Developer’s Club – Creating games is more than just coding

As part of our Innovation Series, we present you with 5 projects of the ETH Student Project House: an initiative of the ETH Zurich to foster maker and innovator mindset in students. All these projects have started during the Pandemic and have found the positive in a volatile period. The projects are Fyn.Food, Greenovate, Developer’s Club, Seismohealth, rootlinks

It all started with 2 best friends. Sarper Melik Ertekin learned to develop games about 3 years ago. The ETH electrical engineering student taught himself how to do that, as a fun way to learn more about coding. Eren Oner, his best friend and also an electrical engineering student, only had a vague idea of what it takes to create them, but after witnessing what Sarper was doing, he decided to join in. This was the start of the Last Hero project. 

After having created a few games together, they wanted to share their knowledge and passion started teaching a course on Unity, a game-creating software, at ETH. They describe it as “doing something different than studying from a book, while still learning something.”. Their course takes school into practice. This is when the 3rd lead character in “Last Hero” came aboard. Ata Celen was one of their first students on the course. However, he wanted more and joined the community.

Unfortunately, Covid hit them as well, as it hit everything else. Even though the lectures were online, the motivation fell exponentially. They mentioned that game development was one of the few things, which keep them motivated, that is why they got more and more into Game Development during quarantine. The game “Last Hero” was created during this time. They stated that it was more than “just making a game” since it was a nice chance for them to communicate again and have some nice time during dark covid times.

Creating games is a fun and yet challenging way to learn more about coding and technology, but also about design and psychology. 

Developers’ Club

Concidering the fact that games are a combination of many different facets, such as coding, design, and psychology, the guys now started the Developers Club; a club in which projects such as Last Hero are developed. This presents a great opportunity to work together with people from different faculties. “We would love to speak to psychologists who could help us understand what makes a game attractive, and a bit addictive, so we can make it worth returning to.” 

The Developers Club’s main goal is to create a big community in order to teach others and develop together. “We’ve created tutorials on how to create a game and until now we are already amazed by the games that came out of our community so far”. 

Their biggest challenge? Finding how much time we should invest in this hobby. It is difficult to plan how much time a project takes. You never know when you’ll find errors and it’s hard to say when a game is ready to be launched. One can always add “just one more cool feature”. So, we really need to learn when to stop.

Furthermore, they pointed out how important it is to have a strong team. “After a while, it is not about if you are capable of doing it, rather if you have enough time to be able to finish it.” Therefore they always emphasize the importance of knowledge transfer and having a network of like-minded people, with whom one can count on and work.

The great thing about gaming is that there is no limit to your creativity

Developers’ Club

Therefore, they invite anyone into the Developers’ Club, who is interested in creating, developing, and bringing new ideas into reality. They are currently working on lots of games and apps with many more to come. They aim to share their knowledge and experience, especially in game and app development to create a caring community, who develops together. This is only the beginning, as the ideas Developers’ Club can bring into life are limitless. So, if you want to build your dreams, visit their website and get in touch! 

Sarah Ebling

          Sarah Ebling holds a professorship in Accessibility Studies at Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) and is a senior researcher at the University of Zurich. Her research focuses on natural language processing in the context of disabilities and special needs, specifically, sign language technology and automatic text simplification. Her groups’ contributions involve artificial intelligence techniques with a strong emphasis on user involvement. She is involved in various international and national projects and leads a large-scale Swiss innovation initiative entitled „Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies“ (2022-2026;