2022: Mid-Year Update for Elega Corp
Whoops, 2022 is kind of flying by really fast! In this article, I'll go ahead and lay out the latest updates from Elega Corp for this year and describe where we're headed in the next 12 months. At this point, the company's size has stretched beyond just myself (hi, I'm Scott Lee!). We now have 4 employees, including me, a 1 contracted bookkeeper, 1 contracted tax specialist, for a total of 6 people now actively involved in Elega Corp! The company now actually has two distinct departments internally, with me being in the Executive formally and folks working on the courses and game as being in Development. Elega Corp is no longer the Scott Lee show; this is a team effort, and I take this moment to first provide thanks to the Elega team for all we've done together.
It's been hard to focus on the original priorities we set out with at the beginning of 2022 because lots of unexpected opportunities have come up. The most important and large of these is Pluralsight courses, of which we're now working on many new courses. I'll withhold saying how many for now but there are a lot in the pipeline - more than we've ever had, and you might consider that Elega typically produces 3 new courses per year while doing smaller updates to existing courses in between. Well, no more! We're ramping up a brand new level of effort on courses, and I can at least mention that this is the first moment in time in which we're working on 2 courses at once.
Lots of New Pluralsight Work
Earlier this year, we completed a major overhaul and redo of Salesforce Administration: The Big Picture, our most popular course to date, and a big undertaking in which the whole course was re-recorded, re-edited, and given some fresh updates to improve its content based on recent changes Salesforce has made in the past years since its initial release in 2019.
Pluralsight recently moved to retire two of our courses as well, which moves the courses to an unsupported state where they will no longer appear in Pluralsight's platform search results without enabling a toggle to include them. Those two courses were: Salesforce Process Builder: Getting Started and Python for Salesforce Developers (which was renamed to Python 3 for Salesforce Developers prior to its retirement). The move to retire these courses by Pluralsight came as they have raised the priority in making sure content is fresh, or highly up to date, to serve larger enterprise customers. I do want to note that, at the time of this writing here in August of 2022: these two courses are still very much relevant to potential needs by Salesforce platform learners. You may still gain a lot from these courses, and they're still available via links in our Products page. However, Process Builder is being sunset as a tool of choice for point-and-click automation by Salesforce and the Python for Salesforce Devs course has turned out to be so niche that it likely doesn't make sense to distribute resources to maintaining it going forward.
My promise to all of you who may be learners on my courses, though, is to never hesitate to reach out to Elega Corp for support in your learning from any of these courses, including the ones that were recently retired within the past 6 months. Our mission in creating this content is to help you succeed, and we'll continue doing our best to promptly answer any questions you may have. The best way is perhaps to contact us on Twitter or our support email address, which I'll lay out here in a way that's a tad harder for automated bots to decipher: support at elegacorp dot com.
Updates to Kalling Kingdom
In February, we released v0.41 of Kalling Kingdom, our turn-based fantasy themed city management game. We're still not done supporting Kalling Kingdom and we do have more on the way, of which our resources have unfortunately been temporarily diverted to the courses side of the business. That said, our Kalling Kingdom customers are very important to us, and we are going to continue finishing this game! In the months ahead, we're currently working on user interface improvements, new systems, and some additional surprises. More news is coming but for now: know that we've seen progress on the game so far this year and will continue devoting resources to its continued development.
Investment in Renewable Energy
In years past, Elega Corp has purchased carbon offset credits to reduce our environmental impact. This year, we began ramping up a larger investment in solar energy portfolios. In addition to improving our contribution to reducing our own carbon emissions, we are excited about the way in which this investment will begin to stabilize our company cashflow and reducing our dependence on revenue from courses and game sales. This is another key stake in diversifying the company operations, and one which requires only Elega Corp capital, and not the Elega team's time. We invite you to join us in our effort, as we are investing with Energea through their online marketplace platform. Individuals and businesses are welcome to open accounts with them, and they pay regular recurring dividends from the portfolios. For now, Elega Corp is investing solely in their United States portfolio, exclusively supporting the development of clean American energy.
Update: The Switch to Linux
In the last blog post, we discussed how I had recently made the switch to Linux. It's gone really well! All Elega Corp work itself is done in the Debian Linux operating system when I work. The other Elega team folks use Windows. And this interoperating dynamic has proved productive. We have completely abandoned the use of Adobe products, and instead use Linux-friendly tools like Kdenlive, Reaper, GIMP, and Inkscape. Within less than a year, the overall toolset used in our creative workflow has completely transformed.
On a personal level, I haven't abandoned Windows 100%. I still return to Windows on occasion for entertainment purposes, like playing Minecraft: Bedrock Edition, or trying out the Oculus Link app. Wait, did I just say Oculus? I sure did. That leads me into the next area of research that I'm now learning about and looking into.
Research: Virtual and Augmented Reality
We've all heard about it... the coming of Web3. The coming of... THE METAVERSE. Yeah, well, if you've spoken to me individually, you'll know: Elega Corp is not big on Web3. And here, now, I'm going to make clear: we're not big on the metaverse either. All of that said, I'm absolutely on-fire passionate about virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and extended reality (xR). This might sound confusing given that so much of the metaverse is associated with VR and AR.
So, let me clarify: the social networking and widespread internet aspects that involve tracking your personal data (as Meta, formerly Facebook loves to do) is not where the future lives. No doubt, there will be some concepts that are mildly useful that may come out of the metaverse. Remote offices and workforces may collaborate in some of these virtual spaces, although they will soon realize they don't need to use large corporations' applications to do it necessarily. In other words, you do not need Horizon Worlds, the signature metaverse-styled app from the newly minted Meta brand.
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta and the longer-time CEO of its former Facebook moniker, is wild about virtual reality as a technology. Valve, the company behind the Valve Index VR headset, also has Gabe Newell, who is super enthusiastic about the coming human augmentation of brain-computer interfaces. These are smart guys, and they're right to be bullish (speaking in stock trading jargon), or hyper aggressive and optimistic, about these technologies coming into focus in the coming years. The problem is, any singular large company trying to take ownership of these technologies and their use probably shouldn't be allowed to for ethical reasons, first of all, and secondly: most of the value in this tech lies in its utility through the medium itself.
VR, AR, and XR are extensions of what gaming technology using keyboards, mice, and controllers originally provided. In a way, they're almost like a new medium, or at least an extension to an existing medium that we haven't quite seen before. We haven't even fully understood how to do normal games well, and now the industry at large is already trying to understanding how to do virtual reality gaming, or augmented reality tooling, really well. And it's still a little early.
Long term, however, I am very excited about all of it, though, and Elega Corp's role with it. I don't think VR and AR's long term value lie in gaming - they lie in other areas like education, therapies, visually driven design tools, or perhaps even becoming the next standard way in which we use computing devices. It is quite possible we all will not be carrying around mobile pocket computers ('smartphones') in the future but instead all of us will have an AR/VR/XR headset we carry with us, one that is super lightweight compared to the dominant VR headsets we see today, and that does everything a mobile phone does and much more by utilizing more of our sensory experiences.
Chances are, you'll take this headset or pair of glasses with you everywhere, and instead of browsing short-form social media posts like TikTok or Instagram, you'll browse short-form 360 degree virtual sensory experiences (or something similar). Meta, of course, and to a lesser extent Valve, have expressed interest in taking a majority ownership in this concept, where Valve likely seeks to provide a better experience and win on market merits, and Meta wants to win by selling better ads than they ever could on Facebook. And hey, we haven't even seen other major players get involved in the way they likely will yet: Microsoft has product cooking like HoloLens, Google tinkered with Google Glass a short while ago, and Apple is expected to unveil their initial entry into this space.
What does this mean to Elega Corp, an indie development house that has so far focused on a 2D game, and narration-with-slides driven learning content? Well, as you can guess: it may not mean much. But that's going off of the history of the past 5 years, not where Elega Corp very well could be in another 5 to 10 years.
As we continue to work on other current priorities, we have a background project going on that I call the Aperture Engine. It's a proprietary game engine that will be, initially, capable of rendering 2D sprites and text, playing sound, and likely being more than enough for creating a modern 2D PC game. This is a long play strategy to move away from dependence on the Unity engine, and it's a moment that couldn't have come too soon with some of the moves Unity has made to merge with what is widely regarded as a malware company. Of course, this means that Elega will gradually begin moving away from using the Unity engine in our future line of products and potential services.
The Aperture Engine is not the kind of thing that will compete (at least not anywhere near competing at first!) with things like Unity, Unreal, Godot, or even some other open-source projects. Aperture is a small scale engine with simpler design goals. It will not be 3D ready any time soon, and will certainly not be able to take advantage of my recent fascination and mild obsession with extended reality technologies.
Future Direction Into 2023
Elega Corporation will continue its path toward creating high quality, premium learning content that takes the Salesforce platform into the remainder of this year, and we have more updates coming to Kalling Kingdom in the months ahead. Beyond that, I am very excited about our future direction in developing the Aperture Engine, our ongoing research into computer science fundamentals & first principles, and exploring concepts in extended reality and the future of the way in which humans will interact with computers and machines. While the world has seen some harrowing and dreadful events in recent years, I am struck by optimism in other areas: this is a very exciting and fascinating time in which we all live.
Alright, I've been hammering away on my keyboard with this article for long enough: I've got to get back to getting more work ready for the Elega team. Thank you for reading, and we look forward to our continued relationship with our learners and customers!