Case Study
July 21, 2023
6 Minutes Read

Student Spotlight - Mondae Atughonu


Circuit Stream

Game Development Student Spotlight Circuit Stream

Meet Mondae - Sr. Production Engineering Manager at Bungie

My professional background has been a true rollercoaster. I graduated college with degrees in Biological Sciences and Chemistry and got my first job out of college as a Professional Chemist with a chemical company named Cargill. After a few years with them, I decided to go back to school to get another bachelor’s in public health, with the intent of going into Epidemiology. That led me to a career as a Multi-Site Operations Manager and really began my journey into upper management.

Management clicked for me instantly, so I decided to explore this career path more by obtaining certifications as a Professional Project Manager with my PMP and a Lean Six Sigma practitioner, getting my Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. I jumped between Operations and Process Improvement management for a few years before starting to explore game development more as a hobby and working through some Udemy courses for C# and Unity Dev. Ultimately leading me to Circuit Stream.

Currently, I work at Bungie as the Sr. Production Engineering Manager on Marathon, our upcoming new game for the studio. My day-to-day is focused on overall process improvement, team output optimization across the project, and connecting with leaders to address current and future barriers and develop plans for success. It leverages a lot of my previous experience in problem-solving, process development, and overall team workflows while giving me the chance to work in a field I love, gaming.

Bungie unveils Marathon – PlayStation.Blog

Image source: PlayStation

Discovering the Gaming Industry

I think I have always been interested in game development but didn’t really have the time or knowledge on how to get started. What really sparked my interest to dig in and find out more about game development was when I started watching more development logs from my favourite studios, Ubisoft, Bungie, and Bethesda, and realized that some of their tools were free for everyone to use.

I am a die-hard fan of the Division series from Ubisoft. I always tend to gravitate towards third-person shooters, but what I really like about this series is their AI. Their use of a dynamic world with AI that uses a faction system is amazing. You can explore a world a truly walk into a battle between two or three AI factions that were initiated by nothing you did, just good AI programming. It’s an amazing experience.

Tom Clancy's The Division™

Image source: PlayStation

Connecting with Circuit Stream

Initially, I tried to learn via YouTube but found that I was merely mimicking what I saw on screen and was not able to apply what I was doing to my own projects. Essentially, I was watching and mirroring but not learning. I dove into Udemy and a few Coursera modules as well and found them heavily complex or way too simple for what I wanted to develop. I needed to find a medium ground that would also give me a chance to ask specific questions, ideally to a real person, and Circuit Stream definitely fit the bill.

I initially reached out to Circuit Stream just to upskill and continue developing my hobby. At the time, I did not do much XR development and was really trying to build my own version of Division 2. After talking with Tyler and a few of their instructors, I decided to join an AR workshop and was amazed that after the roughly hour-long session, I had a working Pokémon Go replica, as well as a rundown of the next steps to continue bringing it to life. I loved the Circuit Stream format, the relatability of the instructors, and how easy yet expandable their content was. I decided to enrol on the XR Development with Unity course immediately after this workshop.

Course Experience

XR Development with Unity and the Unity Game Development Bootcamp with Circuit Stream were great. I was lucky enough to have a friend that I met through the XR Dev course who also went through the Bootcamp with me, but I made tons of connections with my fellow learners, and the progression from XR Dev to the Bootcamp was a great “next step” in my developer journey.

My first course was XR Development with Unity, and C# definitely kicked my butt at first. I went in blind to its complexity and definitely paid the price initially with a lot of repetitive mistakes and clunky code that was functional but in no way optimized. I spent a lot of time during office hours listening and asking questions, as well as looking back at pinned YouTube videos and books to better my understanding, and it really paid off.

Mondae’s Advice for Beginners

My advice to anyone would be to take it slow, appreciate your small victories, and make small, goal-oriented projects. A lot of times, I found myself trying to make the next big AAA blockbuster, and truly that just won’t happen. Studios of hundreds of people exist for a reason. By reeling in my expectations and focusing on smaller projects that showcased new skills or had a clear start and end, I was able to feel more satisfied and found myself able to troubleshoot and ideate faster on future projects. I like to call these projects my “Weekend Warrior Goals”. I would give myself a weekend (48hrs) to take a project from start to finish, showcasing a new skill or talent I either learned about or wanted to experiment with more. Not all of them were great, and nothing to put on Steam, but it was a great way to keep me focused and practice new skills with focused deadlines.

Mondae’s Future Work

I am currently working in the industry. I am continuing to grow my skills as an XR developer and looking for new ways to integrate gaming techniques into VR to create unique experiences. I would love to start branching more into AR and MR, especially with the new capabilities of a lot of the headsets on the market, as well as continuing to dove into Unreal development and C++/Blueprint.

I’m currently working with a group I put together from my Circuit Stream courses on a personal project called Centauri.

It is a VR Shooter we have been developing for a little over 2 years, and it has grown from our cumulative knowledge coming out of the Bootcamp, game and unique VR experience we can’t wait to share with the Circuit Stream and gaming community soon.

Connect with Mondae

I’m not super active on Social Media, but you can follow me at:

Instagram: XR.Journey

YouTube: XR.Journey

LinkedIn: Mondae Atughonu

Download Syllabus

Start your own game development journey and download Unity Game Development Bootcamp syllabus

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