Gábor "Cuman" Molnár, was born in Southern Slovakia, a region inhabited by half-a-million Hungarians. Here in Prague at Warhorse Studios he has become known as our Studio Cuman, and as a coincidence he also like to practise archery as a hobby, but his job is to be a Programmer and he enriches the Team with his prodigious technical skills.
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1) Why exactly are you called “Cuman”?
As you might already know, Cumans were a nomadic tribe, who were allowed to settle in Hungary in return for their military service. After a century they presumably learned Hungarian. In the game, this Cuman army lead by Hungarians is invading Bohemia and they are a very dangerous foe. Personally, I don’t have any Cuman inheritance, but I speak Hungarian, which was enough to get awarded the “Warhorse’s only Cuman” title. But I don’t really mind, those Cuman masks look cool.
2) Where can we usually find you lurking in the holy halls of Warhorse?
I’m usually sitting at my desk staring into endless lines of code, or occasionally at colorful profiling graphs. Sometimes I appear standing silently behind a tester to see if my build works. You can also see me getting a glass of water from the kitchen.
3) How did you hear about Warhorse?
Back in 2014 my brother showed me a trailer of an upcoming videogame, which had just started its Kickstarter campaign. It was a medieval single-player RPG in a realistic Middle-European setting. The player in the video was walking in a lush forest and he was hunting with a bow. At this point I immediately backed the project. Later I started thinking if there is something more I could do to have the game released sooner. At the time, I was still studying programming in Bratislava. One year later, in 2015, right after graduation I moved to Prague and joined Warhorse to help this game come to life.
4) Describe your position. What is it about being a Programmer?
I’m one of the last programmers who joined the team, therefore I don’t have a single specific core system to work on (like AI, RPG, Combat or Graphics). Because of this I have left my mark almost everywhere. One of my first tasks was to create dynamic rain for our weather system. Then I made the foundation for achievements and statistics, which is built on top of the RPG event system. This had to be flexible enough to make the designer’s weirdest ideas come to life. I have also created countless buffs, perks and potions, and other features like jail, the morale system or the game over screen.
5) Have you ever worked on Videogames before?
Yes, but not professionally. I was making some silly games for my own enjoyment as long as I remember. Earlier on I used various game maker tools, later on I used actual programming languages. Sadly, I never finished any of them. Before Warhorse I worked for a company which designs and manufactures slot machines and betting terminals. It wasn’t a bad job, but I didn’t feel at home there because I’m not a gambler, I’m a gamer.
6) Which job would you not want to do?
QA. You are playing the same quest over and over again, but no matter how hard you test, it still doesn’t work as it should be. Then on some magical day everything beautifully comes together and works like a charm. Next day you come to work expecting to start with a brand-new quest, when you realize that the quest from yesterday are broken as hell, even to the point of crashing the game and you have to start from the beginning. It must be a devastating feeling.
7) What is your favorite team activity?
Going out to non-vegan street food festivals. Luckily in Prague there is one almost every weekend.
8) What are you currently working on?
Bug fixing and optimization, like all my fellow programmers. I’m mostly working on optimizing the game for the Xbox One. Among programmers I’m considered as some kind of an Xbox guru because I have a lot of experience with the platform’s profiling tools and setting up and configuring devkits.
9) What are some of your notable accomplishments?
This happened when we were struggling to get the game to fit into Xbox One’s limited memory. I have found that there is a somewhat-experimental feature in the CryEngine which allows you to remove the physics on objects and stream it just when you need it, thus freeing up some memory. When I tried to enable it, all hell broke loose: NPCs started falling through objects, invisible walls appeared in places where you would least expect them, and other weird bugs occurred. After a few weeks of work, I managed to fix most of the issues. At the end this saved us hundreds of megabytes of memory. Sometimes I still get bugs of NPCs falling through the floor, but it’s usually caused by some Artist’s mistake with the 3D model.
10) What do you think it’s the most important part or thing in the game?
Lore and gameplay. Some games have engaging plot and characters with interesting backstories. Other games have awesome gameplay elements which are easy to learn but hard to master. My favorite games have both.
11) You speak Hungarian, what can you say about the Hungarian voiceovers in Kingdom Come: Deliverance?
I have translated some of the texts and I also helped to teach the English voice actors a few sentences in Hungarian. Fortunately, these actors usually played a character who wasn’t a native Hungarian speaker, so the correct pronunciation wasn’t very important and a foreign accent was more than welcome. We also had real Hungarian voice actors from the Hungarian Institute in Prague. They helped translate the remaining texts, which consisted mostly of battle cries and swear-words.
12) How, when and with what game did you first get acquainted with videogames?
I’m younger than most of my colleagues here in Warhorse, so I don’t remember the pre-Windows era. I started my gaming career on my parents’ PC, which run Windows 95. The first games I remember were Prehistoric 2, Commander Keen, Bomberman, Lion King and Prince of Persia. Then somehow I got my hands on F-16 Fighting Falcon, a flight simulator. It was way out of my league. I had no manual for the game, moreover there were no youtube tutorials or even google at the time, and I understood only a few words in English. It took me days (or weeks?) trying different keyboard combinations until I could take off, but it was worth it. When I got my own PC, it was already running Windows XP.
13) What was your most touching video game moment?
The Mass Effect series had a few inspiring moments, and I also liked Max Payne 2’s grim atmosphere, but I was mostly astonished by Miasmata’s ending.
14) Which videogame character or figure is the best?
The Nameless Hero, because you don’t have to give him a name.
15) Which class, gender, or type do you usually pick?
I always end up with a sneaky archer. And if it is a third-person game, then usually female.
16) Are there any videogames you repeat playing over and over again?
Here’s just a few of them: Gothic 1-3, Jedi Academy, Vice City, KOTOR I-II, Heroes of Might and Magic 3, Age of Empires II, Rome: Total War, Civilization V, Elder Scrolls and Fallout series. I could never get bored of these.
17) Most hilarious bug you have ever encountered or worst video game experience?
In Gothic 1 there was a main quest where an NPC could get stuck, thus preventing the finishing of the game. The developers knew about this, but for some reason couldn’t fully fix it, so they created a special book for it. You could then cheat in that book and read it to fix the stuck NPC bug.
18) What game have you been really looking forward to but turned out to be a total disappointment?
MMO-ified RPGs, like SW: The Old Republic, LotR Online or Elder Scrolls Online. I’m always expecting something more, but all I get is some skinned generic MMO with fetch quests and endless grinding.
19) How did you get acquainted with archery?
This is my horse archery teacher, Bíró Gábor.
As a teenager, I have spent many summers in a horse archery summer camp. There we lived in yurts like our ancestors, and we were taught bareback riding and shooting at a moving target with traditional recurve bow. Currently I’m out of practice, but back then I could shoot up to 4 arrows in the sky before the first one hit the ground, or hit a 15cm disk flying in the air.
20) Your favorite movie?
Back to the Future
21) What species is your spirit animal?
Turul, a mythological bird of prey, similar to a hawk or a large falcon, but mightier in every way.
22) Sport is...
A movie marathon.
23) What will be your famous last words?
Wait! Just… one… more… turn…
24) Is it possible to buy you with candy?
I buy my own candy. I buy a lot. If you want to buy me, try something more interesting, like a 3D printed fishbone.
25) What is your weakest trait?
Resisting the urge to rewrite bad code. It never ends well when you rewrite a duct-taped piece of code. But I can’t help it and sometimes it just happens and I end up with huge changelist which nobody wants to review.
26) Imagine you are a cake, what kind of cake are you and why?
Pancake with strawberry jam.
27) You have to fight in medieval times… who are you? Which weapon do you choose?
Is this even a question? Of course I’m a horse archer with a traditional recurve bow.
28) Knights or Samurai?
29) What was your favorite subject and your most hated one at school?
I always liked subjects where you could rely on logic and didn’t have to memorize a lot, such as math, physics or programming. An exception was history, which I liked very much thanks to our amazing teacher. His lessons felt like watching the new episode of Game of Thrones, but without dragons, and in Europe.
30) If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?
Remélem hogy már nagyon várjátok hogy elkészüljön a játék. Akkor majd végre kipróbálhatjátok milyen érzés egy középkori kovács fiának a mindennapjait élni vagy az erdőben csatangolva visszacsapó íjjal őzre vadászni. Ha bármi kérdésetek van, nyugodtan írjatok, akár magyarul is. Tudja meg a világ hogy vannak magyar rajóngói is a játékunknak!
P.S. Google Translate does a poor job translating Hungarian
Do you have any questions for Gábor "Cuman" Molnár? Just ask here!