Anthony "Tony" Magestro--or known on the field of battle as Metzge--is an avid writer, gamer, and entrepreneur. When he's not writing, gaming, or entrepreneuring, he enjoys cooking, trippy movies, and trying to be awesome to varying degrees of success. Feel free to check out his LinkedIn page, especially if you need freelance help with content writing or digital marketing. Or just like to network, that's fine too.
Working at Boomzap
And so their paths have led them… well, back to the comfort of their homes, coffee shops, or wherever else they’d like to set up for the day. As wonderful as it sounds to not have to worry about a morning commute, cubicles, and awkward water cooler conversation, this sort of working arrangement isn’t for the faint of heart. For those who can manage to keep themselves focused, however, it’s a pretty sweet gig:
CN: For people who are disciplined and don’t need the daily pressure of having someone standing over your shoulder telling you to work, it is an improvement on the traditional method of work in just about every metric. I get to see so much of my family. I get to eat three meals a day with my wife. I work where I want to. I don’t waste time or money commuting. I don’t have to spend a fortune going out to eat. And in the winter I work every day in a very comfy pair of fleece pants and a Japanese hanten jacket. It’s like I never got out of bed.
For Chris, this is what an average day looks like:
CN: Wake up – see if anything happened in the middle of the night, start downloading the builds from last night (we do daily builds, every day, every project). Go get breakfast. Chat with teams on HipChat, see what info they need, and get them tasked up. Look at [my] tasklist, do a bunch of stuff. Go outside, take a walk or ride my bike for a couple hours. Get lunch. Check WIPs on the staff work so far, give notes. Somewhere in there, we usually have a team game of Callasia. Kids get home from school – go hang with them for a while. Snack. Do more work. Dinner. Come back, now that it’s quiet, get some concentration-heavy work done. Go to bed. That’s… pretty much my whole life summarized.
While they might not have to leave the house to come into work, Boomzap collaborates using a slew of productivity apps to streamline everything:
CN: HipChat is our god. I know all the cool kids are using Slack these days, but we find HipChat to be the killer tool for running distributed teams. We divide the company by project, by discipline (code, design, marketing) and make permanent chatrooms for those groups. So there is a Legends of Callasia marketing group, and a Monster Roller playtest group, for instance. Everyone in the company belongs [to] a subset of these groups – and being logged-in, working and available in one of these groups is what counts as “being at work” for us.
Just as Boomzap is divided by project and discipline, the work that trickles through their system is often placed in the hands of those who can tackle it best. For example, Edwin works with animators Ben Wong (Malaysia) and Siro Juddin (Indonesia), and artists Jaq dela Cruz (Phillipines) and Jun Martinez (Phillipines) on the studio’s games’ artwork and graphic design:
ES: Each of the artists has their own specialty, so to make the most of it we divide the task depending on the artist’s strength. This way we can work better and faster. Ben, Jaq, and Siro are awesome artists; at the same time, they are really good and excel in technical art. They can create beautiful effects and make sure that the UI is working properly in no time. Uncle Jun’s polishing technique is superb, he can polish anything swiftly while I help him in creating the concepts. This way, each of us can efficiently use our strength to finish each tasks and make sure we deliver the best product using our current skills.
Boomzap also has, what Nelson calls, an “open-source style” of training their staff, which he attributes a lot of his own knowledge on game design to:
NC: One example is when Chris rented an office space for 3 days to have Boomzap’s 3D artist teach other artists (and other staff who wants to learn) the basics of 3D modeling and rendering. You usually have to spend a few hundred bucks for that if you’ll go enroll somewhere, the instructors themselves willingly taught us, since it is the company as a whole which was going to benefit from this. We also have an internal wiki page wherein you get to input and share your game dev knowledge for newcomers.
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