Ifunga is one of the more elusive members at BongoHive. Those who have heard of him, know him as the creative mind behind The SCND Genesis: Legends, a role playing game based on his comic of the same name set in a post-apocalyptic Africa. Those much closer, know him as that honest, discerning friend who works hard, plays hard, and knows what he wants. He holds a Bsc in Computing from Zambia Centre for Accountancy Studies and currently works as a Software Developer at SmartCare.
How did you find out about BongoHive and how did you join?
Through a friend when they hosted the Android development training with Dale Zak back in 2011. I attended the two week course and became a regular visitor afterwards.
How long have you been coding for and what are your specialties?
When did you decide that you wanted to make your own game/comic?
I’ve been drawing comics since I was in grade 4. I had a small dedicated fanbase that read each page as I continued it in high school and that was a great motivator (we all need our fans). At the start of the 7th generations of gaming consoles I was in Grade 10, and creating a game based on my comic was just a dream. I had concept art of what it would look and play like, even the Wii-mote button mappings. As I was learning java, I was able to draw an Image on a Jpanel. At that point I knew I had enough knowledge to start working on a game. It was basic but over several iterations its scope got bigger and bigger.
Many people set off with the dream of making their own game but never achieve it. What made the difference between a dream and reality for you?
Persistence, support, good coding/design as well as being realistic. You have to have faith in what you’re doing, and go for it even when you aren’t really feeling up to it. Thats where supportive friends who get your passion come in, they help you stay on track during the lulls. Being too ambitious too early can overwhelm you and cause you to break under pressure.
What was the hardest part about making the game?
Polishing up everything once the core game was done. I was using standard Java UI widgets for all the menus and all, which was really unprofessional. I was helped by a great community on gpwiki.org, who pointed out menu inconsistencies and whatnot that needed to be tricked out. The first review my game got on IndieGraph also pointed out some flaws that I fixed in a patch. It may sound trivial, but this is the kind of stuff that can block your app from being accepted on certain websites, online stores or from being played at all.
During development it was character balance, luckily with the help of my best friends/testers that was nailed out pretty fast. Adding content wasn’t necessarily hard, just time consuming.
Is there anything you’ve learned during your journey that you wish you had known before?
Better software design. Better design allows even simple 2D games to be really immersive and have great gameplay elements. That’s why we can still play Sonic 2 in 2013 and still have a blast. It may take longer, but its worth it. As a software developer at Nintendo said, regarding their long development cycles “A rushed game remains bad forever. A delayed game eventually becomes a great game forever”. Except Duke Nukem: Forever of course.
What was your most rewarding moment?
Too many, when my two friends/testers had their first LAN match. When I got my first download. Each download milestone, 100, 500, 1000, 5000, 10000. Reviews, whether good or bad. When an unknown good soul posted my game on Softpedia was a real highlight. Being accepted on the Ubuntu Software Center. How everyone reacts when they try to exit the game for the first time (easter egg). Any form of feedback or recognition is great.
What are your plans for the future?
I eventually plan on taking a masters in computing. Wouldn’t mind doing an MBA to be honest. In terms of my career I’ll choose anything that helps me enhance my skills yet still gives me enough time and income to work on my passions or just sleep. I’m a work smart not work hard kind of person after all.
Artists like to leave a little piece of themselves in their work. Have you left any special marks in SCND Genesis: Legends?
I’d say the whole thing is a little piece of me. The characters, the art, the unique gameplay, the retarded storyline is the result of my hobby which started in the early 2000s.
Are you working on a sequel?
I guess you’ll have to wait and see 🙂
If you’d like to know more about Ifunga and The SCND Genesis: Legends, meet him at our Game Dev Weekend on Saturday 15th June.