It’s been three years since the start of the pandemic, and over time we’ve eased back into many activities that were halted by the lockdowns. This month, we checked in with one another to see how our lives have changed over the course of the pandemic, from rekindling old passions, discovering new ones, as well as how they’ve been navigating our shift to a more hybrid work setup.
S6 employees have always been a sporty bunch—Hannah, our head of marketing, shared her excitement about being able to return to dragon boat: “I surely missed racing and training with my teammates! During the pandemic, we obviously couldn’t paddle because we need to be outdoors to do that. We also resorted to working out online and doing crossfit because we had no access to the gym.”
A number of us have also gotten back into running, cycling, swimming, you name it. Xiao, our Design Manager, shared how she’s climbed 12 mountains since 2021!
“It’s not a lot compared to my other mountaineering peers in the club, but that’s a lot compared to my usual frequency even before the pandemic. Being in nature is healing, and it’s fulfilling to come out of it in the end knowing you were able to overcome the physical and mental challenge it brings.”
We also welcomed the return of many large-scale events. Music has always been big at Secret 6, so concerts and musicals are high on the list of activities we’ve missed! According to one of our artists, Jin, “I find the experience and emotion in concerts or music festivals impossible to replicate virtually.”
For some, art and video game conventions and festivals are their go-to events now that they’re back—Jhorlie, another of our artists, shared how much she missed boothing in conventions: “I always enjoy meeting my supporters and selling my artwork. I also get to meet most of my friends this way!”
We’ve also seen the resurgence of a long-time favorite at the company: D&D and Magic the Gathering! For some reason, a lot of our new hires during the pandemic have also come out as enthusiasts, making the scene all the more exciting for everyone.
The changes brought about by COVID-19 have also given us an opportunity to discover new ways of living, to entertain ourselves and to unwind after a long day.
One thing that’s great to see is the more active pursuit of health among us—people are taking up martial arts, getting into weightlifting, and many of us have learned mindfulness activities! Carlos, one of our senior 3D artists from the Madrid team, shared with a laugh, “I remember at the beginning of the pandemic I had abs! I learned how important it is to move and train the body and mind.” Building skills in art, music and other creative pursuits have also proven therapeutic for many of us.
And then there’s food—considering the amount of time we’ve all had to spend at home, it’s no surprise that many of us have learned how to cook! What’s awesome is that most of us have not only learned how to cook, we’ve specifically learned how to cook healthier meals, which has not only helped us physically, but emotionally as well.
According to Stephen, one of our knowledge management specialists, “...it’s therapeutic for me, and I get a sense of fulfillment from making something [good] while also being able to take care of my body. Cooking has helped me take it a bit more slowly in my life, and I’ve developed a greater sense of responsibility as a result.”
We recently moved and reopened our Manila office at the iconic Exquadra Tower. After our shift to a more hybrid setup, we’ve since repurposed it, so that employees are free to use the office as a co-working or event space.
Harvey, one of our designers, shared that “going to the office to meet my teammates face-to-face is cool as well…we can discuss without having to worry about meaning getting lost over the Internet. It’s just that there’s something different about F2F, you know? The design workshops and training are all very helpful too!”
Onsite training, client engagements and even team bonding activities have been increasing at the office, and we’re finally getting more opportunities to meet many of the team members we hired over the pandemic, and in person for the first time!
At Secret 6, we’re always striving to achieve a work-life balance, which has earned its rightful spot as a top-level conversation among businesses as a result of the shift to remote work. With most earning a newfound freedom from not having to commute daily, as well as the blur between the home and the work space, we checked in to see how the people at Secret 6 manage all of this power.
Here are some of the best tips on work-life balance in the hybrid workspace:
With the introduction of the non-linear workday, we’ve given ourselves space to listen to our bodies and to understand that everyone can be productive at varying times every day. If you have to ask if you need a break, you probably already need one—we’ve also been able to prioritize getting a good night’s sleep!
Paul from QA shares, “Getting a full 8 hours of sleep is a must for me…this lets me function the best throughout the shift. I will always try to have this even when things return to “normal.””
Now that many of us don’t have to grapple with the daily commute, a lot of our time has been spent getting proper, regular exercise. This can be as simple as a home workout, or going to the nearest gym—this supports another tip we often hear about setting clear boundaries about where we work, where we rest, and in this case, where we go to exercise!
“Right after my shift, I’ll feed my dogs and eat dinner. I will then draw personal artwork or practice until bedtime. Personally, that helped me grow as an artist,” shared Jhorlie. Whether that’s going out on an adventure or staying at home to work on a personal craft, we’ve seen people give more importance to spending quality time and being truly disconnected from work, which allows us to come back refreshed and with more inspiration to build amazing games.
Building on Tip #2, it’s possible that some don’t have the luxury of a large space to physically separate their work and rest areas. Alternatively, many of us have recognized the benefits of investing in the space that we do have—a little personality goes a long way here! Decorating one’s space to inspire or to increase productivity has been helpful to many of us, and others have also promoted improving the ergonomics of your workspace.
A pro-tip from our artist, Jin: get a good chair! Your back will thank you for it!
The World Health Organization recently ended the global health emergency status of COVID-19. While that doesn’t mean the threat is over, we look at it as a sign of hope that we'll soon be able to pursue even more of the things that we love. We’re excited to see what passions our team will discover next, and we look forward to sharing those with you in the future!
If you think working with and learning with our team up your alley, check out our Careers page to learn more about how to join us.
For over 15 years, Secret 6 has built a reputation for providing world-class co-development services to some of the world’s top game development studios.
As a dependable outsourced production partner for game art and co-development, we have worked on critically and commercially acclaimed AAA titles in recent years such as The Last of Us part II, As Dusk Falls, Cyberpunk 2077, Battlefield 2042, Shadow of The Tomb Raider, Diablo II: Resurrected, Monster Train, The Lords of the Fallen, and counting.
Check out our latest showreel featuring our recent and acclaimed works.
We’ve got more projects coming out this year so follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for the latest news and updates.
2022 was nothing but an eventful year for Secret 6, so much that it admittedly took us a while to build this article! While there are too many individual events to choose from, here we’ve narrowed it down to six major highlights from the year that was.
Six years ago, we embarked on a journey to create the first Filipino-made, skill-based, competitive 3v3 shooter—thus, Project Xandata was born. In that time we’ve reached countless milestones: earning multiple awards both locally and internationally, generating innovations in our production pipeline, as well as earning our first Epic MegaGrant! We’ve also made lasting connections both in and out of the office that will only serve to improve our services.
All of this leads us to PXD’s highly-anticipated launch, when we officially entered Steam Early Access in March! Since then, we’ve hosted many online events to connect with our players and given away in-game loot to celebrate. We’re continuing to learn more about the different aspects of launching your IP from there, from hosting servers to maintaining engagement with our community both in and out of the game itself.
Players can continue to enjoy PXD until the early part of 2023 before we move on to exciting, new opportunities down the line. The servers remain open until May 31, 2023.
As always, every year presents us with many exciting opportunities to work with many of the biggest names in the game development industry. Some of our most notable portfolio additions this year:
Winner of the ‘Game of Impact’ award at the 2022 Game Awards. We established a new art pipeline and learned new techniques by working closely with the game’s art director, and we helped bring its hand-painted art style to life by creating over 20,000 frames for the game’s characters.
The PS5 remake of Naughty Dog’s critically-acclaimed masterpiece. Our team was again given the opportunity to create many of the game’s environmental graphics and 3D assets, to bring Joel and Ellie’s adventure to the current gen.
Monster Train, originally developed by Shiny Shoe, and winner of the 2021 Dice Award for Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year. This makes it our first major PC-to-mobile port, and what better title to have achieved it with? Learn more about our work on this game here. We’ve also been hard at work on a lot of other projects, and while we can’t talk about them until they've been released, we look forward to telling you all about them once they do!
Every year, we strive to host as many game and art jams as we can, where we can work together on challenges based on a wide range of our shared interests. This also allows us more opportunities to share knowledge and to learn from one another, about the different skills that help Secret 6 function as a leading game development studio.
This year’s game jam was aptly titled ‘Jam from Home’, and followed the theme of ‘The UI is the Enemy.’ Check out our most notable submissions, Surprise! Attack (winner of the Fowl Play award) and Insatiable (winner of the Best Digestible UI award)!
We also hosted a total of seven (!) internal art jams this year, thanks to the efforts of our 2D art team. Check out some of our awesome work! In a work-for-hire business, we are often working with specific art styles, or developing content that highlights our partners’ brands and IP. Internal art jams are our way of honing the fullest range of our skills and creativity!
This year also marked the return of our annual team outings!
Since we started hosting outings across our different teams, we’ve seen them host all sorts of events, showcasing the astounding variety of personalities and interests that make up the talent in Secret 6. Camping trips, city vacations, out-of-town retreats and even spa dates were just some of the ways that our teams decided to enjoy a much-needed break from a busy year.
It also gave many of us a chance to finally, truly meet some of our new team members, many of which were hired during the pandemic. This culminated in our company Christmas lunch, held at The Alley by Vikings in BGC.
In line with recent changes to our work setup, we recently moved our Manila headquarters to the iconic Exquadra Tower. Our hybrid setup allows our employees the option to work from home or take advantage of our updated in-office facilities, including standing desk workstations, high-end machines, and new conferencing areas for both work and play. And we’ve got unlimited coffee! Here’s a sneak peek video of our Manila office.
Our Madrid team also relocated to the heart of the capital, Glorieta de Cuatro Caminos, to our rapidly-growing team there. A culturally-diverse location directly connected to the city, the new headquarters boasts plenty of open space, bright windows, and a spectacular view of the city! The office also features ergonomic workstations, as well as multi-purpose conferencing rooms.
Capping off the year, we joined the Catalis Group, an industry-leading game and entertainment service provider, based in the UK. This is our next step in elevating our business, with the help of Catalis’ own services, expertise, and global business network.
What does this mean for the Secret 6 brand though, you may ask? Fear not—while this is potentially the biggest change we’re making going into 2023, our name, structure, and management remain the same. We’re still the Secret 6 you know and love!
We enter 2023 with full optimism, as we solidify our hybrid culture and increase our involvement in the game development space. We’re looking forward to exciting new projects alongside Catalis, and we’re working on ways to better share knowledge, both within and outside of the company.
We’re not just bringing you more in 2023, we’re bringing you better!
Stay tuned for more updates this year by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
We are welcoming the new year with a fresh start as our teams move to our new home bases in Manila and Madrid.
Our old Manila office has witnessed many changes as Secret 6 grew in the past years. From Tektite Towers, our Manila headquarters has moved to the iconic Exquadra Tower in Ortigas!
Our new office space boasts workstations with standing desks, high-end machines, glass boards in spacious conference and meeting rooms, classic and new consoles, and unlimited coffee! ☕
Our studio in Madrid has also leveled up and relocated to the heart of the capital, Glorieta de Cuatro Caminos. The office is connected to the beautiful city of Madrid. It boasts a large open space and bright windows with a spectacular view of the city.
The office includes new workstations with adjustable screens, standing desks, a conference room, and a game room in the works!
Our new office spaces will provide us with creative and commercial opportunities to expand our services and realize even greater results for our clients.
This move starts a big step forward for our company, and we are thrilled to open a new era of Secret 6!
We are excited to announce that Secret 6 will be joining the Catalis Group, an industry-leading game and entertainment service provider headquartered in London, UK.
Secret 6 has been in the business for over 15 years, providing top-tier game development services to the world’s biggest game studios, and credited for various triple-A titles. Each year, we strive to elevate our business and deliver excellence to our clients. And this year, we are capping off with this exciting advancement to our company!
Catalis Group is a UK-headquartered global video game and entertainment group focused on the provision of technical and creative services to the entertainment industry. Catalis employs approximately 2,300 people across 9 countries and 13 locations.
This marks a major turning point for Secret 6 as we leverage Catalis Group’s services, expertise, and global business networks. This also paves the way for Catalis to expand their business by having their first location in Madrid, and with Manila as their first presence in Asia.
This acquisition spans all Secret 6 companies. However, Secret 6 will retain its company name, structure, and management team led by Ron Schaffner.
“We are thrilled to be joining Catalis, a group highly regarded for their excellent service offerings. We look forward to collaborating with Catalis to accelerate the group’s growth, enhance and expand the services we offer to our clients, and provide exciting new opportunities for our talented teams in Manila and Madrid,” said Ron Schaffner, founder and CEO of Secret 6.
We at Secret 6 look forward to this exciting opportunity and will continue to provide world-class services to premiere game developers across the globe.
More information on Catalis Group can be found at https://www.catalisgroup.com
Imagine a roguelike deck-builder set on a train being attacked by heaven’s forces as you protect the train that’s “hell-bent” on restoring the inferno and saving hell, you’ll get Monster Train.
Originally developed by Shiny Shoe, Monster Train is a turn-based roguelike deck-building game with multiplayer and endless replayability. Tasked with reigniting the flames of hell and preventing it from freezing over, this train ride will urge your tactical decision-making skills to defend your precious pyre from enemies as you strengthen your hellspawn army and navigate through the circles of hell.
The game is currently available on Steam and has received great reviews. It received the PC Gamers Best Card Game of 2020 award and was a finalist nominee for the 2021 Dice Awards for Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year.
Secret 6 is proud to have worked closely with Good Shepherd Entertainment in bringing Monster Train to the iOS platform. We couldn’t contain our excitement when we knew we’d get to work on this!At the very start of the project, the goal was to “develop a fantastic version of Monster Train for iOS devices that has near-feature parity with PC”. The biggest challenge was in how to incorporate the game screens on mobile, which have a drastically smaller display than PC monitors.
Ensuring the readability of UI elements, and designing responsive and intuitive touch controls were pillars of the UX-UI design process.
On a mobile device, UI directly ported from a PC game doesn’t always translate well: text being too small to read, buttons difficult to tap, or a screen layout, while workable on a monitor screen, now appears too compressed and dense on relatively smaller mobile devices. However, “Larger” isn’t always the solution, given the limited screen space we have to work with.
Understanding the mobile user experience for deck-building games and a lot of wireframing and iteration were involved to get closer to the goal. One of these instances would be the card information that appears as tooltips on PCs via mouse hover. On mobile, we made it so a few key tooltips would be visible when you tap on a card. But a tap-hold would allow you to view all information, which would appear via a module for better readability. This allowed for card details to still be available and accessible on touch-screen devices.
Across several UI, we made the elements more concise, while still keeping enough of the same information available to the player, when they set up their run and play a level.
Porting to the iOS platform posed unique engineering challenges. We were facing an issue in the iOS builds where some cards just wouldn’t display properly on the device, this involved coding in asset compression so card images would appear properly.
Smartphones nowadays are powerful devices but to ensure smooth performance, we had to optimize for them. Meta features such as achievements and cloud saving that are also present on Steam were made to work as we carried them over to the iOS platform.
Overcoming UI and UX challenges, optimizing for mobile, as well as iOS platform issues were just part of the equation. Our QA team was thorough in planning test cases and performing rigorous tests across different iOS devices throughout production. All this is to ensure we have a faithful iOS port of Monster Train.
Thank you Good Shepherd Entertainment and Shiny Shoe for the opportunity to work on Monster Train for iOS!
It has been one hell of a train ride and we look forward to doing more porting projects in the future.
Play Monster Train, available on Steam, and now on the App Store!
We are thrilled to announce that we have received an Epic MegaGrant from Epic Games for Project Xandata, the first-ever Filipino-made competitive first-person shooter (FPS) game powered by Epic’s Unreal Engine.
"Unreal Engine was a key part in bringing Project Xandata to life. We don’t think anything out there matches Unreal when it comes to building first-person shooters,” said Gene Gacho, creator of Project Xandata and Technical Director at Secret 6.
Launched in 2019, Epic MegaGrants is a $100 million program designed by Epic Games to support game developers, animators, enterprise professionals, creators, students, and educators creating amazing things with Unreal Engine or enhancing open-source capabilities for the 3D graphics community.
We are grateful to receive this support from Epic Games and we are honored to be adding a homegrown, Filipino-made title to the Epic MegaGrants community.
Once again, thank you Epic Games and Unreal Engine for recognizing Project Xandata! This support helped our development efforts, supporting our quest towards bringing this high-octane 3v3 FPS to life!
See you on the battlefield, Xandats!
Play Project Xandata now available in Early Access on Steam.
This article was cross-posted from the Project Xandata website.
Despite the challenges that the world continued to face in 2021, Secret 6 remains grateful for the opportunity to learn from our experiences. We enter the new year excited to continue working on games we love.
Let’s take a look back at six notable figures that shaped our 2021.
2020 was a year of adaptation amid the continued threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. While there’s no clear end in sight to that, 2021 didn’t stop us from thriving in what is clearly the new normal.
As we approach two years (and counting) working from home, we’ve continued to update our policies, processes and provisions, to match the needs of our teams and clients. All thanks to the efforts of our operations and development teams!
With over 60 remote hires across our teams in Manila and Madrid, Secret 6 now hosts more than 250 full-time employees working full-time to provide our biggest range of game development services yet.
Our Madrid team has more than doubled in size, expanding to have VFX artists working closely with our team in Manila on projects set to be announced or released this year.
As the needs of our long-time partners continued to evolve, so too did our offerings for game development services. We created two new teams: one for visual effects (VFX), the other for user experience (UX).
Our focus on VFX started as a small initiative to dive into how each class, weapon, and skill in Project Xandata could have distinct visual identities in the game. Now, the team has massively expanded its capabilities. Apart from working on our own title, they have also started working on projects for several overseas clients! We ended the year with nine amazing talents, spanning the Manila and Madrid studios.
We’d love to share more, of course! But for now, though, let’s wait until these titles are released. Once they’re out, we’ll be sure to let you know!
This year also marked the start of our dedicated UX design team to further improve the quality of our games. We’ve built our UX pipeline all the way from research to design and testing, and we are continuing to grow our capabilities in this craft. With this initiative, we aim to boost development and advocate for the value of good UX across the industry.
We share in the responsibility of putting Filipino talent on the map, as well as nurturing the potential of our local learners. This year, we reached over 500 students through talks and workshops thanks to our academic partners. We also got some decent media coverage, which was another fun way to share our knowledge and skills!
In October, we got to share the stage with speakers from Riot Games, EA, and more, at Gamescom Asia, for a talk entitled Reverse Engineering Established User Interfaces to Amplify Player Immersion.
Our senior UI designer, Mika Montano, showed attendees how he solidified the UI art style for Project Xandata well into the production timeline without requiring a major overhaul. He also shared how he built the style guide that allowed the team to balance functionality with aesthetic and scale UI art production without compromising on consistency— in effect, enabling better player immersion.
We also spoke at Untethered 2021, a summit aimed at bringing together and educating professionals in the world of events.
Our senior events manager and brand coordinator, Hannah Donato, delivered a talk titled ‘Pivoting a Roofdeck Party To A 3-Month Online Celebration.’ Here, she shared how we, as a company, creatively celebrated our 15th anniversary and maintained our sense of community in the midst of the pandemic.
Our programmers were also busy sharing their knowledge and skills at local universities. Red Quito spoke at events with UP Cursor and with the DLSU Computer Society about starting a game development career. We also established a partnership with the University of Makati by speaking at their CSS Learning Camp, which we hope to be the first of many talks to help aspiring game developers!
Finally, we facilitated a comprehensive hands-on Unity Workshop in DSC Loyola’s Techfest 2021 led by one of our senior developers, Willard Torres.
Throughout the year, our full range of development teams— from game designers, programmers, artists, and QA, all the way from Manila and Madrid— have been hard at work on so many projects. This year, we had the privilege of promoting eight releases from that slate.
We continued to work with a growing pool of AAA clients, including Ripple Effect and EA on Battlefield 2042, their latest and biggest entry in the franchise to date. Many of our artists’ works can be found in the game’s world— from weapons, vehicles, and environment props down to a number of UI icons and elements.
We also enjoyed working for Activision Blizzard in bringing a genre-defining title back for both old and new audiences alike with Diablo 2 Resurrected, where we worked on several organic assets.
Apart from the game in the next section, we also worked on projects like Balay Kawayan and Hope Town Hero, launched an update to BMO’s Game Lab, as well as worked on VFX for Mad Devils and NFT Champions.
There are 62 quests for players to enjoy in our first ground-up Nintendo Switch title, L.O.L. Surprise! Movie Night. In a collaboration with Other Ocean Interactive and publisher Nighthawk Interactive, we solidified our full game development competencies by designing and developing the game from proposal all the way to post-production, and in a completely remote setup. Check out the launch trailer!
In this game based on the franchise’s new Movie Magic toy line, players go on a journey to become the biggest star in L.O.L. Ville while performing in a variety of activities and games, as well as meeting fierce friends along the way.
The game was released on October 26, 2021, which means you can already (and probably really should) get a copy today.
Our original first-person shooter title, Project Xandata, is all set to enter Early Access on March 22, 2022.
This opens an an incredible new chapter in our continuous pursuit of passion and growth— not just as a work-for-hire studio but as a fully-armed game development studio creating our own titles.
We want to thank everyone who lent a hand in making Project Xandata what it is today— from our in-house teams, to our external partners and testers. We’re excited to continue improving on the game and making the best version of Project Xandata even better every day. Beyond that, all hands are on deck to face everything 2022 has in store for us.
We’ve got projects to finish, an endless list of skills to add to our arsenal, and a renewed enthusiasm to play our favorite games. Fingers crossed we get to work on them too!
As always, we look forward to making bigger and better games for everyone this year.
Edited 02/14/2022: Changed Miks to Mika for consistency with the graphic.
It’s been over a year since we started working from home because of the pandemic.
Work transitioned smoothly, thanks to our awesome clients and IT teams. But here at Secret 6, we all know that’s hardly enough. We believe in getting work done while still having a fair bit of fun. “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life,” or so the saying goes.
Taking this to heart, our teammates have found several ways to make sure they remain mentally and physically healthy through the quarantine.
We asked them about new things they discovered, habits and hobbies they've acquired, and all the other changes they learned to embrace during this time. Here are some of their answers.
Working from home isn’t easy, especially over a prolonged period. And sometimes, that means getting or fixing up a few new things to make things more convenient or more comfortable.
During the quarantine, our teammates shared the things that helped them make a comfortable and enjoyable space to work in. We’ve called these tangible, material additions to our home workstations our own little “quarantine survival kits.”
Having a survival kit means addressing the necessities of working from home. First, getting a stable internet connection enhances both work and play. Next, upgrading the workstations with comfortable seating and a desk you’re happy to see every day really makes a difference. Then come the small things: disinfectant spray bottles to keep things sanitized all the time, snacks on hand for keeping energies up during long working (and gaming) sessions, and finally, some new gadgets and peripherals – for a more pleasant work experience (including matchy-matchy aesthetics!).
Let’s admit: the past year was a great time for online shopping. This meant filling in the gaps in our collections, and spending on things we now have some extra time and funds to enjoy. For most of us at Secret 6, this meant video games (of course!) and our various hobbies.
More collectibles and an increasing gaming library helped us fill up our WFH environment with things we enjoy.
It’s not just acquiring things that made the difference, though. Hobbies can help maintain motivation and interest when you’re stuck at home. We've made discoveries through different experiences that gave us new things to learn that kept us engaged for the long-term.
Some of our team members got into things that they otherwise might not have had the time or interest to get into. Arvin Pantollano and Marc Cruz from our Art Teams started taking care of plants and learning gardening. Meanwhile, 2D Animator Ric Coprada got to work in his kitchen and learned how to cook.
“During the lockdown, I found that the candles also help me when I'm feeling stressed, or to take my mind off of things even for a little while.” Our Producer, Mart Miranda learned a lot by trying out different scents and really understanding which profiles she enjoyed and how each made her feel. She continues, “I've also learned the verbiage that comes along with the interest, such as ‘hot throw’ being the scent of the candle when lit, and ‘cold throw’ for when it is unlit, or ‘tunneling’ when your candle continues melting with a ring because of a bad first burn.”
Discord has been essential in keeping in touch with our friends and work mates. Be it during or after work hours, it helps to know that our team is just a message away. Sarah, our 2D Senior Project Lead shares: “With my team, we used to have an activity at the end of the month. Since working from home, we now started having it twice a month, usually at the start of the day.”
Scheduling regular meetings or events with dedicated time to catching up works. Marren of HR recounts: “We prepared our own lunch and did a virtual lunch out via Discord. We talked about topics that are non-work related and also I prepared a list of random questions and put it in a digital spinning wheel while we ate. For example: 'hashtag ng buhay mo ngayon' and 'during out of town trips, name a thing na hindi mawawala sa bag mo'. It was fun and refreshing!"
Connecting online also allowed a lot of our team members to fall into one of the more widespread hobbies in the office. We have regular sessions for roleplaying games, including the classic Dungeons and Dragons. Often held every Friday, after work hours, the DND sessions are even streamed online by our resident Dungeon Masters.
Shifting lifestyles positively was a crucial part to maintaining our well-being during this period. These were simple things like improving our sleep schedule, integrating new healthy habits, or finding more time to enjoy with family members.
New daily routines that involved exercise and healthier eating, as well as getting enough rest daily became more common with our work mates. A greater emphasis on self-care, both physical and mental, became par for the course as people found their balance and settled into their new rhythm.
Here we feature bigger shifts—a change in mindset, environment, schedule, or priorities—that made our lives better during quarantine.
For some, shifting meant investing into their own personal space. Hannah Donato, our Senior Events Manager and Brand Coordinator, shares about how she gave her childhood bedroom a makeover: "I've always been into Konmari but aesthetics weren't my strong suit. But when I moved back with my family because of the pandemic, my boyfriend somehow talked me into repainting my childhood bedroom. This escalated into de-cluttering our terrace and transforming it into my home office/gym. Now, I enjoy my new spaces more and I feel very settled.”
S6 Production Lead Stephen Cruz found himself spending his time more intentionally, consciously transitioning between work and rest. He sums up the reasons for shifting nicely: “We cannot stress enough the importance of self-care in the current context. Most people allow themselves to be consumed by the blurring of the line between work and life, when this is a reminder that those things used to be separate for a reason.”
Our artists and programmer revisited different approaches to their craft, or explored and learned new ones. Some found self-expression by sharing more of their works online. This was what our Lead 2D Animator, Grey Cayetano, did. He stepped out by creating his own branding and art page: @helvirion
Meanwhile, Erin Llamas, also part of the Art team, took self-expression a step further by joining the KR Pearl Abyss fan art contest, and got herself some cool consolation prizes!
A lot of our artists also started offering art commissions, providing a new creative outlet and source of income. Utilizing all the extra time available to improving their craft, or finding new avenues for it, is a great way they thrived during quarantine.
Sometimes, a small addition opens up new ways to enjoy art. Trina Laya shares: “I bought an Apple Pencil and started learning how to make resin craft! The convenience of the iPad Pencil made it very convenient to create art and it really boosted my confidence.”
Finding something or someone to pour attention over is one way to spend the time during quarantine. It helped shift focus away from ourselves and our own anxieties. For some of us, working at home meant more time with family. Reconnecting with them through social activities, or taking care of them. This proved to be a fulfilling way we spent time during quarantine.
Sometimes, that means getting them into our hobbies as well. Andy Bañez from our 2D Art Team shared that she taught her mom to play Animal crossing. Now, her mom has taken over the Switch (it's with her 75% of the time), playing the game while Andy is working.
A lot of us also took on new pets during quarantine, getting a new roommate in return, and sometimes, a new conversation partner.
On a totally different scale, Aira Manansala from our 2D Department sold off their Nintendo Switch, iPad Pro, plus their Tamagotchi and Gudetama collections(!) to contribute to finishing their for-rent apartment. While she says she'll miss her gadgets and collections, it was also worth taking on this project as an investment for the future.
Others took advantage of this time to fund and complete other long-term projects of theirs. Including upgrading our WFH equipment with new purchases like laptops, building their own desktops, or purchasing new tablets or peripherals.
At the end of the day, maintaining your own well-being and happiness while working from home isn’t just about buying more stuff or doing more things. It’s not even about big, long-term projects.
Whether it’s that small new addition to the work desk, or another step towards a personal project, the important thing is finding small little pockets of happiness. That means knowing what makes us happy, and contributing to it. Borrowing from wise old Gandalf—it means being kind to and loving yourself.
Along with self-care, this means making time for family, friends, and even pets. Staying engaged in healthy relationships was really beneficial for us too. They say it’s in giving, and not always in receiving, that we can find fulfillment.
These were the things that kept us happy working from home during quarantine.
If you think working and hanging out with these people is something you’d enjoy, consider joining our teams by checking out our Careers page. We’d love to have you over.
Picking a career can be daunting, especially if you don’t have all the information you need.
Are you a student with a budding interest in game development? Or are you simply considering a change in careers? Maybe you're passionate about games but you're not sure if you'll enjoy making them.
If you’re still on the fence, here are 6 good reasons why you should consider getting into game development.
“Why should you GameDev?”
Secret 6 Technical Developer Red Quito sought to answer this question during his talk entitled "Starting Your GameDev Journey", presented at UP Cursor’s CSS 5.0 last January.
One of the reasons he gave was simply "to entertain." Most people use games as their primary source of fun and entertainment. Meanwhile, others use it to wind-down after a long and tiring day.
"Being able to sit down, fire up my PC and spend an hour (or five) playing as a bumbling bean person slipping and sliding around is an escape that I am so thankful for," he shares. Game development allows him to share the same escape that he enjoys so much, to others.
Games give a level of interactivity and immersion that few media can match up to.
Giving people an experience that they can truly interact with is a feeling unique to game development. If you're passionate about creating and sharing things that people will enjoy, making games might be right up your alley.
More than a captivating plot, telling a good story involves good execution.
Video games are naturally interactive. This gives players agency over what's happening and provides a unique way to engage your audience. This allows them to be more immersed and invested in the story you want to tell.
Some successful titles like the Uncharted series, and both parts of The Last of Us have shown how video games are a viable medium for storytelling. Being part of the process of game development could allow you to help bring great stories to life.
In June 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the marketing for the first game- based therapeutic.
EndeavorRx is a video game that helps children who have been diagnosed with certain forms of Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The app is now typically prescribed to help young patients improve attention function. Games have evolved into mediums that offer more than just entertainment.
Aside from the previous example, several other industries have taken notice of the power that engagement can provide as gamification takes the app industry by storm. This was discussed by our Game Design Manager, Xiao Supapo in her talk called "Pulse Check: Games and Game Dev in 2020 Onward."
Gamification works by taking elements found in games (such as progression, player feedback, reward systems, and etc) and using them to enhance user interaction in apps. Apps like Plant Nanny, Khan Academy, and Habitica all use these different elements to motivate people into doing previously boring or mundane tasks.
Game development involves both creative solutions and technical skills. While it is not expected that a single person would be good at both, the process of game development pushes for these two aspects to collaborate. And no one has all these at the start—it’s an ongoing learning process.
Secret 6 Game Engineer Japam Mateo shared about the process of how video games are created in his talk, "Beyond Playing: An Entryway to Game Development."
Broken down, the process he shared included the following phases:
Game development is a complex process with a lot of stages. It is an environment where you are constantly exposed to new technologies, new processes, and different kinds of people. This pushes you to always be on your toes, looking at new ways of thinking.
On this path, you'll end up learning a lot not just from exposing yourself to new trends and tech, but also from your teammates.
If you want to be part of an industry where you will have to not just acquire technical skills, but also be more organized and effective in managing projects, all while collaborating with and learning from different kinds of experts, game development may be for you.
The game development industry is a collaboration-heavy industry where specializations are celebrated, but everyone can work cohesively as a team.
It’s an industry that’s constantly evolving with new platforms, game types, breakthroughs, and game engines. Great results are achieved by passionate people who are great at what they do.
Getting things done as a team, and being able to successfully work with other teams are all part and parcel of working in game development. If working at a job where collaboration is key—where everybody’s contribution is integral to the result—there’s room for you here.
Deciding on which career path to take is a serious choice to make. Game development may initially seem like a frivolous choice, but that’s not the case at all.
In her talk, Xiao Supapo also discussed the state of the industry during the year of the pandemic, as well as what we can expect moving forward. Her take, based on the data: It’s booming, with more people enjoying as well as getting involved with games. She also observed that locally in the Philippines, we are growing alongside the global game industry.
Global growth means the industry is open to creating a lot of new careers: from programmers and game designers. 2D and 3D artists, as well as Producers, Product Managers, and Marketing experts. It takes a lot to bring a game project to fruition, and with market trends indicating a bigger demand for engaging and accessible games, this only means more opportunities for those who are up to the task.
Game development is more than a passing fad. It’s a legitimate and booming industry that’s here to stay. It can be a gateway to an exciting and fulfilling career.
We were glad we got to share this quick roundup of good reasons why game development can be an exciting and viable career path.
It might be daunting at first, but developing your skills and learning more about the industry can open up opportunities for the future.
Over the years, the industry has proven itself to be more than stable. It’s rapidly growing in terms of consumers, revenue, and jobs. It’s in need of both innovative ideas and reliable technical skills to sustain that growth.
This means that opportunities are everywhere, and there is always room for people with the passion, the skills, and the capacity to learn.
Similarly, we here at Secret 6 are looking to expand our roster of teammates. We are always on the lookout for skilled candidates who also happen to be enthusiastic learners, so keep checking our Career Page for opportunities that would fit and interest you.
See you all out on the learning road.