June 2023 Update

June 1, 2023 at 8:45 am

My day job immediately swallowed all of my extra time once I was back from my Synekism "offsite". Crazy, I know. Nevertheless, I did maintain some level of pressure on this project since that spike. However, most of the work is towards finally understanding how to actually build a cross-distro, always-working, Linux build of the game. It's (un)surprisingly difficult. Learning (more) about Windows Subsystem for Linux and Docker these days.

May 2023 Update - Progress!

May 1, 2023 at 2:25 pm

Finally! Finally some serious progress. As I mentioned in my last update, I decided to take 2 weeks of vacation and focus entirely on this project. I even went as far as to isolate myself in the basement and just live there, away from everyone, for these 2 weeks.

The work is mostly going towards the engine and the simple game I decided to make first, before Synekism. It's a factory type game, with co-op.

It's been a struggle to work on top of my stupid custom engine. Would not recommend! Use Unity or something. But I managed to make some good progress. And yesterday night, I reach the milestone of getting networking working and connecting a client and server for the first time. It's a simultaneously pathetic and amazing moment to see myself place a spinning cube in one process and seeing it get replicated across to another process. Both the pathetic and the amazing parts are accented by the fact that I used 10-year-old Synekism code to get this working. That's right, I implemented functional co-op in Synekism in November of 2012.

Next up is integration with Steam's relay system. My goal for the rest of this experimental "vacation" is to be able to place spinning cubes across the internet via Steam.

As for what comes after this break, I hope to continue the momentum I (re)started via weekends. Took me the better part of 5 days to just get caught up with my own code and start become productive again. I want to avoid getting this out of touch again.

April 2023 Update

April 1, 2023 at 12:52 pm

It was getting clear that without some kind of explicit action, I would never get serious time to work on Synekism. So I decided to take exactly such action and book 2 weeks of vacation 100% dedicated to working on Synekism and nothing else.

This will happen late April, into May. Next update will be during this break. Let's see where I'm at. I'll also come up with a plan to keep the momentum after these 2 weeks.

March 2023 Update

March 1, 2023 at 7:05 am

Work at work has picked up more than expected, in addition to life stuff. Synekism work has been slow as a result.

Closest I got was to address my dire need for a better way to store my notes or personal wiki of acquired bits of random knowledge (mostly coding or gamedev related to Synekism work). I've been using a self-hosted Wikimedia site for years now but I'm slowly switching away to a pure git + Markdown approach.

Till next time!

February 2023 Update

February 1, 2023 at 8:14 am

Well, I did fix my computer's SSD, but I also spent a lot of time making sure this kind of problem wouldn't happen again. Plus the family interruptions and now work were there most of the month still. In short, not much Synekism was done.

It wasn't nothing though. I made progress on my cross-platform build system. I also did a bunch of research and experiments with VMs and containers (ie. Docker). I'm trying to fully describe my build environment in a programmatic way. On the VM side, I also learned how to set up a GPU-accelerated VM, which will come in handy.

That's it for now. My day job started the year with a bang. A lot of things at once. I don't yet know when I'll ramp back up. Hopefully not long now. Cheers!

January 2023 Update - Happy New Year!

January 1, 2023 at 1:21 pm

Well, there goes 2022. Mixed feelings but overall it's good to see it come to a close. I'm 3 weeks into my 4 weeks vacation. A lot of it was spent with family and friends so far but I hope to have the last week all for Synekism. I did manage to get back into the code in the last few days. It's been way too long. Felt good.

Of course, 2023 had to start with a bang and right before midnight I discovered my main computer's OS SSD has been massively failing for a while now. So before I restart on Synekism, I have to put out a fire first.

I'm optimistic about 2023. No real reason, but I won't question it. Let's see how it goes. Cheers!

December 2022 Update

December 1, 2022 at 9:30 am

Work continues to keep me a bit too busy. Slowly working my way out of this hole. That said, the temporary spike project using UE5 went well. I'm just about done. It was nice to learn a bit about using Unreal and Blender together. But don't worry, for or (likely) worse, Synekism is not going to Unreal. :)

I really should be resuming Synekism work after next week, once I'm on vacation and into next year. Expect a bit more meat in the next update.

What a crazy year, again.

November 2022 Update

November 1, 2022 at 8:29 am

Continued to be busy with work/life. Moved to another team at work and had to onboard, while also working on a conference talk with said conference happening today. Also busy with a short term project that got me usign UE5 for the first time (just an exploration). As such, not much to report. Hoping my extended holiday break coming up will finally get me back on Synekism.

October 2022 Update

October 1, 2022 at 2:10 pm

My day job has been sucking most of my personal time this last month. I'm preparing for a conference demo. This will last for another couple of weeks. Therefore, not much to report for now.

September 2022 Update

September 1, 2022 at 8:29 am

Another year just flew by. Synekism is now 12! Wish I had something fancy to show today but I'm still deep in the build system, trying to set up a cross-compilation pipeline. I want to be able to build all 3 platforms from the same computer and into the same output folder. Then I can upload to Steam all 3 platforms at once. This involves a lot of Bash code. Anyway, keeping on keeping on.

Fetch Older Updates

v0.5.5.90 - September 1, 2014


Synekism is an attempt at a modern city simulator rooted in procedurally generated content. The project was started in 2010 to address some frustrations with the city simulation video game genre. It is actively developed on and currently in a purely alpha-experimental stage. Updates on the project are posted on the first of every month. Note that work on this project is more or less done by one person so progress will be slow, but steady.

The game is a sandbox where control is not explicit but indirect. The player can designate residential, commercial, industrial, and government zones and watch them grow, instead of explicitly plopping each building manually. The game tends to lean towards macro-management.

The key features of Synekism include grid less 3D environments and procedurally generated buildings. The lack of a grid results in total freedom when zoning and building roads allowing for more realistic looking cities. Procedurally generated buildings allows for more visual variability. Instead of querying a finite list of static models, a building is generated uniquely upon creation using local as well as city-wide conditions.

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