Soh Huajin graduated from DigiPen Institute of Technology Singapore in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation. While studying at DigiPen, he worked on games such as Wake the Dragon and An Ant’s Adventure as a technical director, producer, and physics programmer.
Now, Huajin works as a Client Programmer at gumi Asia in Singapore, working on popular mobile games such as Brave Frontier. In addition to contributing to the game projects of their parent company gumi Inc., gumi Asia is responsible for localizing gumi Inc. games and coordinating the distribution of these games throughout Southeast Asia.
gumi Asia was started in 2012 and has some 110 employees in Singapore. To date, they have recruited 10 graduates from DigiPen (Singapore).
We recently had an opportunity to ask Huajin about his experience working with gumi Asia, the skills he focused on to get there, and what he’s learned in the process.
How did you get hired at gumi Asia?
I had a friend already working there before I entered, and I got an interview through his recommendation.
How long have you been working there?
I started working in 2014 July, so it’s been about nine months.
What type of work do you do at gumi? What does it mean to be a client programmer?
I work in localization projects. Each project is done in Japan, and my job is to study the Japan team’s work and help localize it to different languages, implement features, or modify existing work to make it more suitable for the market where we are releasing it.
The games that we have at gumi require communication with a server, so we have our developers split into two areas, server and client. Anything that has to do with the app itself is a task for a client developer. The work ranges from the interface of the game, gameplay logic, and handling of data received by the app from the server.
What game projects have you worked on? What are some examples of features you’ve helped program or implement?
I currently work on an unannounced game project and also do supporting work on Brave Frontier.
Some examples of features or tools I have done include a system to support multiple languages, a system to manage the downloadable files required at different locations in the game, menus and system improvements, and analytical tools.
How would you describe the type of games that gumi makes?
The games that gumi makes are all mobile social games that are free to play and have in-app purchases to help your game progression.
Have you spent time playing your company’s games?
I always try to play my company’s games as much as possible, especially my own project and the Japanese version of the game. I believe that we can only be more efficient in our work if we understand how our game works in every aspect.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
For my project, I need to work with the Philippines and Japan branches, so we always do text messages, emails, and video conferences for discussions and meetings. Communication with our colleagues through just texts and video conference can be difficult — it is hard to understand each other this way. However, it has been a good experience. I have been able to learn a lot from these people with different backgrounds and experiences.
What do you enjoy about software development, and what made you decide to pursue a career in game development?
Programming and software development can be challenging, which makes them fun. I am a gamer myself, and I’ve always been impressed and amazed by new technologies used in games. I want to be able to do something like these amazing works.
How does your work at gumi Asia compare to the experience of working on game teams at DigiPen (Singapore)?
It is actually quite similar. Our team size is about the same as what I had in DigiPen (Singapore), so team members are close to one another. We can talk directly to any team member for any discussions or help and advice.
What are some of the most valuable skills or experiences you gained from your time at DigiPen (Singapore)?
Every game project was a valuable experience that is irreplaceable. Even if I think that a project was a failure, it is an experience that is beneficial for me. In games, we are always trying new things, new ideas. Each game improves my research and problem-solving skills. In teams [at DigiPen (Singapore)], I learned to work with different people, listen to teammates’ opinions, appreciate my teammates’ work, and help others.
Clement Quah, a recruiter for gumi Asia’s Human Resources Department, named some of the traits that made Huajin stand out from the competition for the position of Client Programmer. “Huajin is actually the ideal employee we would like to hire,” Clement says. “Sure he has the relevant technical skills, but he also showed a certain willingness to learn and has proven that he is a committed and skilled worker.”
Clement says that when hiring new employees, gumi Asia looks for candidates who embody their core values: ambition, commitment, creativity, competitiveness, appreciation, and cooperation.
gumi Asia is no stranger to graduates from DigiPen (Singapore), Clement says, and the company has worked with artists, game designers, and software developers who graduated from DigiPen (Singapore). “We’ve found that [DigiPen (Singapore) graduates’] biggest strengths lie in their ability to grind when the going gets tough,” says Clement. “They also possess the required relevant knowledge to integrate seamlessly into the gaming industry with little guidance from their seniors.” According to him, DigiPen (Singapore) graduates “are much valued at gumi Asia.”
To see more of Soh Huajin’s work, check out his personal website.