Stephen Calender Programming Blog


How to Get Hired at a Game Studio: Game Engineer Edition

Tags: Filament Games, Opinion.

One of my responsibilities at Filament is facilitating the hiring process, and I will often be the first person to screen applications. Upon first review, I try to give each applicant 10 minutes of my time. Based on Filament’s structure, I need to evaluate a candidate on the following criteria:

  • Are they capable of building a game from start to finish?
  • Can they execute at our pace and quality levels?
  • Does both the studio and the prospective hire have something to gain from working together?
  • Cultural fit: do they care about educational games?

I’ll unpack what it takes to answer some of those questions and give some general advice on how to make it past the first hurdle in the job application process. Full Article

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Learning About Learning: Dog Training

Tags: Filament Games, Opinion.

If you have been following Filament Games you have probably met my dog Euler Full Article

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10 Tips for Designing a Game Tutorial

Tags: Filament Games, Opinion.

Every game teaches you how to play. Plants vs. Zombies is an interesting case study because it made “hardcore” strategy content accessible to casual and non-gamers. Full Article

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The Importance of Feedback

Tags: Filament Games, Opinion.

I’ve previously quoted Sid Meier who believes one way to think about game design is “a series of interesting decisions“. Besides game designers, there are a few other professions that obsess over human behavior with a particular focus on the choices we make; namely, psychologists and economists. They study phenomenon that expose flaws in how we perceive the world which give insight into how our brains function. Full Article

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How to Design the First Five Minutes of Your Game

Tags: Filament Games, Opinion.

A common request when pitching a game idea is “walk me through the first 5 minutes (or sometimes 30 seconds) of your game”. It is a question designed to weed out who has really thought out their ideas. The truth of the matter is that you need to convey a lot information concisely and elegantly at the beginning of your game. Full Article

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Preventing Defects And Defensive Programming

Tags: Filament Games, Opinion.

As programmers, we can embed fail-safes into our code. In essence, we get decide what failure looks like. Full Article

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Features that add Value

Tags: Filament Games, Opinion.

When I provide insight into game development, instead of talking about specific games, the conversation revolves around the building blocks of games we call features. Through analyzing the atomic elements of games and how they can be combined and work together, we hope to learn generic lessons that can be applied to all games. Full Article

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Future-proofing Your Project

Tags: Filament Games, Opinion.

Technology is an ever-changing landscape. There are constant stories about the death of platforms, new ‘game-changing’ software or hardware, and wild successes or tragic failures for seemingly arbitrary reasons. Let’s explore how you can mitigate those risks and develop a project that has a lifespan measured in years. Full Article

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Taking Your Game From Version 1.0 to 2.0

Tags: Filament Games, Opinion.

I have written about the importance of considering content and cost during the early stages of project development, and provided a broad overview of what to expect during the production process. Now that you’ve officially launched the game, you may be considering taking your project to version 2.0. Full Article

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HTML5 and WebGL

Tags: Filament Games, HTML5, Opinion.

WebGL, like HTML5, is an agreed upon standard that browser software will support. It is based on OpenGL, which is the most widely adopted graphics standard in computing. This means that instead of relying on plug-ins, modern browsers can support rich content and advanced features without installing additional software. Specifically, WebGL allows for hardware accelerated graphics in an HTML5 canvas. Full Article

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