I was born in Macau, China and attended an all-boys high school where I developed a keen interest in technology by tinkering with computers. My parents gave me my first computer as a gift for being at the top of my class when I was in form 2 at my secondary school. I mastered DOS and Windows within six months and went on to teach myself some simple web page design and programming basics through self-help books. It was fun when I made my first simple games in Adobe Flash back in the day.
My grandmother raised me in my early childhood, as my grandfather passed away before I was born. Despite the many challenges she faced, she always tried to bring happiness into my life. This inspired me to want to use technology to help others and bring happiness to those who may be weaker and more vulnerable.
In 2004, I came to Australia to pursue better education and career opportunities, thanks to the hard work of my father and the casino boom in Macau. By the time I finished my foundation year, I knew that I wanted to study computing. I was excited to find that UNSW had a double degree in Computer and Biomedical Engineering, which allowed me to pursue my dream. During my time at university, everything revolved around computing and programming.
Although university was not easy, I achieved satisfying results and was awarded Honours Class 2 Division 1. I also published two academic journal papers as the second author, thanks to the encouragement and support of my thesis supervisor.
I completed a four-month internship as a web developer in Rockable Apps in 2009, where I worked on developing the company’s second-hand exchange platform on the standalone website and its Facebook app. This role allowed me to gain valuable experience in web development and Facebook graph API, which motivated me to pursue a career as a web developer.
As an overseas fresh graduate, it wasn’t easy to find my first job. After some setbacks, I finally secured a position at an e-commerce company as a web developer. I worked individually on a website that received thousands of visitors and hundreds of orders daily. I maintained and developed both the frontend and backend of the website, and created internal tools for better order management and faster processes. I even contributed some of our systems back to the community by open-sourcing them. I also researched and prototyped the newest e-commerce platforms such as Magento. Through this role, I gained extensive knowledge of website development, including search engine optimization (SEO) and Google tag manager, and helped our website become a top performer in our industry.
During my childhood, I always had a passion for playing video games and aspired to become a game developer. In a twist of fate, my university friend Brian approached me with an idea to create a game together for fun. Despite having no prior experience in game development, I was excited to learn and we began working on our first game, Go2School, in our free time. The game combined two popular gameplay mechanics at the time, endless running and card collection.
We injected all of our unique ideas into the game, featuring a toddler attending school every day at the age of three, whose father, a renowned mad physicist, created a black hole that served as a portal between parallel universes. On his way to school, the child had to save the world.
After a few months of hard work, we completed our prototype and decided to try our luck with a Kickstarter campaign to secure funding. Although we failed to meet our fundraising goal, the project generated a lot of interest and people appreciated the concept of our game. We decided to take the leap, quit our full-time jobs, and founded Sweaty Chair Studio in 2013.
It was a risky decision, and I had to invest almost all of my savings and take on freelance work to make ends meet. Thankfully, we completed the game and secured angel investment and publishing partnerships. From that point on, everything started falling into place. Our second game, No Humanity, relied solely on organic downloads and accumulated over 5 million downloads. Rainmaker – The Beautiful Flood, was featured by Apple multiple times and was ranked in the top 50 paid games. Projection – First Light, was chosen as one of the first 100 games to be launched on Apple Arcade. I believe that our creativity has always been the key to our success and what keeps Apple coming back to us.
Founding a startup is never easy, and we made a lot of mistakes and learned many valuable lessons along the way. Our first game had several bugs that occasionally prevented players from playing. Consequently, we have been working hard to ensure that our code is robust and stable. I developed and implemented a coding architecture for the team that reduces code dependencies and the likelihood of errors, while also facilitating code reuse across projects and enabling rapid prototyping.
We are not content with only having one or a few successful games. We are always eager to explore new gaming technologies such as AR/VR and multiplayer, as well as different gameplay types. I believe that staying innovative and creative is the key to long-term success.
Blockchain and Education
In 2018, during the surge in popularity of crypto-currencies, we recognized the immense potential in the emerging industry of blockchain gaming. After several months of intensive learning and exploration, we successfully launched our own coin, a dApp prototype, and a standalone application. Our dApp was a simple yet engaging land-bidding game that allowed players to purchase and trade virtual lands with the chance to win big. Meanwhile, the standalone application was designed to be a comprehensive 3D asset creation platform, inspired by the immersive movie, Ready Player One.
Our progress was well underway, and we even secured a crypto investor to back our project. However, towards the end of 2018, the market took a significant downturn, and we were forced to put our ICO and game development on hold. Despite this setback, we were determined to continue utilizing the knowledge and expertise we had gained throughout our blockchain gaming endeavors.
After overcoming several months of adversity, we decided to pivot our product into the education sector, ultimately creating Block42. This new application proved to be a success, offering an easy-to-use 3D animation tool for children and amateurs alike. We were pleased to discover that many of the 3D creation tools we developed for the blockchain game could be repurposed for Block42. This led to our selection into the UNSW 10X program in 2020 and saw 10 schools subscribing to our workshops. While the education industry may be slow to adapt to new technologies, we believe that Block42 has a bright future ahead.
In 2020, after 7 years of running startups, I made a bold decision to step out of my comfort zone and embark on a new adventure by returning to the industry. Although it was not an easy decision, I was eager to gain more insights and skills by working for other companies in the industry rather than making games within our small team. As a result, I became a VR developer at LAI Games and worked on their first VR title, Arcade Legend. I strongly believed that VR would be the future of gaming and this experience helped me to better understand every aspect and potential of VR.
Subsequently, in 2021, I started a new chapter of my career at Big Time Gaming, where I pivoted back to become a web/game developer with a focus on TypeScript and Pixi. This has been a novel experience and a great opportunity to learn about web gaming platforms, instead of relying on the all-rounder Unity engine. I am also committed to improving the gaming quality and experience on the web, which generally has poorer graphic and animation effects compared to other platforms, leveraging my past experiences.
More detailed information about my professional experience can be found on LinkedIn profile.
That’s only the beginning of my journey and I am eager to continue it in the near future. There is so much more to explore, learn and create, and I am excited to see what opportunities and challenges lie ahead. With my passion for technology and innovation, I am determined to keep pushing the boundaries and making a positive impact in the industry. I am open to new challenges and experiences that will help me grow both professionally and personally. The future is full of possibilities, and I can’t wait to see what it holds.