As the year is coming to a close I thought I spend some time to give an update on what happened to Sponge Hammer in 2019 and provide a brief overview of where we plan to be in the next year.
Due to the nature of the work we are doing, I am not able to mention exact details but I’d like to highlight the problem areas we are helping our clients to solve.
We solved interesting and complex challenges this year for our clients. Due to the nature of the work for some, I can only describe the problems we solved.
Earlier in the year, we started working with a new client on their AAA Game As Service title. For this project, we provide a server development team that helps to implement new features and improvements to the backend services of the game. We are using C#, RabbitMQ and Azure.
We worked on a backend service for a mobile app. It was written in TypeScript and is running on NodeJS. It uses a combination of SQL databases and was set up to run on AWS. Our tasks included defining the development process, designing systems and data, helping with the AWS service layout configuration, automated testing. Throughout the project, we employed a continuous handover process with the in-house development team.
We completed a mobile game prototype in Unity. It was based on a highly detailed visual design which we turned into a working game proof of concept. We used Unity 2018 LTS, dependency injection using Zenject and reactive programming using UniRx.
We are also working on mobile game providing development services for the game’s backend service. Our job is to implement specific services and provide technical guidance for the project moving forward. Tech stack includes C# and MongoDB.
Team and strengths
The Sponge Hammer team is excellent. I feel humbled to have such great individuals decided to stay and join our company. This year the team expanded with quite a few incredibly talented individuals. With their added talent we are now more confident in our backend systems architecture, game design, communications, social media, storytelling and directing, and concept and video game art ability.
By attending conferences, being more active on social media and focusing more on our external communications efforts we manage to greatly extend our potential partner and client network. We are looking forward to seeing where the new relationships will take us.
Tech changes and developments
We started C# backend projects which I personally wasn’t expecting in 2018. My initial plan was to run with NodeJs but life proved me wrong. Having a serious C# experience and great code and systems architecture ability allowed us to pick up server-side .Net work easily. Now we are as confident in handling tasks as we are with the JS stack.
This year saw the beginnings of our internal company management system. Originally we used spreadsheets for timekeeping, which we have outgrown. We looked into various commercial offerings and decided to implement a simple replacement. As it evolved over time the tool ended up being something infinitely more useful. We use it for managing our time records, holidays, generate documents and invoicing. It was a great exercise to learn more about TypeScript, Angular, Firebase and Bitbucket Pipelines tech stack.
One of our internal development projects is our own server / microservice library, which is still in early stages but shows great promise. It is based on NestJS, TypeScript, Bitbucket pipelines and it allowed us to set up our internal NPM repository as well.
Our plans for 2020
We will continue investing in improving our internal tooling and train ourselves to be better at what we do.
Climate change will be a high priority item on our agenda next year. We want to further reduce our CO2 footprint as well as focusing more on getting involved with projects aimed at mitigating the effects of it.
The West Midlands Combined Authority runs a new programme aimed to help creatives with their growth plans and we were fortunate enough to get in. We are looking forward to working with the mentors and cohorts in the next year.
We will be growing. Our plan is to have new server and game teams in place to tackle interesting challenges and help our clients with their projects.
Thank you for reading through this entry, staying with us throughout the year and I hope we can help many of you in the next with your game and backend development needs.