Womenize! Wednesday Weekly is our weekly series featuring inspirational women from games and tech. For this edition we talked to Olga Alavatcaia, Senior Game Artist based in Berlin. Read more about Olga in this interview:
Hi Olga! Apart from being a passionate Senior Artist at your job, you are also working on some personal projects every now and then. Is there any creative idea you’ve recently developed or experimented with, that you’d love to share with us?

Thank you for having me here 🙂 Making games in my free time was always something I was thriving for – starting with good old FRPGs (forum rpgs) back in 2005 and carrying on with mobile games nowadays. Game development allows one to explore different tools and techniques in the most possible fun way. Check out our game Pots.io!

I am lucky enough to be married to an awesome developer, Vladimir Grati, and to be acquainted with an excellent artist like Anna Akrabova, so we teamed up together for a little side project. The idea for this hyper casual game came to me based on a fun itsy-bitsy activity in Dark Souls, where the player rolls around the ground, destroying clay pots. The whole development took several weeks, with all three of us acting also as game designers and QA. We take special pride in all the silly puns that accompany the user’s wins and fails.

Do you think it’s beneficial for artists to learn how to code?

I do believe that constant learning is always beneficial, especially in the gaming industry which is advancing every year. 

Considering that we are talking about generalists, I see two main perks of knowing how to code: first is the possibility to be a “one-man-army”, and the second one – to better understand how the project is built, and as a result – to be able to optimize it in the best way. Besides, if the game artist career loses its appeal, you’ll always have great alternatives to continue as an engineer or a technical artist. 

The first perk opens up a lovely opportunity of being able to make a game of your dreams without depending on anyone else’s abilities and availability – it’s like being a builder and an architect at the same time. There are several examples of this approach resulting in worldwide critically acclaimed titles such as Stardew Valley or Undertale. Of course, there is the other side of the coin such as time consumption and lack of your teammates’ reflection, but isn’t it wonderful – to be able to shape your idea and all the aspects exactly as you envisioned it?

Regarding the second perk – very often, a lot of time is wasted on optimizations and back and forth between engineering and the art department. In a team environment, it can be crucial for an artist to know how exactly to deliver the results or event to implement them. A team member with an insight into the work process of their coworkers is a valuable asset in building a lean organization.

You travelled the world quite a lot, were there any places that you found particularly inspiring from an artistic perspective?

I do firmly believe that artistic inspiration comes in many forms, from standing in the clouds of Fansipan Mountain to walking through a dystopian high-rise building district in Eastern Europe. In both cases, the artistic reflection, the ability to apply your impressions and the sharpness of perception play a critical role in making some internal conclusion that later on can bring new fringes to the art you create. It is probably something very personal to me. Travelling and being in new places satisfy my curiosity and allow me to update my visual library, but the very core of being driven to create is activated by the quiet of being alone with myself. I would say for me it’s not the place that matters, but my ability to perceive. And I am pretty omnivorous in that sense.

Thank you for your time, Olga!

Olga’s Links: Olga’s LinkedIn | Olga’s Personal Project Pots.io

WWW Feature by Sophie Brügmann