Anders Elfgren is an Sweden-based developer who joined the dot big bang Community Engineering team in March of 2022. We caught up with him to find out about what he’s working on and get some advice for aspiring game developers.
Hi Anders! Can you describe what you do at dot big bang?
I’m a Community Engineer. This role is multidisciplinary and allows me to do a lot of things I’m passionate about.
First, I make games using dot big bang. This is to ensure we have cool games to show to players checking out dotbigbang for the first time. It also means we have a team “dog-fooding” the engine to ensure it’s working well and to help prioritize what we should do next on it. Last but not least, it’s great for creators because they can look at the games we Community Engineers have made for inspiration, to learn from, and to copy from!
Another part of the role is interacting with the community, answering questions on our Discord server and streaming development. And the last part is that we write the documentation and make tutorial videos and other content for people to learn from.
Right now I’m working on Bed Wars, it’s my dot big bang reimagination of the popular Minecraft mod.
What’s an interesting aspect of your current work?
While I’ve made a bunch of hobby games by myself, I’ve never professionally worked on a game solo, but until now that’s what I’ve been doing with Bed Wars. Having the responsibility and opportunity to take the game in my own direction is a nice challenge!
Also, I like working for an international company with employees across Europe and the US. There are some neat problems to solve, like getting to know one another and communicating with everyone, even though I’ve stopped working when some people haven’t started yet. But I think we’re doing quite well!
What excites you most about working on the platform?
The fact that it’s on the web—and pretty dang fast—means that it’s a great platform for anyone to start to learn game development, or to make games and have them instantly playable by anyone.
I’m also happy that we are actively working on a curriculum for using dotbigbang in education, and that we aim for a reasonable, dare I say ethical, monetization model and developer experience.
What’s something you’ve learned working here?
Given that the role is so wide I feel like I’m learning things all the time—making art, game design, level design, communicating with and teaching the community, and man, network programming feels like something you can never really master!
What’s something you’ve made as part of your dbb work that you’re particularly pleased with, and why?
I’d have to say the bridge building in Bed Wars. I knew from the start that it would need an alternative to the way bridges are built in the original game, for technical reasons. I had an idea for how to do it, but I wasn’t really sure it would work. But every playtest I’ve hosted where the team has been able to play with it has been a success, with lots of happy comments! I’m also really happy with how it looks—although there are always more tweaks to be made. I’m a pretty bad artist, so it’s extra fun to have made something and be excited to share screenshots!
What games or objects on dot big bang caught your eye recently?
I think Christer McFunkypants’s city game looks really cool 🙂 It’s a bit different from many other dot big bang games, which is fun!
Do you have a piece of advice for someone looking to work in your field of video games?
In general, try to make small but complete games.
Do both solo games and games in teams, and try to scope it so that you can finish them (or some self-set definition of “finish”). Game jams are great for this. Try different engines and tools. Try to get an understanding of the whole process of starting, making, and finishing a game.
If you’re a programmer, try both a low level language like Zig, and a high level like Python. Use an existing engine but also try to write your own—even a small one. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, but also, teach the things you do know. Both are great ways to learn!
What are you playing at the moment, outside of dbb?
Right at this moment I’m a bit too busy with family, life and my own hobby project to play much, but in the last few months I’ve played Elden Ring, RimWorld, Dota 2, Minecraft with my son, and I also played through Norco and Adios, all of which I can recommend (well, Dota is debatable!). I also play three different tabletop RPGs over Discord, I’ve semi-mastered Squareword—a neat combination of Sudoku and Wordle—and my wife reminds me that we play tennis now and then.
What’s that hobby project of yours?
It’s called The Elvengroin Legacy, and is a stupidly ambitious project to make an RPG—not unlike Skyrim but bigger, and with some significant differences! It will use a lot of procedural generation and dynamic content to make up for not being a 100-person studio. But hey, if they made Daggerfall in the ‘90s, surely I can too, with all the tools and resources that are available today!
Do you have a closing message, for the people?
Stay fresh, cheese bags!