Read what life is like for Jonathan, Ivar, Linn and Sofia, four students from the University of Skövde who have chosen to spend their internship period at the Shanghai-based game studio, Shinezone.
HI EVERYONE AT HOME!
We have now been in China for 11 days. It feels as if we’ve been here forever but also like we arrived only yesterday. Outside, the city is experiencing its coldest days in a decade, and we can feel it indoors as well. We seem to have brought the snow with us to Shanghai – it is appreciated by everyone but ourselves.
Every day provides a new adventure, we’ve discovered. Sometimes it’s amusing, while at other times it’s rather more fun in hindsight. Case in point: the thought of yesterday’s taxi driver brings a few tears of joy. He picked us up after the Metro stopped running for the day but turned out to have a worse sense of direction than any one of us visitors.
As a matter of principle, we’ve tried to stick to Chinese food but the other day we gave up and had Swedish macaroni with tomato sauce. This was especially appreciated by the one vegetarian among us, not least because of the lack of meatless dishes at the many eateries around town. At first, we did make brave attempts at locating vegetarian options but it turns out that even the non-meat dishes contain meat. The more you know…
No progress with learning Chinese as of yet, so the noble art of pointing and smiling is our primary method of communication. It works – sometimes. And a bright demeanor gets you pretty far. However, that doesn’t stop us from making the occasional mistake. Like the time we visited Pizza Hut and accidentally ordered three liters of soda – instead of three glasses full. The waitress did look a little shocked but we just smiled. We also ended up with unexpectedly full bladders.
As we are writing this, the local electrician/all-round-handyman just left our flat. We might have, totally not on purpose, we swear, have burnt a fuse. (In retrospect, the buzzing sound of electrical discharges was a pretty clear sign.) Once again, our refined pointing technique works excellently. The electrician recruited one of us to be his temporary assistant. Once the repairs were done, he was quite amused at our cheerful exclamation of “let’s go!” and chimed in.
Slowly but surely, we’re becoming better acquainted with the local populace. Some of us have made friends with the ladies at the vegetable market but we’ve also met other game developers. Every Thursday, Shanghai-based game devs meet at a pub to share stories, advice and – on this occasion at least – funny expressions in their own native languages.
From 9 to 5 (or thereabouts), we sit in our own little area of the Shinezone offices and work diligently at game tests, 3D-modelling and sound design. But from time to time we fraternize with the employees to share a long lunch and an equally long chat.
Today’s activities consisted of a visit at Camp X, where the Global Game Jam was just finishing up. Coconut Island (a Shanghainese indie dev setup) invited us to attend the showcase. It was nice to see how fleshed-out the games were after just a weekend of work, here at the Shanghai edition of the game jam.
Other excursions around the city have provided ample opportunities at trying local mystery cuisine, almost getting run over, gawping at the gargantuan edifices and messing up in true tourist fashion. Nine more weeks should cure us of all but the first. We look forward to the many discoveries ahead as we delve deeper into the rest of Shanghai and game production at Shinezone.
/The quartet at Yaohua Road