My beloved Meetup

Every month, game developers from all around the Swiss French part come together for a casual meetup to learn about a new subject and drink some beers. It is the central place of the Swiss French scene. Even though not everyone is a professional, people share their knowledge and motivate each other to move forward. It is hard to define if the meetup is moving the whole scene forward (like it is hard to know if the Nordic Game Jam helped the game industry in the Scandinavian countries).

I started to go to the meetup in 2014, before going to the ZHdK. The first one I attended, funny enough, is the one that Kevin Péclet, my current colleague, actually presented Otherworld (now Starfallen): https://www.meetup.com/Game-Developers-Suisse-Romande/events/176334712/

Several months later, I presented my work about game jams and afterwards, I went to Zurich, but even then, I was still going every month to the Swiss French meetup. I went to a game jam with Kevin and following the production of Splash Blast Panic, we found a company.

The meetup made the game developer I am today. Being able to see what game development was concretely and being able to share insights, tricks and talks taught me a lot of things. So to give back to the community, I started to help David Javet in the organization. We managed to push the quality of the presentation to another level, invite international guests over skype or live on stage. The meetup did not completely change, but the community became more professional, but still keeping this passionate root.

Students from EPFL, ECAL, HEAD, SAE Institute, EPAC come regularly to meet the game developers from the indie scene, ask them questions and for some of them, integrate our community. This is why I joined the organization of the meetup, to help people connect and to share. Some companies do not come, often telling that they already work all day on their game, they don’t think that they need this helping community. But when they die or bankrupt, nobody pity them and they become a joke for the game community, instead of a dream of old.

Game developers from all around the Swiss French part, Geneva, Neuchâtel, Fribourg, Lausanne come together and share. This is my meetup. This is our game development community. This is my beloved meetup.

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Can’t stop the jamming!

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I remember my post from last year. After one year and a half of exhausting jamming and master study, I was starting to get bored by game jams. But I did a game on GameBoy and suddenly I realized something important. Game jams are not just about creating games. It is about living extraordinary experience (painful one too). Oh God I was happy when I compiled the last rom and uploaded it (with my shitty upload bandwidth, I was actually happy to create a 256kB gb rom instead of the usual 100mB .zip files that takes 20 min to upload home).

Jamming is easy for me now, so I try to go outside of my comfort zone on the game ideas. Welcome at Houdini’s for example made me try something new in terms of gameplay. As a beginner game developer, I was focused on creating game in a certain genre. Now, I have several prototypes that I want to continue as game project. For example, I want to have a Soup Raiders TRPG with crazy cartoon mechanics inspired by Disgaea, Fire Emblem and the like.

Jamming is about creating new ideas out of nowhere. I tend to want to create games in the genre I like, but game jams force me to try anything. If my colleagues want to try a specific idea, I bow to that and start to think how I will code it. With the Master in Game Design, I can also think to better way of implementing a mechanic, in a way, I became a gameplay programer.

This month of May was super busy at my job and I did not jam, but I don’t feel I missed something. I was always trying to make one game jam a month. It was my way of being creative. Now, I am also trying new engines (for example, I want to get my hand on Godot 3 as an alternative to Unity) and new platforms (GameBoy, Nintendo DS, Arduboy…).

So, in short, I can’t stop the jamming!

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I am a teacher!

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I started in October 2016 a new job as Games Programming teacher at the SAE Institute Geneva, a private multimedia university. As a newly graduated professional in game design, it is really hard to find a stable job in Switzerland. I am still working also on my own game (Splash Blast Panic), so working at 100% was not a good plan neither. But I met Luca Giarrizzo, and together, we set up the program for the new class. I currently have 7 students for very various backgrounds, starting mostly from scratch to become professional game programmers.

I really enjoy my work. Passing on all the little tricks to the next generation allow me to have an objective view on my actual work. Students never ceased to ask interesting (not always) questions that push me to find helpful answers. They create their first games and then they realize how easy it is to do so, but require so much work behind-the-scene. Combining with the little help I give to the Swiss French GameDev meetup, it is my way to give back to the community.

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