Hypemasters insiders: Anton Shilin, Server Developer
When it comes to professional development, choosing the right company to work for is an important factor. The size of the company matters: working in a small team is different to navigating a large organisation.
This week, Hypemasters insiders is about Anton Shilin, our server developer, who has seen Hypemasters grow from 6 employees to 30+ employees. Anton shares his experience of working at Hypemasters over time, with the company growing and the world situation changing.
Q:How has Hypemasters changed since 2019?
A: Hypemasters has changed a lot. When I joined, the six of us were huddled in a back room, working on a small idle game. At that time, we were just beginning to understand that we wanted to create ambitious and unique games such as World War Armies.
Now we have a distributed team of over 30 diverse professionals who work remotely and flexibly . I am definitely satisfied with how the company has evolved and continues to evolve, while maintaining the same values we laid down at the start.
As the studio grows, so does the number of interactions. I now spend more time talking to the team,, planning, estimating the time to complete new tasks, and monitoring metrics. I have less time than before to write code and complete my own tasks.
Q:Most valuable feedback for your work?
A: This was one of my favourite product reviews: someone left a comment on our social media page saying, “God, a strategy game on a mobile phone :(”. And then 15 minutes later they wrote, ‘Well, it’s worth playing actually”.
With regards to my work, collecting feedback is not easy, because my work is not usually apparent. It affects the server side of the project, which players usually do not feel in any way. No one pays attention to the continuous communication between the game application and the server. Although behind the scenes, there are multiplayer components, protection from cheaters, the safety of the user’s game progress, and much more.
However, I realised that non-verbal feedback is actually the real feedback: the comfort of the team and the reliability of the services that I build and maintain. That’s one of the reasons why I like my job so much.
For example, my area of responsibility includes maintaining the performance of automatic builds of the application. Starting a new working day, I get access to build the latest changes for the game. For the convenience of testing or viewing new art, everyone has the opportunity to launch a build of the game version with the necessary changes, which will automatically become available to anyone in the company.
Another example: automatic creation of a complete environment for a separate development branch. This is a handy tool for situations where work on a new feature or game balance needs to be isolated so as not to interfere with the work of the rest of the team. It may not sound very clear, but this thing saves a lot of time in the process of working on the game :)
Q:What is it like to work with a small team?
A: Comfortable. Really comfortable. There is no bureaucracy that puts sticks in the wheels, everything is open and independent, we are all equal.
It’s cool to see when someone is carried away by a task they like, and how new commits appear in the repository at 1 am. I occasionally do this myself. However, a couple of times this was happening in anticipation of releases :D
Q:With all the instability in the world, how do you feel about your job?
A: When the pandemic began, we almost immediately went remote. It took some time to get used to the new mode of work. It was hard to establish the line between work and life in such a period when it was scary to leave the house. But in the end I liked it. With time, I definitely saw more advantages than disadvantages for myself, so I decided not to return to the (by that time already new and equipped) office.
When the war started, I didn’t panic much. I tried to weigh and calculate my decisions. Therefore, although I was ready to move to Turkey, having tickets in my hands and a Corgi packed for the flight, I decided to stay and relocate after some time. At work, we tried to keep a cool head. There is no point in transferring any panic into your work.
Q: How do you see Hypemasters in the next 3 years?
A: If things go well for us, then I see an international studio doing 2–3 unique projects with more teams. I am impressed by the example of Valve with the ability to easily switch between projects, do what you like best and what you see in the future.
Of course, it would be great to periodically meet the whole team at one place (not only in Google Meets), so that we do not forget that we remain one big friendly company.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I want World War Armies to become a hit! This will bring new challenges, difficulties and interesting tasks. No developer likes to stagnate and sit with monotonous tasks overlaid, performing them year after year.
After that, I would like to start a new project on a new tech stack, to try myself in new technologies.
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