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Team Introduction: Esra Spevak, Quality Assurance

After some time we have prepared another introduction of a member of our team for you! Meet Esra, who answers your questions, helps you to pass hard levels and takes care of the quality of our games!  

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What do you do in Mingle Games?

I am Level Designer, Quality Assurance, Community, Support, you name it, I am doing it! I am making sure that the games are of the highest possible quality, and designing new and fun levels for our games. I also participate in design discussions and try to bring new ideas.

Wow, jack of all trades! Do you like working here and why?

I LOVE working here! The biggest reason is that I love games and now I can also make them. I love the core values of our company, the teamwork of very talented and skilled people, I also enjoy how great mood and fun we have, and how ridiculous jokes we make of each other.

That looks like lots of fun! Why did you choose to work in a gaming company?

Originally my idea was to become a “Biochemist”. I joined our company thanks to my husband, to help for a while with testing. After a short time, I realized how passionate I am about this job and how I loved games my whole life and now I have the opportunity to make them!

From biochemistry to game development! That I call THE twist! What were you doing before?

I was studying, but in my free time, I was spending lots of time playing many mobile games that I cannot even count. I was also playing PlayStation games and was a maniac of Lord of The Rings Online. Now when I think back, I can not understand why I wanted to become a Biochemist, when clearly games were my life!

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So you do what you love to do, that sounds like happiness. How does your typical day look like?

We wake up very early with my beloved baby daughter! I start testing right away, checking all bug fixes, new features if they work correctly, and if any sneaky bugs or crashes are around! We then have daily standup meeting where we talk about each other’s work. Every 2 weeks, we have our Scrum meeting where we plan our Sprints. Of course, my daughter is also an important part of these meetings! When testing is done, I start thinking and designing new levels. I check any comments from the community of players and try to help them, make gameplay videos for them or solve any issue they have. When I am done with work, I love spending time with my family, doing lots of activities :-)

Are you sure you are a homo sapiens? That is a LOT of work done for one mother! I hope other mothers read this and get inspired! Where do you find your motivation and inspiration?

Creating games itself is my motivation. I feel everything is in our hands, and we can do lots of things to create quality games which people will enjoy! Also, I find inspiration in anything: movies, nature, people, my family, space, and universe… name it. All you need to do is to observe and analyze.

Mind blowing! What is your favorite game?

It’s a very difficult question. The most favorite I would say Lord of the Rings Online. It’s just awesome! And, of course, the fact that I met my lovely husband there ;-) I also love games like “Best Fiends”, “Pet Rescue Saga”, “Scrubby Dubby Saga” to name a few on mobile games. Also, two of my favorite from PlayStation games are Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2. My favorite game is definitely Calming Lia :-D. As I never played anything that long, often, and I still love it!

Cool! Can you tell us more about yourself? Where are you from, what are your activities outside of work, etc.?

I am from Cyprus, I love spending time with my family, having some quality time. Aside from that, I love playing games, reading books, improving and educating myself. I love going into nature which gives me lots of energy. I also enjoy watching movies and I like playing the piano. Also, I enjoy good beer or wine!

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Must be rich life! Anything else you want to add?

This is the dream job I have never imagined that it’s possible to have. And I cannot believe it’s real. We put our heart, our passion and lots of hard work in our games. It’s always big happiness for us and gives big strength to see our players writing and saying how they love our game :-)

Amazing! Thank you, Esra for sharing your thoughts! We are happy to have you here!

Team Introduction: Lucie Spevakova, Office manager

And here we go with another series of our crazy introductions! This time it is person who takes care of everything! Standing ovation for Lucie Spevakova!

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What do you do in Mingle Games?

Formally I am Project and Office Manager but informally I also do whatever is needed. From recruiter through librarian and accountant to real estate agent. Name it.

Ah Jack of all trades! Do you like working here and why?

I do like it a lot as it is never boring here and I always had passion for games so working for a game company is just awesome for me. We often discuss stuff around our games like gameplay, effects, graphics etc., which sometimes turns into explosion of ideas and results in burst out laughing. Now, how can you not like it?

Sounds fun indeed! Why did you choose to work in gaming company?

Games were my passion ever since I can remember. After finishing university I was working in international corporation where our clients were mostly banks or insurance companies and everything was very strict including clothes, working hours, etc. which was not really for me. Creting games is much more chaotic but much more fun!

From Banks to Games, great! What were you doing before?

For 5 years I was working for consulting company Accenture as an analyst. It was very intense experience to change from international corporation to family size company but I can´t complaint. It was definitely change for better as I can clearly see the results of my work here and I communicate with people more personally.

So size DOES matter! How does your typical day look like?

I usually wake up at 6:30, take a shower and prepare breakfast. Then I wake up my 4 years old daughter and force her to eat, switch clothes and do the morning hygiene, whitch takes incredible amount of time. While we are arguing about these things and listening „Let it go“ from the Frozen movie over and over again, I am trying to prepare myself for work as well.

I arrive to work around 8:30am, start my laptop and prepare large pot of green tea. Then I handle my emails and do whatever is needed. Sometimes I have to go to post office or other offices too or shopping if something is missing. I go to lunch around noon and then continue with my work.

I leave the office at around 4pm so I can pick up my daugter on time from the playschool. After that we usually go to some playground or shopping, just enjoying time together.

When I put her to sleep, I sometimes handle some stuff I didn’t manage to finish during the day and if there is some time and energy left I like to go jogging or just watch some tv. Mostly I go to sleep around 11pm.

I am really glad that I have flexible working hours, so I can arrange work around my life and be able to work hard and play hard.

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Looks like you do many things indeed! Where do you find your motivation?

It is not that hard to find motivation at this company as we create games! Game business is very creative and people are open minded.

Fair enough. What is your favorite game?

About 5 years ago I would have said Lord of the rings online as me and my husband used to spend unbelievable amount of time there for about two years period. However, nowadays I don’t play PC games much, I switched to iPad. What I like most are Best Fiends, Hay Day and Dragon Vale.

Mobile to rule them all! Can you tell us more about yourself? Where are you from, what are your activities outside work, etc.?

I come from České Budějovice which is the largest city of the South Bohemian region, however I have been living in Prague for more than 15 years now, so I believe I can call myself Praguer now ;)

I love to spend my free time with my daughter but apart from that my free time activities are mostly jogging related ones. I am part of a large group called Wonderful women in run (Bajecne zeny v behu) and we participate in or organize many competitions and other activities. I also love playing games or watching movies or series (Game of Thrones lately) but I also love long trips to nature.

Thank you for sharing! Lets see who will be introduced next time…

Team Introduction: Jaromir Cisar, Animator

Today we will introduce Jaromir Cisar, our animator, who gives life to all the art! Let’s hear his story!

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What do you do in Mingle Games?

I handle animator post in Mingle Games. My main purpose is to bring all characters, creatures, background and foreground to life and to prepare them to be an entertaining segment of our games.

That is great, otherwise it would be very boring! Do you like working here and why?

Of course I like working here. I am fortunate to be in the team composed of equally excited people with passion for games.

Sounds like a dream team. Why did you choose to work in a gaming company?

Because I’ve played games since I can remember and now I have a chance to actually create them, be a part of the process. So the circle is complete now :-)

Yes and your knowledge of games is always very useful. What were you doing before?

I was a freelancer since before I finished university. I had all kinds of jobs: TV and web ads, short animated series, signature tunes etc. but I also tried working outside creativity like a postman or a receptionist.

Interesting life experience! How does your typical day look like?

I wake up at 7:45am, have breakfast, take a tram to Mingle Games main base and from 9:00am to 5-6:00pm I create awesome animations, with a lunch break, of course. Then I go home, have dinner, take some exercise, work on my own animation projects or go out with my friends.

You indeed create awesome animations! Where do you find your motivation?

It is very simple – I love animation. I like to create something that entertains people around me. I like to involve my friends into my projects, for voice acting or „motion capture“ for my characters. I like to make up stories, situations, and interesting heroes. My inspiration comes from many games, movies and books that I have played, watched or read during my life.

Just what we need. What is your favorite game?

I like to play adventures or survival horror games most of all. Probably my most favorite adventure game is Little Big Adventure 2, survival horror Resident Evil and Silent Hill series. As for the newer games it is definitely Alien Isolation. Creators of this game managed to transform the immense atmosphere of Ridley Scott’s Alien movie (which is my favorite movie).

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Most of us loves horrors here, so you fit in greatly. Can you tell us more about yourself? Where are you from, what are your activities outside work, etc.?

I am from Prague 3 – Žižkov, I’ve lived here almost my entire life. Outside work I constantly create my animated movies, think about new stories and characters, and go out with my friends to the cinema, pub or concerts. At night I put on my super hero costume and save Prague from evil forces :-)

So you are the famous Animan? Anything else you want to add?

Well, I think I wrote all that is to know about me. My darkest secrets and, of course, the position of my super hero cave I will keep for myself :-)

Thank you for great insight. We all now feel safer knowing there is a superhero fighting the crime! Next week we will introduce another member of our team.

Team Introduction: Roman Hodek, Game Designer

This week we are introducing our game and level designer Roman Hodek! Make some noise!

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What do you do in Mingle Games?

Game and level design. I do work on games, but I do also work on myself – making it all better. I also do clean dishes, but only those I have used.

You look like a neat person!

Do you like working here and why?

I certainly do! It is not only that I enjoy making games. It is also the fact that I enjoy effective work flow, competent coworkers and open-minded and creative atmosphere. These things are not granted, and I do prize them highly in Mingle Games.

It is great that you appreciate these things.

Why did you choose to work in gaming company?

Mingle Games is not my first gaming company. Originally, when I finished High school, I was looking up some job offers and I found an offer to become Level Designer in mobile gaming company.

It actually didn’t occur to me beforehand that I might be able to get such an awesome job. It can be said that it was something beyond my dreams. I was enthusiastic for computer games since my earliest age, and the affection never left me. It might have been helped by the fact that I haven’t had direct access to up-to-date computers for most of my childhood, so the magic never had chance to become something ordinary to me.

In the early 2000’s, the Czech gaming industry was quite thin, so the offer was a surprise. I dared to apply and made it in – Stayed in the industry ever since. I worked for companies as Disney Mobile, Pixalon, Lonely Sock, Lipa Learning and Geewa.

So you having your dream job huh? Great for you!

How does your typical day look like?

I wake up in the morning and race for the intercity bus, where I fall asleep again.

I try to read during the subway ride, but boy, are the trains sometime overcrowded – I can hardly even hold the book in front of me. Except Fridays, where there is hardly anybody around, which I don’t get as it’s still a working day. Is there some sacred Friday cult I should know about?

Anyway, I get to the work and the first thing I do is read the notes from previous day – a list of things to do today. If they still make sense in my fresh eyes I commence the work. Generally, it’s:

– coordinating the progress with others

– finding design solutions for our game projects

– properly describing design solutions in the various document, management, table and flowchart editors at our disposal

– making game levels in our level editor

At the end of working day, I assess the progress and make list of things to do next.

Try to read in subway.

Try not to sleep in bus and play games or read there instead.

At home, I pat the dog. Then I’m instantly charged by the force of nature that is my son. I play with him for few hours, then try and fail to get him into bed, alas he is indefatigable.

When the kid is finally unconscious, I have a healthy chat with my lovely wife and scramble an hour or two for some of my hobbies, being it painting miniatures, game playing or some general media consumption.

When wolf howls remind me of the night, I dream…

Wow, that was impressively detailed!

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Where do you find your motivation?

With the type of work I’m doing, it almost feels like the motivation finds me! It is the fact that I like doing what I’m doing and that I can do it well that is so gratifying.

Speaking generally, I want to enjoy the time I was given on Earth. I’m motivated by the prospect of calm and good life. Like a proper hobbit.

Bilbo is that you?

What is your favorite game?

This prize needs to go to the original Fallout. No other game had enchanted me so completely. It’s a bit funny, because technically speaking, the game is broken on many levels. But it’s the hearth that counts at the end.

Fallout is indeed awesome game!

Can you tell us more about yourself? Where are you from, what are your activities outside work, etc.?

Originally I’m from Prague, but currently live in small Bohemian city of Mělník. I enjoy walks in nature and industrial areas like a river ports and old factories. I might be a bit of a romantic, but was never properly diagnosed. I enjoy literature and gaming of all types, model making, ice hockey, good movies… and sometimes bad movies. Music! You know how it goes.

But really, my heart and soul belong to my wife Petra and son Richard. Ain’t it sweet?

It is sweet! And you have very rich life.

Anything else you want to add?

Yeah… Don’t drink glowing water.

We will certainly not drink it! Thank you for sharing your things with us! Next week we will introduce another member of our team!

 

 

Mingle Games went to Slush event

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On my first day in Helsinki it was classic Finish cold and what was really fascinating me, were the Finns not wearing caps, scarfs, gloves…they just felt warm! I started my way to the Slush event following a map from Slush application on my cellphone. After some time spent by wandering around Helsinki trying to find the right place, I decided to take taxi and it turned out that I was at the opposite side of town, on a completely wrong place (the Slush application pointed me wrong!). I lost about 15 minutes with this but finally I was in a queue waiting for a registration. Unfortunately it was a long queue and the waiting took another 15 minutes.

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When finally registered (and almost frozen) and checked by the guards I was allowed to go inside. It looked wild and amazing there, so I started with unfreezing myself and checking who and what was where. The Slush event this year was extremely large, I think it was twice as big as it was last year, and I could see many people running around like headless chicken not knowing what to do instead of doing something. Which made me think if the largeness of the event wasn’t decreasing the quality of the event instead of increasing it. I must admit I was a bit confused myself sometimes.

And by the way, there was unbelievably terrible internet there. It was annoying me a lot as I couldn’t even check my emails! And I believe I was not the only one as I could see many people clicking the internet on their devices trying to get connected at least for a short time.

On the first day I visited few presentations, mostly companies presenting themselves, who they are and what they do. But one worth mentioning was from Wooga where they were describing the way how they cancel their projects, avoid demoralization of the team and motivate people for next projects. I liked it as it is the way of thinking that I appreciate as well.

I also visited lecture from Two Dots which I consider one of the most creative match 3 game. The presenter showed nice examples of how they improve their brand. They create videos and some crazy stuff sending to YouTube, Spotify etc. The brand is a strong stuff and it must be taken care of carefully.

Later on the first day I started my own stand at AppCampus where I was for two hours. People were passing by and watching but not really interested in. I think there was too much stuff around which actually decreased the effectivity of the event as no one had enough time for anything. Anyway, I received some new contacts and mainly very good brain storming which is priceless.

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I can say it was very successful day regarding meetings with people. I talked to many people, had some opinion exchanges, had some theories confirmed and I believe everything is optimistic now for us. Overall people there were very optimistic. They feel it is challenge but they accept it and look for ways how to do it, not excuses why not to do it.

At the end of the day I met my friend Timo and then we attended the SuperCell afterparty, which was huge! There were few thousands of people and I have never experienced something like this before. My principle of not drinking too much at the party failed a bit but fortunately not too much so I didn’t have hangover the next day.

On the second day I visited some presentations but didn’t find anything that I hadn’t known before. At least I checked all the new games. Later that day I attended very interesting lecture from one investor, who focuses on gaming industry. He was explaining why there is such a low interest in investing into games among investors. The problem is the brand, which can be brought to other industries if successful. For example there is a huge difference between SuperCell and Rovio, where they both have very successful games but Rovio has the brand developed while SuperCell does not. You can find Angry Birds in any industry that comes into your mind – clothes, food, toys, etc.

The closing of the second day and the whole Slush was great. The winners of the Slush 100 competition won 500 000 EUR, which is unbelievable! That never happened anywhere before, not even close to it and I think it was really beautiful.

For me this was one of the biggest and most fascinating events I have ever seen and it was very beneficial in terms of brainstorming, contacts and potential cooperation. There were some technical problems, very bad internet and complicated organization but on the other hand it is not easy to run such a huge event.

I think big things happened there and also some other will be also announced retroactively. I am looking forward to coming here next year!

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Mingle Games goes to AppCampus! – Day by day

If you didn’t read overview, go here please: Mingle Games goes to AppCampus! – Overview

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