Category : Employee News

Eesti Projektijuhtimise Assotsiatsioon

EMPA: From Idea to Realization

Part of the “From Idea to Realization” series hosted by the EPMA – Estonian Project Management Association in the e-Estonia Showroom. Vladimir Funtikov spoke at the seminar, giving guests a peek into one of the youngest and most successful Estonian companies. Stepping behind the scenes, and exploring the world of game development from a project management perspective: company workflows on a macro level (idea-prototype-softlaunch-release) as well as day-to-day ops, sprint planning, team composition and whatnot. In addition, Vladimir covered some of the challenges games creators in Estonia are currently facing. ...

IGDA Estonia Logo

IGDA PÖFF Game Jam Tallinn

Join IGDA Estonia for a 3 day hackathon at the Nordic Forum Hotel for an event in Tallinn to unify films and games. It is an exciting opportunity to meet film makers, other programmers and work with accomplished mentors! Film producers from Black Nights Film Festival will offer their movies as a basis for GameJam projects. If you are interested in game development, Virtual Reality and films, if you feel passionate and want to bring your ideas to live, this GameJam is the right place for you! On Friday Creative Mobile Publishing Producer Aleksandr Sister will give a keynote talk on the basics of the Game Development cycle. On Saturday Creative Mobile Producer Alina Brazdeikene will give a keynote talk on movie/game comparisons and the most effective ways to tell the story. For schedule and full details visit http://igdaestonia.evolero.com/ ...

reporter-ee-logo

Otsitakse arvutimängude valmistajaid!

Suured tänud meie poolt Suvereporterile, kes kajastas Creative Mobile lugu. Oleme väga rõõmsad, et saime tutvustada mängude arendamistööstuse erinevaid võimalusi Eestis. Kas teie pere lapsed viidavad liiga palju aega arvutis ja nutiseadmetes mänge mängides? Keelamise asemel tuleks neid ehk isegi julgustada rohkem mängima, sest tulevikus võib saada teie lapsest edukas mängude-looja. Eestis on just sellistest inimestest puudus. Andekas mängudisainer teenib aga kuus mitmeid tuhandeid eurosid. – Reporter.ee ...

cmcm

5 YEARS ON AND STILL GOING STRONG

Since its foundation in August of 2010, Creative Mobile has achieved international recognition through their popular racing genre games. The best-known game Drag Racing, released in 2011 was named one of the ’10 Best Games of 2011’ by the New York Times, it’s been the #1 most downloaded racing game on Google Play and #1 racing game for iPhone and iPad in the App Store. The company followed up that success with a series of Drag Racing titles, including the ‘AAA’ title Nitro Nation Online Racing and the recently released Nitro Nation Stories, which have dominated the app charts and gained Creative Mobile more than 250 million players worldwide. In a congratulatory speech to employees, CEO of Creative Mobile Vladimir Funtikov, noted the invaluable contribution each employee has made to the company’s success. In 5 years the company has published more than 20 games, this equates to 6 billion game sessions, each session averaging around 3 minutes, totaling approximately 30-35 thousand years of gameplay! “It’s impossible not to talk about the achievements we have made“ quoted Vladimir, “We are efficiently working with 30+ brands and our games have released on all significant mobile platforms. We have an innovative direction in the racing game genre. We’ve created a recognizable brand and started the CM Fun Factory publishing division. Most importantly we’ve contributed to the gaming industry here in Estonia with the GameDev Days Conference, supporting the Tallinn based Gamefounders gaming accelerator, and participating in the IGDA.”   The horizon looks bright for the team at Creative Mobile, recently the company moved into a new office, more than doubling the amount of space and reinvigorating the office environment. As for what the future holds, Vladimir expects, “A minimum 30% growth sales for 2016. We have plans to release games on new platforms, such as Windows 10. We’re also working on collaborations with film studios and focusing on strengthening our position in the Asian markets.”   Happy Birthday Creative Mobile! ...

recovery

Rehab, Racing and Recovery

Every day we receive hundreds of e-mails, messages and comments from players all over the world sharing their thoughts and letting us know how much they enjoy our games. Once and awhile a message sticks out as something special. Recently we heard from a player who shared his story of how playing Drag Racing helped him through his recovery from substance abuse. He was kind enough to allow us to do an interview with him and share his story. (We’ve changed his name an obscured some details to protect his privacy) Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, can you tell us a little about your background and how you got involved with drugs? My name is Tim, I live in a small town in Western Canada, I have been married since the late 80’s and have 3 kids (now young adults.) My hobbies include Hi-fi audio, Drag Racing Bike Edition, Drag Racing, Tae Kwon do and plants. I grew up very rough and poor, so self-medicating was a way of life. I started smoking marijuana about 11 years old, the first time I did any hard drugs was about 14 – I tried LSD and loved it! I continued to drop acid every weekend to about 19 years old. I tried cocaine once when I was about 18 but it did not appeal to me. I continued to smoke pot all the way up to and including rehab. My actual abuse started when working in a tough East Vancouver neighbourhood selling cars. When I felt I was slowing down and needed a ‘bump’, I tried cocaine. I quickly found I could work longer hours and my sales went through the roof. Within a few months I was hooked. I found myself with it all the time and when I didn’t have any, I was feeling dead. How did drug abuse impact your life? I snorted so much cocaine that I burnt a large hole in my septum and thought that smoking it would be a better way. It turns out smoking it is what truly nailed me to the wall (with respect to abuse.) More became much more and I became more sinister, the way I had to behave in order to make $500 a day to support my habit. At first I supported my habit by selling cars from the US at very high margins, I would bring home about 5k and keep 5k for myself for cocaine. I had developed such a habit that 5k didn’t seem to stretch as far as I needed. I won’t mention the things I did in detail, because I am ashamed of myself for treating others with such horrible hatred. But in short, I delivered drugs, guns and dealt with debts from people. As a result of my addiction I lost my house, my cars, my toys, my wife, my kids and my self respect and even willingness to live. At what point did you decide to seek help? The decision to enter rehab was pretty simple, some members of my family are connected with the more unsavoury side of life and didn’t like how I had treated my family. They gave me a choice between going to rehab, beating my addiction and getting my wife and kids back or being shot in the head and dumped in the river. What part of playing Drag Racing helped you through your recovery? After my third and finally successful stint in rehab, I was searching for something to spend my time on. While I never any professional or drag strip experience, I did a tonne of street racing back in the day. I found DR on Google Play and thought wow, something that at first just pulled my attention for a day or so… then the gearing got to me. I was tired of starting out the Koenigsegg and SLS in third gear. In trying to figure out the tuning, I turned to the internet and found a forum with other players. You could say my true appreciation came when realizing others (my age) were completely into this. My favourite part of the game is fine tuning the gearing for the cars or bikes and then racing in pro league as a team. What keeps me playing is just that, the friends I have made from all over the world, competing and furthering a tune. What advice do you have for others who are struggling with narcotics or drug abuse? I don’t have much advice, the old adage from NA (narcotics anonymous) “One is too many and a thousand is never enough.” Don’t start and you won’t face a nagging devil in your head for your entire life. While it’s true I am over 5 years out of the fire so to speak, it haunts me every day. Focus on the moment and get the most out of it. If you start drifting into old habits, change what you’re doing and the feeling will go away. ...

chtu

CM Test Automation System Goes Open Source

Sitting quietly on a desk a seemingly innocuous computer system nicknamed Cthulhu is revolutionizing the way Quality Assurance and mobile device testing is done. With a mass of wires sprouting from every port, resembling a Lovercraftian tentacled machine, this Android automation system allows for multiple device testing in real time. For many mobile developers the challenge of device testing can be very difficult and time consuming. Android supports a wide variety of device hardware and often these tests must be run manually on each device by a Quality Assurance tester. The Cthulhu automation system can support as many devices as there are USB ports available. However,  the devices must often also be plugged in because they require more power than the USB ports can supply. Creative Mobile had such a challenge in testing the User Interface for their flagship racing game Nitro Nation Online. Each device was required to install the game, run and log data, then output that data back to the testers. This could typically be considered an arduous task since it had to be performed manually. The idea for an automated testing system has been proposed by Lead QA Eningeer Olga Yaltchik, who worked with QA Programmer Misha Beskin on a trial version that would run tests on devices one-by-one. The development team then came up with the idea to simultaneously do the same task on 5 (or more) devices with the help of automation bots. The first step is to make a build of the app with tests enabled, then the app is sent to the automation system, this is where Cthulhu then installs the app to all connected devices, starts the app and logs the test data, saving it to separate log files for each device. These tests are performed only on a development or testing server and help to decrease the need for manual testing so that the QA team can focus on other tasks. After many successful months of testing, the decision was made to release the Cthulhu project to the Open Source community, in order to to give back to the industry and to allow other developers to enjoy and improve the system for themselves. The Cthulhu project can be found on Github https://github.com/creative-mobile/cthulhu ...

support

Our Support Team talks with CS Bites

Our Support Team chatted with CS Bites and gives a glimpse into support and customer satisfaction processes. Why is support important to you and what is your end goal for support? Support is important to us because we are the critical link between our players and the developers. We act as the face of the company, we’re first in line to detect problems, gather feedback and nurture customer satisfaction. Can you tell us a little about your support team? How many are you right now? We have around five people in the Support Team who work solely with Support. We have five ladies plus me. The main system we use for Support is Kayako, from there tickets are responded to by our Support Team. We create bug reports and discuss with the QA Team or Development team about specific issues in order to get a response to our players and either escalate or resolve the issue. We also gather feedback on our player forums (nitronation.net) on social media (Facebook / Twitter / Youtube) and from our Google Play comments. Developers don’t usually pay attention to Google Play comments. Yes actually that’s a big advantage for us, I think many developers have overlooked this, but will soon come to realize how important it is to respond to these comments since the player comments and reviews are read by others who are deciding to download the game. If you would have a look at our page, you can see that we’ve put focus on communicating with players, to respond to comments with legitimate questions or concerns. Of course there are some spam comments, but I think our players have come to expect and appreciate that we communicate directly with them. Let me share some of my favorite comments we’ve gotten on Google Play: Very good reply time for support, replied back in a couple of days and sorted out the problem as soon as possible. Much better than more known game developers. The support team were kind, patient and helpful. A definite 5 stars. Wow I’m getting this app just because after every review there is a comment from the game editor and that just shows how much they care about our gaming experience and always want to keep improving it. Awesome I wasn’t going to download until I saw that every comment that was left on the page got responded to that’s amazing nice to see a developer that genuinely cares about feedback keep it up I look forward to further productions by you. What is your ideal and actual response time? For Support Tickets on Kayako the response time is within 72 hours. For social media, forums and Google Play the response time is usually shorter. In the past we have had issues with response time, usually related to a major issue with a game, during a major holiday or if we’re short staffed. The challenge was to get as much required information from our players at the first point of contact, so that we can reduce the response time and the amount of e-mails being sent back and forth. Besides a high first contact resolution rate, what other metrics do you look at for support? We look at the amount of tickets reported, number of tickets completed by each Support Team member per week as well as the common issues reported for that week. What was the highest number of support tickets you’ve ever gotten? How many do you usually respond to? The biggest number we have ever had was around 5400 e-mail/per week. Usually we respond around 500 e-mails per week, and that’s not including our work with Google Play comments What’s the hardest part of customer support for your team? The hardest things to deal with working in Support is high workloads and stress, a lack of information, or pressure coming from both sides (Players and Developers). Being a Support Team member is hard work, it requires a lot of investigation and communication skills as well as some serious leg work here in the office, we’re always running up and down the stairs to different teams. Pressure from both the player and developer sides? Well imagine that we are the middle chain link between developers and players. We communicate on behalf of the developers to our players. But we also advocate on behalf of our players to the developers. Sometimes it’s a tough position to be in. How do you motivate your video game support team to do a job that’s not exactly the most interesting part of the game development process? It helps to have a good sense of humor and camaraderie with the people you work with. We like to share lots of good food and treats with each other. Sometimes we blow bubbles in the office to blow off some stream. Laughter of course is the best remedy! ...