The Making of LifeSpark – Michael Bhatt

Zutsu with color - Alicia

LifeSpark Arena – Michael Bhatt

The making of LifeSpark is meant to highlight the team working hard to make this game every day, and get to know about their back story, development practices, interests, and hobbies.

Hey Michael! What do you work on here at LifeSpark?

I’m a game engineer, which basically means I’m one of the guys that takes the ideas from our designers and translates that into code in the game itself. My focus has been AI specifically the AI for some of the bosses.

NPC AI is always tricky to deal with. What have you enjoyed most about working on them?

I really enjoy working on AI because when everything is working correctly you can kind of just sit back and watch what you’ve created react to player. For instance we have a spider boss named Zutsu who gets more aggressive as time goes on. Seeing her get released and start chasing players around was a cool moment.

What are some challenges you have encountered while programming AI for LifeSpark?

Efficiency is the biggest challenge. It’s easy to implement a feature, but its challenging to implement a feature with a low performance cost. Balancing functionality and efficiency is essential to any programming, AI in particular.

I bet! Did you have experience programming AI before LifeSpark?

AI has been my focus during my two year Master’s program here at USC. My first year here in a Networked AI class where we built an Napoleonic era RTS game. You played the role of a general commanding an army of troops. The focus on that class was making units who collaborated together to gain an advantage against the player.

What made you join LifeSpark?

Last year I was taking a Game Design class with our Lead Producer Collin. He approached myself and my friend Alex about joining the team. I had a meeting with Collin about the premise of the game and he was really passionate about it. Not only did I like the concept for the game but I wanted to work on a game with people who were excited to be working on it. I definitely feel passion for your work is contagious and I work best when I’m completely immersed in what I’m doing.

Thanks Michael, great talking to you!

There will be team updates and with interviews from team members coming up. Stay tuned to our Facebook page and Twitter handle to follow LifeSpark Arena and not miss any of the content.

– Dominic