Egg of Glass

I piled a mountain of food on my plate at breakfast, like my usual routine. I saw a plate at an empty table and assumed that it was one of my friends’, so I sat down. I was surprised to see an older Vietnamese gentleman sit down instead of a Plus3 student. I quickly apologized and moved to get up, but he smiled and insisted I eat with him. His name is Rich, and he is in charge of a UN program related to climate change in southeast Asia. We talked and talked; he was extremely kind! We ended up talking for over half an hour. That was a great start to my morning.

Next, we attended another lecture, this time on urban planning and development in Vietnam. Yesterday’s lecture was about rural development. The major similarity between both was the emphasis on sustainability. Green practices must be implemented in the Mekong as well as in urban areas. One topic of today’s lecture on urban development was smart cities, which are developed to maximize quality of life. Preserving green space and managing waste safely are core design components of the smart city. There are also differences between the two. One of the main goals of rural development is to preserve the Mekong farmland, while a goal of urban development is to create better infrastructure.

For lunch, we ate at McDonalds. When I got my food, I was very surprised to see a picture-perfect sandwich. I inhaled that and some fries, feeling very content.

A pretty flower

The last event for the day was a visit to Glass Egg Digital Media. The company creates digital models and game art for videogames, the most popular being Apex Legends, Call of Duty, Forza, and Need for Speed. It also works with large companies like Microsoft, EA, SEGA, and Ubisoft. Glass Egg started off creating only car models, but it decided to branch out to backgrounds and characters in order to diversify their industry reach. One of the challenges encountered when doing this was the creation of fictional characters. Models of cars and landscapes had real-life references, but making a fictional character is entirely creative- there is no reference to copy. In the early years of the company, Vietnamese artists would struggle to create characters aligned with westerners’ views. However, as Vietnam became more globalized, and as the young population grew, artists became familiar with western culture, and they more easily created fantasy characters that appeal to international clients.

View from REE Tower

Glass Egg faced some challenges and benefits by operating in Vietnam. International companies were quick to outsource in reputable locations, such as China. Therefore, it took some convincing for game developers to outsource in Vietnam. Glass Egg used its own reputation to do this. A benefit of being based in Vietnam is healthy competition. There is a relatively low number of digital media companies in the area, creating healthy competition. In areas with lots of game art companies, competition can be cut throat and detrimental for business.

Tomorrow, I think I’ll try some local Vietnamese coffee.

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