Last Tuesday 15th of May we had the visit of Gabriela Lazbal on the subject of Rich Media Projects. Lazbal works at King, a leading interactive entertainment company for the mobile world, known worldwide for its gem game Candy Crush. After being six years in the team, she is nowadays working as a Senior Artist and as a Lead Artist supervising all the follow-up of the Bubble Witch 3.
Gabriela was born in Argentina, where she studied, but she has been living in Spain for nearly 20 years, having worked in Madrid, Zaragoza and Barcelona so far. From the beginning, she explains that her trajectory is quite multidisciplinary, always guided by her artistic vein.
Since she was thirteen, she knew that wanted to study the Fine Arts degree. However, as she is a curious mind, she discovered other disciplines along the way, such as film and television production and also analogue and 3D animation. Besides, before establishing in King and parallelly to her studies, she had dedicated plenty of her time being a teacher and working independently as a freelance.
During the session, Lazbal explains in detail the process of making video games. In the case of the Swedish company, they follow a work methodology based on the SCRUM model, which avoids hierarchies, enhancing proactivity and coordination among its members. She highlights that the success of their projects it is based on the communicative routine they persistently build.
“The most positive thing that SCRUM has is the retrospective. In this sessions, we discuss what has gone well or badly both professionally and personally, to avoid carrying problems or accumulate misunderstandings. Is the moment we establish honest relationships through conversation.”
Lazbal tells us that brainstormings are composed of different types of work profiles like artists, game designers, producers and data scientists. Also, developers and testers use to join the team when all of them start the prototyping stage. The idea is that they don’t see each other only once for the initial brainstorming, but they meet regularly being everyone involved in every decision even if is ideating, analysing or sharing the results of tests along the evolution of the product.
“Discussing ideas together makes simply enrich them, that’s why teamwork is so important.”
Lazbal defines their process as progressive and introduces us the concept of sprints. This methodology consists of stipulating a group of tasks and schedules them in weeks or months. Then, all the team have to work together to reach the deadline. The purpose of this system is to be able to test the product as soon as possible. Although both creative and production stages use to grow simultaneously, the concept always goes first. For this reason, Lazbal remarks how much necessary is to define the drawings a lot, going through many steps if needed, to achieve a definitive version that will be used as a reference when creating the 3D images.
During the talk, other aspects appeared associated with the design. On the one hand, it was interesting to realise the value of the typographic treatment and the UX / UI method. In the end, they contribute to define the style of the world’s game and satisfy the user expectations. On the other, Lazbal gave us advice on how to deal with the real world. Through anecdotes, she told us how to prepare a job interview, tips for the portfolio and the importance of being proactive but receptive at the same time, maintaining a flexible attitude and an open-mind ready for receiving the feedback that benefits us so much.