Sorry, this entry is only available in Español.
Sorry, this entry is only available in Español.
I have something important to say today. I believe it is important to share it with all the followers of my work.
I accepted an offer to study a Master in computer games programming at the United Kingdom, with a year of duration. As you’re reading this text, we will have travelled and I will have started the course. I’m studying this course at Goldsmiths College, a university that has a long tradition in arts, something that attracts me a great deal. Although, the master itself is strongly oriented to programming. One of the teachers of the course has worked for over 30 years in the field, and in its most recent curriculum works with the compilers in Sony.
These last months have been for me a terrible pressure. Emigrating is not only a test that consists in completing all requisites and you’re done. It is a psychological test that strains your spirit and those of who surround you. Thank you, thank you, really, to all the family and friends that have supported us in this tough process.
The moment the thinking of leaving to somewhere unknown settles in your mind, that solid floor you sed to have disappears, and you enter in a freefall: what you knew stops making sense, and you must complete a series of sequencial steps so your life can continue. And in the meantime these steps are completed you must wait, and that threatens your mental health.
I do still think that Venezuela has an impressive talent in matters of videogame development. Moreover, I think it develops despite the things that happen around that affect or minimize their importance. As you know, the Caracas Game Jam 2014 will be done and will be bigger than 2013. El Chigüire Literario will continue publishing articles and tutorials in Spanish. My site, www.ciroduran.com, will have articles in both languages. It is necesary that you developers stand out with your work, and keep talking between you.
At some moment several of you made to yourselves the same question: “am I the only videogame developer in Venezuela?”. I think that’s a stage you have already overcomed, and the next question should be: “what can we do together?”. I have seen the results from the game jam, and other initiatives I’ve seen around. From this side of the screen, I offer all the support you need to spread your work.
Thank you for reading me, following me, and supporting me. I hope you still do it.
When the Global Game Jam did its first call in 2008, I really had no idea if it was possible to host a game jam in Caracas. I knew the concept of a game jam through TIGSource, but I didn’t know what did it take to do it, or if I even had the tools to do it. It was thanks to Yole, my wife, and the collaboration of many people, including participants, during 5 years, that the Caracas Game Jam has become the success it is now, creating a community of game developers that surprises many people, even us.
At the same time, I have also been involving myself more into the Global Game Jam. It excites me that the GGJ is an event organized by lots of volunteers from all parts of the world, and that’s why I collaborated last year with the organizers to coordinate Spanish-speaking locations in Latin America. It was a very enriching experience, where I talked to lots of people that, like me, also want to host a game jam in their city, and have their own motivations and ideas to propose.
Having said that, this year the event organizers have extended the invitation for me to be part of the Global Game Jam 2014 Executive Committee. The Executive Commitee is in charge of running the event, from coordinating locations to decide the theme, including the website maintenance and the search for sponsors for the global event. This is a voluntary position that I gladly accepted and I hope to collaborate with the participating locations from this corner of the world. We have done several meetings since some weeks ago, and I can tell you there are marvelous things coming to the event.
The work has already started, and by September we will make the call for new locations sign-up. Due to the position I’m taking, the organization of the Caracas Game Jam won’t be completely on me and Yole, but by collaborators that have worked long-time in the event, and in which I have complete trust in their good work. I will bring you news about the Caracas Game Jam very soon.
This is a story that got published in the Todo en Domingo magazine, a country-wide circulation inside the El Nacional newspaper, about game development in Venezuela. This story includes interviews with José Rafael Marcano, the La Cosa Entertainment team (winners of the 2012 Square-Enix gamedev contest), 4Geeks, and myself. Click on the image above to download the PDF. Thanks to Daniela Dávila for the conversation.
May I present you a new game this week. It’s called Voting Day and it’s my contribution to encourage all Venezuelans to go vote on next April 14th. The game is based in the old Game&Watch series of games, so the way to play is simple. Share it with your friends. For web browsers in desktops, cell phones and tablets.
Design and programming: Ciro Durán.
Graphics: Alexander Hass (@Gagz9k) and Ciro Durán.
Thanks to: Yole Quintero, Julián Rojas Millán and Saúl González.
Tele is the only product made by Televisión del Milenio, a Venezuelan regional TV channel that started by buying old equipment to a national TV channel, but never could get on air because of all the red tape. Instead of going live, the only production team at the TV channel did a videogame that reflects on the team’s sentiment regarding how a party, or a group of parties, can compete agains the State’s powers to be able to broadcast their message.
I invite you to play this game, product of the One Game a Month challenge, and a way to give something to the politics discussion in the country.
For March’s issue, DirecTV’s magazine Access (you may know it as Sky in your country) interviewed me as part of a series of interviews to professionals of several areas, including Consuelo Di Carlo, from Instagramers Venezuela, Gustavo Jimenez, a 3D animator, and myself.
You may read the interview by journalist Daniel Rojas in this PDF (Spanish only, sorry), or receiving the magazine with your subscription to this satellite TV system.
The screenshot you’ll see inside is from our May 2012 game HeliTaxi, a game for the BlackBerry PlayBook we did for the Reto BlackBerry contest, and for which we won a honorary mention for the Venezuelan leg. The team that produced HeliTaxi is: Yole Quintero at the design, Miguel Obando at programming, Adolfo Roig as the visual artist, Lenin Quintero at sound and effects, y and myself at programming and producing.
This is the first post I’m writing in English. This is one of the first changes I’m doing to my personal site. Before this, the site was a collection of static pages that showcase my work. This is still true, but now I’m using the site to publish my writings in English.
If you’ve never visited me, well… hi. My name is Ciro Durán. I code. I make games, and I encourage people to make games. I live in Caracas, Venezuela, and I dedicate to things related to videogames around here. I love to write about videogames and programming in my other blog, but until now I did not have a more personal space, being Tumblr a bit inadequate to express longer thoughts. I also plan to write videogame-related stuff here, but at least I don’t feel bound to the subject nor the language.
It’s funny. I’ve had a videogames programming blog in Spanish called El Chigüire Literario (translates to The Literary Capybara), in which I have been writing since more than 7 years, but I feel like starting anew with English, with a lot of possibilities, all of them at the same time. In these matters, I usually tell an anecdote of the time I was made aware of how subtle are language translations, and more importantly, how can you “translate your personality” from your native language to a new one.
In 2006 I had the second opportunity to travel by myself outside of Venezuela (the first time being in 2005). I went to Boston, U.S.A. to attend SIGGRAPH, and I stayed in a very nice hostel. This hostel was very active, and always organizing all kinds of activities every day, including a meetup for the guests in the top room of the building. These guys organized some kind of open mic night, and having a sudden rush of bravery, I stood up and told a joke. It was one of the “Mama! Mama!”-style jokes that in Venezuela are so popular to the point of being rather stupid. So when I come up in front of a very diverse audience from lots of places in the world, I say this:
Mom! Mom! Dad’s gone crazy and he’s throwing everything through the windoooooooow…
With that last word elongated, as if I had been really falling to a really large hole.
Once I said this, all the audience, including the hosts of the hostel, started laughing really hard. As if I had told the funniest joke in the world. I’m not sure if they were laughing because of the joke, or my deliver. But at least the rest of the night some people asked if I had some similar jokes.
At this moment, I gave a serious thought on what constitutes your personality. Even if you memorize a lot of vocabulary and grammar of a second language, there comes a point where other speakers of that second language judge you by the way you use that vocabulary and grammar. Even if you think of yourself as a formidable speaker, when two or more locals start talking, their speed and inside jokes can be so overwhelming that you have no choice but to stand there, staring and smiling, with no idea of what they’re talking about.
So, in short, personality could be defined as the thing you do with the language you are provided. Because different languages have different approaches to the various subjects of life, you could develop different personalities, depending on what you choose to incorporate in your thoughts in the language you’re using.
I’ll just wrap up this post. There are certainly many things I’d like to discuss with other non-Spanish speakers, and that’s what this space is for. I still plan to write stuff in Spanish in El Chigüire Literario, and I will feel good about both languages not interfering with each other.
Originally written on February 24th, 2008.
SIGGRAPH is the premiere international computer graphics event. I had written previously in my blog about the SIGGRAPH 2007 student volunteer program, y being near the SIGGRAPH 2008 deadline for applications makes me think of writing my own experience as a member of this program.
What is SIGGRAPH?
SIGGRAPH is an event organized by the ACM computer graphics special interest group, called ACM SIGGRAPH. The best of the computer graphics academy and industry meets at SIGGRAPH. (more…)