Nov 9, 2018 IN Pixel Life
Butterfly Effect: Breaking into game industry
What is Butterfly Effect programme?
Butterfly Effect is an initiative by Pixel Federation, Sygic, Leaf, and HubHub that aims to train young people in arts of digital business. There are two labs which participants can choose - Apps Lab and Games Lab. Within the Games Lab, Butterfly Effect creates teams of young artists, programmers and aspiring or skilled game designers where they together experience the process of turning an idea of a game into an actual digital product.
In this article, we will closely examine with 2 participants, Miro and Simon, why they chose Butterfly Effect and what advantages it offers compared to more traditional educational concepts.
Tell us something about you. Where did you study?
Miro: At first, I studied Information Technologies at the University of Kosice, but I never really aspired to be a programmer. What interested me the most at that time were games, and especially game design. I started to google the options and I found that there is a Game Engineering Master's degree at the Technical University of Munich, so I applied and started studying there. I was lucky because I had a pretty solid understanding of German already. I eventually graduated with Master of Arts degree in Game Design.
Simon: I have a degree from law but just like Miro, I was never smitten to become a full-time lawyer. After school, I learned how to program by myself, but even though I have always been a game enthusiast, it never really occurred to me that I could actually create them.
Why did you decide to apply for BE program?
Miro: Having been a hardcore gamer my whole life, I was determined to make my own game after school. The free-to-play concept was the only option at that time for me because I did not have the necessary resources to make an AAA game. But at the Uni in Munich, we mostly worked on AAA games. That's why I was extremely happy to come across Butterfly Effect and immediately applied for a position there. I was really happy to be able to return back to Slovakia and pursue my dream at the same time.
Simon: I came across Butterfly Effect programme while I was searching for programming courses online. I was looking for a more intensive course so when I found the Butterfly Effect programme, it seemed to me as a perfect fit. I don’t know if I just got lucky or something, but I applied to the programme and I managed to pass the recruitment process successfully, so eventually, I ended up as a Programmer in the Games Lab team. I especially enjoyed being surrounded with like-minded people with the passion for making games, since I didn’t study anything game related.
On what games were you working on?
Miro: We were both with Simon in the Games Lab but in 2 different teams. I worked on a casual free to play mobile game which was basically endless arcade game called Stroopy Jump. Our goal was to entertain players with the gameplay itself and I have to say that I am pretty content with the final game. It’s easy and fun, exactly how we wanted it to be.
Simon: I worked on another hyper-casual game which is focused more on the speed called Hangry. Basically, both teams in the Games Lab were focused on creating, let’s say, smaller games with the goal to get through the whole process of making a game pretty quickly and be able to publish the final game within one semester of the programme. And by the whole process I mean everything from the brainstorming about the initial idea to the launch of the game and even to the gathering the data about the game. We were lucky to be able to cooperate with and learn from the best mentors in the industry in Slovakia.
How does it work in the program?
Miro: As Simon already said, the goal of the programme is to show us the whole process of making a game. But I mean, the best part is the people we had a chance to meet and I feel like we greatly benefited from these new connections even after the programme ended. Despite the fact, that the Butterfly Effect programme doesn’t act as a proper formal education, it’s a unique opportunity to study games in Slovakia. And what’s more, it’s pretty well-balanced with the practical training as well, so you study only a certain amount of time and after that, there comes hands-on exercises which give you the ultimate feeling of accomplishment.
Simon: I really liked that at first we were focused just on the core of our free to play game Hangry and its playability and after that we started to add more features, especially monetization features, data tracking and so on. We learnt also how to analyze other similar games from the same segment from the game designers point of view and analyze their monetization features, their gameplay, and so on.
What happened with your professional life after you finished the programme?
Miro: My priority after the completion of the Butterfly Effect programme was to get a job in the games industry, preferably in Pixel Federation, the largest game development studio in Slovakia. Thanks to the Butterfly Effect programme, they noticed me and hired me as a Level Designer for their free to play game Diggy’s Adventure.
Simon: Butterfly Effect programme gave me the confidence and practical skills in programming. Even though my steps after the completion of the programme didn’t lead to the job within the gaming industry, I focused more on the, let’s say, “classical” software/programming jobs and eventually got an amazing job in Austrian company as a Fullstack .net developer.