Hey Axel, can you introduce yourself...
Hi, My name is Axel Lamury. I'm a Producer at Bohemia Interactive, specialized in the art department.
I'm overseeing: assets and animation, as well as audio, outsource and environment.
I'm interested in everything that's related to art, I often spend hours browsing through ArtStation, Pixiv or Twitter for art, inspiration and references. Occasionally I draw illustrations and characters. I'm also learning 3D on Blender for various purposes from modelling to motion design.
How long have you worked for Bohemia Interactive?
I think I'm going into my 8th month now, so I'm pretty new inside the company. But it's already been a really nice first 8 months of time.
What does your usual day look like?
The daily tasks of producers can change a lot. But mainly I'm a support role for the developers of my department. We have a ton of people working in many different fields and many specialized positions. Everything from artists who're making weapons, vehicles, and much more. Animators who're going to bring the models to life, Environment designers who're going to carefully hand drop assets to create a lifelike immersive map.
My daily tasks are to make sure that the art tickets we're creating are going through the workflow and pipeline correctly - ensuring that they're on time to meet deliveries according to the milestones, hence filling the needs of other teams requesting assets from us such as design. The best tools to accomplish this mission is to use ticket management software (Jira usually) and a Gantt file due to the waterfall management style that inherits from the Art workflow. I.e. you wouldn't be able to animate a weapon if the model & rig wasn't done in the first place. A Gantt allows me to see the dependencies created depending on the asset and foresee delays or bottlenecks that could occur as the asset is progressing through the pipeline.
Overall, a usual day would be: Meetings and routine checkups, checking deliveries and progress and a lot of meetings, either to fix issues by acting as a bridge of communication or to report the progress to other departments, having a crystal clear communication of how things are evolving on our side of the development.
On top of all of this: communication, something that's really important in my eyes is also to check how my teammates are getting on. The human side is extremely important, the well-being of my team is of the upmost importance, I try as much as possible to check on people regularly. Learn about them, their ambitions, what they want to progress on or if they want to try new things. I try my best to aim for their well-being and they also make sure I'm doing fine as well.
Hitman "Lou Montana" stopping a workaholic, 2021, colorized
What do you think are the most important skills/traits for someone in your position to have?
- Communication is key, both on the hard skill and the soft skill spectrum. You need to be able to report issues and progress to your Team Lead and other departments but also be able to spot the "mood" of the people that work with you. The Video game industry is an industry full of people with a lot of passion. You need to approach everyone individually, there's no "How to talk to... 101" it comes with practice like a muscle.
- Planning & Time management: Support your Dev early so they can carry you later.
It's really important to understand the limits and work capacity of your team, if you overtask them, they can fall into a vicious circle or worse, get demoralized and burn out. By keeping on top of planning and organizing, you're able to provide a safety net to your team. Sometimes it can also lead to you telling other departments that what they're requesting isn't possible in the current timeframe.
- You don't have to understand everything I'm working with people who're so specialized in a specific part of the Art pipeline that even if they spent 30 minutes trying to explain it to me, I wouldn't be able to understand how they managed to do their tasks. (Hello Technical Artists)
Although what is heavily encouraged is to ask them to simplify the explanation to understand the basics of what's needed by using these few, simple questions:
- Do you have all the resources to finish the task?
- Who can provide help?
- Is someone blocking you?
- Do you need time to experiment and do R&D?
Is this your first job in the gaming industry?
No, it's not. My first indie job in the gaming industry was when I was 18 years old working on "Quarantime"
Although when I was 14 years old. I made a private World Of Warcraft server, handling the server, scripts, SQL, providing my classmates and friends a way to discover the MMORPG genre for free. It was the turning point where I knew I would love to provide players with interactive experiences via the video game medium.
What do you enjoy about your job, and game development in general?
As corny as it sounds, "meeting new people" is probably one of the things I enjoy the most about my job, I get to meet some really talented artists, programmers and designers. To evolve and experiment with them. You can learn and teach to/from so many people, which is also a key element of our industry, we keep evolving and finding new technology, there's always a breakthrough in game engine, shaders, hardware capability, etc. I'm always looking to the evolution of the technology, as long as it doesn't have a negative impact on the environment.
Can you tell us a random fact about yourself?
Before joining the company, I don't think the word "weeb" was ever mentioned in the company chat? I used to cosplay a lot when younger.
What was your first positive interaction with video games that you can remember?
First console, first game, allow me to reply with a simple picture:
Squirtle, Squirtle, Squirtle
And your most memorable video game moment?
"There must always be... a Lich king" - King Terenas Menethil
World Of Warcraft, Wrath of The Lich King, on the 2nd may 2010, After 2 months of pushing and progress on the Frozen Throne on a weekly basis. My guild and I finally managed to defeat Arthas 25 HC. Simply writing those lines brings back chills down my spine but also a burst of nostalgia. When you and 24 friends and players gather together to push your limits and accomplish a common objective. Vanquishing one of the most legendary antagonists of the Warcraft universe. I can remember the sheer excitement and screams of joys, saturating those old microphones on Teamspeak. Out of all the other progress, this one was the most memorable.
Although, 11 years later and I still didn't get the mount, so uhh... RNGesus if you happen to read those line, pretty please?
What sort of games do you like to play generally?
I play a lot of FPS, of any type; casual, ranked, arcade, or hardcore.
But the genre that defines me is going to be MMORPG, I've played so many of them, some for a really long time.
Now, if you mix the two of them you get PlanetSide2, I had the opportunity to play this game a lot for the Terran nation with the 95th Scourge squadron. It holds a special place in my heart as it successfully merged the two genres perfectly, the massive scale of battle. You could have the best armored fight with tanks, outside of a base, while infantry sweeps the inside of a building.
It's a unique experience that I'd recommend any Arma enjoyer to try at least once to get a sense of a massive scale battlefield, in a massively multiplayer environment.
What's your all-time favorite [...] in video games?
Which game has had the biggest influence on you during your life?
Ragnarok Online, was my first MMORPG, it taught me a lot, first interaction with people online, first guild ever, my first time getting scammed, my first time messing up and iterating on builds to become better.
If you had to pick just one game you would play for the rest of your life, what would it be?
It's a really hard question, as the answer is breaking my heart. If I had to play one game for the longest time... But I hope they will continue to make the patches and fixes they need to make, it would be World of Warcraft. Because this game has been with me for so long, I met so many friends in this game, I made so many relationships, I had so many amazing gaming moments. It probably defined me as the person that I am today, so yeah if I were to continue this adventure, assuming this adventure continues to be great. It would be probably be World of Warcraft.
What's your favorite movie, TV show, and/or book?
This movie, has shaken me to my very core. For someone like me who was (still is, at times) very workaholic, it made me realize that the objectives I'm focused on, make me miss out on the little pleasures. To enjoy the ride of this weird thing that is life. I would sincerely recommend it if you haven't watched it yet, if not for the story, for the animation and the perfect representation of living in NY.
TV show: Girl und Panzer
Right, so, I'm very biased because of my previous company with Bandai Namco Entertainment.
I will not rest until we have an Edita-chan Easter egg in game!
Book: Ape's Planet
A lot of key scenes got lost in the translation of this book, especially the Stock market scene.
And your go-to music playlist is...?
Cats or dogs?
Cats, there's no contest.
What's your best experience at Bohemia so far?
My favorite thing at Bohemia is when you do a playtest and at the end of the session, you hear all of the doors in the building opening, because all of the people who had the playtest are immediately going to the coffee machine to discuss what happened. You have some of the wildest reactions sometimes, because someone was using a grenade launcher for too long and was holding a position or someone who was actually very good and stomping on everyone. And this type of talk is great for pushing ideas and balance. Everyone gathers and we have this crystal clear feedback that comes from the emotions of those who played the playtest.
In terms of "wow experience" it would of course be the Bohemia Bootcamp 2021
What is the biggest challenge you've had to deal with at Bohemia?
The biggest challenge I had to face when I joined Bohemia Interactive was to help Dan Fialka, who's the programming producer and when I arrived he was handling almost the entire production by himself. (no really, if you have the opportunity, go shake his hand).Then we have Natasha, Gwladys and myself who arrived and we started to help him.
The biggest difficulty I had to face was looking at what had been done in the past, trying to understand what happened, because you don't want be this kind of new guy who arrived in the middle of production and who changes everything. It's really important to first understand how things were going in the past, assimilate these laws and processes. And then iterate on them to make them better.
I keep telling the teams I work with that the way they've been handling their work when they didn't have any art producer was fantastic and I'm really impressed with how they managed to do it. And now the biggest challenge is to continue to assimilate the flow and it's not something that can happen overnight, it's an ongoing process where you need to go at it slowly, understand the needs and avoid having dependencies being created.
(tbh, the real challenge is to avoid being trolled)
What advice would you give people looking to work in video game development?
There are a lot of things I would advise, some people will say that you need a formal education, You don't need to have a formal education. I've met both in this industry. There are a lot of things that play into your application, especially for the art side:
- What truly matters will be your portfolio.
- People will tell you that you need to make mistakes to learn and grow from them.
But for me the number one advice is:
You need to be true to yourself, if you like something, you should speak up about it.
You don't have to go with "the mood" or say yes because someone is in a position of power. You don't have to say that you like something if you hate it. If you go to an interview for a game development position and you don't really enjoy most of the things they're doing, it's okay to say:
"Yeah I see the game has potential, I don't like that specific part of the design though, here's how I'd change it". Having someone that can challenge ideas, is always someone who I would highly respect because they're going to make the project move further. Be a problem solver.
Is there anything else you're currently working on in your spare time?
I've got into the Vtuber business and started to explore this side of the entertainment industry.
I'm the manager of a Tactical VTuber and Twitch partner: @ProjectWhiskey
Don't hesitate to check us out we're covering a lot of different games such as: Escape From Tarkov, Arma III, World of Warship and now VR games: Into the radius, Pavlov and much more!
Art by @Chameleon_Ch
Art by @Nuemi_Hiyu
Our next featured Bohemian is right around the corner, so keep an eye on our social media pages for the latest updates. Until then, feel free to learn more about working at Bohemia Interactive by checking out our Careers Page. We may just have the perfect job for you. Until next time...