Developer Interview: 10 Questions for Jakub Grzesik


Today, I’ve started work with the obligatory opener: Taking a look in my mailbox. There it was. The long awaited, much longed-for reply from Jakub Grzesik, the man behind Kiwano Software, the developers of JellyBalls+, the game, that achieved 20 out of 30 points in our Android game review. I’ve opened the mail, I saw this incredible cute picture of Jakub and his fiancée and I could only react in one way: “Aaaaaaawww…”. My reaction attracted attention, my colleagues came running, looked at my screen and they were like: “Aaaaaaaaaawwwwwww…..”.

Aaw, yes. This is not only the cutest picture, that we’ve ever received here at, it is also a very interesting interview, that we did with Jakub and Isabel, his fiancée. So please read this interview and get to know the makers of JellyBalls+! Chodźmy!


10 Questions for Jakub Grzesik

1. Please introduce yourself.

Hello! My name is Jacob. I’m last year student at a small polish university in Zielona Góra. Together with my fiancée we are trying to develop some fun games for Android. For now we manage to release only one game, JellyBalls+.

2. What made you want to be a game developer?

Computer games of course. I have been playing games since I can remember. When I was first year student I wrote a couple of small games. I don’t remember any particular moment in time when I decided to become a game developer, it just happens. In time when I was writing my engineering diploma, I also worked at databases conversion for a relatively big local company. This time was pretty stressful and I managed to reduce stress by writing a simple ‘bubble match’ similar game with nice animations and a couple of new ideas. My lovely fiancée made the graphics and then we realized that this game is actually pretty addictive. That was the beginning.

3. What platforms do you develop games for and why?

Currently Android only. A little digression: for my engineering diploma I wrote an ocr software for android phones – but the cool thing about this is the fact, that at time when I decided to do that, there was no single Android phone on the market :). I think the open ecosystem of android is one of the main reason why it is growing so incredibly fast. I’m also hopefully looking at other linux-based mobile systems like Tizen (ancestor of MeeGo), as well as web html5 experience.

4. What are your experiences in porting games between two platforms?

I don’t have any. If you use commercial game engine the thing is pretty simple. It gets more complicated if you write your code from ground-up – just like me. In this case, the design of the code is something fundamental. You need to have a good way to separate game logic code from input handling and rendering code.

5. How do you get inspiration for a game?

Inspiration really is everywhere. I’m playing some games and suddenly I get the feeling, that I know how to make it two times better. Something like: “this game is quite good, but it could be awesome, if only this tank could transform into mecha-dinosaur and in that jungle should be an alien base with violet tentacled aliens”. Just think about that much more and you get a completely new game. I guess, that every gamer has sometimes a similar experience.

6. How long does it take for you to write a game from start to finish?

JellyBalls took me somewhere over seven months to accomplish. But hey! You need to know, that I wrote the entirely engine from ground-up and I had diploma on my neck.

7. What are the biggest technical challenges when you develop a game?

For me as a quite beginner in game development, it’s the problem of smart code-organisation to provide easy code management with the ability to being reused in the next projects.
From Isabel’s perspective as a graphic designer, the hardest part of the work is the beginning of the project, where you need to make a decision about the graphic style. Consider it well, because it determines, what is good and what is bad for your project for the next months. If you decide after a month, that the graphics just don’t match to the story, then you need to start over.

8. What do you think the future of gaming will look like?

It all depends. This probably will sound like Matrix to you, but I’m sure, that some day there will be an interface directly between human brain and computers. At this time, I assume most of ‘large’ companies (later indie developers also) will design games to use this capability. I strongly believe there is always room for more traditional game experience. When it comes to the nearest future, I’m guessing not much will really dramatically change. I think, that html5 web games will be on fire :).

9. What is your favourite game at the moment and why?

I’m currently once again playing Fallout2 (really!). My fiancée recently start playing F2 for the first time in her live and I just can’t handle this. I had to install it once again and currently I have some hard time when I’m trying not to play :).

10. What is your advice for new developers?

I don’t feel comfortable enough to give advices for anyone, because I don’t achieve any real success yet. But if you want to develop your own game for Android, and you want to use ready-made solution, then don’t just focus on unity. Try also others engines like “shiva 3d”, before you make a decision. If you want to build you game from ground-up, but you are also looking for some ‘sdl’ similar graphic framework, then try libgdx. It’s really great lib for 2d and 3d games.

Jakub Grzesik

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