Game Developer Zsombor finds creative passion in developing mixed-reality games from scratch

Written by
Valo Motion
on
January 18, 2024
# min read
Valo Motion's Game Developer, Zsombor Szabó, standing in front of ValoClimb's latest game, Short Circuit

As game developers, we have a passion for creating immersive and engaging experiences that capture the minds of our players. But what truly drives us forward is having someone play our games and seeing their faces light up with joy and excitement. Zsombor Szabó, Game Developer at Valo Motion knows all about this as he has seen his ideas come to life when working on our mixed-reality games that get people moving. Let’s delve into Zsombor's journey, his role at Valo Motion, and the inspiration he finds in his career as a game developer!

In 2022, Zsombor Szabó was amid his Master’s in software engineering at Aalto University. As Zsombor had always had a passion for game development, he decided it was time to find a job in the game industry to put his skills to the test and get some hands-on experience. 

Zsombor representing Valo Motion with the team at the 2023 Game Job Fair in Technopolis, Espoo

Why did he choose Valo Motion, out of all the other gaming companies out there? 

“The mission to get people moving and have fun while doing it was something I agreed with and resonated with. Plus, how we use technology to make games is different and exciting from a professional point of view. Instead of just pushing buttons on a controller, the players might have to jump or climb to kick a ball in the game. It makes playing feel more real and fun”, he says.

“How we use technology to make games is different and exciting.”

As Zsombor was studying at Aalto University, where Valo Motion initially was founded, the company was not completely unknown to Zsombor. “When I applied to the open position, I realized that I had seen the original climbing wall that Raine and others built in the garage of Aalto University when founding the company. It was a funny coincidence”, he says looking back. 

Initially, Zsombor joined us as a Junior Game Developer but quickly grew into the role of Game Developer. Now, he works as a part of our ten-person developer and artist team. Let’s dive deeper into what his everyday life looks like!

An exciting mix of software development but from a completely new perspective

As a game developer at Valo Motion, Zsombor's day consists of developing new games, maintaining and updating released ones, and collaborating with the developer and design teams. Typically, he focuses on developing one game at a time, while also maintaining and updating previously released games. 

For a Game Developer, building mixed-reality games is very inspiring. 

“From the technical point of view, the software development principles behind game development are quite as usual. But because the game controller is your body, you have to take a step back and rewire your brain and think differently to be able to come up with the rules of the game”, he explains. 

Because the games are physical, Zsombor of course tests and plays the games in real life every time he makes a new feature to the game. This is possible because we have a ValoHalli, a space with all our products, right next to our office in Lauttasaari, Helsinki. 

However, the real thrill for Zsombor comes from observing playtests, where people engage with games he's crafted. “It can sometimes be a rollercoaster of emotions”, he laughs. 

There's excited anticipation as he observes his work being tested by these young, sharp customers with high-quality taste in games. “The kids are always honest and won’t pretend to enjoy a boring game. It’s the best kind of feedback”, he smiles. But it's a fun challenge, and nothing beats the joy of seeing kids truly enjoy the gaming experience he has helped create.

“It's this daily blend of creativity, technical prowess, and direct impact on players that makes my role at Valo Motion so gratifying.”

“It's this daily blend of creativity, technical prowess, and direct impact on players that makes my role at Valo Motion so gratifying”, Zsombor says. 

But what does it really take when you are developing a game from scratch? 

Game Developer gets to participate in all the different phases of game development

“The most important and meaningful thing in working here is that I get to influence all the phases of game development. Here you won’t be just one small part of a big system”, Zsombor says. Notably, Valo Motion's developers are involved in all steps, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the game's evolution. 

How does an idea of a game come to life?

First, the process begins with brainstorming game ideas as a team. Once the concept is decided, usually Zsombor as a Game Developer focuses on the technical development while a Game Artist brings the visuals of the game to life. For instance, when Zsombor worked on our product ValoClimb and the game Short Circuit, he teamed up with Game Artist Mizuko.

“The cooperation between the developer and the art team is a major part of why this is professionally inspiring and also why we work together so smoothly. Having an active dialogue, sharing ideas, mutual learning, and understanding of different perspectives is at the heart of what makes our games so well-made”, Zsombor says.  

Zsombor trying Short Circuit game of Valo Climb, in ValoHalli

When the game concept is decided, it is time to roll up your sleeves and start building the game! The development and testing loop is fast. “We ideate, prototype, playtest, and iterate quickly,” Zsombor explains, emphasizing the importance of continuous playtesting to gauge what works and what doesn't. This agile approach ensures that the team is always in tune with the player experience, a crucial aspect in the creation of games that blend physical play with virtual excitement.

Finally, when the game is ready for release, Game Developers also have a chance to get involved in marketing. “For Short Circuit, I took part in filming the marketing trailer and it was such a fun project”, he smiles. He believes that having been part of creating the game's essence, it's enjoyable to also help communicate its story to the audience.

4 things that make Valo Motion a great workplace for a Game Developer

#1 Product with a meaningful mission to get people moving around the world 

For Zsombor, one of the most fulfilling aspects of working at Valo Motion is our mission to get people moving around with the help of technology. The idea of creating something that not only entertains but also encourages physical activity makes the Game Developer's job feel truly meaningful. 

#2 Exciting learning opportunities in the world of mixed-reality games

Mixed-reality games offer an excellent platform for learning about all aspects of game development. Zsombor values the chance to explore everything from technical skills to creative ideation. Plus, the freedom to pitch and test his ideas makes his role exciting and motivating. Whether he's interested in the technical side of things or the design aspect, he gets to flex all his "game development muscles" as a Game Developer.

#3 Seamless cooperation with the developer art team helps to nail game development

Valo Motion fosters a tight-knit collaboration between developers and designers. This is ideal for a curious person like Zsombor who has multiple interests in the game development field from technical to the design side. 

#4 Curious colleagues and international company culture with a low hierarchy

Sharing your daily work life with other like-minded curious and enthusiastic colleagues boosts Zsombor’s motivation. Our low-hierarchy structure in the international and diverse team means there's no "bossy" atmosphere – instead, it's a place where creativity thrives and you get to test your bold ideas. For Zsombor, this makes his job feel smooth and easy, more like a home than a workplace. 

Being serious about fun. What more could a Game Developer ask for?

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