Soon will be time to make a game…yummy

November 4, 2009

Unity has this thing called FAFF which stands for Fridays Are For Fun. Since I started directly in compiling and this and that (can’t really tell you know…) I don’t know how to use the engine yet. So instead of rtfm I’ll go for the practical approach and attempt to do a game starting this Friday. All I can promise is that it’s gonna be fun! 🙂 I’ll give you a teaser to show that I’m not some cold heart bastard: it involves high speed racing, mice and sandals. Have you figure it out yet? Otherwise wait and see.
The ones that I’ve already told please be quiet (you know who you are!)

Have fun,
Mircea

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Unite09 afterthoughts. A bit of “culture” shock? (… but in a good way…)

November 3, 2009

Just returned from Unite09 last night. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it is the Unity Developers Conference. It was a great week where everyone worked hard and had loads of fun.
We did provide some hands-on sessions at the end of the day so Unity’s customers can ask questions to Unity’s developers. I was into a couple of them but mostly as a passive member since I just started and I don’t have enough (any?) experience with the Unity engine. I could however answer some of the non-Unity related questions like graphics or generic game development.
What impressed me the most was the fact that by using Unity virtually anyone can do a great game as long as you have enough imagination. That’s pretty much all that’s required. The Unity engine takes all the pain away from the developers leaving them concentrating on the most important thing: the game!

As some of you might know or not, my background is a bit “closer” to the metal; I’ve been doing lots of rendering & console optimization work at my previous jobs.
I’m saying it is a bit of a culture shock because I was expecting that game developers require a very advanced level of technical knowledge and experience because that’s what I was surrounded by so far – everyone was hardcore ;). I was already suspecting that that’s not always great because everyone will then start thinking in the same constraints – be them hardware/software or time – and the actual game will end up being a tech-demo – great technology, but not so much game. This can also be noted by the boom of the casual games market for web, iphone, xbox live, wii, psn, etc.
To my pleasant surprise, all my “suspicions” were confirmed. I’ve seen tons of games developed with Unity at Unity Awards; all different but had one thing in common: Great Game Experience.

Please understand that I’m not just trying to slander the big AAA companies, it’s just an observation of mine. I *do* love playing big titles like Splinter Cell, Hitman, Uncharted, Tomb Raider, etc, but that’s not the point. The point is that I’m sure each of has had at some point an idea to make something as big and complex as a AAA game, it just never materialized because of the lack of resources to do it. I for one wrote different engines for different types of games along the years, but they all ended up being stopped because it would have taken too long. Maybe that’s just me because I was thinking about them at the standards I’ve seen in the big AAA productions which is quite difficult to do in one person’s spare time.

When I mention this contrast between casual games & AAA titles I’m not trying to imply that ones are smarter than others – each is smart in its own way and for it’s own needs. I do however think that the casual games dev. companies/individuals are the ones who see the true light – games are for having fun. All of us remember games since we were kids and most of them were not exceptionally good looking or even good looking, but they were exceptionally fun to play.

All in all, it’s been great and I had the chance to meet tons of uber-cool people, had lots of fun and lots of interesting conversations.
I’m looking forward to see what the future will bring. I’m always happy to learn new things so I’ll be ready!

Be curious & inquisitive!
/Mircea

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A fresh start

Hi there!

I’ve decided to change my website from a “personal website” look into a bloggy looking thing. Lots of things happened lately so it makes sense (at least to me…) to reflect that in my website as well.
I’m not gonna dwell about what I did in the past and what not so let’s start with what’s changed: I’m working for Unity Technologies and so far it seems like it was an extremely good move.
I feel that my enthusiasm is rushing back in just like it was when I first got into the whole business, so that’s a great thing.

As for what you’re going to see here it’s mostly my ramblings about interesting things I came across… maybe in the beginning I’ll just flood with stuff that I know and I found and still find interesting or useful.

Ah, and before I forget about it: if the title didn’t gave it away, this blog is (mostly) about programming.

Have fun,
/Mircea

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