Hypemasters
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Hypemasters

Hypemasters insiders: Dmitry Shaposhev, Game Designer

Last month we released World War Armies (WWA) globally. Why did Hypemasters create an RTS game for mobile, and how did we do it? To answer these questions, Hypemasters Insiders spoke to our Game Lead, Dmitry Shaposhev (Dima). Let’s get straight into the interview!

Q: Can you briefly share how the process of designing the WWA game worked?
A: “What if we make a true RTS game for mobile?” was the initial conversation between Hypemasters founders Sergii and Boris. This question turned into a prototype proving that it can work. My first assignment was to write a concept for a mobile RTS as a complete game. Apparently, I got into the same wavelength with Boris and Sergii, so I was invited to lead the game! :)

The first concept was inspired by Company of Heroes (CoH) and Clash Royale. As the concepts’ details emerged from the two games, we began to craft the original idea of our game. After about a month, the 1-page idea turned into a full-fledged 56-page design document describing all possible game mechanics (spoiler: about half of the mechanics were never implemented or were thrown out after the prototyping stage. Hello, game dev reality).

As our team was growing from 1 to 20 over the next six months, we were making features based on the original design document. Then, the magic of game development began — new prototypes of mechanics allowed us to generate new ideas and look at the game from a new perspective. As a result, we finally realised that it was impossible to transfer CoH to mobile phones with minimal changes. We had to find our own way. A long journey of searching for my vision and experimenting with fundamental mechanics began.

Since we immediately understood we were making an innovative game, we decided to release an MVP version in open beta status on Google Play. It happened eight months after the design document was first drafted. We have been testing all the changes on the players since then — watching how the game performs and gathering feedback. The development process for the game was based on these three pillars: constant alignment with the project vision, data analysis, and player feedback. Our game was globally launched after 1.5 years of bold experiments. Finally, we were ready to show the world what we had accomplished.

Q: What is it like to work with the team?
A: For me, the most important thing is to see and feel the desire of all team members to make a cool product. Sometimes, working in game development is stressful, especially if results are not visible (for example, project metrics aren’t not growing). In these moments, the desire to push forwards and test new hypotheses is the best proof that we are all on the right track. Going to a bar helps as well! That’s where comradery flourishes.

Q: What were the challenges of designing WWA?
A: The main challenge was the lack of references. We had to go through real R&D — a lot of trials and a lot of errors. For example, our tanks fire physical projectiles that can ricochet off the target and destroy another enemy unit on the other side of the map. Maybe that’s what happens in real life, but for a game… These things have to get simplified to avoid WTF moments for our players.

Q: What is the most valuable feedback that you’ve ever received?
A: We have formed a great community of players and they always share their memes and useful feedback.

Q: What is the biggest lesson that you have learned?
A: The biggest lesson for me is to prioritise bold experiments. In the early stages of a project, it’s essential to make radical changes rather than trying to polish what’s already there. This can drastically change the vision, but it certainly increases your chances of creating a hit.

Q: How has Hypemasters changed over the years?
A: Compared to when I had my first interview, the difference is dramatic. Whenever I tell someone that I work for a startup called Hypemasters and we are almost 40 people, I hear the same reaction “this doesn’t sound like a startup.” However, we still have the spirit of a startup in the “body” of a well-established company and that’s what I love.

Q: So, what’s next for you?
A: Since the beginning of this year, we have decided to start thinking about new games. Initially, this didn’t set me on fire because my whole focus was (and still is) on WWA — I believe that we can continue creating awesome updates for the game for years to come. However, recently I’ve come up with a cool idea and that got me going! Now, I am always looking forward to these discussions and I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Want to see what’s next for you and for the industry? To be challenged and create legendary games? Send your CV now to join@hypemasters.com, and you can become one of our masters!

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