social stuff

🎮 B Side: Soft Launching `Magical Circuits` side project

Cassete Side B

I’ve been fending off the world pandemic 🙅‍♂️ in the “natural isolation” of a small Dutch down, where the most exciting thing that happened to me the whole week was befriending the neighbors cat. I have also been putting some work in advancing my Serious Side Project: Cloud Native Infrastructure for Unreal Engine. It’s been a big week and there are announcements to be made!

Spam tags: #games #kubernetes #containers #terraform #googlecloudplatform #docker #unrealengine4 #gamedevelopment #work-in-progress

Cloud Ambitions

I love both R&D stuff and video games, and, as many people know, I have been focusing my attention to the gaming industry CI/CD, Cloud Infrastructure side of things. There are definitely interesting problems to solve there and the heavy load nature of those projects is a nice challenge to improve my own skills and try to push some tools to their limit.

My ambition is to contribute and expand around the work of the Unreal Containers community. I want to create Open Source services and tools to increase the productivity of, in particular, independent developers and small to medium-sized studios. The best outcome would be to optimize their Build and Release Engineering, so they can focus more resources on what studios can do best, build high-quality amazing games. As can be seen on my LinkedIn, I am still applying for jobs so I get enough coding practice from home assignments 🤷‍♂️ and it’s good to focus on different things.

Sooo, I have been putting some work towards setting up a research project & community infrastructure. I created a “persona” called Magical Circuits (Continuous Integration pipelines and more, for games) and:

I've also been doing other types of "research" into gaming, including paying back that capitalist raccoon on Animal Crossing on the Nintendo Switch. I need a life. Or a wife.

Anyways … I’ve also recently published a blog post on Gamasutra about the subject and have started encoding the Google Cloud infrastructure setup information on the Unreal Containers community into Terraform code. This last one is important both for the project and me personally. My laptop is old and useless, so I need a cloud environment for my tests and learnings. But I have also been resisting the urge to go straight to code and first do architecture diagrams, which will become part of the projects documentation…

“Patreon-ize” Me

Both for supporting myself in these troubled times, and the project, I also set up a Magical Circuits Patreon account. I only have a “Friends & Family Tier” at the moment, as I’m still iterating on the other tiers. I want to be sure I offer concise Tiers that add real value to the subscribers. There’s two projects I am interested in getting off the ground and create Tiers around:

  1. Codenamed Surreal: Open Source Terraform Infrastructure code for Unreal Engine 4 pipeline architectures on Google Cloud
  2. An ambitious “Surreal Devops eBook”: a “DevOps for Unreal Engine 4 projects” book that can cover several topics as Source Control, Infrastructure-As-Code, CI/CD, Docker Containers, Kubernetes (plus more) and putting it all together for creating and maintaining UE4 project pipelines.

All contributions will support both myself plus project expenses. Cloud Infrastructure billing for example as those GPU enabled instances aren’t cheap! And due to the way the pandemic has been affecting job hunting, I might end up depending of it for living expenses! SNAFU.

Anyways, what I have in mind for Surreal is to write some Terraform (and possibly Configuration Management code as well) for setting up GKE clusters with GPU and non-GPU enabled pools. Then add CI for building UE4 projects optimally with Linux containers, plus some other things, the secret sauce. Might end up utilizing Unreal Tournament as a benchmark project. 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️.

If you, dear reader, had so far the time and patience to read through my mumbo jumbo all the way down here, and found it minimally interesting (spoiler alert: it IS very interesting!) can I ask you to re-post this and/or share on your social network, tell your friends, maybe throw a dollar ? Sharing is caring <3

If you just want to talk about any of these topics, grab me on Twitter or drop me an email at zemanel AT zemanel DOT eu.

Stay home, stay safe!