Enter Africa Lagos Interviews: Sydney Idundun, Game Developer
The budding game developer at Nuevo Games and student of systems engineering tells Adefoyeke Ajao about his work and his hopes for Nigeria’s gaming industry.
Who is Sydney Idundun? Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a 17-year-old boy currently studying systems engineering in the University of Lagos. I am very ambitious and love learning new things.
When, how and why did you start making games? What endeared you to game development and how has your background in systems engineering impacted on your craft?
I started learning about game development about a year ago, and it was something I was interested in during secondary school. What really solidified the idea was watching The Last Of Us 2 gameplay trailer last year. My background in systems engineering has helped me get started making game functionality, we have lots of programming courses in school and that has enabled me to learn scripting in game development much easier.
Which platforms have you worked with and which one is your favourite?
I have worked in Unreal Engine in secondary school, also Godot, but I have stuck with Unity since after. I think I prefer their API documentation and C# is my main programming language, so it just made more sense to stick with Unity. So I would say Unity is my favourite game engine.
What’s the biggest problem you’ve faced while working on a game and how did you solve it?
Making your game fit as many mobile phones as possible. I am currently developing 2D games for android and I am still working on the resolution issue; but I guess I’ll figure it out soon enough. Before that, my biggest problem was implementing AdMob plugins in Unity. I was able to solve that by just reading the documentation and understanding the code.
What do you find most rewarding about developing games?
Problem solving is the most rewarding thing in making games. I also like refactoring messy code.
How would you describe the local gaming scene? What have you learnt about it so far?
Frankly, there is less production of games in Nigeria. If any, it’s a very small scale. Nigerians do play games, however, none of which are ours. I also do not think the industry has put any effort in teaching the younger population. Even if they have, it’s not enough.
In your opinion, are there enough opportunities to learn about gaming in Nigeria? Are opportunities available, locally, for you to improve on your skill set?
No, I do not think there are enough opportunities in Nigeria for game design or even playing games. Frankly there also no available training or ways to improve your skill set we are just limited to what we can find on YouTube, blog posts and online courses, stuff like that.
How do you think the local gaming industry should be empowered and what kind of advancements would you like to see in the industry?
In Nigeria, making games isn’t really seen as anything. What we have mostly in Nigeria is web developers — front-end, back-end developers — and that’s because people have been made to see the value of those type of jobs. They have online conferences, back-up from big companies like Google. I think that the gaming industry should take the same path by providing courses for individuals to learn from, doing online conferences, making game jams, etc. It’s important to do something that will help others see this as something that is just as mentally tasking and important as any other development job.
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What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a game called Launch built for android devices.
What’s the one thing you wish you’d known about the industry when you started?
That it’s harder than it looks, but so is everything else.
To know more about Sydney Idundun’s work, follow him on Twitter @BLstardust
This interview series is part of Nigeria’s Gaming Industry: Opportunities, Challenges and Practices, a project supported by Goethe-Institut Nigeria.