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Gamer, developer, … game developer. Zak does it all! He’s our resident React expert, a Flutter pro, and knows his way around a few web development frameworks. In his spare time, he enjoys creating video games, often applying skills from his day job to his hobby and vice-versa.
He’s also one of our first lead developers, a position at Twin Sun for magnifying the strengths of people like Zak. Mentorship, humility, and excellence are all part of the job description. That description fits Zak perfectly. He brings a lot of energy and enjoyment to the team, and he’s always ready to lend a helping hand.
A Helpful Generalist
Zak is a generalist, someone able to take on any sort of programming problem, but he’s most passionate about front-end development. An intrinsic motivation to learn and grow has made Zak successful on all sorts of projects. He’s worked on everything from legacy PHP projects to modern React apps to incredibly complex Flutter apps.
That broad experience has made him a great mentor for other developers. He’s always willing to help out, and has first-hand experience with most of the technologies used across the entire team.
Building Games From Scratch
Zak is a gamer, and he’s a developer, so it’s no surprise that he’s also a game developer. He began building games from scratch to play with his friends online. This led to him creating his very own multiplayer game engine that he now uses for all of his games. He even built a way for his games to play themselves, using a simulated network to help him test his creations.
Recently, he’s been learning more about 3D modeling and animation. His development experience has come in handy with this aspect of game development as well. Zak built an animation editor for building character animations and adjusting hitboxes in a fighting game.
Whereas he used to define all hitbox values in pure code, he felt that the process for tweaking every animation had become tedious. His visual editor has made it much easier to debug and adjust hitboxes. Below is the result: a fighting game with fully animated characters.
Zak’s innovations don’t end with his game dev tools, though. His games are also fun experiments. The games test out interesting ideas and new game mechanics.
A football game tests a new way for a single player to control multiple characters on the field. In this game, the left and right sides of your controller independently move their own characters.
Zak’s most recent project adds 3D characters to his 2D fighting game. Figuring out how to make 2D and 3D characters interact with each other in a way that feels natural has been an enjoyable challenge. He also has some awesome ideas for new game mechanics in a platform game he hopes to build in the near future.
Working with Zak
Zak has a habit of lightening the mood and making the team laugh. He has a great sense of humor and loves to joke around.
He’s also a great developer, constantly learning new things and seeking out opportunities to share his knowledge. Zak enjoys learning and applying new design patterns, taking on random programming experiments, and playing regex golf. From code reviews to power hours (our weekly learning sessions) to pair programming, Zak is always eager and ready to help his teammates.
Dave: “What do you value most about working at Twin Sun?”
Zak: “The people. Back when I worked at Ruby Tuesday, I felt similarly, and someone there told me I wouldn’t find another job with that quality. I worked four more jobs after that, and have had amazing relationships and experiences with at least one person at each of them. Twin Sun is no exception, and the best group of people to work with.”
Contact us to learn more about working with Zak and the rest of the Twin Sun team.