Building My Neighbor Alice, one block at a time with Jenny Söderberg
Jenny Söderberg is the developer coordinator and a game developer for My Neighbor Alice. They are active in the My Neighbor Alice Discord community; join and meet them there.
How have you experienced being with the My Neighbor Alice team?
I’ve been working on the Alice project since July 2021, and it has been extremely interesting. Like with any organization, there have been some growing pains, but it feels like people are always aiming to improve things and willing to test out different solutions to see what works and what doesn’t. We’re definitely headed in the right direction.
What did you do before Alice?
I started my career within game development at a company focusing on strategy games and worked there for a couple of years, one of the projects which has been released since then.
Most recently I was part of a project where we were porting Goat Simulator from one physics engine to another. I also worked for a while on bowling gamification software — tracking the bowling balls and projecting visual effects on the bowling lane in order to create minigames.
You have loads of experience in the industry. How have you used that experience to help you with Alice?
The experience that has been utilized the most is my work with the Unity engine. Something that I’ve noticed is that I have picked up some game design knowledge from my time with other projects over my career. It has helped me understand what design teams want and to be able to suggest improvements and changes.
What do you find exciting and fresh about My Neighbor Alice?
Definitely the blockchain aspect of it all; it is a completely new way for me to program. I have been able to do some blockchain coding in Rell and I find it really interesting, but I have spent more time on the game side and just accessing the APIs for what calls to make to the blockchain.
Another thing that sparks my interest is the whole idea with the game being built on a blockchain and what kind of new parameters that entails, both in terms of opportunities but also limitations. It involves completely new requirements on the design of the game. For instance, there are a lot of classic design patterns that you can’t use because they don’t fit with how the blockchain operates. Figuring this stuff out has been cool.
What are some examples of unexpected challenges that you have encountered?
Again, I would mainly point to the blockchain aspect. It took me a while to grasp how the blockchain affected everything, in terms of design, development and implementation.
Something else, which has both its benefits and challenges, is working with a global team. Communicating across time zones can be challenging at times, but we’re all working together and trying to make the pieces fit in order to create the wonderful world of Alice. We’re all working with different backgrounds and knowledge, trying to align and make the game as great as it can be.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Partly from other games, especially farming and fishing since they are main features. I’ve been kind of thinking about how these aspects have been implemented in other games.
I’ve also been thinking about old children’s literature. Since a lot of old childhood classics have been the inspiration behind making Alice, I’ve been thinking that ‘maybe we can do something in the style of those books’, and getting hyped about it. One example are the Swedish classic childhood stories, and computer games, about Pettson and Findus.
What games do you play yourself?
Recently, I’ve been playing Factorio and Stardew Valley. My most favorite game would be Frostpunk. It’s completely amazing, especially how they get the cultural parts and moral dilemmas of the game to work. I’ve also been playing a lot of Minecraft and Sims. Animal Crossing is something I have wanted to try, but since I usually play on a computer, it hasn’t happened yet.
What are some of the most fun moments coding for Alice?
I would say that it is creating these building blocks and seeing more and more puzzle pieces appearing and coming together. It’s also fun seeing my own code improve as I get feedback from our other great developers.
What I think most of us developers have in common is that we want to prove that we can make a fun, awesome game using the blockchain. A play-to-earn game that doesn’t compromise on any of the game elements. That’s one of my core reasons for wanting to work with Alice.
About My Neighbor Alice
My Neighbor Alice is a social online game with focus on resource gathering, crafting and creative expression. Players build their own virtual lands, interact with neighbors, perform exciting daily activities and earn rewards along the way.
Join Alice’s Channels:
Telegram Announcement: https://t.me/AliceAnnouncements