Debugging is like farting — it’s not so bad when it’s your own code.

Project Update!

Posted: February 6th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Projects | 3 Comments »

Hi everyone! It’s been a long time since I posted. In fact, it’s almost been ever since I joined Gameloft. The corporate hush-hushness has been keeping my lips sealed. However, now that several games have already hit the markets (for some time), now would be a good time to list them out and add them to my online portfolio. If you are looking for amazing revelations and insights, sorry. This is more of a “Look what I did!” post.

First, the ones that didn’t quite make it, and hence I can’t say much about. The first is  an the Android port for the very first game published by the Auckland studio. Unfortunately, the port was later abandoned for reasons we shall not say. I also worked on an experimental project which, for blogging purposes,  we shall call “Mystery Island”. Unfortunately,  Mystery Island did not make it past the prototype stage, but it was very pretty. (We were definitely carried by the amazing art team for that one!) Ah well, rough start!

Playful Minds and Men In Black 3

In the meantime, I did contribute to two games that did make it to the market. Playful Minds: Math, and Men In Black 3. While I wasn’t a main developer for either of these, I contributed via bug-fixing in the former and performance optimization in the latter. Apparently, that was good enough to get my name in the credits, so yay me! Playful Minds is an educational game that was inherited by our studio. A lot of sweat and tears went into making it as it was one of our first projects, and nobody was quite sure which way was up yet. MiB3, on the other hand, was developed in another studiol, and they were under tremendous pressure to release in time for the movie premier.

Wonder Zoo, My Little Pony and Littlest Pet Shop

Now for three games that I did play an active role in: Wonder Zoo, My Little Pony and Littlest Pet Shop. Note that they are all freemium games. Yes, the exact kind that you can get off the AppStore for free, but extract money from you later by exploiting your psychology. It’s a diabolical scheme, but a good coder puts himself beyond petty things like good and evil. It’s all just 1’s and 0’s in the end, and the weak-willed will always be susceptible to mind tricks anyway. They all run on both iOS and Android. We do not discriminate! (except against Blackberry, Palm and Windows… oops!)

All of these games were developed on a framework that I helped architect and wrap around Daniel Stephen’s RKEngine. (I can say that because it’s in the credits!) Note that when I say architect, what I really mean is that a few mates and I wrote some of the initial base classes and processes, but because our engine team was tiny in its infancy, everybody (and I mean EVERYBODY) chipped in bits and pieces. A true Frankenstein framework, but it LIVES!

Now would be a good time to give a shout-out to Remi Akilapa, who passed away unexpectedly during the very early formative years of this framework. He was a brilliant coder and engineer, who had a tremendous stabilizing influence before we found our footing. We kept each other sane through countless meetings with designers, artists and producers, sharing the mantle of technical leadership that neither of us really wanted to bear. Thankfully, I don’t  have as many meetings to attend now that the studio has had time to mature. I would much rather be writing code. RIP my friend!

MechWarrior: Tactical Command

Finally, a note on a game that was not made by Gameloft. MechWarrior: Tactical Command was released by Personae Studios in September 2012. I worked with them part-time for a year, departing roughly 2 years before the release date. By that time, we had  established their base engine tech, as well as a couple of (very) rough prototype levels that the team put together during one amazing week of glory. I don’t know how much of our work made it to publication, but I’m glad it did finally hit the store. The sad news is that it is iPad-only, so I won’t get to show it off.

3 Comments on “Project Update!”

  1. 1 Alex said at 2:12 pm on March 19th, 2013:

    Oh, I missed your post again 🙁 By a month+. No excuse for me.

    Anyway, I’m glad you’re writing articles again – nice stuff to read as always 🙂

    I myself got into Android development lately, making educational stuff X for company Y – and that’s as much as I can tell.

    Now that you’re a hardcore newzealandian (sic!) don’t you think it would interesting to see how you like it there? Compare your first impressions with what you think of it now? I remember it was fun for me doing that to my Singapore experience, but I didn’t care to write it down 🙂

  2. 2 Eugene said at 5:29 pm on March 20th, 2013:

    Haha, it’s forgivable. They are so far and few between these days. I’m not too fond of Android development myself, especially with the NDK. But sometimes you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.

    I know I like it here. The work’s interesting, and I’m learning everyday. Plus the whole city is so laid back. Never thought it would be Gameloft, of all companies. If you get bored of company Y, we’re hiring! Plenty of Russians here to keep you company too!

  3. 3 Alex said at 11:08 pm on March 27th, 2013:

    Haven’t touched NDK yet, but something tells I may have to when the next project starts. Oh well, can be something fun to learn at least.

    Company Y is fine so far, but I’ll keep that in mind 🙂

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