Sandip Thakordas, Lead Flash, Flex, Software Developer
August 8, 2011 1 Comment
Hello everyone, as you can tell from my job title, I am a lead programmer who is fortunate to work for a games company, how awesome is that! Although the games I build here are serious games, they are actually quite fun and of course educational, so it’s a good feeling overall, especially once you see the game you created is played by big companies.
During university I created many programs/applications as part of my coursework, but my greatest accomplishment was creating, timetable software based around scheduling for my dissertation. That’s when I realised I was a pretty good programmer! Now you may think timetable software is not hard to do for an individual person, which I agree, but what about on a grand scale like for a university or school? Where rooms are limited due to functionality of the room, you would not put a Chemistry seminar in a English seminar room, or maybe teachers preference – some teachers may not like a particular room, as its too far away to get too while holding course material or too small etc, these are some of the room limitations. But what about lecturers, as some days they do not work, which can then lead to clash of double booking when they are all in, again more limitations. You’d be surprised how many restrictions there are for a timetable program. And once completed, and I actually saw my program produce a fully working timetable, that was a great feeling that I am sure all programmers are aware of!
After university I wanted to do something fun and exciting… Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you 2Elements or 2E, a small business where myself and two good mates of mine organised and created Asian, RnB and Hip Hop nights at local nightclubs and we had a very successful run! Our first event, had over 700 people, our second over 800 people, our third over 750 people, and on our sponsored events we had over 700 people. After that we decided to call it a day and pursue more stable jobs. I on the other hand decided to gain some life experience, and went travelling for six weeks, travelled south to north of India for five weeks and my sixth week was in Dubai. Now that was a good holiday!
Coming back I knew it was time to find a job, and after a month of searching I found my first job as a software developer for a digital signage company. It is here I learned Flash and ActionScript 3.0 (AS3) within a month, as AS3 is an object-oriented program language like Java, so picking it up was very easy. My first project was creating a program for VUE Cinemas. I had to create a flash program that showed all the film times, which cinema room, and if seats were available in both premier and normal seats along with all different attributes (if it had bean bags, subtitles, 3D etc). This was read from the backend system that I created too, in .Net. (Another language I learned in my spare time) I had a great response from VUE, they completely loved my software as they never need to touch it, it made their lives a lot easier. My program is now running on all VUE Cinemas sites. So next time you go into VUE Cinemas, at least you now know who created that software!
I created many different programs for many different companies such Sony, Pinewood studios, Mercedes, Mary Rose Museum, David Beckham Football Academy and many more. David Beckham Football Academy was a great project; I created a full football tournament system, which included allocated pitches to changing rooms, that all can be updated by a smart phone. Again another great response back from the academy. It is also with this company, I was a part of the first online farmers market, where I programmed in Unity to create a 3D world for online shopping. Now that was cool!
I then was employed by an advertising/branding company, where I became the lead developer for the Europe division, this is where I created more complicated applications like an interactive 3D Sphere that acted like a timeline, this was for an American company called Fidelity, as each milestone has its own story, whether it be a movie, a slide show, or some text, it will hold information for that particular time in Fidelity timeline. This is currently installed in the headquarters of Fidelity.
I also created a program for Park Plaza Hotels, Prudential. Prudential was a good project, I created navigation software which instructed clients how to get to a department or to an individual person, a great thing about this is, it’s fully customisable, as the paths are not programmed in, so if John moved to a different department or a different place, my software will locate his new position and direct the client a quickest path to him. It’s all about their IDs!
I have now joined PIXELearning since March 2011, so I am fairly new to the company; I remember my first day, where I was given this games engine called LearningBeans (i thought it was for kids – but then I realised we’re training adults!). As with all games engines at first sight it looked pretty complicated, and then I was told I had to produce two fully working games for a big client by the end of the month! Yes, daunting right! But to be honest, I wasn’t panicking (anyone who knows me, knows I don’t run away from a challenge, even though this was probably the best time to start) but I wasn’t put off, I accepted what I had to do, and got on with it. Four months later, the two games are completed and the engine has been massively updated and improved dramatically, running faster and more efficiently.
Right I think it’s time to sum this up, and to be honest it’s been one crazy ride in the serious games industry, and it’s only just began for me; I actually can’t wait to get on with new projects. It’s funny though, I never actually thought I’d be working for a games company one day, but I’m glad I am. In this industry, technology is changing every day, and games are being used a lot more and not just for fun, but training too, and being a programmer we have to be the best there is, and even if that means learning new skills and adapting engines to keep up with this growing industry, I’m so glad to be a part of it! Because for programmers, if you can think outside the box, than anything is possible. I look forward to what the future holds for me.