👋 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!)
“If you want to build any kind of game for mobile platforms, you’ve got
to take a look at Unity. This book is an excellent, thorough, and
seriously fun guide to putting together gameplay in one of the best game
engines out there for indie developers.”
– Adam Saltsman, Creator of “Canabalt” and “Overland” at Finji
“The best way to learn how to use a game engine is by getting your hands
dirty and building your own projects. In this book, Paris and Jon guide
you through the creation of two radically different games, giving you
invaluable hands-on experience with a wide range of Unity’s features.”
– Alec Holowka, Lead Developer of “Night in the Woods” and “Aquaria” at
“This book changed my life. I now feel inner peace, and I’m pretty sure
I can see through time.”
– Liam Esler, Game Developers’ Association of Australia
Here’s what we’ve been working on:
- Designing Games that People Want to Play (on Safari)
- Getting Started with Game Development in Unity (on Safari)
- Developing 3D Games with Unity (on Safari)
- Creating 2D Games with Unity (on Safari)
- Creating First-Person-Shooter (FPS) Games with Unity (on Safari)
- Creating 3D VR Games with Unity (on Safari)
- Creating Narrative Games with Unity (on Safari)
- Just Enough Game Art (on Safari)
- Getting Your Game Out There (on Safari)
If there’s no purchase available yet, there will be soon! Everything is available on Safari right now, though.
- UIKit Dynamics for iOS
- Constraints in iOS
- Table Views in iOS
- Getting started with Swift on the iPad
- The Basics of Designing 3D Art
with Blender and Unity
Our newest books are also available now:
- Learning Swift (on the latest Swift/iOS/macOS)
(also on Amazon and Safari)
- The Kerbal Player’s Guide
(also on Amazon and Safari)
- Check out our talk “The Mun and Back”, from OSCON 2015 as well!
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!
At the beginning of May, Jon and I visited Atlanta, Georgia, for IA Summit 2016. This is the second time we’ve attended at the IA Summit: last time was in 2012, in New Orleans. This year, we presented the latest iteration of our game design talk, “How Do I Game Design?”.
As promised during our talk, here’s links to a couple of the things we talked about:
- The Mechanics-Dynamics-Aesthetics (MDA) framework paper
- 8KindsOfFun.com – Marc LeBlanc’s Game Design Thoughts
- The Definition of a Game – Game definition generator
- The Resistance – a board game we mentioned
- Half-Life 2 – a video game we mentioned
- Gone Home – another video game we mentioned
I really enjoyed our second visit to the IA Summit, and definitely hope to come back next year! A particular highlight of the conference was the games night, which is quite unique to the IA Summit –– I love it! Highlights from the talks include:
- Léonie Watson’s keynote about accessibility and inclusion, which featured a slide deck composed of movie quotes.
- Lisa Welshman’s keynote on how design can impact real human beings.
- Jesse James Garrett’s 7-in-1 closing keynote on… well, everything the IA industry needs to know?
- Dan Ramadan’s talk on “Taxonomies, Tags, and Trajectories at the BBC”
- Jorge Arango’s talk on “Placemaking Lessons from the Magic Kingdom”
- Stephen Anderson’s talk on “How To Design A Concept Model”
… but everything I attended was amazing. There’s lots of great photos of the event, not taken by me, online here. Thanks to the organisers, volunteers, speakers, and attendees for putting on an amazing event!
IA Summit 2016 was one of the most diverse-feeling, inclusive conferences I’ve ever been to, and the community –– while, as game designers, we only really sit on the intersection of it and many other communities –– is incredibly welcoming and friendly.
Atlanta was also an amazingly friendly city, with a lot of interesting attracting (oh my, go and visit the Georgia Aquarium!) I’m looking forward to getting an opportunity to revisit it in the future! I’m also really looking forward to venturing to Vancouver, for IA Summit 2017.