Simoroshka & games


I am back

I have been silent. The winter wasn’t that easy on me. Let me make a recap of what was going on.

C++ wasn’t that difficult to pick up again. After all, it was my first programming language and I used it for quite a while during my undergraduate studies. The most difficult part was to find the right IDE, install a proper compiler and learn how to use external libraries. Never before a working “Hello World” program was that exciting and rewarding! I experimented with SDL graphic outputs, tried out a couple of tutorials, wrote a flocking simulation, and got a very useful code review from a good friend.

blurred flock 2

I participated in Global Game Jam and made way too many mistakes for one weekend. So I have no project to show. But maybe I will write about this experience later. Reflecting always helps to learn from your own mistakes, and sometimes you learn more from bad experiences than from good ones.

I am volunteering in media team at the local IGDA branch (one of the biggest ones, and probably the coolest). I like being useful instead of just trying to casually hang out and feeling out of place. I am not very good at networking, but I have my ways of connecting with people. Like actually doing things together.

Also, I am trying to write my master’s thesis, which is coming along way too slowly and which I have to submit in 7 weeks or so. The topic is quite interesting, I am just not a fan of academic writing. And I thought that I might try something different to boost my work and to give this blog a bit of life back.

Soon(ish) I am going to write a post about co-creative game design, using the materials for my first chapter.
And if there will be time and inspiration, I’ll also tell why I think my first GGJ was a failure.


I must do more

The time has come when I start actively looking for real job opportunities. As it goes, if you want a summer internship, you need to start looking for it in December. But this is not the only option I have. I can also send open applications to game companies that accept them and hope for the best.

So I did some research and created my spreadsheet of all game companies in Helsinki, excluding very small ones. About a dozen of those I found accept open applications and maybe will have a look at mine. Suddenly a dozen doesn’t look like a very big number. I start to question my learning path and the quality of my portfolio, because I am not sure, how impressive it is. Unfortunately, I have nobody to ask for a professional opinion.

However, I created an online portfolio, went through my CV and LinkedIn again, updated everything there was to update, wrote a cover letter, and posted an open application for Finnish gaming industry in general (fortunately, there is an option to do this on one of the major recruitment websites). Just in case.

But I have to make a change of plans if I want a better chance of succeeding. I need to become a better game developer and a better candidate.

  • I am starting a Game Physics course. It looks very interesting, advanced and like something that can be extremely useful in the future.
  • I will go to the IGDA gathering in December and try to network a bit and maybe ask for an informational interview.
  • I will learn more Unity3D things.
  • I will have a look at mobile game development, since most of the companies make games for mobile platforms.
  • I will think about refreshing my C++ knowledge and updating it to the current versions. But, unfortunately, it is not something that can be done in a month.

Project progress update. None

Last month I promised to keep posting about our group game project every two weeks or so. Well, it doesn’t go so well unfortunately, nothing to post every two weeks. We had one quite productive meeting, where we finally got everything sorted, all story-line settled, all puzzles designed and documented, all objects listed, all game logic in place. And we have original music recordings. That’s it.

It is difficult to make a group project work when it is not a priority on everyone’s todo lists. I have my thesis, Nicola has his book, Ir has her everything else. And we have no deadline whatsoever, apart from “it would be nice to finish by the end of the year” but who cares. Maybe now when I have a very concrete thing to do on my programming part I should set myself a personal deadline. Otherwise no one is going to do anything.

Anyhow, I am still not very comfortable with Godot engine, I need some video tutorials to get my head around it. These ones look okay. My task now is to make inventory, basic point-and-click mechanics and navigation between different in-game scenes. Sounds much easier than everything I’ve done so far.

Shaman Escape Plan


What’s going on

I was silent for a while, but it doesn’t mean that nothing is going on. On the contrary. And a lot of that has something to do with games. Here is an update on what I am doing right now, game-wise.

One game a month – October

I participate in the One Game a Month movement. The idea is to make one finished game every month (duh). Last month was the first one for me, and I logged our Quantum Cat as the game of September. This time, I am doing a small game project in javascript + canvas. I took a very simple game from an online course as a base. Well, it is a pong game. But I added a twist.
I am learning a lot about game logic, simple 2d physics and collisions, game loops, asset uploading and so on – things that you generally don’t need to know if you use an engine, but they are nice to understand if you want to be a proper game developer.

Portal Tennis

Team project – Escape Puzzle

Three of us are making a new game. It is going to be one of those room escape puzzle games, where you need to look for things and solve puzzles in point and click manner. I am studying Godot game engine for this, because it is free, it looks nice, and it almost has working exporting to HTML5 (or so they say). And I love the way the documentation is written.
I think Unity3D is an overkill for a game like this, and it is generally not a good choice for a browser game. Plus learning new tools is fun.


Thesis topic wanted

I decided that for my master’s thesis I will go with computational creativity (sub-field of AI studying how we can make computer programs more creative). And, of course, games. This cross-over might include things like procedural content generation, advanced AI for games, game development smart assistant tools and so on. I am reading lots of scientific papers and trying to think of all cool things I can do during the next six months. Unfortunately I need to choose one.