Greetings!

I am Chris Ward (aka Chris Chinchilla). I am a Developer, Designer and Writer currently living in Berlin, but originally from London and with many years spent in Melbourne.

Gregarious Mammal is the business name behind several projects worked on by me. Through all the things I do and have done is an ethic of openness, the exchange of knowledge and trying new ideas. Despite the differences between my new projects, this is common amongst them all.

This site will be an aggregate of updates across these projects and a blog that will discuss some of the techniques and ideas I try to accomplish them.

Why on earth do you call yourself 'Chris Chinchilla'?
Hmm, yes it does sound rather silly doesn't it! It's a nickname I've had for over 12 years after a passing comment at school, I've carried it through all my fanzine and music years and quite like it. For those who are interested, a Chinchilla is a small (and very cute) South American rodent (And also a small town in Queensland, Australia) and is a real name in South America.

Latest Updates

From the Chip Shop project

Book Review - Phoenix: The Fall & Rise of Videogames

Phoenix: The Fall & Rise of Videogames by Leonard Herman I picked this book up as part of a book bundle somewhere, but escapes me with one right now. It’s timing was perfect as research for the development of Chip Shop as it covers the history of video games from 1970 up to the year 2000. The writing quality is average, which is typical of this style of book written by an (obvious) enthusiast. Each year gets its own chapter and occasionally reads like a collection of essays as topics are sometimes repeated in different chapters. In terms of content, the book is phenomenal. I think you... Read More
From the Chip Shop project, From the Chris Chinchilla project

New Cards, The Benefits of Reading out Loud, Switching to Jekyll and more

This week has been a fervent flurry of activity as I prepare for starting my new job next week. So, here's what I've been up to. Chip Shop new design The Chip Shop website has the beginnings of a new design that is supposed to represent an 80s retro computer, well sort of, I'm sure you will get the point. The site is also now generally responsive, but unfortunately I need to tweak a few things to get the custom fonts rendering on mobile. I also wanted to ensure that the introductory page of the website explained what the project actually was a little better. New Chip Shop cards I have added... Read More
From the Chip Shop project, From the Chris Chinchilla project, From the The Lean Traveller project

It's all change, again

My plan for 2015 was to spend another few months working on my various projects and then start looking for new full-time work opportunities. In the past month I made a few casual enquires to get an idea of what might be out there and ended up getting quite a few offers very quickly. Many of these I considered but weren't compelling or different enough (from past work roles) to be worth putting a hold on my own projects. Then came an offer that was unexpected and was too good an opportunity to refuse. The kind of role that I have been looking to move into for some time. I am taking on the... Read More
From the Chip Shop project, From the The Lean Traveller project

Payment and Production blocks, Favicons and more

Quite a lot of small updates, tweaks and additions to the various Gregarious Mammal sites, here they are. Contribution blocks If you like what I am doing and the projects I am undertaking, you can contribute what you feel to the projects. At the moment I am taking PayPal and BitCoin. I want to add more payment options as soon as possible but there are few payment processors that support ‘pay what you feel’ models, they all require actual ‘products’. You may also notice some Amazon referral links to items I am reading / watching for research. Everything is welcome and all helps. Trello /... Read More
From the One Day the World Ended project

One Day the World Ended intro is online

After some polishing, planning and technical tweaking the text version of my work of fiction is now online. This introduction aims to set the ground for the two main sections of the story, before the end of the world and what happens next. Each section is comprised of several parts and each of these could be stories that branch off in the future. Enjoy reading what's there right now and there will be more to follow soon.
From the One Day the World Ended project

Review of The Iron Heel by Jack London

As part of my research in writing ODTWE I have been reading some classics of utopian and dystopian fiction. Most recently I completed Jack London’s The Iron Heel. Reading thorough the reviews on GoodReads, you can likely see that this novel of capitalist dystopia surpassed by utopian ideals splits opinion. Published in 1908, it's considered to be the first 'dystopian novel' and is very much of its time. About 60% of the book is a Socialist vs Capitalist diatribe wrapped in a loose plot. Then the last part of the book covers the violent struggle of the 'people' against the 'The Iron Heel'.... Read More
From the One Day the World Ended project

Creating the 'Perfect' Tech and Writing Stack

Yesterday I came up with the most phenomenal idea of how to get my writing workflow, ideas for ODTWE and tech stack in ‘perfect’ combination. Well, in theory (unsurprisingly). My intention with the ODTWE project is to have the Ruby on Rails site as a repository of the content, perhaps with the bidding and payment functionality added on top, though this is yet to be decided. I want to have each story available in a variety of media formats, including text, audio and images. I was planning to host each of these media formats in places that are ideal for them and that will give me extra... Read More
From the Chip Shop project

Review of "Triumph of the Nerds" and "Kobold Guide to Board Game Design"

Continuing my reviews of research I have just finished the classic "Kobold Guide to Board Game Design" and can highly recommend it as a good overview of board game design advice. It is a collection of essays more than an end-to-end guide, so some essays will hold more relevance with you than others. However I picked up enough nuggets of advice to make it a worthwhile purchase and have a long list of 'todos. it includes essays from some stalwarts of the industry such as Richard Garfield and Steve Jackson (who created large parts of my childhood) and is divided into sections of the design... Read More
From the Chip Shop project, From the The Lean Traveller project

Production Updates 26th January

Last week I spent time on creating some of the common elements that can be found across all of the Gregarious Mammal sites, this includes: Creative Commons notice Mailing List Financially contributing to projects Git and version information The first two are complete and live, hopefully you can see them to the left. The second two are still in progress. I also fixed some layout issues, but they are not all live yet. So far, those built have been built as Drupal modules using a simple custom module and the mailchimp module respectively. I decided to make them Drupal modules because for the... Read More
From the Answers Against Humanity project

Android version available on Google Play

Somehow I forgot to post this here… The Android version of Answers Against Humanity is available on Google Play now. And already attracting lovers and haters. :)