Spotlight 03 – Code with Jonathan Namovic

This week, we have another spotlight post: Code Production with Jonathan Namovic! Jonathan is a Senior Information Systems major, and the lead for our Code team. He is pursuing a career in game design and gameplay programming. As our Code lead, Jonathan primarily manages our other coders, rather than coding himself. He assigns his team’s tasks, compiles our builds, communicates the needs of our code team to our other leads, and helps lead our game in the best direction from a coding perspective. 

Using our Q & A format, we will see how Jonathan manages the Code team and keeps our project running smoothly. 

Q: Have you led previous code-based projects?

A: “Nope. I’ve been on a number of coding projects, both games and software, but this is the first time I’ve led a coding team.”

Hare Today, Goon Tomorrow – 2019 GDPP Project – While he did not lead this game’s development, Jonathan worked with a small team to build this game

Q: How do you approach assigning tasks to your team members?

A: “At the beginning of the project, I was familiar with a few of my team member’s past work so I had some idea which areas they would be able to tackle. I also tried to take into account anyone’s desire to work on a feature, because it can really suck being assigned something you have no drive to work on, and different areas of implementation can offer different challenges to tackle. At the current phase of our project, a lot of assigned work comes down to two questions: “Who is free to have more work assigned?” and “Who was the last person to work near that feature?” With so much of the core game built out, most of the things that code is working on now builds off of what is already there, so I try to make sure that tasks around the same topic are generally handled by the same people. This is apt to change if those same people are already super packed with work, in which case it falls back on the next most applicable person.”

Q: Do you ever have to take on code tasks yourself? If so, can you give an example where you stepped in?

A: “I’m often the person who puts together the builds, so I usually go through a lot of clean up. Many of the quick little fixes (re-applied colliders, adjusted speeds, general code clean up) are done by me when I’m preparing to build. I try not to take on any major coding tasks because management often takes up a lot of my time so trying to split myself between team managing and actual coding usually means one or the other ends up dipping in quality.”

Q: What are your thoughts on Code’s progress so far?

A: “I’m really proud of how fast the code team was able to pick the project up and how they’ve been able to adapt to the changes and tasks that get thrown at them. Whole systems have been reworked in a single week and that is a really impressive task to do once in a project life cycle, but to do it three or four times over has been absolutely incredible. As for how the project as a whole is progressing, I’d say that we are in a good spot. Knowing that we just barely missed our carnival deliverable goal was a little disappointing, but when taking into account just how ambitious that goal was, id say its still very impressive that we got to where we are now.”

Buggy UI and Code Rework: Buggy Selection Screen now shows different stats, which reflects in how buggies handle

Q: What features are you most proud of?

A: “While all the features play a critical role in the success and feel of the game, and they have been so complexly interwoven with one another, if I had to pick just one to single out, I’d say the buggy driving is the most impressive. I’ve become so used to default unity movement that I can sometimes forget just how good you can make the act of driving around a track feel. Emil put a ton of work into designing and redesigning the driving so seeing the state it’s in now is really incredible.”

Buggy Driving: Week 2 vs Week 10

Q: Any final thoughts?

A: “It’s been interesting not having a client this semester. In all the previous big software or game classes I’ve been in, we’ve always been developing to meet the expectations of an outside client or professor. Being able to essentially set our own goals and deadlines has been very freeing but also somewhat challenging at times. Overall, it’s been a really interesting experience and I’m looking forward to our push to the final product.”

Closing Remarks…

Jonathan has been a diligent Code lead, making sure his team and our project stay on track, and picking up the pieces when necessary. Thanks to his hard work and management skills, this year’s game will be the biggest, baddest, and buggiest one yet!