Hey, Rudolf. Please, tell us a bit about yourself...
Hi, my name is Rudolf Klenovský, but my friends usually just call me Rudy. I’m a Senior Designer on Ylands and I’m responsible for all things concerning the Ylands Editor. Together with my team we’re working on new features for the Editor and are trying to make it generally more powerful and user friendly with each new update. Apart from that I have developed and do the upkeep of the Playlands game hub and all of its subsequent minigames.
Can you tell us a random fact about yourself...
I haven't formally studied anything game development related at school at all. I have a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, so I should actually be designing some heavy machinery right now, but life had a different plan
What was your first positive interaction with video games, that you can remember?
I think the first "real" computer game I've ever played (apart from those cheap pocket Tetris handhelds and such) was Prehistoric when I was 8 years old at my parent’s friends who owned a 386 at that time. But the most positive early memories are definitively linked to the Computer Club I attended as a teenager. Apart from learning programming most of the time, we occasionally did LAN parties, when we were allowed to stay at school all night and frag each other to pieces in Doom or Hexen. Good times
And your most memorable video game moment?
Too many to name just one... From the "early days" definitively the finals scene in Planescape Torment, that was really moving. Recently I would say that most of the moments came from Darks Souls or Sekiro, but not any particular scene. Those games are just so challenging, that almost every encounter is a memorable moment
What's your all-time favorite video game? And what sort of game do you like to play generally?
Well another hard one... it’s impossible to name just one, but because I've already named Planescape Torment, I would like add to that also other "turn of millennium" RPGs like Fallout, Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Gothic... As for something more recent, that would be all the original Souls games From Software made. Last year I’ve also delved into the world of Nintendo and both Mario Odyssey and Zelda BotW made it to my Top 10 list right off the bat. All of the "big N" games are a huge source of inspiration for me as Game Designer. And oh yes the newest Dooms (2016 and Eternal) are the absolute pinnacle of simulated violence
So from this list it would seem like I play mostly RPGs, but in reality I’m open to anything original and interesting. Unfortunately there’s not as much time for intensive gaming as there used to be, so I have to choose carefully which "big" game will be the next (because I always finish what I start!). I also like to pick smaller, shorter, indie titles from time to time, to check on some fresh ideas.
What’s the worst — or most memorable — bug you’ve come across in a video game?
As a developer, who has to dirty his hand with code, the worst bugs are those which cannot be easily reproduced. These kind of bugs which only occur on odd Fridays when Saturn and Mars are in conjunction and usually only in multiplayer. So if you expected something funny, sorry, it’s actually quite a nightmare...
Who's your all-time favorite video game character, and why?
Well, I cannot decide between the Red Prince or Fane from Divinty: Original Sin 2. They are both such well written characters, and their remarks often made me laugh so hard. Actually the whole game is just brilliant. Probably the best RPG since Baldur's Gate 2. Let’s see what Larians will do with BG3.
What's your favorite movie, TV show, and/or book?
Anything Sci-Fi from Space Odyssey, trough Alien(s) to Interstellar, Blade Runner, etc... Books are the same gig, but there’s one above all and that’s Foundation by Isaac Asimov. That was something that really struck a deep chord within me and it would be awesome to create a computer game based on this universe. Recently I finished watching all of the Star Trek series. BTW, Deep Space 9 is so underrated.
So, basically, the nerd stuff
And your go-to music playlist is...?
Nothing in particular. As a collector and DJ I’m always on the lookout for new stuff or digging through my 500+ vinyl collection, rediscovering music I've already forgotten that I own
Cats or dogs?
Cats. On synthesizers. In space! How cooler can you go than that?
So, as a Senior Designer, what do you do?
I turn coffee into code... well actually that's one hairy joke... My work consists of overseeing the development process from A to Z. When I’m working on a new feature, first I have to prepare a design document, which I then consult with programmers, artists and other designers whenever it’s actually feasible and doable. When feature design is approved I oversee the implementation process and help to flesh out all the problems arising during development. I’m also responsible for the feature in the end being properly tested and documented. Apart from that I’m also trying to be on hand to other designers and help them with their features, be it with practical advice or with feedback.
What do you think are the most important skills / traits to have for someone in your position?
Albeit design seems a pure creative discipline, where ideas are just brainstormed from thin air, I think it’s very important to also have the "hard" skills. By that I mean, that you should be able to support your ideas with reasoning, evidence and data. Good designers should be able to analyze the problem, dissect it to pieces, analyze, find the underlying principle and then came up with a thought-out solution.
For example, munching on numbers in spreadsheets is essential for game balancing. UI mock-ups and flow charts are invaluable for communicating your ideas with programmers and artists. This maybe sounds as "the boring stuff", but it will make you a better designer.
What do you enjoy about your job, and game development in general?
I like the balance between team work and lone work. It’s thrilling to collaborate on a new feature with colleagues, bounce ideas between each other and work your way up to the "ideal" solution. But a change of pace is also good. Focus on one task for a few days and just delve in to the "flow". I enjoy both.
Is there any creation/invention/idea in your project that you came up with and of which you’re most proud?
Hmm... another tough one. Well it’s not possible to say "my" idea, because it’s always a collaborative process, and I stand behind every feature we did for the Editor over the last few years. But to name one, that would be Visual Scripting. I think we did a really good job on this one.
What do you enjoy the most working on project such as Ylands? What other projects did you work on?
The thing about Ylands I like the most is the playfulness and cheery vibe of the game. Maybe I’m getting old or something, but I’m kind of getting tired of the overabundance of FPS shooters and overall violence in games. Apart from the game itself, I really enjoy the team. Everyone here is so relaxed and easygoing, and we have a lot of fun and giggles all the time.
A previous project I've worked on was Take on Mars, which was kind of the opposite of Ylands - realistic and serious, although I’m also happy that TKOM was primarily a non-violent game focused on exploration and experimentation. Those are aspect I’m tending to appreciate in games more and more.
You’ve worked here for 8 years, which means you could be considered a veteran of Bohemia. Is there a most memorable moment at Bohemia Interactive you experienced?
Most memorable was the 20 year anniversary. Firstly because it was the last major companywide event before lockdown, so it was a last chance to all meet together. And secondly, that it reminded us that despite all the day-to-day hurdles, which can get weary (especially after 8 years), we’re still a company with a great history and global impact.
And your greatest personal accomplishment at Bohemia Interactive?
I’m happy that recently I’ve been given an opportunity to take the lead of other people and can learn how it actually is to be a leader. This is new for me.
What advice would you give people looking to work in video game development?
Well, most of the developers in the Czech Republic are self-taught, so my advice is that there is no "proper" education for this. So, if you enjoy it, just start doing it. Learn something useful, build your portfolio and apply.
Was it difficult do get a job at Bohemia Interactive? Love your work by the way. (@xaralamposadn)
Thank you for your kind words To answer your question – I’d already had several years of modding experience, so it was a fairly straightforward experience. One week I had an e-mail reply to my application, the next week I had an interview, a week later I started working
What is it like to work at Bohemia? (@honey_badgeroll)
Bohemia is good at that work-life balance thing, which is a bit of a hot topic lately. The atmosphere here is cheerful and friendly and albeit the rules in some aspects are somewhat conservative (i.e. Home Office policies), there’s no extreme pressure on efficiency or crunch. Also the structure is very flat, so there aren’t too many layers between you and the upper management, so it’s possible to voice your opinions to the upper levels through your manager.
Do you apply systemic game design in your job? (@esaoksman)
Well, most of Bohemia Interactive’s games are open-ended with a focus on emergent gameplay, so I would say that systemic game design is kind of natural for us
As for my job, I’m not sure, because I deal with the tools for other Game creators. But when thinking about it, each Editor feature is a standalone system, which in the end should give the creators tools to create various games. So maybe it’s actually systemic at the core? Because when these independent systems interact which each other they allow unique gameplay experiences to "emerge"?
Is there anything else you're currently working on in your spare time?
Nothing games related and nothing specific. My spare time activities usually revolve around family, friends and my DJ hobby.
To finish, tell us one of Rudolf's Top Tips...
Always ask someone who already did your problem before you (if possible), because he has probably hit the same road blocks you will too. So you can avoid those.
Our next Featured Bohemian is right around the corner, so keep an eye on our social media pages for the latest updates. But 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 opening for you. Until next time...