Womenize! Wednesday Weekly is our weekly series featuring inspirational women from games and tech. For this edition we talked to Laure De Mey, Programmer at ustwo games. Read more about Laure in this interview:
Womenize! Wednesday Weekly is our weekly series featuring inspirational women from games and tech. For this edition we talked to Ewa Kurek, Quality Assurance Lead at Wargaming. Read more about Ewa in this interview:
Hi Ewa! You are the Quality Assurance Lead at Wargaming. How does a typical workday at the studio look like for you?
How a typical day at wargaming looks like really depends on the stage of development we are currently at. In the early stages, I take part in planning, design sessions, tech estimations and any other meetings, where issues or risk areas can be identified early. In the later stages, just before a milestone ends, QA tends to go into full battle mode 😉 it’s all about verifying a feature’s functionality and giving fast feedback, as well as making sure that everything works as intended.
You have been working in the area of QA for almost seven years now. What is it that inspired you to work in QA in the first place?
I grew up with video games and I always loved trying to find a way to cheat the system or pushing the game rules with unexpected actions. I was very curious if there was a way to break the game, so looking for holes in systems was always like a personal challenge to me. I know that sounds awful, however, it is fun at the same time – it is like solving a puzzle in my mind.
What would you say are some helpful skills a person should have when they want to start a career in QA themselves?
Patience: Your patience will be tested thoroughly. Let’s say that you don’t have any debug tools and you have to check if a bug got fixed – in the final boss fight, insane mode, spending a decent amount of time on it – just to learn that actually, the responsible programmer forgot to push the fix to the correct development branch… Oops, I guess you have to try again. 😉
Empathy: Finding issues in somebody’s else’s work plus delivering the news that a task needs to be revisited can be slightly disturbing to your colleagues. Doing it in a positive manner and with the main intention to help make the product better, should be your main motivation.
Assertiveness: There is always some kind of time pressure, hence what tends to be postponed and cropped is the polishing/bug fixing phase. Quite often, development overflows the sacred feature freeze phase, and you might not have enough time to ensure that the quality of the game is good enough. QA should have enough confidence to say no to such situations and ensure we have enough time to test and get all the outstanding issues to be fixed.
Thank you for your time Ewa!
WWW Feature by Anne Zarnecke
Womenize! Wednesday Weekly is our weekly series featuring inspirational women from games and tech. For this edition we talked to Alice Rendell, Senior Narrative Designer at Massive Entertainment. Read more about Alice in this interview:
Hi Alice! You are a Senior Narrative Designer at Massive Entertainment. Having worked both as a Narrative Designer as well as a Game Designer in the past, what is it that drives your passion for storytelling in video games?
I really believe that games are able to tell unique stories because we can use gameplay and systems to elevate the narrative experience, which is something that just isn’t possible in more traditional storytelling forms like film and TV. I personally love exploring how gameplay can evoke emotions, the way a character moves through the world can be loaded with just as much narrative as a cutscene (sometimes more so). The different ways we can use gameplay to tell stories is something that truly excites me. I don’t believe games have reached their full potential yet on how to do this, and that is something I definitely want to be a part of.
For a blogpost on Massive’s website you have talked about your experience working on indie as well as AAA productions, going into some of the “AAA myths” some people might have. Could you share the most common statements and your personal experience with them?
The main comment I hear when talking about AAA games is the idea that as a developer, you have to compromise your creativity, either due to large team sizes or because of a more corporate structure. My experience has been the opposite. For the indie games I worked on, we very often didn’t have time, tools or resources to create what we wanted to, and compromises on design and narrative were constantly being made. That of course still happens with AAA games, but as there are far more resources available I find that I am able to push the vision of what we can do because we have the team and the tools to support it. I personally find this allows me to be more creative, as I really get to do a deep-dive into the best way to tell stories in the game as opposed to spending the majority of my energy thinking of workarounds.
You are also vocal about mental health issues such as burnout, something you have dealt with in the past as well. Speaking from your own experience, what has helped you recover and how could other members of the industry lower the risk of experiencing a burnout themselves?
The problem with burnout is that the stress levels in your system are so high that you end up running on adrenaline for months at a time, which actually makes you feel like you are on top of everything. I didn’t realize anything was wrong until I started getting chest pains, and at that point it was too late and I was already burnt-out. There is a burnout evaluation test online which is good to take every couple of months, regardless of how stressed you think you are, because sometimes burnout can creep up on you with realizing it.
The biggest help for me coming back to work after burnout was being able to set strict boundaries for myself. My perfectionist nature mixed with my passion means I have a tendency to take on too much, and say yes to everything regardless of how busy I am. It was important for my recovery that I listened to my gut and say no when I felt like something would overload me. Also reminding myself that my work doesn’t need to be perfect 100% of the time; pretty damn good is also entirely acceptable!
Thank you for your time Alice!
WWW Feature by Anne Zarnecke
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