Game development

Working at Wargaming | Cyprus Mail

“We need more qualified people, which means we need to promote Cyprus more to developers abroad. They must understand that if they come to Cyprus, they will not be alone. Creative people need to be with others like them, where they can network. With this, Cyprus’s many advantages in terms of taxation, incentives, starting a business, legal system and, of course, climate will complete the mix.

Alexander Sobolev and his team work at the very beginning of the creation of a video game, called the “ideation phase”. This conceptual step is critical, as an issue at this level can taint the entire game-building effort. The Sobolev team includes top developers who set up video games and ensure that they will remain so.

Game development is not just about engineering. It’s also an art, you have to have a great idea for the game. But the execution is also critical. You need to have a lot of experience to get from point A to point B successfully. And there are so many choices to be made, you need very skilled and creative people to make the games work.

Sobolev himself belongs to the classic group of highly skilled and creative development professionals. “I was 12 when I knew I was going to be a programmer and I was 14 when I touched my first computer. Since then, I have done nothing else. His team is a group of cognate spirits. “We are testing new mechanics and my guys are very good,” says Sobolev.

“I mean, they’re good engineers and have a lot of experience in the gaming industry. At this point in video game creation – right from the start – we need a lot of understanding, a lot of experience. to be able to deliver at this stage. To form this group, Sobolev says he is very, very selective.

“We don’t have a large group. We started with 3, after 2 years we were 11, then, in a year, 21. By industry standards, this is a small group.

“Most game developers dream of creating a game that will hit the market and become a big hit. My group is different. I work with people who care about making games. They are motivated by the idea that they will make a great game that works really well. We start with an idea and do a few quick and dirty versions just to get a feel for how they’ll work. And then we build that idea into a brilliant user experience. Finding developers who enjoy this process is not easy, but when we find them, they stay with us and we become a very tight group.

In fact, Wargaming doesn’t have a high developer turnover rate, and in this, they are different from most other big tech companies.

“We have some rotation. But it’s a small, very small rotation, ”says Sobolev. “It’s because the developers we hire share our vision. They appreciate the opportunity to create great games, with great user experience, and they stay with us.

Sobolev recruits developers from all over the world. “Now we will grow, but it will not be 100% growth in Cyprus. We have grown accustomed to remote working during the pandemic and we plan to develop in this way. “

Isn’t that a bit difficult to manage?

“Yes it is. Before the pandemic, it was more difficult, because we have studied and learned a lot since then. We have worked throughout the period of containment and our activity has remained good, we are delivering, we are moving forward . “

Is it possible to achieve the same level of productivity when working with someone remotely?

“No. Maybe in some cases, yes, but not in others. As far as programming and coding goes, it works well. It’s even better not to ask them to come to the office, and they will then be able to spend their time as efficiently as possible.

“But when it comes to the creative part, we have to meet in person. We find that online meetings are not as effective as when we get together, and we can exchange ideas. Nothing can replace face-to-face personal meetings in terms of creative communication. We don’t have to meet every day, but regularly, once or twice a week in person.

Most of Sobolev’s team come from abroad, but he hired the first Cypriot last year.

Finding experienced senior developers in Cyprus is not easy, as it is a challenge all over the world. “It is indeed quite difficult to find them. We have a team of technical specialists in Limassol, all from Eastern Europe and Russia. It will be some time before the IT community in Cyprus is large enough that we can find all of our developers here. Part of the problem is that many drop out of college, go on to further their education in Europe or the United States, or they go there to work for a big company, and they settle there and never come back.

“We need to create an environment in Cyprus in which these young developers can have a career. It is being done gradually, but we are at the starting point.

“We have also recruited very young people who have just graduated from university. We want to teach them and prepare them for success in the industry. It’s good to have juniors doing the things that we expect from a junior. We are therefore going to stay in contact with a young specialist who knows some maths and a few tricks, but he is not ready to deliver. We are going to invest in these guys to upgrade them.

“We’re starting to work with universities here to create programs that train developers. It’s only just getting started, but it’s very promising. Cyprus needs to build a community of developers, insists Sobolev.

“We need more qualified people, which means we need to promote Cyprus more to developers abroad. They must understand that if they come to Cyprus, they will not be alone. Creative people need to be with others like them, where they can network. With this, Cyprus’s many advantages in terms of taxation, incentives, starting a business, legal system and, of course, climate will complete the mix.