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Amit Patel & Rob Shillingsburg

Amit is maintaining a super helpful website called Red Blob Games, where he explains math and computer science topics in an accessible and playful way. Rob Shillingsburg earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University and was an early employee of Google. He later co-founded Wild Shadow Studios, maker of 2012 IGF finalist Realm of the Mad God.

We approached Amit because he has extensive experience in producing excellent blog posts on game dev related topics (again, they are really great!). We were able to meet up during GDC 2018 and Rob joined the meeting, too.

Advice (not verbatim):

  • On getting started
    • Get something on the screen as soon as possible. Make something as simple as a blank screen, or a triangle. Then you can start off from there. It's a great way to keep you motivated. Also, always have something that runs.
    • Try to make a "toy game" in 2 weeks, as you will figure out what problems you might encounter when making the engine. It's a great way for you to know your "unknown unknowns."
    • Keep everything as simple as possible.
    • List out your features as a tree and do Breadth-First implementation on them.
    • It's hard to plan everything upfront. If you do, keep your plans adaptive.
  • On networking
    • Different games need different netcode. For example, the RTS genre has very different requirements on networking than the FPS genre.
  • General
    • Most game engines come from actual games. People only make them when they find that a lot of things are common among different games and make them by pulling those parts out and reuse them. So, maybe consider making multiple games throughout your semester.

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