> VIVID HELIX

Is A Calgary-Based Independent PC/Console Video Games Developer Led By Radu Muresan.

Solving puzzles: innovators live for just such challenges. Radu Muresan solves puzzles and problems every day behind his computer screen. This Romanian programmer-turned-game-designer stamped Calgary’s name on the world’s game design map with his c mpany Vivid Helix, building not only award-winning games but also enabling and supporting a thriving game culture and game design community in Calgary.

Radu’s calling came in 2010 when mobile gaming was in its infancy. In-game advertising played a huge part in the growth of gaming, but serving adverts to young gamers poses an ethical dilemma. The purpose of gaming is to inspire imagination in children – and in-game advertisements negatively impact those developing minds. Radu initially set out to create ad-free mobile games. He discovered a passion for game design and an outlet for his creativity. His style of Android-based mobile games quickly became popular – and especially resonated with other parents and gamers seeking ad-free games.

Between a challenging day job as a software developer, parenting and an expanding game design passion, he reached out to other members of the game design community for support and advice. Calgary’s not known as a game development hub, but he joined in with a budding group of game designers and programmers to share their interest, expertise and advice.

As an indie game designer, working with small budgets, lean resources, and high levels of inspiration and passion, Radu recognized that fostering game development in Calgary became as important to Radu as creating long-term sustainability in the gaming industry. He co-organized events and meet-ups as a way of improving his own skills and helping budding game designers expand theirs too. At the same time, this Calgarian group grew to establish itself as the Calgary Game Developers Association in 2013, a not-for-profit organization that today supports game designers of all types and levels.

In 2014, Vivid Helix’s game development evolved from mobile gaming to PC and console platforms. His first console and PC game, Semispheres, was launched on PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation Vita in 2017. It was the first game to reach these platforms developed in Calgary and Alberta. Back then, launching games on consoles as an indie developer with no publisher support was incredibly difficult – and rare. To further establish his career and develop a sustainable path for himself, adopted a more serious approach: he identified events, expos, and festivals to attend. These helped him immerse in the rapidly changing world of independent game development.

He travelled to Unite in Boston, the San Francisco Game Developers’ Conference, PAX West in Seattle, the Tokyo Game Show, PAX South in San Antonio, PAX East in Boston, and many other events across North America. In the meantime, Radu began developing his second PC/console game, Neon Noodles, which is scheduled for release on consoles and PC in 2022.

Building games is complex, technically and creatively. Through solving his game’s design elements, he not only improved his own games but those lessons learned were also shared with the gaming community in Calgary. Game jams, events, advice, and connectivity undoubtedly helped with his game design. The Calgary Game Developers Association is a thriving ecosystem of game developers sharing resources, experience, insights, and skills benefitting members.

Gaming – and game design – is a shared experience. In creating games, a developer shares their cultural influences, personality, and perspective to include as many other people to enjoy too. Vivid Helix and Radu Muresan innovate not only in the game design space but enable innovators through a community of game designers in Calgary.

VIVID HELIX

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