In this episode, I will be hosting Vladimir Limarchenko-Udemy instructor and marvelous game developer.
I am delighted to introduce the talented game developer Vladimir Limarchenko to share his experience throughout his career. Over to Vladimir…
1 - How did you kickstart your career?
Answer: It all started as a series of coincidences. In 2013 a close relative of mine had a really bad health accident. I decided that I’ll stay home and help with some day-to-day stuff, physical rehab, etc…
At the time I was pursuing a career in science (Theoretical Mechanics). Got my Master’s degree in 2010 and even defended a Candidate’s thesis (something similar to a western Ph.D.) post-accident in 2014.
A couple of months after the accident, we got back home after a long time spent at various hospitals and it became pretty clear that the recovery will last a bit longer than expected. I was not able to work full time on-site and started looking for freelance and remote work opportunities.
At the time a close friend of mine got fairly successful in his game dev career. He relocated to Sweden and worked at King.com (the company that created Candy Crush Saga) for a couple of years.
It was his suggestion that I should look into Unity and C#. I had some free time on my hands and started learning Unity and making some projects for learning purposes (casual 2d games and platformers).
I started getting my first freelance contracts on Upwork in late 2014. And – another coincidence – one of these contracts was related to creating video courses for the Udemy platform. I have created several short courses about casual games like 2048, virtual pet games, a course about character customization, etc...
I was always fascinated by trading card games. It all started with the first digital versions of Magic the Gathering, and then, of course, Hearthstone.
Inspired by these titles, in 2016-2017 I have created my own series of video courses on Udemy about creating trading card games in Unity:
1)Course about TCG battle systems
2)Course about TCG menus and deck building
These courses were super successful, especially for the first couple of years. And through these courses I got my first big game development contract – in 2017-2018 I got a chance to work on a trading card game “Star Trek Adversaries” (released on PC, Android, and iOS):
2 - What would you love to accomplish or do more of?
Answer: I would love to release something on my own. Even though I’ve spent 5 years in game dev, it was always a team effort and I have no solo projects released yet. It might be something small and casual, but I would love to have something that I can put my name on. It is a fairly common question/requirement, especially in mobile game dev, - having several games released.
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3. How do you approach high-pressure situations when everything goes wrong? Can you give an example from your experience?
Answer: The most memorable examples: on one of the projects we received the motion capture data that had to be used all over the project about 4-5 days before the deadline, on another project we had some issues with backend logic/frontend presentation going out of sync that players were experiencing.
I think the key to addressing these high-pressure situations is to keep calm and not go into a panic. Accepting these issues and realizing that some of them can only be resolved gradually is one of the keys to success. So, I’d say, do not jump into trying some fixes right away. Devote some time to planning and discussing this with the team. If the project is live, let the users know about the possible issues that they might encounter. If there are any delays, let the management know. This way you are setting up a more productive environment for resolving the issues in a timely effective manner.
4- how do you keep yourself motivated?
Answer: For me, working on games has been a long time dream and it is motivating in itself. I am constantly finding new things to learn and new areas of game dev to explore. Persisting and working on a project solo is a different story, but I am getting there.
5 - What are your success habits?
Answer: 90% of my clients are located in US. Most of them – in LA area. I am located in Kiev, Ukraine, which is not in sync with LA in terms of time zones at all. Because I know that most of my clients are in US – my schedule is severely shifted towards US to make sure that I can work during US work hours. Waking up late and going to bed late is one of the habits that I have developed over the last couple of years, but it allows me to be in sync with my clients and be more successful at what I do, so I do not mind.
6 - Who is your inspiration?
Answer: I am most inspired by people that were able to produce interesting and well received games either solo or in small teams. For instance, the creators of Slay the Spire, Super Meat Boy, Braid, Minecraft, Pinstripe, Stardew Valley, Stanley Parable, Fez, etc…
7 - If you could go back and do anything differently on this career path, what would you do?
Answer: If I could do anything differently, I would start earlier. I started my game dev journey when I was 27. But even before that, it was pretty clear that game dev is my passion and I wish I could have started exploring this path sooner. I would also try to stay disciplined and do some hobby solo projects on the side when I’m free from contracts.
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8 - What's your plan for the coming year? Is there any new project that you're working on?
Answer: Currently I’m working on 2 projects:
1) A religion-themed collectible card game project with interesting mechanical twists. The working title is Faith. The game is relatively early in development.
2) A top-down Zelda-like game with beautiful hand-drawn visuals and a compelling story called Rise of the Makers
9 - How can people contact you and know about your latest projects?
I would like to thank Vladimir for his precious time and for sharing his own life/career experience. It was an amazing interview.
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