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Erectus the Game
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The game Erectus is an MMO strategy free-to-play browsergame about the history of mankind.
The game Erectus is an MMO strategy free-to-play browsergame about the history of mankind.

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Our newest official trailer for Erectus the Game!
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We have been talking a lot about Erectus version 2 coming to mobile devices, but of course we did not forget about our players that prefer to game on the computer!

Check out the differences between the browser version and the mobile version on http://erectus.games/
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Q: As project manager at Maata Games you need to organize and assure communication between two countries. What is important to keep in mind?
Amir: The first thing I want to focus on is that both teams are up to date with the status report from the other side. Secondly, I think it is important to have an efficient workflow. This would mean that delays should be prevented if clear communication is the solution.
What is more, the project-managers from both sides should be in close-contact, discussing matters that should be passed on to the concerning employees. This causes the affected people to be less interrupted while working.

Q: What is your favorite part of the job?
Amir: My fave part are the results. Seeing the effectiveness of the workflow and implemented methods bearing fruit is my fave part. Additionally, the mood and happiness of our co-workers working in a positive setting and atmosphere stimulates people to work more efficient. (Including myself)

Q: What are some of the difficulties you come across?
Amir: One of the difficulties I have come across is that I find hard to communicate to a person what he or she is doing wrong. It is never pleasant to address negative points, I’d rather focus on the “well-done” part of someones in/output.

Q: How do you measure success?
Amir: Personally I measure success in happiness and well-being. For work related success, I measure in the results of the end-product and the setting it is created in. Was it nice working towards the end-product or would you never want to be a part of a project like this again? If the answer is "Yes, it was great!", that is success for me.
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Q: As project manager at Maata Games you need to organize and assure communication between two countries. What is important to keep in mind?
Amir: The first thing I want to focus on is that both teams are up to date with the status report from the other side. Secondly, I think it is important to have an efficient workflow. This would mean that delays should be prevented if clear communication is the solution.
What is more, the project-managers from both sides should be in close-contact, discussing matters that should be passed on to the concerning employees. This causes the affected people to be less interrupted while working.

Q: What is your favorite part of the job?
Amir: My fave part are the results. Seeing the effectiveness of the workflow and implemented methods bearing fruit is my fave part. Additionally, the mood and happiness of our co-workers working in a positive setting and atmosphere stimulates people to work more efficient. (Including myself)

Q: What are some of the difficulties you come across?
Amir: One of the difficulties I have come across is that I find hard to communicate to a person what he or she is doing wrong. It is never pleasant to address negative points, I’d rather focus on the “well-done” part of someones in/output.

Q: How do you measure success?
Amir: Personally I measure success in happiness and well-being. For work related success, I measure in the results of the end-product and the setting it is created in. Was it nice working towards the end-product or would you never want to be a part of a project like this again? If the answer is "Yes, it was great!", that is success for me.
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Today we got to talk with the person, that is responsible for the texts in and around the game! We introduce to you: Tom!

Q: What inspired you to become a writer for video games?
Tom: "Inspired" is a little misleading.
I was initially hired as a translator and mostly worked on translating the text in the game as well as the occasional e-mail and press release, writing my own texts is something that happened over time.
My work gradually shifted from directly translating a large amount of text to being given a checklist of certain things a text had to contain and/or specify, leaving me to fill in the blanks.
This method of "filling in the blanks" is what gave me the freedom to write my own stuff here and there, (provided it stayed within the context of the game or topic) and most of it was well received around the office.
Since then I've also had some projects where I was simply told what a text was for, leaving me to write the actual text itself as I saw fit.
So all in all I was never specifically looking to be a writer, I was very open to the idea and always wanted to try my hand at it but it's not what I initially came on board for.

Q: What are some of the aspects you like the most about your job?
Tom: I like our work environment, it's informal and relaxed but not so much that no work gets done.

Q: You are not only providing all the necessary texts within and outside the world of Erectus, you are also responsible for the Dutch localization of the game. Can you describe the process of localizing Erectus?
Tom: I can't really make this sound all that exciting, I either receive a text that has be to checked and then translated or I receive a request for a text which I then write and translate afterwards.
It's a fun job for me because I either get to put my own ideas on paper or I can see what other people have come up with. Details like that aren't something to get into in an interview though, players should experience these things for themselves in-game.

Q: What are some of the difficulties you encounter?
Tom: Sometimes I just can't really think of anything to write and have to take some time to brainstorm for ideas, apart from that I don't really run into problems.
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Do you already know if and where you go out tonight? In Version 2 the Okiteng can enjoy their evening drinks in this new and stylish tavern (it's still a work in progress, of course)! Would you grab a drink with your friend here?
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Quality Assurance for video games seems to be the dream job of many - but the responsibilities of this work should not be underestimated. Read more about it in our interview with Kiana!

Q: What do you enjoy the most about your type of work?
Kiana: I definitely enjoy knowing that at the end of the day my work has made our project better. As someone who plays a lot of games (console, PC, and mobile), I know what it feels like to be on the other side and how good it feels to play a game that runs smoothly. ...I also know what it feels like to play a game that doesn’t and am proud that I play a part in preventing that kind of stress in our players.

Q: Many people dream of playing games for a living. But in fact it can be very monotonous work. Can you give some more insight into the day of a QA Tester?
Kiana: As soon as I’m given the test product, I go through it as a normal player. I turn the game on and go through each feature very casually to get a feel for how our players will experience our game. I go through it in a similar manner a few more times making sure to change up the speed at which I play, the order I do things, etc. to get a grasp on as many player types as possible.
Once I feel I was thorough enough on that end, I go through it again making sure everything functions as it should. I perform each action once correctly and once incorrectly to see how the system reacts to each input. It is unlikely that players will know how all the features work the very first time they play so testing both results is very important. During these run throughs, I take notes of all the issues I’ve come across.
When the list of issues is complete, I go back a few more times to figure out the cause of each issue and potentially figure out why the issue happened as well as how to remedy it. All of this information is put into a document that is sent over to our dev team. They make the changes and I will then receive a new test. Of course, all the bugs I reported will have to be checked again along with any other features that may have been added.
There are many layers to a game so I am less playing the game and more slowly picking it apart. Of course I do get to enjoy the game for one or two test runs but after that it gets more serious than people think.

Q: How do you decide which issues need to be taken care of first?
Kiana: Normally I would gather all the issues and list them from most severe to least. Most severe would be those issues that directly affect gameplay or those that would hinder our players most in the long run. Less severe issues would be those that a normal player wouldn’t notice or those that are annoying but can be worked around. However, there are cases when I will put a minor, easily fixed issue ahead of larger ones if I think it will assist in the testing process.

Q: How do you measure your success?
Kiana: For me personally, I would say I am successful when the product is free of all major issues. I don’t believe any product is completely free of problems so as long as our players are happy and the game runs as smoothly as possible, I am content.
That said, I will also be there post production to assist if issues do arise. When all is said and done our players are the most important, so once they start playing I do like to go back and address any concerns players may have no matter how minor.
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One 3D Artist surely is not enough to create Erectus vs. Sapiens, so today we got another 3D artist of ours to share a glimpse of his work! We present you: Gerrit. Read the short and crisp interview below!

Q: Let's start with something simple! What is your job here at Maata Games?
Gerrit: I'm a 3D artist here at Maata Games. I work on buildings and characters for the game. I also work on the world map and prepare the final images for the dev team.

Q: Can you tell us what you are currently working on?
Gerrit: Currently I'm working on some characters and buildings for Erectus vs Sapiens.
At this moment I am working on an Ikari armor set and the food storage for the Okiteng.

Q: Which software do you use for your work?
Gerrit: I create my models in 3ds Max and texture them with Substance Painter. I use Unreal 4 to create the final images and Photoshop for some last edits before sending the images to the programmers.

Q: Are there any difficulties you face along the process?
Gerrit: Sometimes, but whenever there are problems my colleagues or the internet usually know the answer. If that fails, I usually try a different approach to get the work done.

Q: And last but not least: What inspired you to do 3D art?
Gerrit: I always wanted to do something with art or drawing and eventually I ended up with games and 3D art.
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A game does not only need graphics, it also needs an idea and a well thought through concept. This is the job of the game designer. There is way more to it, so we suggest you to read what it means to be a game designer below! We introduce to you: our game designer Mitch!

Q: What are the responsibilities associated with being a game designer?
Mitch: As a game designer I’m responsible for all the elements that the game is going to offer to the user. I need to make sure that all the game aspects together are going to be fun, so the user will enjoy playing the game. Aside from they don’t only need to BE fun but also look like they are fun. Sometimes that makes you a little bit nervous, because you design the game mechanic, you work it out, visualize it, and then you test it - and sometimes it appears to not work out how you expected it to be and it is your responsibility to make it work.

Q: How do you determine what’s “fun”?
Mitch: The key to this question is that you need to enjoy what you are doing. You are not going to play the game, because you have to, you come back because you want to keep playing the game. I have my own experience with this genre of games. I have played not only one, but several of these games. While playing them, there were always fun parts and less fun parts to the game. What I would like to do is to leave out the not-fun parts and instead take the stuff that I enjoyed the most and put those elements together. I am a player myself and have been part of game communities before. I’ve been talking with other players, shared my opinions and therefore have a good grasp of what is fun and what is not.

Q: Which skills do you consider important in your job?
Mitch: I need to be very creative and able to create a whole new concept or idea from nothing. Aside from that, I look at existing game concepts and figure out what’s not enjoyable and what can be added and improved. Then I need to be able to write down the ideas that I have. If I cannot write down what I have in mind, I can’t make my ideas clear to others. Therefore I need to be able to visualize my ideas as well, so if I cannot express my thoughts through words, I can show what I mean. Lastly I also need to accept that what I have in mind is not always best and while discussing my ideas with others I have to be open to their ideas as well - accept their thoughts and understand that I am not always right and that everyone has different opinions and different tastes.

Q: What inspires you for your work?
Mitch: I have a passion for thinking about new ideas for games. I’ve been playing games since I was 10 years old - since Age of Empires Gold Edition. But games were never perfect to me, there has always been something that was missing to the game. I would think “If this would be in the game” - sometimes one thing, sometimes several like small improvements or visual improvements - “the game would be perfect”. But the games I’ve played never had everything that I wanted them to have so I would write everything down, that I thought would make those games perfect. It has always been just my personal ideas for a perfect version of a game. I kept doing this until I was able to write my own game combining all these ideas together. I’ve always been a writer, but I also want my stories to be visible on screen. So why am I a game designer? So that the things that I think of and create are going to be in a game and other people can experience my idea of a perfect game.
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Would you be interested in getting an Erectus shirt for free?
Find more infos and a poll here: http://ow.ly/Oz8s30iWppo
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