Interview: Game Design Department

The Game Design Team conceptualise new features and gameplay elements and work with a team of artists and programmers to introduce them in-game. Stepan Drozd and Konstantin Chernyakov tell us about what it’s like to work in a tightly-knit team that has long since become like a second family to all its members.

Stepan is the head of the Game Design Team in the World of Tanks Blitz Department. As he puts it, his team oversees the “brainwork” of the whole project. Before something is sent into production, it’s his team that develops a concept for it and prepares a game-design document for their colleagues. After that, guys from the other teams turn this original vision into game elements, be it the project’s balance, its economic system, combat characteristics of in-game vehicles or other core components of a title.

Konstantin, or Kostya, is the head of the Level Design Team. He works in close cooperation with the Art Team, designing and creating original battle arenas for World of Tanks Blitz. “I’m responsible for the whole process of the map production—from the creation of concepts to communication with the QA Team and the release of the map.

Both Kostya and Stepan play World of Tanks Blitz a lot.

“We played the soft launch version of the game at home and play-tested the project at work to gain an insight into whether or not the game is achieving its set goals. It’s a critical phase of the development process, especially when we add significant new elements or mechanics,” says Kostya.

Stepan and his team often play World of Tanks Blitz together. It helps them to see the big picture and take into account all the nuances while the game is still in development.

Both Kostya and Stepan were satisfied with the soft launch results.

Stepan and Kostya both were amongst the members of the original team that started working on World of Tanks Blitz. Kostya, for example, was the game’s first level designer and is one of the few who can recall the working title of the game, Sniper.

It is no surprise that the guys treat the game like their baby: “The game will live, grow and evolve together with us as in any family,” says Stepan. Kostya supports him: “We’ve raised the project like our own child and continue to improve it.”

The guys are highly enthusiastic about the global release and can’t wait to hear what the global gaming community thinks about their project. “It’s always exciting to look at a job well done from an outside perspective,” Kostya explains.

Stepan believes that Mobile Development is more like a family because it evolved from a team of a few dozen members. Now every department has one or two persons from the original core team that preserves the earlier ethos of unity and friendship in the new and bigger team.

Stepan is sure that such close relationships in the team help game designers in what they do but the discipline and responsibility come first when working on a project as important and complicated as World of Tanks Blitz.

Kostya believes that the past two years have helped blend the team even more, not just as a group of colleagues but also as a team of professionals.

“During the first year of the development we didn’t communicate a lot with our colleagues from the original World of Tanks,” admits Stepan. “As time went by, though, we realised that the closer we were working together, the better the result we got. The team of World of Tanks (PC) shared the information about the difficulties they had while developing the game. We then took this into consideration when we developed World of Tanks Blitz.”

Outside the office Kostya is an avid hockey player and a member of the “Wargamers” team. Stepan loves card games and plays Defense of the Ancients (DotA).

Both Stepan and Kostya are unanimous in their belief that the whole team can call World of Tanks Blitz their dream project or the project of their lives.

When it comes to giving credit to their colleagues, Stepan is sure that doing something great takes both full commitment and the high interest of all the participants. Each and every member of his team invested a lot in the project. He’d like to thank the developers who generated, created and coded the uncountable number of features for the game, as well as the artists from the Art Department and the Framework Department who literally make everything work. “Whatever we designed was miraculously implemented by the other teams,” says Stepan. “The QA Department was the forefront of our team. They’ve put a great effort into the process of making a really cool game.”

“Every person in our Department deserves personal praise,” adds Kostya. “and even that is not enough to show how much I appreciate what some of the guys have done for the project. I’d like to thank all the guys who became a part of our close-knit family and created perfect conditions for the team to achieve all their goals and realise all the ideas.”

Kostya thinks of the Global Release as the first step of a long journey with new features, ideas and maps to follow. Stepan is certain that World of Tanks Blitz will simply be the best mobile tank game in the world.