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Employee Spotlight: Michal Barton Article, Development Lead, WoT Development

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What do you do at Wargaming?

I work as a Development Lead for Prague’s WoT Development Team. We coordinate with all the external teams to develop World of Tanks.

Right now, we’re trying to build out feature teams to assist with development. We’re looking to create three complete teams that will oversee specific features that are planned or dreamt up for the game. Unlike other teams that are focused on a specific specialties like engineering, design, or UX, these feature teams will consist of all game development disciplines that are necessary to develop new game features. These units will work independently, and the features developed are mostly going to be their responsibility to deliver.  We really want these teams to be agile and have their own autonomy. The goal is for all these specialists to feel like they’re on one team and to work with each other in close proximity.

I think it’s important to build out these feature teams properly because development for World of Tanks is challenging as the project is a live service game. We consistently need to push out updates to keep our audience engaged, and the development cycle at Wargaming is continuous. We try to listen to our community as much as possible and look into the data we receive from our players to satisfy their enjoyment of the game. Fortunately, we have a very knowledgeable Business Intelligence department that provide us with information on the game that we are not fully focused on. This data assists us with considering new avenues to continue development for World of Tanks.

How did you end up at Wargaming?

Last year, I finished a huge project. I was working on a big open world RPG called Kingdom Come: Deliverance, and after development, I was approached by someone at Wargaming. They brought up the idea of the Gateway Team in Prague, and I thought it was really cool opportunity to go to a multinational environment. At Wargaming, I’ve been assisting external teams to develop features for our games, and I’ve been able to develop my skills and pass down the knowledge I have accumulated throughout my career. I’ve been working in the industry for over thirteen years now, and I’m in a great position to help other engineers grow.

What does your day to day look like?

There are two primary aspects about my job. The first is synchronizing with the different teams and making sure that they are on the right track with the project, every technology and dependency is resolved, and that they have no blockers.

The second part is helping the teams deliver technical recommendations or solutions for the early stages of feature development, so we create an environment of cooperation and help the external teams get feedback from the primary development team. Overall, the most important part is providing all our people with the necessary resources for them to be successful.

I’m really looking forward to building the feature teams to start development for World of Tanks because it’s a great opportunity for me and Czech developers in general. I believe these teams will be able to significantly assist in development and further smooth out different processes across our teams.

It’s important because our Minsk team [The primary developers of World of Tanks PC] reaches a limit on who they can hire in the CIS region. The Prague Gateway team allows Wargaming to grow internationally and continue growing our team of talented developers.

Why do you continue working in video games?

I think the industry is really rewarding. If you finish a project- If you deliver upon release, the feeling you get from different player response is really incredible. It’s almost impossible to describe, and I think it’s the best thing that really motivates me to continue developing in the gaming industry.

What do you find most interesting about being a Client Engineer at Wargaming?

I think the most interesting thing is that I’m learning a lot of new stuff even though I’ve worked on similar games already. At Wargaming, we have a lot of technologies combined together that are cutting edge. It allows me to continue learning and growing as an engineer.

One of the biggest driving factors to join Wargaming is that the company basically works on an MMO, and it’s exciting because I think this is the future of games. I’ve never worked on an online game before, and it’s an opportunity that I really appreciate having because I get to learn how to develop games for a massive player base.

What makes development for a primarily multiplayer focused game different from other games?

For me, it’s a completely different way of designing and developing. You need a different mindset because there are certain things you can’t do when there are other players involved.  For example, when a player cheats in a multiplayer game it affects the experience of those around them, so you need to take these factors in consideration during development. The intricacies of developing a multiplayer game is twice as hard as a traditional game because of the player interactions. In traditional games, you primarily need to focus on how a player interacts with a game, but with something like World of Tanks, we need to consider how the players interact with each other as well as the game.

Why do you personally believe MMOs are the future of video games?

Maybe it’s just my personal opinion, but I started to rarely play single player games. I began to realize that a lot of single player games started to feel the same. It might be because I’m in game development and I see the structures, the AI, and how the games were built up as I play. I ended up knowing how the game will end before I even finish playing it. As a developer, playing single player games became less challenging for me because I know how the AI will work, behave, and what they’ll do.

This feeling completely changes in multiplayer games. Every time I play a multiplayer game it’s a completely different experience because the players dictate how the game will go- the players become the game makers. Multiplayer games are unpredictable, and I think these types of games will continue to keep players engaged in the future.

For those looking to get into video games, what’s important to look out for as an engineer?

There’s a lot of things Engineers need to focus on. For me, I think the most important thing is stability. You need to make sure that when you’re adding something you don’t break any existing functionality and experience for the players because the game is live, and you can easily break it.

The good thing about Wargaming is that we do a lot of unit and automated testing. Additionally, we have pretty good standards for coding, and we have a QA department that thoroughly tests the game before it goes live.

Wargaming is hiring for Prague’s Feature Teams! See our opportunities here.

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