👋 Our new book on Unity is about to come out! We think it’s our best yet. If you’re interested in game development, please check it out?
The O’Reilly Software Architecture Conference 2019 (SACon) just wrapped up in New York City, and I was privileged enough to attend as a speaker with my friend and colleague, Tim, and partner and colleague, Mars. Together, we presented a session called Entity-Component-Systems and you: they’re not just for games anymore, and Tim and I did a book signing for our recent title Learning Swift (3rd edition), as well as a Meet the Experts session.I was initially quite sceptical of the SACon, because the idea of an event based on ‘software architecture’ conjured up images of very dry sessions on traditional, serious enterprise architecture, presented by uninspired, uninspiring people. As it turns out software architects, and those who attend software architecture conferences, are incredibly passionate, interesting people, who are the very opposite of the straight-laced faceless people I imagined.
SACon was a melting-pot of interesting ideas, framed around the discussion of software architecture as a profession. O’Reilly’s conferences are always polished, well, run and all that good stuff (disclaimer: as might be obvious, O’Reilly is my publisher), but the attendees and speakers are what makes any conference shine. This conference definitely shone.
All the sessions that I attended were excellent, but the highlights of the conference for me were definitely the following talks:
- Katerina Iliakopoulou’s talk on architecture of the New York Times recommender systems
- Vasanth Asokan’s talk on the architecture used to test in production at Netflix
- My friend r0ml’s talk, Technical Debt: a masterclass
- Seth Dobbs’ talk on leadership principles for architects
- The keynotes from Trisha Gee, Mark Richards (interviewed by Neal Ford), Stuart Halloway, and Glenn Vanderburg (go and check out the list of recommended wide-reading he posted after his. keynote, too!)
The ‘hallway track’ was also exceptional, and we had some fantastic conversations with attendees on topics ranging from the rise of the Rust programming language to the use of ECS in non-video games to the merits of the Swift programming language to designing video game engines, and beyond.
Tim and I really enjoyed our book signing, and found ourselves face-to-face with one of the biggest queues we’ve ever had for a book signing, and had some excellent conversations with developers, architects, and team leads who were excited to learn Swift from our book, or share it with their teams back home.
Our ECS talk went well! We had a packed room (which was also one of the most palatial conference halls we’ve ever spoken in!) and got 5-star reviews with great feedback.
If you’re interested, you’ll find the slides from our talk on ECS are available via the conference website. You can also find a video embedded below, or on YouTube, or O’Reilly’s Learning Platform. (if you have an O’Reilly Learning Platform subscription, we strongly recommend watching it there!)
There’s some follow-up resource we want to share with attendees of our talk. We hope you find them useful!
- Catherine West’s RustConf closing keynote on Rust for Game development
- Entity Systems are the future of MMOG development by Adam Martin
- ECS and DoD slides by Aras Pranckevičius (Unity)
- Data Oriented Design and C++ CPPCon talk by Mike Acton
- Machine Architecture: Things Your Programming Language Never Told You talk by Herb Sutter
- What Every Programmer Should Know About Memory paper by Urlich Drepper
- The amazing talk on Blizzard’s implementation of ECS in their popular game, Overwatch, from GDC 2017
Also available via O’Reilly’s Safari, if you have a subscription (a free trial is available!)
- Seumas McNally Grand Prize for Best Independent Game
- Excellence in Narrative
This is a truly stunning result for a really cool little game.
We’re excited to be teaching Unity game development live online next week, through O’Reilly Media’s Safari platform! It’s free for Safari members. Learn to build video games with one of the most popular engines around. January 17 and 18, 6PM to 9PM, AEDT.
We’re also running the same workshop again, at the end of February, if that date suits you better! Check it out.
This year, Jon gave a talk at GDC called “Making Night in the Woods Better with Open Source”. In it, he talked about how Night in the Woods (which came out last month and you should totally go buy) used the open source process in its development.
Unlike most of our other talks, we did something a little ridiculous with this one – we built an entire presentation system, from scratch, into Night in the Woods. We’re actually pretty proud of this, and so we put together a video showing how it was done. Check it out!
Over the last weekend I took place in GovHack 2016 at the Hobart site. This was the 4th time that I’ve participated in GovHack, and – as usual – it was an excellent event! I formed (what is now becoming the usual) team with Jon, Tim, Josh, Rex, Seb, Matthew, and Arabella, and we built a game out of the data-sets.
The game we built involves players taking control of news readers on flying news desks, grabbing images and matching them to headlines. It’s called Beat the Press and you can learn more about it on the project website, and through the video we made:
Thanks to my awesome team members for working so hard on art, music, data-wrangling, copy editing, video production, programming, design, and game design over the weekend! Thanks also to Craig Clark for hosting a fabulous event, as well as the other volunteers in Hobart, and everywhere else!
TasGDS and Backyard.SK ran DIY: Games to Inspire, a games party, in Hobart last night. It was amazing! Photos are up on Facebook (public link, no login needed!)
The first version of the iPad game that Secret Lab been building for Qantas has been released! We’re very proud of it, and can’t wait to add more stuff! Check it out!
Over the weekend we participated on the first TasJam Game Jam. TasJam is a statewide game jam event, held simultaneously in Hobart, Launceston, and Burnie, and was organised by the Tasmanian Game Development Society.
The weekend was absolutely fantastic, and the organisers did a brilliant job of running the jam, and the mentors/judges who came down from Melbourne –– Kamina (from Tin Man Games), Lauren, and Katie (both from Lumi Consulting) –– were all really insightful, and such a positive presence at the jam. It was a great environment to get things done in, and there was a lot of great feedback and ideas shared amongst participants.
Jon and I spent our time repurposing assets from one of the games we’re building at Secret Lab –– Gnome’s Well –– and building a single-stick multiplayer shooter game. The game involves wizard hats waking up to prevent the the wizard’s treasure from being stolen by invading gnomes using drone-copters. We think it’s pretty fun, and it came out really well for such a short build.
It was a great opportunity for us to learn how to use game controllers, which are not something that we’ve ever used before! We were also super-impressed when we rebuilt the game (which we built using Unity) for iOS, and it ran flawlessly on an iPad Air 2 using MFi game controllers.
You can find more pictures, as well as videos and photos on the Secret Lab Tumblr. I also took a lot of photos at the event, and you can find those on my Flickr. TasJam used itch.io for submissions, so don’t forget to check out all the awesome games there.