Side Projects

I finally cut all my side projects and reduce them to only two.

First, VR Demo project because all the cool people doing it 🙂
VR Demo is a new project and I’m doing it because I need something that people might talk about, help me grow my network here.
So I thought I might make a game about London.
And VR is the most talked topic nowadays amongst indie developers, advertising agencies and around.
VR game about London might be a hot topic.
And what do I remember when I think about London?
Every day, every person who lives in or visits London hops in one of the carriers under London and takes their own journey with a carriage full of Londoners.
I made my research in Reddit and all internet is full of jokes about making eye contact at London Underground. Most of the entry-level VR games are about shooting things with the reticle, like duck hunting, zombie hunting etc. So I decided to make a similar game but not hunting, avoiding.
So this game “Avoiding Eye Contact at London Underground That Needs A Name” started.

Look at them! They are fighting for the empty seat.

Sadly when I update Unity(5.6.1f1) and GVR SDK (1.50.0) new bugs prevent me from continuing. I don’t want to downgrade or trying to find temporary fixes. I’ll move on with my other side project until next stable version.

So I’ll continue with the “Project about shot’em up while avoiding like river raid but in 3D with a story and series of plots”
I wrote a basic level editor, some physics on flying airplane and two or three different type of camera controllers.
I’m obsessed with playing this game, I can’t even continue writing more code whenever I open project I kept playing and playing, trying to find a good camera angle, fine tune death physics etc.

I was the programmer and sometimes the designer of the game or app for most of my projects but with those side projects I’m drawing the art and all other things myself.
 It might seem fun but It’s much more a stressful and hard process than it should be.
Coder art was all I did in my entire career and I sent them to art directors as a boxes, place holders, rectangles filled with full of saturated colours to make them question the existence of life and colour.
Now I’m trying to find tune in the final art style, colour palette, proportions of characters and environment, space and feel of a game.

This is a new thing to learn and takes time.
Now I’m in the process of deciding the right angle of camera. If this was not a 3D game but isometric I could take a calculator and give art team some ideas about the possible angles and pitfalls etc. But with 3D, concerns and challenges changes. I need to find the angle that looks good.
This is one of the problems I face, I can not define a proper solution for “looking good”.
What other people are doing is a good place to start a research.
In my findings a path dependency is noticeable about the right angle and “looking good”. People find it good looking when they see what they are used to. But being conservative about the style can’t help distinguish me out of the crowd. So I might need find much older things to get inspired.
Second and most important thing about right angle is finding the most enjoyable and playable one.
How much further should the player see, should left right axis be always visible or scrollable, what would the players’ avatars size be?
With that last question we loop back to the proportions decisions. Should I change the proportions or zoom a little etc.
I found struggling for art is harder than struggling for software development because answers are more blurry than the other. Yes I might find hard to find the right software pattern to use, right optimisation methods, good planing etc but with art decisions it is hard because it maybe impossible to measure the outcome of a choice that’s been made. Of course there are A/B tests, play tests, player groups, soft launch etc.
But outcomes and test results all become visible at later stages of development.

In the beginning there is only courage to go forward and accept countless failures.

London Experience

Hello all,
I recently moved to London.
As a software developer who used to work in front of computer all day with curtains closed trying to focus on the screen(s), ignore outside distractions I have to inform myself time to time that I’m in London. Look, Hey, you are in London…
Lovely city, kind people, incredibly accurate and fast public transportation and currently I’m living at really good place in the middle of central London and I learned a new word “posh” 🙂

Only after walking all over the city trying to explore every thing everywhere for two months now I can have time for my side projects and real world problems like finding new clients, contracting new jobs etc.

I met amazing people during this period. sure is the most instrumental web site and application Londoners use for meeting up and spreading word about their events. Application usage habits are a little different here for example in Istanbul people use swarm and foursquare a lot but here you can be the mayor of a place with just 2-3 check-ins. People use Google Maps as a search engine, it is really important for brands being there and having good stars or reviews because the audience mostly use this application to find a place to go when they are around. So basically my days went trusting “meetup” to find my next event, “Citymapper” to find the best route to go there and “googlemaps” to find best place to eat and have a drink around afterwards.

I had to finish / continue my ongoing business with Turkish companies back home and with the itch of exploring around, I visited some co-working spaces. Google Campus London has nice opportunities and has some offers in affordable price range.
Nowadays I go with indie developers who meet at game themed pubs early in the morning and work there until the places open for usual business, and sometimes hang there after, have one or two beers with them.
Indie game development community is one of the most welcoming community here like it is on other countries too.

I feel like that’s enough exploration until summer and I need to spend more time on my side projects.


I’m Gokhan Sivrikaya, I design and develop games. I’m also founder of ComboCow, game development company specialized on advertising business.
If you are curious about my work please take a look at my Behance portfolio and LinkedIn profile.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Can’t find Sword by Sword on Play Store

I published a new game on Android called Sword by Sword 2 weeks ago.
Yes, I know this name is not a good name because it is a common word and it just repeats itself.
But now after publishing, even if you write the whole “sword by sword”  in quotes game does not appear in search results. I mean not in front page. It just doesn’t appear at all.

May be I did something wrong;
I translate game’s name to Turkish too. It’s Kılıç Kılıca.
When I search for this name, my game appears at search results.
But after selecting the result, title appears as sword by sword and descriptions also comes in English.
So I guess there is something wrong with Play Store’s localisation and search results when you set your language setting to different from your countries locale.
Such as I live in Turkey but select English at language settings.
I think search mechanism searches for Turkish titles in Turkish database but results come in English because of my language settings.
But search should be made in English too.

Second and most important thing is:
I shouldn’t change games name/title for localisation.
Google says games title is not games name. But, what is it then, I’m confused.

Hello 2016

This year my motto is self-sufficiency on game development.
So I’ll be working on my drawing and level building skills much more.
I’m experienced software developer and game designer,  I worked with teams and developed small to mid-sized games for years.
When I decided to go solo on game development, it take some time for me to realize  that I’m still on my old habits of team play.
I’m constantly waiting for other people, asking for art work from people who may not be that interested as they told to be and not motivated with revenue shares  to work.
It’s not working so this pattern can not continue, I need to go back to basics.
Like the old times when I was developing tiny games alone.

I may not be blogging much and social but I’m around working hard on my games.
Follow me on Twitter

Adding some excitement

Some friends are testing new xbox one's streaming features .I was at startupbootcamp last week, meeting new people and chatting with people I know around from game jams and development society.

Of course I forced everyone to playtest my game.

Continue reading “Adding some excitement”