Martin “Šouris” Šourek was born in Desná, in the very north of the Czech Republic and he is our tool programmer here at Warhorse Studios. Martin Šourek is very talented, when he sits in front of the computer and finds amazing solutions for every upcoming challenge in the development of our Warhorse tools.
Do you want to know more about Martin “Šouris” Šourek? Just ask here!
You can find a Spanish translation of this interview here.
1) Where can we usually find you lurking in the holy halls of Warhorse?
I’m usually at my desk, in the AI office.
2) How did you hear about Warhorse?
I heard about Warhorse 5 years ago, when there were first mentions about a medieval RPG (Hussite’s times) from a new Czech based game studio. Next year I visited and I watched GDS conferences. After the Kickstarter campaign I became a real fan . I watched video updates and I read most of the news about the game. But to be honest, I never imagined I could work there. Being a game developer is kind of a dream job, like dustman, cosmonaut, or a train driver, but large games are developed mainly in C++, which is not my cup of tea.
2 years ago, I was looking for a new job and saw a Facebook post of my green-bearded university colleague, Viktor Podhajecký, who was also working there. They were looking for a WPF/.NET developer asap. So here I am.
3) Describe your position. What is it about being a programmer.
I am responsible for Skald, our in-house design software. It’s used widely by our designers for writing game quests with branched dialogues. Quest document contains several parts: gameplays, dialogues, and cutscenes. Based on the gameplay, the scripters try to set up the game in game editor and also set various properties to each dialogue branches (eg. Entry conditions, objectives…). Our cinematics guys take the cutscene parts and use it like screenplay for the scene. The actors record responses automatically generated for each voice, based on roles set in dialogues.
Testers need to know the quest content, to test all the possible outcomes. There is also a database of roles, characters, locations, items, voices, etc… with statistics (usage in quests, association). The graphics department uses a build-in map of game objects (houses, NPCs, stashes, rivers etc…). Then I participate in automated profiling - download current game builds for each platform (PC,XB1,PS4), set them up, run a variety of tests (performance, memory, graphic stress), proceed them and visualize it on the web.
4) Did you ever worked on Videogames before?
No, it’s my debut in the game industry. But I used to have a job at a similar position in the company doing thermal vision.
5) Which job would you not want to do?
QA, as mentioned by another colleague before, it is not as fun as it looks. I don’t think I would like the game after a whole day of repeating the same quest(s), or parts of it.
6) Please describe Warhorse Studios:
Like a ZOO, there are so many professions, both technical and artistic kinds. Even the offices are thematical - somewhere there is dark, somewhere there is sultry and light and somewhere there is a funny smell. I love the ZOOs
7) Please describe one of your colleagues or your department:
I sit in the AI department, one of the smaller offices. The AI programmers are in the minority. There are also sound department guys, 1 “common” programmer and 1 – one-man so-called Skald department.
8) What is your favorite team activity?
Beer drinking in a pub (sometimes Kontušovka included ), summer grill parties, and of course, our annual team building on the Malešov fortress, where all the weird stuff happen to me.
9) Describe your usual day at the studio?
In the morning, I check the mail for news, newly assigned bugs or not completely recorded sessions to delete from the database. Next, I check automatic profiling results and failures. When everything goes well, I can implement new features to Skald or polish old ones by current needs. I’m also validating translations and voiceovers directly in our database, because the quests are often edited, translated, and recorded simultaneously, which can break our usual pipeline.
10) What are you currently working on?
Diff/merge quests. We need to merge our release database branches back to the main branch. Because the dialogues have a tree structure, it’s not just a simple row-to-row comparison.
11) What are some of your notable accomplishments?
I have made Skald usable, fast, and user friendly (a little )
12) What do you like the most about Kingdom Come: Deliverance?
It’s easy to repeat our strong aspects, such as realistic graphics (it’s like home, no need to visit real life forest anymore). It has a great story with various choises to make in the game. KCD aslso has advanced world mechanics, which will be fun to break in repetitive gameplay.
13) How, when and with what platform or game did you first get acquainted with videogames?
My childhood was quite computer-free. The first game, I remember, was VLAK (train in Czech). I played in my primary school computer classes, when I was like 7 years old. Do you remember the sound when the train crashed? Later, we bought the Famiclone and played NES hits like Super Mario, Contra, Super Tank, and 999+ (in one) other games.
14) Which class, gender, or type do you usually pick?
Mage, or archer, long range. Hit, run, and drink a potion at once. I prefer a female character, at least for the 3rd person games - it’s more pleasant to watch.
15) Which videogame character are you?
Snorlax… a wild Snorlax appears.
16) Are there any videogames you repeat playing over and over again?
Gothic series, Gothic 2 especially. A believable compact world, with lot of stashes and details.
GTA:Vice City - 80’s radio playlist, neons, an appropriate amount of content compared to following GTA:SA.
17) What would a perfect game according to your wishes look like?
A complex, story-based RPG game with cooperative multiplayer (not the MMORPGs). I believe there is nothing like it.
18) Most hilarious bug you have ever encountered or worst video game experience?
I saw one of the funniest bugs last month in out automated profiling (because the video is also recorded). In one of the test scenarios, the Oktoberfest NPCs sat on their asses like dog with worms and moved like sledge hockey players on meth.
19) What game have you been really looking forward to but turned out to be a total disappointment?
As I mentioned above, I’m a Gothic fan, so my biggest disappointment was the Gothic 4/Arcania. It a wasn’t true ancestor at all, just a simple clicking festival.
20) How do you relax after a hard day at work?
Music, movies, TV series, pubs.
21) A personal story?
Did I mention, my name is Martin Šourek, and šourek means scrotum in the Czech language? With my calculations, it makes me possibly the greatest scrotum in the whole world.
22) Your favorite music or Spotify playlist
Almost everything. I don’t use Spotify playlists, just shuffle on all songs. If you like details, check my last.fm profile (last.fm/user/shurin).
23) Your favorite movie or book?
American 80’s action movies with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Book reading makes me sleep, so the only things I have in my Kindle are the comic books (Čtyřlístek collection currently).
24) Is it possible to buy you with candy?
I’m not a fan of healthy food, so you can lease me with candy, but if you want to buy me, try kebab or a baguette.
26) You have to fight in medieval times… who are you?
Bard, articulacy, and caution rule the world of muscles.
27) If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?
A large RPG is like a 10,000 piece puzzle image of a calm ocean and azure sky: not so easy to finish, but the results are worth it. So don’t speed up the hype train, but don’t slow it down either.
Do you want to know more about Martin “Šouris” Šourek? Just ask here!