The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego is a leader in high-performance and data-intensive computing and cyberinfrastructure.
Project: COVID-19 Game (Chonky-19)
Location: San Diego, CA
During the summer of 2020, I worked remotely as a Software Engineer intern at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, supporting the Research Data Services team. The Research Data Services (RDS) division is dedicated to providing decades of technical expertise, investments in data science, and its support of data-driven research.
This internship was designed to give underclassmen first-hand experience in the computing industry. Placed in teams of 5, every team came together to decide on a product idea. All of us wanted to create something that would be beneficial to our society at the time, but also different from other teams that were creating web and mobile applications.
From writing down the pros & cons to the customer use cases, my team eventually settled down on the idea of creating an FPS game that focused on educating users on COVID-19 safety. We wanted to combine the aspects of a game with education to help the ongoing pandemic at the time, in its early stage.
However… we all did not have any prior experience in game development at all.
As the designated product owner, I wanted to lead my team to success, while ensuring that we would have a positive and memorable learning experience. I spent some time during and after work consolidating my foundation in game development, specifically Unity and C#. This allowed me to be a better leader of my team as I would be able to help unblock my teammates during standup if they had any (by leading them to resources that helped me or telling them how I would fix X, Y, or Z).
Additionally, even though we had no prior experience in things like 3D modeling and animations, everybody on the team had their own inner passions that drove them to want to learn more.
Eventually, everybody’s efforts came to fruition. As each sprint was dedicated to certain goals (ex: sprint 1 dedicated to the core systems of combat and maps, sprint 2 dedicated to animations, modeling, …), there was a clear direction that was set up to ensure our team was on the right path to success despite the lack of initial experience.
Our team finished the project one sprint early, leaving the last sprint for manual and user testing. I was able to contribute my own prior experience in back-end development to setting up a service for multiplayer support and global player leaderboards.
- This game was published on an indie game platform, itch.io, for players to play~
- Dedication and Passion
- It doesn’t matter if you’re inexperienced in a field. What matters is your passion and drive to succeed. This was clearly exhibited in this internship as we, as a team, had many initial doubts about the outcome of the project. To our surprise, with our dedicated hours, the project came out to be a success, finishing all of our minimal viable features, as well as having some time to implement other features like passives and rewards.
- We are a team!
- Teamwork is severely underrated. As much as it is difficult to work with others, it is worth it to work alongside others to achieve a goal. If you think about things like YouTube and Twitter, those platforms were not built single-handedly. Everybody on a team has their own unique strengths and perspectives that can contribute to the overall success of a project! Additionally, working with others comes with memorable memories and friendships. "Nothing great is ever accomplished alone”. A quote I saw from Usman Mustafa’s medium article that stuck out to me at the time.