Those Awesome Interviews: Lidia

Since Those Awesome Guys was founded back in 2012, its internal structure never really resembled any accurate definition of a “team”.

With only a handful of people joining and leaving every now an then, collaboration was done throughout shorter or longer terms, but most of the time it was just Nick by himself.

After the release of Move or Die in early 2016, it was pretty clear that the team was long overdue for a much needed expanse, so Nick started to look into various avenues of recruitment.

Mostly posting silly things to reddit and seeing who replied, or foraging through the vast fields of modders until he found something edible, he eventually started filling out positions. These stemmed from the natural needs the studio started to have, rather than a pre-filled out game development studio template.

Working with a steady team of people all across the world can be difficult for big companies with HR departments that recite employment contracts by heart every night before bed. For a tiny studio, based in Bucharest – Romania, this turned out to be pretty challenging as well at times, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.

Learning things about your teammates is pretty important, if only to remember they (unfortunately) also have human emotions, dreams and flaws, like (allegedly) everyone else. Join us as we take a tiny virtual tour of the people that make up most of Those Awesome Guys.

Following is the first in a short series of whimsical interviews with current team members of Those Awesome Guys.

First up to the mic is Lidia, our freshest plant in the pot.

Lidia - Those Awesome Guys
Lidia is a Concept Artist and bird lover from Iasi, Romania.
She was kind enough to answer the questions below:

 

Who are you?

Ana-Lidia Macovei (yes, you can’t spell Ana-Lidia without anal)

Where’re you from?

Iasi, Romania ( born, raised and hired. Exciting, I know)

I’m 5. Explain to me what your job is.

I draw a lot. I listen to people’s ideas and stories, I think about them and then I draw them in different ways. Then I draw them again, and again until I get it right or time runs out. And that’s what they call concept art, kids!

How’d you get to do this for a living?

I was always drawing and making up stories behind them as a kid, but I had no idea that it could be useful to anyone. My older brother first introduced me to video games, the internet and to my first drawing tablet. And so, in my ripe tweenager years, it came as a huge surprise and delight that: ” People could do non-traditional art for a living?! And on video games, too?! I want to do that!?”.

This was the beginning of a mostly self-taught journey. Youtube, livestreams, online classes and other, less ethical, ways of getting my hands on information about how the pros did it, were a huge help. Ever since college I took any little art job I could get, and was especially excited by those that had anything to do with video games.

Saying I planned it is a bit of an over-statement since I had a pretty chaotic and unclear approach to this, plus it was always mixed with doubts about me not being good enough, lack of specific education (I did go to art college but it was mostly focused on the traditional side), the rare opportunities in the industry in my country and finding actual jobs that didn’t require +5 years experience, multiple AAA games under the belt and moving to the other side of the world. It seemed highly improbable, though not impossible.

There is nothing else I’d rather be doing, but I also enjoy making lots of other non-game related artsy things on the side, mostly personal, silly stuff.

TL;DR: Drew as a kid, draw as an adult. If (opportunity == art || opportunity == video game art) then {work} else {continue learning art} (sorry programmers)

https://www.artstation.com/artist/lidd

How’d you end up working in video games?

About a year after I graduated college, a friend told me that the small studio he was working at, here in Iasi, was looking for illustrators.

Even though the job itself had little to do with video games, I was happy to take it and be near people that actually work on games, and maybe get to learn from them. About a year after that, I joined the “big” team and started working in mobile game development.

How did you end up an Awesome Guy?

I met Nick at the studio where I worked. He came to visit one day and showed us the game he was working on. We got to play it and I was instantly driven mad. Yes, the game was Move or Die and, oh, boy did I die.

We kept in touch mostly because of him being an outgoing, fun, social person and not being discouraged by my awkwardness. A fan art contest an few collaborative splash arts later, Nick gave me the opportunity to join the team, which I gladly took ( after I went through the whole panic, dread and anxiety that comes with a new path, of course).

When are you going to get a real job? Like a doctor or a lawyer?

Let me answer that with a true story:

My mom was waiting for the elevator when a friendly neighbor approached her:

Neighbor: “So how are the kids doing?”

Mom: “Oh, they’re well. My son is an engineer now.”

Neighbor: “And the girl?”

Mom: “She’s an artist.”

Neighbor, after a pause: ” Artist, eh? I also have a nephew like that. He doesn’t like working or learning”.

I think I have no chance of convincing these sort of people that what I do is not only “real” but actual “work”, both as an artist and video game developer. But I also think we have to pick our battles and save our energy for all that slacking around we call “work”. And, leaving the elderly neighbors aside, I think things are changing for the better.

Other than that, the creative side of business always gets a kick in the shin from the other side, but that’s just the way things go, keeps conversations interesting.

If you didn’t make games for a living, then how would you be putting your mind off the inevitability of death?

If I wouldn’t be making games of a living, I’d be making games for a dying. I’d still be drawing my hands off. I’d probably be making children’s book illustrations, comics, character design for animation, storyboards or any other odd artsy job out there.  And if drawing was out of the question as well, I’d probably be teaching.

Or I’d be a bird whisperer. Yeah, most probably a bird whisperer.

https://www.artstation.com/artist/lidd

Infinite minerals and vespene gas, what would your ideal game be?

A quirky, punny, fun, colorful, fantastical, weird RPG/platformer/something that has no genre yet and I get to invent it.

Longest ‘/played’ on any game ever?

+/- 250 hours on each: Witcher 3, Fallout 4 and Skyrim.

They all kinda tied (but if series count, The Witcher takes the gold). Gothic 1 and 2 get an honorable mention, but there’s no way I can get the exact info on hours played back then.

Favorite voice line or sound effect in any game?

I’m looking for a whore.” – Geralt of Rivia, Witcher 2

OR, in the “approved for all audiences” category

S’mo BS” or”Clingk” sound made by Slig, pressing number 5 – Abe’s Exoddus

In an escort quest, should the NPC walk faster, slower or at the same pace as your character? Why?

Same pace. If you run, they run, if you walk, they walk. Less frustration for the player. Unless the quest makes the NPC suffer leg injuries, then it would be kinda weird for them to run as fast as you.( *crunch, crunch* his bones went, while desperately trying to keep up with our speedy hero)

How did you rate your last Uber driver?

5 stars.

Draw a chicken.

Lidia's Chicken

Thank you for the answers, Lidia. Truly awe-inspiring.

Tune in next week, same bat-channel, same bat-time.

By in , , | June 8, 2017
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