Who's this Klanger? An interview with Martin Maczkowski

For the latest instalment of our Who's this Klanger? series I sat down with Martin, Game Engineer, and mountain biker to talk about his experience and what he finds exciting about Seed...

Martin, tell our readers about your working background and experience.

Like most of us Klangers, I've always been interested in making computer games. I started programming early in high school, creating a bunch of prototypes. One thing lead to another and I enrolled at the University of Applied Science in Berlin where I studied International Media and Computing, and eventually, a Masters in Game Development.

During my studies, I was working at Neutron Games as a freelancer doing UI stuff and general gameplay programming for Handball Challenge. From then on, I've been working on numerous projects with companies across Berlin and Hamburg, most notably at InnoGames on Forge of Empires; porting it over to mobile, which was a very interesting project.

Actually, I previously worked at Exozet on the digital versions of Catan, alongside Rainer. Although, I'd also worked with him before at the University.

With that in mind, how'd you end up working at Klang?

I remember Rainer telling me about this cool new project that he was working on, and he asked me if I wanted to join, so I said why not! That project is of course Seed...

Cool! So, what excites you most about Seed?

Well, Seed is the first MMO that I have ever worked on, so from a technical level, that's really exciting. It's a super complex project, with a lot to learn and discover.

From a game design level, I envision Seed as more of a social experiment. What excites me is, once we have players, how they will interact with one another. Will players in different colonies collaborate, or will there be a constant state of war?

Are there any games that have inspired you?

As a kid, I always played a lot of adventure games with my Dad, like Space Quest and King's Quest. That got me into games and problem-solving.

Also, Double Fine's Psychonauts is a game that has really stuck with me. I love the game's style and sense of humour.

So, in your personal time, you're quite the adrenaline junkie. What's your favourite way for getting your adrenaline fix?

I'm really into mountain biking and skateboarding, both I guess are adrenaline inducing sports. But, the thing I love more about mountain biking is being out in nature by myself. I do sometimes head down to Southern Germany to check out bike parks if I really need something more extreme than the Berlin surroundings have to offer.

But, if I'm honest, just cycling through Berlin is extreme enough and I do that every day. That keeps me awake!

I also have just rediscovered skateboarding, which I loved when I was a teenager. It's nice to go out after work for a little session and think of something else other than computer games.

What's your favourite thing to do in Berlin?

Hmmm... I'm not much of a party guy, but I do love to visit flea markets, which Berlin has a lot of. You always find a lot of cool stuff and meet interesting people. The best thing about Berlin is that it's a very green city, there are many parks and lakes to visit. There's always something interesting to do or see!

Stay tuned, readers, for the next part of Who's this Klanger?

Who's this Klanger? An interview with Rainer Bernhardt

For the eighth instalment of our Who's this Klanger? series I sat down with Klang's Game Engineer, frozen pizza connoisseur, and native Berliner, Rainer, to talk about his experience and what it's like working with Icelanders...

Rainer, tell our readers about your working background and experience.

My first Developer job was as an intern at Spellborn International in the Netherlands - the studio behind The Chronicles of Spellborn - where I was in charge of rewriting the text rendering system in Unreal 2.5, among other cool things.

At the same time, I was working on several game projects for the University of Applied Science in Berlin, including building and maintaining a motion capture studio.

Then, sometime in 2011, I joined the digital agency, Exozet. I was working as a Lead Developer on the digital versions of Catan, the board game, for both mobile and desktop. After that, I joined Klang in 2015 to work on ReRunners.

You were at Klang for ReRunners and now for Seed. What's the transition like moving from a casual mobile game to a large-scale project?

I've spent the majority of my career working on large-scale projects, so I don't find it daunting. Actually, I prefer it!

Having said that, it's still a challenge, especially the technical aspects. It's opened up a lot of territory for me, which I've previously unexplored; I find it super exciting!

For Seed, Klang is using SpatialOS. How are you finding the software?

We want to create a game, and at the same time, not have to worry about creating the tech to get it running. That's why SpatialOS is extremely valuable for us.

We're working closely with Improbable to get the most out of the software, which is a great process. For us, SpatialOS is another piece that fits into the overall puzzle that is Seed.

What excites you the most about Seed?

The amount of potential Seed holds! It's huge! Plus, I personally really like these types of games.

What I really like about the project, from a developer point-of-view, is that the game is being shaped by the whole team. I mean, we're not 100% sure how the game will look, in say, two years time, but being able to shape it is really important to me.

Being German, what's it like working with mainly Icelanders? They're an unruly bunch, no?

Well, it's way easier now, since my German friend [Martin] is now working here. Haha!

But, in all seriousness, I feel it makes no difference. I've heard various rumours about the Icelandic way of working, but, I've not noticed any difference. We're just like any start up company.

The three founders have known each other for years and have a strong bond. I think that it's super important!

When it comes to language, I like that it's an English-speaking environment. In fact, it was one of the many reasons why I took the position...seriously!

What was your favourite thing about ReRunners?

That fact that we did it! We finished a game, launched it, and people played it! It was really interesting technically; I had to do all the optimizations to get the game running on older iPhones, which was very interesting as the game is very texture heavy.

What are your favourite games ever?

To be honest, it really changes. Right now, I'm playing Master of Orion like crazy because I really like 4x strategy games. I used to play Dota a lot, but this was before I had kids, haha. With Master of Orion, I can save the game then go and do something else.

There was no specific game or games that influenced me to go into game development specifically, but my older brothers were always playing games, so I grew up with having games around me. But, mainly I enjoy programming, it just so happens that I love playing games too!

Stay tuned, readers, for the next part of Who's this Klanger?