Zoink Zhow #15 – Meet the programmers!

Zoink Zhow #15 – Meet the programmers!


Hello! We’re back again and this time we have “Zoink Zhow
– the programming edition”. So we have with us… Sebastian and Rasmus.
– Hi! Thanks for coming. I think we just should get this question out of the way because people are always asking it. What programming language are we using for our games? We’re using C# in Unity most of the time,
like 98% of it. It’s a bit of C++ for native console stuff as well as Objective C for iOS specific stuff but we don’t really make a lot of iOS games anymore. But yeah, it’s C#. So what would you say are the big differences in the different projects you’ve worked on? Well a big difference for me is this is kind of the first…
– And by ‘this’ you mean Flipping Death? Yeah, Flipping Death! This is the first one at Zoink, to begin with, and it’s also like the first one where I’m not a junior programmer. Me and Rasmus pretty much split like 50/50. – The workload.
– Yeah, the workload It’s been super fun. It’s been challenging in a really good way. For me what’s changed is
the methods I try to program around and how I structure the code and stuff like that. But also the team sizes like Zombie Vikings was a lot larger project that Stick It to The Man was. For Stick It I would estimate like 60% of the code was written by me, at least. While some Vikings, I don’t know, a fourth probably? So structure, is that like the big challenge? It’s one of them, I would say. Naming things is also really, really hard.
– Yeah! Naming things? Like naming all the..?
– Variables, classess, functions… Is that just an imagination thing or is it just hard technically? It’s imagination, sort of…
Because you want a good name so people can understand what it does. You want to know that… A rock, this is like a rock. And also what kind of rock. Is it an immovable rock or a rock you can throw and stuff like that. Naming things put a lot of context into it. So you need to be able to separate
the rocks from each other? And naming something the wrong way might end up with people not understanding how they should use it or misunderstanding the concept. So just like naming things is just super hard. So a new thing on the Zoink Zhow is that we have a little show-and-tell segment. Yeah, I found something! This. A book! A notebook. Yeah. I think that most of what people see and think programmers do is on a computer. But I would say like 50 percent of the work is like up here. And having one of these just kind of helps you get stuff from here down here so you can have space for more stuff. So how do you use it, do like write code in it or is it more like the idea about what you’re gonna…? I kinda… I think it happens that I’ll write pseudo code, kind of. But it’s not it’s not like I actually code in this and then like okay I’m just gonna read from here and type it on the computer or anything like that it’s more like the general structure of a system or something. It can also kind of help you visualize things. I mean, I don’t think it’s for everyone. I think you can also do
a lot of things that you do with this with digital tools. But for me this is just like a really simple nice way of doing it. I use a notebook as well but it’s mostly for drawing. Becuase some things are hard too… like, I don’t want to try and draw in Paint like a structure of things. Because I can just do it so much faster on paper with a pencil. But for like to do list themselves I always keep them digital Because otherwise they will just get lost. And I hate searching for things physically. It’s easier to search on a computer. A lot. I’ve got this notion that the community around programming is quite open. It’s very much about sharing. Is a true and where do you think that comes from? I think that is very true. I think it stems from a lot of things but one of them is just that programming is solving problems. And not just solving a problem once but rather create a solution for solving it every time as long as problem stays relatively the same. So if you see someone having a problem ,
like they want to change the tires of the car and you can magical fix it why wouldn’t you help that person? So sharing things, and sharing knowledge and ideas in general, is human I think. It’s like retweeting a fun tweet.
– Yes, exactly! Now it’s time for the community questions! From you guys. How wide is the tool portfolio to make
those games of yours? Do you stick to just one IDE, or are there an assortment of weapons for code? Yeah so we mainly use one ID, which is Visual Studio for most people. I kinda use MonoDevelope as well, and switch between them. I also use Sublime because it’s just
really fast to do things and you feel really cool, you feel like a hacker! You can edit a bunch of lines simultaneously and like doing crazy things! If you think about the game industry as a whole is there anything regarding your profession that you would like to change? Yeah you know this problem that we have always had with crunch? So, for the people who doesn’t know, what’s a crunch? Yeah, crunch is basically like…
– You work overtime. – You work a lot of lot of overtime. Crunch can be a pretty good tool like especially when you have these hard deadlines like okay, in two weeks we gotta get this done. Okay, yeah, so let’s just sit down and…
– Just do it! Yeah, just do it. Try to get as much done as you can. But after that like you’re spent. And you need twice the time to recover. I mean there are these horrible examples, obviously, of companies demanding crunch. People crunching for like two years basically. – Yeah, without pay. Without pay, or without extra pay. – Yeah, you just get your regular salary and you just work overtime twice as much. – Oh, that sucks… Yeah, yeah, and like people you know… not having any time to spend with their kids. You know, relationships crumble, they loose their friends, stuff like that. – Health problems. Yeah, health problems obviously. Like, you don’t go out, you don’t socialize… It’s just like a thousand problems with working that way. I think that we still have this notion that more work, like more workhours, means more productivity. And from personal experience
I can say that is just not true. Magical costume change!
– Tada! How do code freezes work in game dev? I actually don’t know what a code freeze is so you might start with explaining that. Alright. Well, as far as I know a code freeze is basically when you take to project and you say like ‘We’re gonna stop working on it… somehow’. – It’s done? Well, it depends on the circumstances. There is like a feature freeze where you stop adding new features to the game. – Kinda just focus on bugs and polish. – So you decide that ‘this part is done, focus on this instead’? And also, there’s more freezes the further you go. – And there’s like a middle step between feature freeze and code freeze, right? Yeah, I think so…
– We looked this up on Wikipedia when we got the questions. At Zoink we have code freezes in terms of, for instance, our demo. We have put it on another branch of our version control and we just don’t… We update it with like a few small things. For instance after the first time we showed it you came back with a lot of feedback like ‘we should change this beacause people don’t really understand this thing’. and we added like…
– After showing it at PAX Exactly, so we added that you could see where you throw the scythe. Oh yeah, exactly, because it was people were having trouble aiming the scythe. So that we implemented in both the main branch so it came into the real game and we also back ported it into the demo. But in general we touched it the demo we don’t really touch the demo. We just let it be safe and sound so we can always like make a new build on it and we know that it’s gonna work. Agile, that’s like a project methodology, yeah? So the question is ‘do you due true agile?’
TRUE agile? Yeah, I don’t know what the…
We don’t do true agile. I’m not sure…
– We don’t do true anything. Like we kind of do our own thing. We do a thing that I think a lot of companies do where it’s like this semi-agile, semi-scrummy thing. We kinda just try to do what works for us and we try to iterate on our process instead. I mean I don’t think we’re opposed to, I don’t know, actually trying “real” scrum? – Well, I don’t know…
– Scrum is one of the agile methodologies, yeah? Yeah! We tend to just do what feels nice and what works for us.
– Yeah! We have standups and such and weekly we have a game testing session where everyone from the team plays the game or well, one person plays the game and the rest watches. And we just write down all bugs and things that we discover. Okay, great, was all my questions! Thank you for coming here.
– Thank you! Do you have anything you wanna..? Do you think I’ve missed anything? Anything you wanna say to the people? Stay in school! Or don’t.
– Learn to program! Programming is fun. Do it. Stay in school. Bye!

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