Comments OffPosted in Games & PlayAug 23, 2012
A blog by Lukas Roper, about his experiences of being on an internship at FluffyLogic.
When joining FluffyLogic during September 2011, I was both intrigued and nervous as to what my first taste of the games industry was going to offer. After two years of my degree at the University of the West of England, I wondered how my skills would translate into the real world. After six months I can safely say, I had nothing to worry about!
When I joined I was made to feel welcome, with a very solid group of people, which made integrating with the existing group much easier. This was a relief as I had no idea what to expect!
I was then given some simple work to begin with, just given the task to look at the code base for UrZoo and try to understand how it all works. This was very daunting, my first thought was “so many classes!” After looking it over I was then given some reasonably simple tasks to break me in.
Doing this work was when I learned my first real lesson, learning what level of technical detail people other than programmers have. With my university colleges, I could use certain technical jargon to convey a problem, due to us all sharing a similar knowledge from what we’d been taught. What was interesting for me was when saying to artists I have a problem with this, I needed to find what was wrong and convey it in a clear way with a lot less programming jargon. Improving my communication skills was key to being able to do this effectively.
Work than gradually ramped up in difficulty, as I was given tougher work. I started being given my own projects and tasks. This was good as I was able to learn more from each task and some tasks would help to improve certain weaknesses and if I did anything too badly, I would be told what was wrong and how to improve it. My coding skills have definitely increased from this placement.
I’ve also generally learned a few things about the industry that are useful for me to practice in my own time. I’ve learned that mobile gaming is far too important to be ignored, so I’ve spent some time learning Objective-C, to give me another potential avenue in to the mobile market. I’ve also learned from colleagues how good Unity is, so I’ve spent some of my own time practising that. These pointers shall hopefully increase my employability chances.
I’ve finished my internship and would definitely say an internship should be pursued whether that’s at FluffyLogic or at another studio. The benefits both to myself and my employment opportunities have been very high. I do feel like a valued employee at the company so it has increased my confidence in my abilities greatly. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at FluffyLogic for the opportunity.
On Monday 12th March BBC Radio Bristol interviewed FluffyLogic CEO Ana Kronschnabl on the John Darvall show. In the interview Ana discusses amongst other things, the history of FluffyLogic, her background as a research fellow and film maker, and the future of the traditional boxed computer game in light of the recent news of the financial difficulties facing Game, the high street chain.
You can listen to the radio show on the BBC iPlayer here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00pdw9l
Comments OffPosted in Games & PlayOct 17, 2011
One of the earliest challenges came in deciding which foods the animals would eat. It was clear that they couldn’t have their real diets since this would complicate the game unneccessarily, not to mention leave us with an unmanagably large number of food types! At the same time, whilst it was obvious I would have to take some liberties with reality, it would be nice to get each animal eating at least one food that it would really eat.
After much cross-referencing with wikipedia and various other webpages, I managed to come up with a list of 20 foods that would give each animal at least one food they would really eat. A further food type was added for convenience, which all animals would be content with and thus allow the player to quickly get all their animals full up again before getting back into all the individual micro-managing.
Later on down the line, this would aid in solving a problem that had been looming for a while – namely, the introduction of strategy.
The problem from the beginning has been in our attempt to make UrZoo a game with something for everyone. A noble goal to be sure, but how to cater for the more casual player as well as a keen strategist was a puzzle to say the least. A breakthrough came when I split the foods up into different food groups. By then splitting the animals up in a similar way according to the different food groups, I was able to solve the initial problem and introduce a further level of depth all at the same time. Of course, it isn’t as simple as each animal being linked to a corresponding food group, but you’ll have to play to find that out for yourselves =).
By creating the groupings I had, I was now able to accomodate players that would want to play for varying amounts of time (e.g. a longer time in one sitting, or a short burst every now and then) thus making it easy to play casually, whilst also containing a layer of strategy which a keen player could exploit to their advantage. Success!
Of course, there was much more to consider besides what the animals would eat, but you’re just going to have to wait and see what else is in store when the game is released =).