time I draw, play videogames with friends, practice guitar, and do various programming/design projects to stay in form (like this site).

File Dump

File Dump was my pet project during Y-hack. The idea originally came out of a google document titled "Worst Ideas", that I made after failing to finish my project at UofT Hacks. it was intended to be an interesting but ultimately impractical toy that would be both easy to implement and be fun to play around with. While Jeff worked on resolving problems with pil and OpenShift, I decided to do this.

Around halfway though the hackathon, I got the idea to track the download rates of files with an elo rating system after checking in on Will's Y-hack project. The 10 files with the highest elo are always publicly available for download, in order to encourage the public circulation of rumors and information about those files.

Missed Encounters

Missed Encounters was a gamejam project I did with Jeff and Griffin Brodman for the zero-hour game jam. We debated for a while ahead of the jam to figure out what exactly we wanted to do,but settled on a kinetic novel because we thought it would be the easiest thing to develop in an incredibly short timespan, and we knew that the RenPy library removed the vast majority of the programming work.

We settled on a story about missed city encounters because we felt it would be close enough to universally accessible, at least for the (typically introverted) kind of crowd that the 0hr jam attracts. It also happened to be what we were talking about at the time, because feels.

I did all the art assets, Griff and Jeff broke apart the writing between the two of them, and Jeff converted the script into RenPy format. Around halfway trough the project, I threw away the sprite for the girl, and had to make up about 15 minutes of work.


Dgr_dr came from the same document of "Worst Ideas" as File Dump. Because it was intended to be a solo project, the free time that Jeff, Will and I were given allowed Will and I to work on other projects (while Jeff fought with OpenShift)

I did the layout for Dgr_dr. I spent a lot of time during the hackathon on making a working hexagonal layout that would autotile correctly, but we ended up scrapping it in favor of an aesthetic focused around the underscore in the title.