It took me forever to go back to school and then one year to finish a Masters degree.
I graduated from MSc Video Game Enterprise and Production with a Distinction. Yeah~
Now I will flood this post with pictures…
It took me forever to go back to school and then one year to finish a Masters degree.
I graduated from MSc Video Game Enterprise and Production with a Distinction. Yeah~
Now I will flood this post with pictures…
Facebook just reminded me that I arrived in Birmingham 1 year ago.
Whoa… Where do I even begin?
As I mentioned in my previous post, I finished my Masters, and I turned 30. What else…?
I’m just going to leave this post here for now.
I passed by my classmate’s desk and saw that he had a ninja-shaped thumb drive, and I commented, “Oh, I used to work in the company that made that.”
Another classmate commented, “Is there anywhere you haven’t worked, Michelle?”
That is a valid question. Even headhunters have commented that my CV isn’t so great.
Well, my response for people who don’t know me (after moving to the UK and realising that they have no clue about how old Asians look), start with, “How old do you think I am?”
Followed by, “I have 8 years experience as a programmer.” (And no, I’m not a child genius, and also I think child slavery laws also apply to programmers).
I am 29 years old, and I’m turning 30 this September (even though most people think I look 20 ish).
I graduated with a degree in Computer Science at one of the top universities in the Philippines.
DE LA SALLE UNIVERSITY- MANILA
BS Computer Science, Major in Software Technology
I got my first job when I was 21. It was at a games outsourcing company in the Philippines.
PROGRAMMER, LADYLUCK DIGITAL MEDIA
That was my first foot in the door, so to speak.
The game industry in the Philippines back then was mostly games outsourcing, but they worked on cool AAA projects. The company I worked for also did cute casual Flash games, which is what drew me in.
The first games I helped with in the company was a “Mean Girls” game (yes, the movie) and a “Clueless” (yes, also the movie) game. Yes, this is what I dolphin squealing on the inside signed up for.
I also learned how to use Unity before it was cool, and also before it was available on the PC.
Even though the company’s main source of income is outsourcing, my boss’ dream is, of course, make his own game. So we also made a lot of prototypes. A lot. Sadly, nothing ever came out of it.
Then I had one of the moments you get when you lived in a foreign country all your life — the urge to find your roots. My roots was in Taiwan.
So I quit my job.
And at 22, my sister and I packed our bags and moved out of parent’s home for the first time and moved to our supposed home country.
Where everything was in Chinese. I grew up speaking Mandarin at home, and I had attended a Chinese school, but it was nothing. I had the vocabulary of a grade school student, and I could barely read and much less write in the language.
My parents were of course very supportive of our move, because my mother not so secretly thought our Chinese skills would improve (it did eventually, but only barely).
This was the time when mobile games were gaining popularity. So I got a job as a mobile games programmer at a small indie game studio ran by 2 ABCs (American born Chinese). I picked that company because my bosses spoke English. Oh also, I wanted to learn Objective-C.
PROGRAMMER, MOBILI STUDIO
At the company, I learned Cocos2d and Objective C, and I made both mobile games and applications. We also used Agile project management in our small team. It was the first time I worked in a company where in the entire company is the size of my lunch crew back at my old company.
The thing about mobile games is that the barrier of entry is significantly lower and it seemed pretty easy for anyone to make their game and put it up on the store. So I thought I could do.
So I quit my job, bought a Macbook Pro (who is still alive and kicking to this date) and tried to make my own games.
Turns out it’s not that easy. I had the attention span of a gold fish. I would start with one idea, and then abandon that idea and work on something else. And sadly, nothing came out of my prototypes either. I had a better understanding of my first boss and his constant change of ideas now, and I don’t blame him for it.
Aside from moving out, it was also the first time that I had ever been financially independent. It’s quite a big thing for me, because in the Philippines or at least in the community I grew up in, most people live at home and still rely on their parents financially even though they had been working for years.
With financial independence also comes bills to pay.
So I had to get another job. I wanted something near where I lived, because my last job was quite far and it took me a long time to get home.
My mom used to joke about the criteria you look for in a job, ‘close to home’ was one of it.
I was open to anything really. I sent my CVs to companies nearby, thankfully there was quite a few. And I’m the type that would line up at least 5 interviews in a week (yes, that is one per day) and then select one of them (assuming that I’d pass the interviews, exams and actually get offered a job. But my batting average back then was quite good) something completely arbitrary.
This reminds me, I haven’t told you about how I decided on my first job.
After graduating with a degree in Computer Science, it made sense to apply to IT and software jobs. Also since our university basically arranged for multinational software companies to come to our school and let use take the exams and have our initial interviews there. So I did.
My batting average was also pretty decent back then and I had a few options. But then it was to be the first job that will somehow decide the fate of the rest of my life, so I had to get it right.
So I happened to be in a toy store and I picked up this cute Magic 8 Ball. And I asked my question, and it gave me an answer. This is unfortunately a true story and not some made up cute anecdote.
Okay, back to deciding what was to be my 3rd job.
Aside from Magic 8 Balls, I also have a thing for signs and coincidences. I believe in fate, even though my Christianity probably says I shouldn’t (rather it tells me that it’s a sign from God or something).
I was at one of the interviews and waiting for their supervisor who would be a little late, and they gave me a magazine to read. There was a big ad in the magazine for cute thumb drives (remember the ninja-shaped ones I mentioned earlier).
Later in the week, I went to an interview in the company that makes cute thumb drives (and loads of other cute stuff). And I think I was sold by the cuteness. Also it seemed interesting to make an adver game in house.
PROGRAMMER, BONE COLLECTION, FRUITSHOP INTERNATIONAL CO.
I have to say it was definitely one of the most unique work experiences I have ever had. Because it’s a design company and even though there are different departments, it was a bit more open.
People moved about freely and helped each other. Since I was one of the very few people that spoke and wrote in English in that company, I got to do voice overs for YouTube video ads, copy write some descriptions in the packaging boxes. And also when push came to shove, everyone in the company pitched in to repack boxes and assemble thumb drives (just putting in the thumb drive in their silicone covers, nothing too complicated).
I also took full advantage of my employee discount, because the things they make are adorable. I also got freebies every now and then.
But then at the end of the day, it is a design company and our little team making games in a corner isn’t really their top priority.
But then it was my other colleague that was looking for new jobs that told me about another game company nearby that was hiring.
I was using Unity and Objective-C in this current company, and I felt like I wanted to learn something new. The other game company was a C++ programmer job, and I thought it would be nice to learn something new. So I applied.
PROGRAMMER, ORANGENOSE STUDIO
Now this job, this was definitely something.
Programming wise, I did get to learn C++ and we were using Cocos2d-x. We eventually did switch to Unity. But in Unity, I got to write a lot of plugins in both native iOS and Android. I learned to work with a lot of third party SDKs and code, as we integrated way too many ads, analytics and tracking, social stuff, and whatever else that makes up a mobile game, that isn’t the game.
I also learned a lot about making games that people want to play and can’t stop playing.
This was a small company too. And I think with small companies, everyone that joins the team is like a pebble that gets dropped in a puddle of water, and it create ripples.
I also managed to convince my little sister to work in this company as an artist. We were hiring, and I thought my lil sis was perfect for the job (not biased or anything).
My boss was Singaporean and he worked with a few people from the Philippines at this last job back there. It is a small world and those people turned out to be people I knew from the multimedia club I was in.
I guess, we, in a way, convinced him that the people in the Philippines are pretty good (actually they are awesome).
The ripple we created, brought us back to the Philippines. And there we setup a new branch of the company.
This is the bit wherein I got to be more than just a programmer. I assisted in the set-up of Orangenose Studio Manila branch, including headhunting, interviewing candidates, and training the game team. I also trained newcomers in Unity game engine, and the company’s game development process.
We travelled back and forth between Taiwan and the Philippines, and we enjoyed going home to a home-cooked meal and spending time with our mom.
While interviewing people, we always emphasised on T skills. But then I realised that I needed to expand my T skills. I know programming, but I wanted to learn more about game design and production, and I wanted to learn about how to eventually set up my own business.
I was also feeling a little fatigue from programming. Even though every game project is different, it still feels the same.
So I made the decision to go back to school and get a Masters degree.
I had also been living in Taiwan for almost 6 years, and I wanted a change of scenery. And even though I didn’t live with my parents, I lived with my sisters, and I have never been anywhere truly on my own.
So I applied to a school. The program is called MSc in Video Game Enterprise and Production (it didn’t have Design in the title, but it also covered it). The school is in the UK.
I got in. But then I couldn’t afford it. I wasn’t eligible to a student loan from Taiwan. My parents offered to pay for it. But I still deferred for a year.
I needed to get a job and earn money for living expenses. The criteria for this job hunt was simple: somewhere that pays well. I applied to companies, and one of my colleagues from my previous job told me that she was working at one of the places I applied to.
I went in for an interview that was more of a formality, because of her recommendation, and got the job.
PROGRAMMER, MATTEL (FORMERLY FUHU, INC.)
This job was also quite interesting. They are a company that makes tablets for kids, both hardware and apps.
I took over maintaining a lot of utility apps, as well as made new prototype games. One of the most interesting projects though is a fitness band for children. It was my first IOT project, wherein I worked closely with a third-party hardware manufacturer, and make the front end app.
A few months after I started working there, the company was actually acquired. By Mattel. As in Barbie. As in all my childhood dreams came true (I was a Barbie addict. I went beyond the dolls. I had Barbie school bags, Barbie shoes, Barbie everything).
Although, project wise, it just meant that we skinned our existing stuff to a Barbie and Hotwheels (yah, it wasn’t that interesting).
While I was working at this company, I was also contacted by Packt Publishing to do be a technical reviewer for a Cocos2d book.
TECHNICAL REVIEWER, PACKT PUBLISHING
I also looked for more volunteer opportunities to boost my CV, because I thought I needed to be more impressive for school.
RISE CONFERENCE, HONG KONG — 2016
CASUAL CONNECT, SINGAPORE — 2016
As much as I wanted to continue working for Mattel, my plan was always to go back to school. So I quit that job at the end of August.
Then I moved to UK in September 2016. And I have been in school ever since.
BIRMINGHAM CITY UNIVERSITY
MSc Video Game Enterprises and Production
It’s May 2017 now, and I only have a few more months before the course ends. So I need to be on a job hunt again soon.
My CV to be continued…
A reblog of my post on Medium: https://medium.com/@purplelilgirl/how-to-attend-game-tech-conferences-for-free-fd29b72cf21b
A continuation of my blog post almost a year ago, about attending Casual Connect Asia in Singapore and Rise Conference in Hong Kong.
Well, it’s been almost a year, and I moved to the UK. I switched from being an indie game developer with a day job to plain old poor student, who still can’t afford to attend conferences, especially when they are that pricey.
So what do I do instead? I volunteer. Volunteers get to attend the event for free in exchange for a few hours or days of work. Work varies, anything from what we fondly called lanyarding (it’s a made up word, it basically means we attach lanyards on name badges for all the attendees… thousands of them), ushering or roving mic during talks, or assisting with registration, or just being happy smiling people welcoming attendees.
After your shift, you change out of your crew t-shirt and you get to enjoy the rest of the event as a normal attendee, sometimes with some extra privileges.
Every organizer is kind of different, some would reimburse travel, accommodation and food expenses, while actually most don’t. But, but, when you think about it, it’s still kind of worth it, because if you were a normal attendee you’d have to pay for those stuff too, on top of your ticket.
I haven’t been flying around Asia like before, instead I’ve been taking trains to different places in the UK.
So far, I’ve been to PocketGamer Connects in London (which is where I got to do a whole lot of lanyarding, including putting a lanyard on my VIP one). I didn’t actually get to attend the event because it conflicted with my classes, and I am a stupid nerd that picked school over it.
Then I spent the first 2 weeks of my Easter break at London Games Festival and VR World Congress in Bristol.
London Games Festival is great because it is a week of quite diverse game events, including EGX Rezzed, a Dear Esther concert, a variety of summits, exhibits and ending with a Cosplay parade.
I volunteered at the Dear Esther concert selling vinyls, CDs and t-shirts. I also got to sit down an enjoy the concert, and I also bought a CD and had it signed by Jessica Curry and Dan Pinchbeck.
I also volunteered at Mixed Reality Summit, wherein they invited a whole load of interesting and insightful speakers, including John Hanke, the CEO of Niantic Labs (aka the company that made Pokemon Go).
As a cosplayer, I was actually kind of sad that I had to miss the Cosplay Parade, because I had a volunteer briefing for VR World Congress in Bristol.
And thus, I have successfully segued this post to talk about VR World Congress.
It is in Bristol, and even though it’s not far distance wise from where I live in Birmingham, the train tickets are however quite pricey. So I stayed at a hostel for a week, which is all part of the volunteer experience if you ask me. Luckily, hostels are significantly cheaper than train tickets, and I don’t need to wake up that early for my early morning shifts.
VR World Congress is composed of talks, B2B meetings and an expo. So it’s a lot that’s going on at the same time, and it’s scattered across multiple venues in the harbor area.
My task for the first day was as an Event Guide and showing attendees to the venues, which makes for good exercise, especially for such a nice and rare sunny day.
After my shift, I got a chance to attend the talks, and also go to the preview of the Expo and try some shiny new toys. I finally got to try Hololens, and it makes me so happy.
For the next 2 days, my shifts were as Roving Mic, which means that I go around during the Q&A section of the talks and hand the mic to people asking questions. And I also get to listen to the talks.
I know I should’ve socialized more and talked to more people, while subtly asking for a job. But I didn’t.
Instead, I just listened and tried to take everything in, and it could just be me being gooey, but I think they did inspire and encourage me to make some cool projects of my own.
So there you go, that’s how you attend game / tech conferences for FREE, and the organizers are always super sweet and appreciative for it.
I have been in the UK for the past six months, attending Gamer Camp: Biz (officially it’s called MSc Video Game Enterprises and Production) at Birmingham City University.
I am starting Module 4 recently, I’ll just give a brief summary of what I’ve been doing each Module.
MODULE 1: VIDEO GAME DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMING & ART DISCIPLINES
First day in we were assigned teams and roles, and I was assigned as a producer. We were given a game brief and tasked to create a platformer tablet game (with a set art style, our team picked Adventure Time) over the course of two modules.
We were also taught how to use Unity (although I already knew Unity), and we were tasked to create Unity games to prove the mechanics for our tablet games.
Our team started out with an idea for a stealth game, so I made these little guys:
But then, we scrapped that idea and went in a totally different direction, and I made this guy:
The totally different direction we went for, was a platformer wherein every level is a boss fight, with the razer statement: “If Dark Souls and Shadow of the Colossus had a baby…”
I also made 90% of the art assets for this game.
We were also taught Maya, which I actually had no prior experience on (I’m a 3ds Max person), so that was quite challenging. We were then tasked to create 2 3D versions of assets from the Unity game.
And I embarrassingly made these (a sword and a character):
XX+ Game Jam
In between school, I also attended/volunteered at my first ever all-female game jam, called XX+ Game Jam. It was hosted at Arch Creatives in Leamington Spa.
MODULE 2: VIDEO GAME DESIGN PRACTICE AND THEORY
As a team of 10, with 3 programmers, 3 artists, 3 designers and 1 producer (me), we were tasked to create platformer tablet game and we made “Boss Fighter”.
MODULE 3: INDEPENDENT VIDEO GAME BUSINESS START-UP
We started working on our PS4 project. For the R&D phase, I was assigned as producer and liason for the programming team. I also served as scrum master for their sprints.
We were also tasked to come up with a company prospectus for a multiple screen strategy game. We worked in teams of 2, and my partner and I came up with a company called Evoloot Studios and we are designed an RPG IRL (in real life), called “Xtreme Loot Quest”.
Global Game Jam
I also attended Global Game Jam hosted at our university. The theme for this year is waves, and my team and I went for the funny route, with a pirate themed tower defense game, called “King Booty”.
I made these guys for the game (we followed a Gravity Falls art style):
And here am I in Module 4…
Reblog from Toptal’s Press Release:
San Francisco, CA, May 31, 2016 — On October 21, Toptal launched Toptal STEM Scholarships for Women, a program designed to empower and support the next generation of female computer scientists, software engineers, and developers through a combination of financial support and mentorship.
Today, we are thrilled to announce the seventh winner of the scholarship, Hsiao Wei Chen, a game developer from the Philippines who aspires to start her own incubator for game developers in Taiwan and the Philippines. She plans to put the scholarship winnings towards a Master’s Degree in Video Game Enterprise and Production at Birmingham City University in the UK, which in turn will help Hsiao develop the business knowledge she needs to start her gaming incubator.
Ultimately, Hsiao wants to understand every part of the game development process, “from programming, to completion, to distribution, and marketing,” so she can empower other game developers in her home country to independently develop their own games and bring them to market.
“Hsiao has a big dream, and she’s very driven to achieve it,” said Anna Chiara-Bellini, Toptal’s Director of Engineering, who leads the scholarship’s committee of judges. “Gaming is a very tight niche so she has a hard task at hand. Plus, her dream of starting an incubator in the Philippines is a really difficult challenge. We were nervous the project was too big for one person to take on.”
“However, when Hsiao explained how much she knows, how much she loves the gaming industry, and all the ideas she has to help her thrive in such a difficult market, we knew if anyone was up for the challenge, she was. We’re committed to helping her pursue her Master’s Degree and matching her with the right mentor to help make her gaming incubator dream a reality.”
As a scholarship winner, Hsiao will receive $5,000 to further her educational and professional development goals, as well as a year of weekly one-on-one dedicated mentorship from a senior software engineer from the Toptal network.
Hsiao’s Toptal STEM Scholarships for Women application
Hsiao first learned about the scholarship while looking for opportunities to help her pay for her Video Game Enterprise and Production Master’s Program. She was immediately drawn to Toptal STEM Scholarships for Women because the application required that she contribute to GitHub. A major contributor to open source, Hsiao keeps a blog where she posts tutorials on how to develop games and use plugins for Android and iOS.
Collaboration and teaching are integral to Hsiao’s learning process. She explains, “Whenever I learn something myself, I post about it on my blog and answer other developers’ questions.” Contributing on open source as part of the application was a clear way for her to continue her existing habit of honing her skills while giving back to the developer community.
The one-on-one mentorship will provide her critical guidance in developing her skills as an engineer and an entrepreneur. “I still have lots of skills that I need to develop,” Hsiao said. “Having a mentor who I can go to with all of my questions is going to be really awesome and critical to my success.”
Hsiao developed a love for programming in high school and earned her degree in Computer Science in college. “I was always a member of my school’s computer clubs and multimedia clubs,” Hsiao reflected. After graduating, she moved from the Philippines to Taiwan and looked to build the same support systems she had found in those clubs. She learned about Global Game Jam, a hackathon in which a multitude of game developers in Taiwan get together and code for 48 hours straight to build new games.
By getting to know the small but vibrant “indie game developer community” in Taiwan, Hsiao developed her dream of making independent game development a more feasible career path for aspiring developers – and especially aspiring female developers – back in the Philippines.
“Because we’re still a so-called third-world country, it’s really hard for developers to go out on their own and pursue great ideas for new games,” Hsiao said. “There’s little to no financial incentive to go after these ideas, no matter how good they are, and I know many very talented developers who would create amazing games if only they had the financial capabilities. That’s why I want to create an incubator – to give them that support.”
Hsiao’s own game development process is a family affair – both of her sisters and her roommate are artists, so whenever she creates a new game concept, she has three artists at her disposal to help her visualize and build out the product.
Currently, she is working on an IoT pedometer for kids called Nabi Compete, which lets users earn coins for steps. They can turn those coins into play games and buy food for their virtual pets. “The idea is to get kids more active, inspire some healthy competition, and make exercise really fun.” With each iteration of her apps, she bounces ideas off of her siblings, who are both extremely well versed in both 2D and 3D design.
Ultimately, Hsiao hopes to create an equally collaborative work environment for game developers and artists in order to turn game development from a super niche, tiny industry in the Philippines to a booming community of empowered independent developers.
Please join us in congratulating game developer Hsiao Wei Chen on becoming the seventh winner of the Toptal STEM Scholarships for Women program!
About Toptal STEM Scholarships for Women
Toptal STEM Scholarships for women are a series of 12 scholarships for women that are awarded monthly over a year, with Rachell being the fifth scholarship winner. Women from across the world of any education level are eligible to apply to win $5,000 and a year of weekly one-on-one technical training and mentorship from a Toptal senior technologist to help them pursue their goals as future professional software engineers.
The prior scholarship winners are Rojina Bajracharya from Nepal, Ana Sustic from Slovenia, Gabriela Mancini from Argentina, Tondi Butler from America, Rachell Calhoun, also from America, and Yasett Acurana from Bolivia.
To apply to Toptal Scholarships for Female Developers and for more information about the program, visit https://www.toptal.com/scholarships.
Founded in 2010, Toptal is one the fastest-growing and most innovative companies to emerge from Silicon Valley. With backing from Andreessen Horowitz, Silicon Valley’s famed venture capital firm, Adam D’Angelo, founder of Quora, Ryan Rockefeller, and other investors, Toptal today connects thousands of elite freelance software engineers and designers from around the world to over 2,000 blue chips such as J.P. Morgan and Pfizer, tech companies such as Airbnb and Zendesk, and numerous startups to provide world-class solutions that meet the most complex and challenging requirements. Toptal’s rapid growth is testimony to exploding client demand and the unmatched quality and reliability of the company’s services.
+1 (415) 308-8209
I’m so happy ❤ ❤ ❤
Oh also, like mentioned, I’m moving to UK in September! Yeah!
Thank you Toptal, the best mom and dad, lovely sisters, beloved grandma and auntie.
Yes, that sounds like a click bait (but it’s not, I swear).
I have spent the last month in 5 countries, a bunch of airplanes and some ferries, and I just got back home and I’m tired and still groggy.
Okay, I was only in two countries for conferences, namely Casual Connect Asia in Singapore, and Rise Conference in Hong Kong (look those up, they are awesome). The other three are for vacation.
If you had looked those two conference up, and checked the ticket prices, you’ll find out that they are quite expensive (at least for someone broke like me- the indie game developer with a day job).
Okay, let’s cut right to the chase.
There are actually quite a few ways to get free tickets, but I’ll just share mine. I’ll also give you some tips on how to stay on budget (Tip #1 learn to love budget flights).
If you had been following me on Twitter or reading this blog (sorry, had been absent lately), you’d know that I love game jams. In case you don’t know what a game jam is, it’s this: you get 48 to 72 hours to make a game based on the given theme from scratch (fun, right? lots of coffee involved though). So earlier this year, I went to Global Game Jam, and they raffled away tickets to Casual Connect Asia. For my case, no one else at our GGJ site actually wanted the tickets, so I took them. So yeah, that is the first way to get free tix- attend community events in case they hand out conference tix for free (but no really, you should attend those events anyway, they are great).
For Rise Conference, they actually started two initiatives, one is to get more Women in Tech (we are still sadly a minority, and there should definitely be more of us) to attend the conference, and the second is for people who contribute to Open Source. So yah, if you are either, you can get free tix. I just got my tix from Women in Tech.
If you have a game or a startup you can always sign up for Indie Prize or Rise Alpha or Beta or Start. But let’s say you didn’t get in those (competition is tough).
Okay, what if you are neither of those things? No worries. Most game or tech conferences actually need volunteers. Lots of volunteers (cue photo of us happy volunteers). So yah, volunteers get free tix too, in exchange for some hours of work (for CC, it’s for a days work, and for Rise it was for 1 and a half days work). But after your shifts you get to enjoy the conference like the rest of the attendees. Also you get a free shirt. Also you get to meet a bunch of awesome people, like those happy smiling people in the picture below.
So what do we actually do as volunteers? There are different roles, and the organizers usually let you pick what you want to do. And you can get to do everything (registration, goody bag packing, ushering, crowd control, bringing water to speakers, assisting booths, basically all kinds of things).
Plus point, you can add volunteer work to your resume.
Okay, okay, so the question is: volunteering only get you free tix? What about travel and accommodations and food?
For those two, food is actually provided (Well, CC was catered for all attendees, anyway). So that solves the problem of lunch. And for dinner, there are actually quite a few night events (or parties) that come with free food and drinks (free flowing beer at CC, by the way).
Next, is travel. I think I already mentioned budget flights. So yah, go for those. The thing about budget flights though, is well, you get what you pay for. And as long as it does the job of safely delivering you from point A to point B, well, I’m satisfied with that.
For accommodations, well, just because the conference is held in Hard Rock Hotel, doesn’t mean you need to stay there (although they do offer discounts. they also sometimes partner with a couple of other hotels and offer discounts). Be less picky and you can get away with only spending 2000 Taiwan dollars on a week’s stay (well, I only got a bed. But I was at the conference all day and night anyway, I just needed a place to sleep).
And if you have a bit of wanderlust in you, you can even spend a few more days exploring the cities or traveling to nearby countries (hence, my additional countries for vacays).
And I suppose another question is why attend these conferences? Well, I personally think, that everyone should step out of their doors, and see the world and see what the rest of the world are doing. Why live in a bubble when the rest of the world is so big?
Feel free to chat me up on twitter or leave me a comment below.
I’ll try to post more often.
One of the diversifiers from last year’s Global Game Jam was Public Domain, and one of the newest additions is Little Prince.
So instead of doing yet another Alice inspired game (I love Alice), we decided to make a real life AR and VR escape the room game using Little Prince as our theme.
I made a separate website for the game: http://www.purplelilgirl.com/lepetitprince/.
Check it out!
VR & AR doesn’t seem like a trend that is going away anytime soon.
So we are jumping on the bandwagon.
Since I come from a mobile dev background and I’m dirt poor, I decided to get a Google Cardboard.
I attempted to make one on my own, but I couldn’t find the correct lenses.
So I ordered one online from Unofficial Cardboard, which comes preassembled, which is great. And it’s Version 2, so the lenses are bigger.
Last night, my lil sis went to a nigh market (Ximending, Taipei) and saw a stall selling Google Cardboard Version 1 that you have to assemble yourself for only 150 NT (roughly 5 USD).
Recently, there have been a couple of exhibits in Taiwan that has that VR & AR bonus. My lil sis went to an exhibit by Japanese comic artist, Ito Jun Ji, where they were given VR googles and they are instructed to download an accompanying app on their iPhones. As they were walking around the exhibit, animations will pop out from the comic artworks.
Real life escape the room games are also a thing now in Taiwan and in the Philippines. We joined one a few months ago, it was 500 NT per person, and you can join with a team of 8. We picked a Snow White inspired room, and we were all assigned roles as one of the 7 dwarfs (the 8th members is the leader), and we were tasked to find out missing souls, which were stolen by the queen or something (no, this is not your cannon Snow White story). It was fun (mostly because we managed to escape), but also because the puzzles were really clever and they used very simple mechanics such as magnetic cards (similar to the ones used as MRT tickets) and run the mill combination locks to open doors and treasure boxes.
So we’re thinking of combine those two ideas together.
An escape the room game that utilizes VR and AR.
AR has been a fascination of mine for a while now, but I still felt that it was kind of weird, because you have to point your phone at the marker and you can only see the AR thing coming out on your phone. While with VR goggles, it’s more immersive, and in a way it feels more natural.
AR is also about marker detection. So we are wondering if we can manipulate the markers and see what will happen.
One experiment we tried is to cut an image marker into little pieces, like a puzzle. So when they are in there little pieces, you are actually not detecting anything. But once formed, it works like a proper image marker and whatever AR stuff you put can come out.
I used Vuforia’s sample marker and then cut it into little pieces, which is a challenge in itself to assemble. And it works!
Next, I want to try if I can use a clock as my marker and see if it will only be detectable at the right time. The players will be able to adjust the time themselves though, they don’t need to wait for time to pass naturally.
Currently with VR, they are still utilizing other controllers that are separate from the goggles.
And we were wondering there are other ways to control your character, maybe using Speech Recognition instead of button controls or native Step Detectors to allow players to move around (this is for another game).
That’s some thoughts and experiments we have so far. I will keep updating this post with more information and hopefully successful results.
‘Till next time!
If you had more time, what would you do? I was asked this question (or at least something like that) during my IELTS speaking part, and what I should’ve answered (totally a suck up) was: Read more books!
But that’s actually what I did (I mean, during the times that I wasn’t playing Sims) during my 3 month break from work.
I’m keeping a list of the books I’ve read since then (so this list will constantly be updated).
I usually read using iBooks on my iPhone, but a while ago I tried Play Books on my Sony Xperia Z3, and I found out that if ever there’s a word you didn’t understand, you can just press and hold on the word and a dictionary will appear. I think that can be really good for ESL (English as Second Language) readers.
And I also recently discovered that Google Play sells books now (yes, it took me this long to find out). And a lot of authors actually has short stories up on the store for free.
I think short stories are great for people just starting to read, because they’re short, so it’s less intimidating and you still get a complete story out of it (yah, I don’t think I made much sense).
Also in other book and reading related news, the Page One in Taipei 101 had a clearance sale (clearance = sad, but sale made me slightly happy), and all the books were 90% off, so I bought a bunch of them.
As in a bunch of them.
So yeah! Here’s to more reading!
My goal to read at least 100 books before the year is over.