PROFESSIONAL TIPS FROM OUR VIDEO GAME ARTIST!

2D Art, Concept Art, video games, tips to improve your art: today we go through it all with Andreia Silva, concept artist at Ludia!

Andreia and art: her journey

Andreia’s passion for art started very early. Influenced by her older brother’s paintings, something sparked around the age of 6-7 after an artist visited her school in Brazil. After seeing him draw Tarzan in a hyper dynamic pose in only 5 minutes, she immediately thought: “I can’t wait to be able to do that one day too.” She then began her journey, drawing by herself, then participating in workshops, and upon entering college she chose fine arts (animation schools were not very common in her area). Choosing fine arts helped her greatly: “It’s important to know the theory, understand the intention in art, experience different mediums and arts to gain more maturity as an artist.”

Thanks to an online school, she discovered a month-long intensive course in Canada: 18 hours of drawing per day! Then came her desire to deepen her knowledge in animation, and video games, as well as understandingframing, positioning and production process.

After some internships, she evolved as a 2D artist and built a solid trust with her teams, became concept artist and today manages the concept part of the characters on one of our games at Ludia!

The key learning in her career? To nourish herself with more and more content, work on her weaknesses and keep on learning, by herself and from professionals.

2D Art and Concept Art

When we talk about 2D art, we talk about a finished product in itself. Concept Art is different in its approach. It comes at the very beginning, at the upstream of the creation that will be in the game and that will serve as a guide for the artistic creations of the project. It’s like an instruction manual for creating something that doesn’t exist yet. It makes the universe tangible and creates a space of truth.

The fun thing about concept art in mobile video games is that the LiveOps add a layer to the concept in which it has to continue to evolve throughout time. There’s going to be a lot of iteration, new environments to create, new characters, but it all has to fit together and blend into the same universe. That’s where the concept is going to be paramount and where the role of a concept artist is key.

Andreia sees concept art a bit like a Rubix cube during pre-production: “The Art Director and the Game Designer arrive with a bag of problems and you have to turn everything around to make the combinations work together. It’s super exciting.”

And what about 3D in all this?

“Volumes are very important, and it’s not always easy to define them with just lines. You have to play with light and colors. It’s very important to have this vision of how the object lives in 3D, to understand this three-dimensionality in order to have a coherent visual and concept. Even if an artist doesn’t know 3D software, it’s important to understand the basics to be able to speak the same language so that all the members can collaborate on different stages of creation. It enables you to understand the entire production process and to create more efficiently.

Learning both sides (2D and 3D) takes more time of course but brings a richness to the creation and a very interesting added value to an artist. Concepts then become more detailed and rich with this component.

The daily life of video game artists

We often have this vision of an artist creating alone standing behind his drawing board. But the daily life of a video game concept artist is quite different, and is in fact based on talking and sharing a lot with others. In addition to pre-production discussions with art directors and lead game designers, the concept artist will also have daily meetings with the other artists on the project to ensure consistency.

“In production, you’re not alone at all! There are research parts of course but we have daily meetings between artists, it’s very collaborative. We’ll show everything we’re working on, we’ll be able to share ideas, make sure everything fits together, get feedback on elements we may have missed. We’ll line up the different characters as well to make sure we’re keeping the right consistency and harmony of styles.”

When it comes to creating a character, the artists will follow several steps:
– the research stages
– intentions of volume and proportions
– the basic colors (without heavy treatment at the beginning to confirm the validation)
– the polish phase, where more information and finesse are added

At each of these stages, we discuss and validate the elements with the Artistic Direction, and with the license in our case at Ludia, to make sure we are on the right track. We create the best documentation and validate the points definitively so that we don’t go back on them later.

Then a lot of conversations will take place with the animators about facial expressions and specific requests. The 3D artists will take over to bring their magic with volumes, textures etc., and the animators will bring the characters to life!

Andreia’s advice

– Keep it simple

Andreia’s biggest learning from these last few years is : Keep it simple. When you add too much detail, it can seem like you are hiding weaknesses. The important thing is to work on the basics and have a solid simple concept. Go back to the basics, think about your framing, the gameplay for a video game, where the eye will focus on. The first question to ask yourself before you start working on the details is: what is important in my design? Work on the basics, the light, the volumes, the proportions, the sense of design, take away the extra to have something more precise and precious.

– Be honest with yourself and work on your weaknesses

You will not be the best in all aspects of your art on day 1. Be honest with yourself, recognize your strengths but also your weaknesses. Work on your weaknesses to make your art grow. Is 3D visualization complex for you? The placement of the light is not yet optimal? Do your personal research but don’t hesitate to look for more professional training and surround yourself with experts.

– Look for inspiration elsewhere

In video games or animation, the risk is sometimes to use on the same inspirations and end up copying more than creating. Don’t hesitate to look for inspiration elsewhere, in different types of art, painting, sculpture, cinema, furniture design too, why not! The important thing is to multiply your sources of inspiration to open your mind.

– Stay curious and observant

As Andreia says:

“An artist is first of all someone who will observe things. Learning isn’t just about having your pencil in your hand and your back bent. You can learn every second by walking around and observing the light, how it reacts with the snow, how the shadow is placed, … You also need to live and experience to have things to say through your art.”

It’s important to keep and feed your curiosity too. The idea is not to force yourself to draw at all costs all the time and repeat the same strokes that will become mechanical gestures but to explore what intrigues you. Did you like a certain composition in a movie? A new software feature that you don’t necessarily use in your work but that tickles your curiosity? Go find out what makes you tick and why it made you feel that way. Explore!

– Give yourself time

The important thing is to find a balance between work and your life. It’s important to work on your art and put in the hours, but you have to listen to yourself. There is sometimes a culture of “always more – never enough” and that’s how you lose confidence and the pleasure of drawing.

You have to put time into your work of course, but do it efficiently. To be good, you have to give yourself time, “just as a beautiful tree is given time to grow and become strong and solid. You can’t ask an apple tree to drop fruit too quickly because it’s not going to be good, it’s kind of the same with your art.”

So take time to breathe too, to develop your personality to infuse it into your art. Inspiration comes from living your life!

Alexandre Denault

Knowing how to create opportunities to be able to grow

Alexandre Denault’s journey is one of our great success stories at Ludia. In 10 years, he has seen the growth and transformation of our studio, experienced both good and rough times, and throughout all that has consistently created opportunities and pursued his evolution alongside that of Ludia’s. He arrived as an intermediate programmer, through hard work, continuous learning, questioning, and deep analysis of his ecosystem and the needs, he reached the position of Senior Director of TechOps – our department in charge of a significant part of Ludia’s IT operations. 

‘if you find the right company, you settle in well, you spot the right opportunities, there is potential to grow!’

10 years of evolution: make your own luck 

The beginning of Alexandre Denault’s story with Ludia goes back to the early years of the studio. In 2011, Alexandre was then a young intermediate programmer and joined Ludia as a network programmer in the Coretech team. He moved pretty quickly on one of games’ team projects that required a network infrastructure, which he created hand in hand with one of his colleague (who is also still working at Ludia and has had a similarly great career evolution: Catherine Barbeau) The project was a real success, and with the team growing, Alexandre was fast to identify opportunities that could be interesting not only for him but for the studio. Year after year, he continues to grow, question, and gain the responsibility of new teams. It is in trusting his instinct that he made his choice to continue his journey with the Backend team in Coretech’s department seeing it as the most promising for his career according to his expertise and affinities. He learned very fast how to reinforce his knowledge of his ecosystem, the studio, the games’ teams, the creation and production process of our games, all the different trades existing at Ludia, and how they interact with each other. All this allowed him to make connections, identify and analyze relationships, dependencies, logical bonds existing between the departments, and the possible associations that could meet some needs leading to improving the functioning of the teams and studio as a whole.  

That is how he gradually took charge of new teams, and let some go, making decisions according to the strong bonds that united them and the similar tools they were using, but focusing on ensuring efficiency and function for the entire group. Today, he is the head of the TechOps department, composed of the Infrastructure, Automation, Release Management, and IT teams.   


Key points to create great opportunities

What Alexandre insists on when talking about his amazing evolution is that he tried above all to understand his environment in order to offer well-adapted answers and solutions. All the opportunities occurring during his career did not come about by luck, he often generated them.

The most important thing for him is trying to understand the global equation.

First of all, understanding his team, how it works, what its missions are, how he fits into that team, what his role is. Then understand the level above and the overall ecosystem of the studio, not just how to create a game, but everything else that goes along with it. Alexandre is interested not only in his own specific areas of expertise and the development of our games, but also in different roles as marketing, finance, human resources, and game support. Not to say that he understands all the specificities of each profession, but he knows they have a role to play in the studio and what it is.

Thanks to that, he can spot the similarities, the teams that work a lot together and can identify the opportunities, what the right mix is, the line traced between some teams, the opportunities to group them under the same management, and his role in all of that.

And so he can also identify opportunities that are good for him and for the studio as a whole. It is those opportunities that he focuses on, allowing him to improve not only the service but increase efficiency and value. 

To grow is not to succeed every time

Throughout his journey, Alexandre also went through more difficult times. To evolve is not to achieve everything on the first attempt, you sometimes have to make mistakes. To go forward, sometimes you have to fall along the way.

In his early days as a manager, he had to face obstacles. The first lesson for new managers is to understand they are no longer the best resource to manage every tasks. Managers need to learn how to surround themselves with the right people and to transfer some tasks for the benefit of all so that they could focus on other opportunities.

Direct managing people can be natural and instinctive, but managing and training other managers in turn, it’s a different story. How can you teach someone to be a good manager if you were not formally trained on managing people yourself?

His first experiences in this situation were difficult. For him, it was the first big wall he hit in his career: how to give the right training to his managers? The only solution he could think of at that time was for him to manage his entire team directly, 17 people.

That is the time when knowing how and when to step back takes all its meaning, as well as the importance of having an open and caring environment that allows you to do so. At Ludia he was offered the opportunity to take a step back and start again, managing a smaller team.

Evolving is also about understanding when something is not working, learning from your mistakes, identifying your weaknesses, and working on them, making them stronger, and coming back stronger and more competent afterward. So he started again, he attended an HEC training thanks to Ludia, which allowed him to better understand people and team management, and to be able to pass that knowledge on to others. 

 
To grow is also to know how to make your people grow

One notion that was difficult for him to grasp at first as a manager was that, for his teams to function efficiently, he needed to let them solve problems on their own, be more accountable and make important decisions. He felt a strong sense of responsibility towards the teams and ownership regarding the missions. He understood, however, that his role as a manager was while presenting needs and priorities and remaining daily support, to give them room to grow, take risks and take on more responsibility.  

Today, he gives them that opportunity, increases their ownership, gives them responsibility for certain elements according to their level of seniority and expertise, gives them the power to invest themselves and have a tangible impact.  

He tries to apply the first and greatest management lesson he learned from his father to his daily life: the most important resource is your employees. You have to provide them with everything they need to work and grow. An essential value for him is to recognize the importance of his employees and his responsibility to take good care of them. And if he feels good at Ludia, it’s because he feels that this value is totally shared by the studio itself.

To grow is to create continuous opportunities 

After 10 years at Ludia, Alexandre has had the opportunity to grow with and within the studio, to identify opportunities, to take risks, to get the chance to make mistakes, and to start again to reach his best. He is well aware that he could not have done all of this in any company.

Today – Senior Director of TechOps, which includes Infrastructure, Automation, release management, infrastructure, and IT – his ambition is to set up a self-sufficient structure, to help and develop the team. His goal is to develop the team as thoroughly as possible so that it does not “need” him to function on a daily basis. For him, this represents a well-established management structure for his team and his job.

Once everything is implemented and fully functional, it will then be up to him to see what his next opportunity will be, to identify the next challenge of his career.

An environment well adapted for the evolution

Having had many different experiences before joining Ludia, he knows that it takes an environment that is open to change, that accepts that its employees take risks, and gives them the chance to step back when necessary so that they can have the chance to learn from their mistakes and do better afterward.

For him, Ludia is a special environment that allowed him to take those risks. He has been allowed to have ideas, express them, share them, and put them into practice, not just “do his job”.

What’s special about Ludia and what makes him want to stay here is this open culture, this structure that appreciates initiatives is ready to listen to its people and believes in allowing them to take risks in order to innovate and improve. Even if this aspect is usually lost when a company reaches a certain level after rapid growth, Alexandre sincerely believes that this is deeply rooted in Ludia’s DNA and will not disappear. The studio directors wanted to do something different with Ludia, he can feel it. For him, Ludia understood something that others did not understand and integrated.


If we were to keep in mind only a few words?

From his experience he would like us to keep in mind that: if you find a company if you settle down well, you find the right opportunities, there is a potential to grow!

There is nothing more frustrating for him than seeing a person in a good position to create something great not using their potential or think there is no opportunity. Opportunities are to be created, they are to be provoked! According to Alexandre, jumping from one job to another is potentially missing the opportunity to benefit from important learnings and ways to grow, it is somehow running away from essential knowledge.

His pieces of advice to grow and create opportunities:

1. Know your ecosystem

2. Identify problems and propose solutions

3. Be willing to be really invested and put yourself at risk 

Evolving in a studio with a soul

Frédéric Bibet is one of the cornerstones of Ludia. With over 28 years of experience in the video game industry, he has worked at every level, giving him a broad, informed, and accurate view of game production. Throughout his career, he has also witnessed the big changes in this vibrant industry, which is driven by one concept: continuous evolution. 

Frédéric joined Ludia 12 years ago and is now our VP of Production. His adventure began as an independent partner at Mistic Software, a company that developed console games for Ludia, then went on within the studio itself, as Mistic joined Ludia’s family after successful collaboration over several years. This career path has allowed Frédéric to see the entire evolution of the company, from its very beginnings to the studio Ludia is in now.

Since arriving at Ludia, Frédéric never stopped growing along with the studio. He has worked with passion, rolled up his sleeves to overcome many challenges, challenged himself, learned a lot, and most importantly for him: he continues to do so every day.

A studio with a soul 

When Frédéric first met the studio and Alexandre Thabet – CEO – Ludia was a very small company. Working as an independent partner at the time, he was impressed to see it grow so quickly from 7 to 14, to 20, to 40, to a hundred people. This entrepreneurial spirit and capacity that came from the founders, and allowed them to sign partnerships with renowned licenses such as Price Is Right, Hell’s Kitchen, or Family Feud despite their very young existence, made him immediately think “Wow they know what they are doing, they know where they are going with their company”.

In 2010, he officially joined Ludia and became the right-hand man to the VP of production. A challenging start with a game based on the Bachelor to be delivered in a very short time. This complex project required a lot of learning for both him and his team, and through hard work and incredible motivation, the project was completed! Another project with tight deadlines followed: The Amazing Race. The job was as hard as it was exciting, but what Frédéric remembers and cares most about this period is the teams. They were mainly made up of juniors, but they were extraordinary, with motivated teammates, hyper-committed, patient and attentive, and a thirst for learning and completing their projects, even if the challenges were important. Many of his very first collaborators in this adventure have continued over the years to grow alongside him and evolve into key members of the studio. They have developed their potential and helped make Ludia what it is today. But what’s even more amazing is that they are still as united, enthusiastic, and willing to help build the Ludia of tomorrow. 

While the games weren’t that impressive in the early days and the studio was at the early stages of building effective management, Frederic yet quickly saw the potential and benefit of joining Ludia. He saw the opportunity to learn a lot from the founders, Alexandre Thabet specifically – a daring young entrepreneur who had vision and ambition while remaining deeply human. But more importantly for Frederic, he immediately understood that Ludia had a real soul. The values he upheld and still passionately upholds today are part of the DNA of the studio.

Take risks…

In 2011, Frédéric saw Alexandre make a drastic decision, a risky choice for the studio: to stop making console games and focus only on Facebook and mobile games from now on. Once again, he was impressed by Alexandre’s ability to have a vision and an ambition, to go “all in” on a new path, guided by strong convictions. This energy and entrepreneurial spirit complement Frédéric’s personality that is more pragmatic, and it inspired him! Frédéric was and still is a very analytical person, which leads him to seek and collect enough information and consult what he deems to be enough people to support the decision-making process. Mastering a subject thoroughly allows him to position himself as a decision-maker, much more so than the hierarchical position he has. Where Alexandre has the ability to aim even further for the future with his ideas and ambition, and to inspire people to join the projects, Frédéric is able to make decisive choices for the games themselves, arbitrating where necessary with pragmatism in order to be able to deliver the games thanks to his in-depth understanding of the issues. He realizes that one cannot go without the other: without a vision, one does not go far enough, and without pragmatic management, the project does not succeed. A symbiotic relationship! 

The decision to go for only mobile and free-to-play games required learning everything. A new field of knowledge and opportunities to explore opened up. Frédéric probably keeps the best memories of this time. It was an extremely enriching period when the whole team, himself and also Alexandre, were learning and sharing together every day, and incredible creative energy carried them along every morning. Many people didn’t believe in this model and wondered what was going on: why focusing on mobile? It’s crazy to create free games! Then came the launch of the first Family Feud & Friends game, which went on to reach over 1 million DAU! From then on, everyone knew it was a winning bet and the teams got really excited about this new model. This was a big turning point in the history of Ludia, which decided to review its structure and organize itself as best as possible to adapt to this new evolution. Since then, the studio has continued to grow and has gone from 100 to 400 wonderful Ludians who work every day to always take the studio one step further!

… But also to take a step back and question ourselves.

Two years ago, Frédéric and the executive team decided to take a step back. “How far have we come and, above all, where do we want to go in the future?” There have been many adaptations over the years as the studio has grown exponentially. And benefiting from its experience, Ludia is no longer a start-up, it’s a solid studio that now requires deeper changes to get to the next level, and no longer what we might call “micro” adaptations. A major reflection was then initiated. Frédéric, along with the executive team, hand in hand with our trade experts Serge Mongeau, Jimmy Beaubien, Marc Antoine Ledoux, Raphaël Monin and with the support of the HR team, questioned and explored the best ways to organize the studio to achieve new goals and provide the best tools and work environments to develop employees and games whose quality is constantly being improved.

While having these discussions for the studio, Frédéric realised that he needed to start a more personal process to reconsider and deprogram certain thoughts and automatisms he might have in order to move on to a new level in his evolution atLudia. His job is one of those amazing “passion-job”, with so many opportunities to grow, and this is what keeps him wanting to do things and be involved in everything. But he is questioning himself and slowly understanding that it is no longer possible, at his level, to manage everything. His responsibilities are changing and evolving, and he is no longer expected to do what he did a few years ago.

With his teams, he digs deeper and asks questions that are sometimes extremely detailed to push them to go further, to better express their ideas, and to go into as much detail as possible, to dissect the elements in order to achieve a mastery of the issues so as to be able to make the most informed decisions possible. This attention to detail, this way of pushing them to understand a subject completely and then being able to share their knowledge, is his way of helping them to surpass themselves. Today, he wants to keep evolving on how to better manage his teams, how to give them what they need to evolve, to grow, to become the best versions of themselves to be able to be as autonomous. With this in mind, to support the teams and help him in management, concrete decisions have already begun to be taken, including the creation of two new key structuring roles for Ludia: Head of Operations and Head of Creation. This whole process is undoubtedly one of the biggest projects he has undertaken. Because: “a project, you do it with people. Like on a boat, you can be the one at the helm, make decisions, listen to the wind and the sea, but you are sailing with people. It is the perfect balance between autonomy, knowing your role in the group and knowing how to do your part efficiently, and the coordination of the whole crew working towards the same goal to reach the same destination that allows you to reach it successfully. If you don’t listen to your people if you don’t give them the key elements to carry out their tasks autonomously, a vision of the impact they have on the whole team, and a clear common destination, there is a big risk that you will never reach your destination, or that when you have to change direction, your people will fall overboard or your boat will end up sinking.”  

The important thing for him now is to build things on the notion of infinite, leave a legacy and see his people thrive.

“The day I leave, the studio will continue to grow and I want to be proud to have been part of it and to have set the right course for them to get there. The idea is to create an infinite company, beyond yourself, to prepare it and give it the automatisms needed so that it can grow on its own. It has to stand the test of time. It is with this same perspective that we create our games too so that they endure so that they stand the test of time. ”  

Permanent learning and continuous evolution

Throughout his 12 years at Ludia, Frédéric kept one of its most representative characteristics : his thirst for knowledge. The evolution of the studio, of the games, but also of his own role have required adaptations, learning, and questioning. And beyond that, Frédéric remains deeply passionate about all the new developments in this industry. This openness to others, this willingness to share with his teammates at Ludia but also his external contacts or his participation in round tables, and this vibrant curiosity, which is still very strong today, are part of his DNA. He is so anchored at Ludia because all these values are part of the foundations of the studio. Thanks to that, he continues to develop, learn and share his knowledge to take the studio and its teams always further. 

To continue to grow and evolve, change and constant movement are necessary. When asked “is it comfortable?” He naturally replies :

“In the evening you’re exhausted, sometimes you think you haven’t made enough progress that you’ve had to deal with too many unforeseen events, but then you step back and look at the positive and everything you’ve actually done. It’s important to force yourself to be aware of how far you’ve come and not just how far you have to go. So is it comfortable? No, it’s never comfortable, but it’s so exciting and motivating! ” 

Feedback on the neurodiversity panel ludia x urelles

We want to thank everyone who came and added to the amazing conversation that was last week’s panel on neurodiversity, as well as our amazing panelists Martin, Iris, Marianne, Michel and moderator Chloé. The panel spanned many topics, including but not limited to: 

·       Seeing neurodiversity as a strength, but also as a characteristic that is inherently diverse like hair or eye color 
·       Dispelling myths that people are ”suffering from autism” 
·       Asking for accommodations in not only your workplace but in the hiring process. This includes ensuring that the questions during the hiring process are clear, and worded in a way that is accessible. 
·       Terms like Neurodiversity can include Neurotypical people, where as terms like Neuroatypical do not include neurotypical people. Neurodivergent is an often used term as well. 
·        Many people use different terms, and feel comfortable with different terms and what is important is that the terms help convey the experience, possible strengths, and needs of the person. 
·       Getting an autism or neurodivergent diagnosis is increasingly difficult for adults, and specifically women.
·       Women do not have a ”different type” of autism, but interact with different social structures, which can often change the presentation of neurodivergency. 
·       The need to create the ability for all individuals to ask for accommodations, in a non-judgemental way, that will not detract from their candidature, or their role. 
·       Understanding the ever-changing needs of specifically neurodivergent individuals within working from home, and home hybrid, online or in person workplaces can adapt. 

Couldn’t make it last week? Check out the recording of the panel below! 

Ludia and URELLES, were so inspired by your engagement, as well we feel there is so much more conversation to be had, that we have chosen to put on a second edition, focusing on Neurodiversity and Intersectionality. 


Keep a lookout for more info on the new panelists, as well as links for tickets in the coming days!

A passion for evolution

Serge arrived at Ludia in 2017 and has recently been promoted to Creative Manager responsible for the Art, UX, and Design departments, which represents more than 150 people.

His role is to guide all these creative minds, to provide them with the best tools to bring out their creativity within our games and reach their full potential. 

Finding the balance between ambition and humanity 

Since he was 12 years old, Serge has loved video games. He has grown into an expert, especially in mobile, knowing the complexity and competitiveness of this industry and the number of jobs needed to build games that stand the test of time. Before joining Ludia, he had been following its development from afar for some time and admired the success the studio had had over the years.  

When he arrived, the position had been created for him: the management team had identified Ludia’s needs that were a great match for his skills. Through this position, Serge helped grow a strong next generation of artists. Now it is time for Serge to undertake a similar journey with the entire creative department at Ludia!

His greatest wish is to see Ludia assert itself as a major player in the industry, not only in Canada but also around the world. To achieve this, it begins with the people we work with every day. These days the creation of mobile games is increasingly complex. You have to know how to bring teams together, bring out their strengths, understand each other’s impact and create bonds that are stronger than technology. It’s an everyday challenge, and even more so in a virtual context! This is what he strives for, providing dynamic solutions and supporting the day-to-day. 

It is in his ambition to take on this challenge and continue to develop his people to go further in our creations that Serge relies on a value that he shares with Ludia, and we hold strongly: the well-being of our employees. Serge upholds this kindness and willingness to put well-being and development at the heart of everything we do.

“The fact that we don’t work in a work-for-hire environment allows us to plan more long-term and invest in what is most precious: our people.”

Ever evolving 

Since Ludia’s creation, and especially since his arrival, Serge has noticed the emphasis on constant evolution and pushing of boundaries while allowing employees to really invest themselves in the studio without compromising their work-life balance.

“A good example is Ludia’s desire to invest the time of our employees to contribute to the continuous improvement of the studio”: Ludia is a story that belongs to all those who wish to help write it. The implementation of a multi-level decision-making process will not only give our employees more transparency and visibility on Ludia’s future but will also provide a framework in which they can have fun and make decisions. 

Another example of this is the FLEX program announced last November at Ludia: “Flexibility means different things to different people”, but offering a program and approach that ticks all the boxes, being able to adjust your presence in the office or at home as you/he/she wants, is a huge step forward for Ludia. This program, which was designed with no other goal than the well-being of our employees in mind, has even allowed some of our employees to fulfill their dreams, such as buying back a family home which they grew up in outside of Montreal.

His pride:

For the past 4 years, he has been following Ludia’s evolution from the inside and sees how the studio and its 400 employees are adapting as they grow. Ludia’s strength? Constantly questioning itself, listening to our needs, and implementing the changes necessary to improve our games, and ourselves as a company. 

“If you’re passionate, you can create”.

What is he most proud of? Working hand in hand with his colleagues on human resource management, development, coaching, complex projects, role formalization, team support, as well as managing the start-up of new productions at Ludia. Knowing how to mix long-term employees and newcomers from different backgrounds, bringing out their expertise and innovation: all of this is what drives him.

Serge is passionate about people, he likes to coach, accompany, bring out creativity, equip his people with the right tools – in general, and even more so at this time of COVID19. But he is also passionate about music, cooking, blogs, decor, and travel. His greatest support is his family. He also surrounds himself with books and inspiring quotes, notably from Simon Sinek or books related to the creative process. 

All of this mixed together gives him the energy and creativity he needs, which he then passes on at Ludia to our creatives every day.

What’s important to remember? 

At Ludia, we love working with passionate people, discovering, bringing out creativity, developing the human aspect, questioning ourselves, learning, and evolving. That’s why we’re still here today and why we create exceptional games.

“Today, I am able to say that what I do every day at Ludia is exactly where I want to be and what I want to do”.

International Mobility at Ludia

At Ludia, we know that the talent and passion for our industry is immeasurable all around the world. We are very proud of the richness brought on by the diversity of our teams. It allows us to always level up and push ourselves to develop professionally as much as personally. That’s why we also recruit internationally! 

An International Outlook

Within our fully bilingual studio, there is a true openness and a key value lies in the heart of our close-knit community: inclusion. Inclusion, in the general sense of the word, but also when it comes to the integration of our international talents.

Quebec and Canada are abundant with talent, and this impresses us every day. But sometimes, it also happens that our perfect candidate can’t be found in Canada. In order to offer our teams the best talents that combine skill and passion, and the candidates their best job opportunities, we do not limit ourselves to the Canadian borders. 

Today over 20% of Ludians are international recruits who have been supported throughout their relocations by our Talent Acquisition Specialists and our dedicated International Mobility Specialist. Many Ludians have also moved beyond to complete their permanent residency and have settled permanently in Quebec, so that they may continue to enjoy life in Montreal and Quebec as well as pursue their professional evolution at Ludia! What a beautiful change of life for these Ludians!

Reflections and Recruitment Process

If you are interested in the international mobility experience, you must already have lots of questions about the processes and procedures. So, in order to help you make a well thought-out decision and organize your future plans, here is a short and non-exhaustive guide: 

First, an international mobility process is a project that requires a real in-depth reflection. Our advice for you is to ask yourself the right questions beforehand and how you envision your future life projects in order to anticipate changes and their consequences. Moving to Canada is not just about moving into a new home, especially when you have a family. Between your job, home, daycare, relationships with relatives, immigration processes and so on, the changes are sometimes very major.

Before applying to Ludia in the hopes of joining our crew, here are a few things to keep in mind:

– Think carefully about your life projects (and that of your family’s).

– Seek out information about life in Canada, Quebec, and more specifically Montreal. 

– Find out about the procedures, permits, and your potential status according to your situation (we will of course accompany you in your research, but an informed and motivated candidate will make a great impression on our recruiters! 😉).

Once you have reflected on it, this decision will be the beginning of a great adventure! Let’s start with the recruitment process, here’s how it works:

  1. You find and apply for a position that matches your aspirations, profile, and skill set, or you apply through the “Name your job” application describing how motivated you are to join us! Add any information about your potential status in Quebec, if applicable.
  1. Our Talent Acquisition Specialists will carefully review your application and profile.
  1. Your application and profile are promising? Our Talent Acquisition Specialists will get in touch with you and arrange a telephone or video conference call. During this call, they will discuss with you: your profile, your skill set, your motivation to join Ludia, and your motivation to start an international mobility project. The information discussed will also allow us to evaluate what is possible for you in terms of mobility, Visa, permits, and procedures.
  1. Your profile caught the attention of our team and our International Mobility Specialist has given us the green light for the immigration process! You will then move on to the interview stage. Depending on the position and profile, you may meet several people during one or more interviews (expert, manager, a member of your team) and may be required to complete technical tests.
  1. It’s a perfect match? We make you an offer! If this isn’t the case, we’ll let you know as soon as possible, keep your profile in mind, and will definitely call you back if another opportunity comes up!  
  1. Once the offer is accepted, your adventure begins, as well as the immigration process.

Our Talent Acquisition Specialists will be there every step of the way to accompany you and answer all your questions.

Accompaniment: Welcome and Integration

Once the offer is received, your adventure can begin! It may seem like a daunting step, but our International Mobility Specialist, our Talent Acquisition Specialists, and your team will be there to support you.

At Ludia, we support our future international Ludians on several levels:

– Assistance with procedures and work permit processing.

– Depending on the profile (position and family situation), a relocation package may include: the cost of temporary accommodation for a few weeks, reimbursement of relocation fees and travel expenses, and accompaniment by an external partner upon arrival.

Our partner can, depending on the situation, help a new international employee settle in by taking care of: welcoming them at the airport, accompanying them to obtain a Social Insurance Number, obtaining their RAMQ card from the Quebec Health Insurance, etc.

And of course, we offer an amazing and complete internal integration, even virtually! When working from home, your equipment is sent directly to your door and our IT team is present to help set everything up a few days before your first official day.

Then, a schedule is prepared for you on your first day to discover more about the ins and outs of the studio, your advantages, and to help get to know other new Ludians, the Talent and Culture team and your own team. Integration meetings and events continue throughout the week, not to mention everything else that awaits you afterwards as a Ludian!

For those who want or require, Ludia also offers language classes in French and English.

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International Mobility and Covid-19

The current pandemic has inevitably had an impact on our current international recruitment. However, this does not prevent Ludia from keeping an eye open and speaking with some very interesting international candidates. It may take a little longer than usual but we continue to look for the best talents for our teams and to integrate them into our studio as best we can! Don’t hesitate to submit your application!

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A career change is always a very important step in everyone’s life, and even more so when it includes international mobility. It can be a pretty stressful and intimidating leap. That’s why our team always places people at the heart of each process and discussion in order to best support them, because we know that you will make Ludia shine even brighter in the future!

Join us today!

Ludia Switches to Flex Mode

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt this year, it’s definitely resilience and adaptation.

Earlier than required by governmental regulation, Ludia made the decision to transition to work-from-home mode. All the logistics and adaptation of those first days brought their share of challenges, new routines, and processes to implement. And in this, our Ludians were extraordinary.

Adaptation and Revelation

After this first period of adaptation came the time of realizations. Working from home was a way of working that had not been envisioned for Ludia until then, as we strongly believe in physical human relationships, face-to-face brainstorm meetings, and the importance of casual coffee chats to nourish our spirits, our thoughts and the development of our games. Yet in the face of this difficult situation we have seen our Ludians surpass themselves; exchanging, being resourceful, always motivated, listening and caring even more than they did before. Some faced more difficulties than others, which we addressed head on because the well-being of our employees is a priority. While other employees are making their mark and blossoming more than ever. Generally speaking, this new way of working coincides very well today at Ludia in this particular context, even if it is not ideal for everyone.

A Guided and Documented Reflection

Over the past few months, we sent out and shared several surveys with our Ludians. This was done in order to check on how they were doing, because their well-being is a priority, but also to involve them in our reflections, because our organizational decisions must also respond to their problems and realities.

Then this summer, after over 5 months of working from home, the question of whether or not a possible return to the office and what its conditions would be, came to discussion. Even if this reflection was one of long-term, the management team began discussing options. After all, adapting was a necessary reaction and step to take this year, but anticipating, being proactive, and innovative in our ways of working was definitely on our minds.

We therefore launched a new survey on the issue of flexibility, which highlighted several key elements:

·         Work-from-home offers great advantages to many Ludians, such as: savings in travel time that allow them to develop their personal lives, fewer distractions, and a calmer, more suitable work environment for some.

·        The social aspect of the office is still essential for many people and is what Ludians miss the most at the moment.

·        The last few months have profoundly changed the vision of the ideal work environment for many of our employees. New routines more adapted to their life and new needs and desires for balance have emerged.

·        A majority of employees would be interested in a hybrid way of working and combining both work-from-home and work-from-office.

We also became even more aware of something essential: each employee represents a unique situation, context, and issues that are very specific and different from someone else’s. Parents, single people, expatriates, introverts, extroverts, artists, programmers, designers, producers, QA, support, corporate functions: the studio encompasses very different profiles. And if there is one thing that has become obvious, it is that flexibility will be different for everyone and that one identical program would not work for everyone.

Creating the Flex Program

Concerned about giving the best working conditions to the employees and based on the lessons learned over the last few months and the feedback received, a group composed of several Ludians, the executives, the Talent & Culture team, and the IT team worked on the creation of a flexibility program.

Open to all, customizable, modular, adaptable to changes in life and needs, evolving according to the tools that are and will be available in the future, and innovations in terms of methods in work. These are the main points of our new program, designed for (and thanks to the results of the survey also by) our Ludians.

  •       Flexibility Based on Your Needs:

From home or from the office, everyone can choose the work environment that suits them best! The format will be fully customizable, regardless of level and position. It will also be modular according to changes in situation or daily life. It will not be a matter of choosing a fixed program per week, month, quarter or other, but rather of being able to adapt it to one’s needs at any given time. The idea is to offer Ludians the possibility to organize themselves as they wish to guarantee the best balance and to respond perfectly to their needs. We simply keep the usual core hours following their returns to facilitate exchanges and collaboration within the studio. 

  •          Geographic Mobility:

More and more people want to be able to live outside of Montreal. In order to allow them to do so, it will now be possible to work from wherever they wish throughout the province of Quebec.

  •          Mobile Workstation:

Whether in the office, at home or in hybrid mode, we want our Ludians to be well equipped to work in the best conditions, and we will make sure they are. As a result, they will have access to the equipment they need on a daily basis no matter their current work environment.

  •          Office Space:

Our office is reinventing itself! Hybrid meeting rooms, equipment, new workspaces (collaborative, concentration, individual): the teams in charge are working hard to create a new workspace designed to meet our new hybrid work modes to come.

  •          Office Life:

Ludia has always had a very rich life at the studio, and it is planning to continue and even aim higher on this social aspect! Training, events, assemblies, game launches: great moments to come!


This program will of course require many adaptations in terms of technological, managerial and organizational levels. And even after its official launch, when employees return to the office, we plan to continue to work on it in order to come up with versions that are always better adapted to everyone.

Our goal is and will always remain to provide solutions that best meet the needs of our employees while maintaining a good balance with the needs of the studio and the production of our games.

The harmony of our teams, our exchanges, and the beautiful culture within the studio are important aspects to us and we will do everything possible to protect them. So we say: “At the office or at home, but always one united crew!”

How video games made a mark on the lives of 3 of our ludians

It’s International Video Game Day! As you can imagine, at Ludia we have a special attachment to games. They are an integral part of our Ludians’ lives!

Today we’re sharing with you 3 great stories about how video games made a mark on some of our Ludians…

Father and Son: A Drawing and the Birth of a New Game – By Eddy Léja-Six, Lead Game Designer

In 2017, my son Elric drew this when he was 6 years old:

C:\Users\Tlouargant\Desktop\unnamed.jpg

At that time, he only played small 2D platform games. He was already curious about my job as a Game Designer, and he was very motivated to invent his own game (he still is!).

I asked him questions about his game to understand how it was supposed to work. Then one Saturday morning, while he was playing with his sister, I scanned his drawing, turned it into sprites and created a very small prototype of his game.

Then I placed his drawing on my laptop screen, called him, and removed the drawing revealing  the game. It took him a few seconds to realize that it was really playable. 

C:\Users\Tlouargant\Desktop\unnamed2.gif

The same day, he was unable to finish the game.

But 2 years later, he asked me to play it again, and he succeeded! The screen at the end of the game was very poor, it was just a text displayed in the middle of the screen, but he was glad he succeeded. And I was delighted that 2 years later he still remembers it.

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An Encounter That Changed Everything – Claudie Léger, Graphic Designer 

In 2009, I was playing Diablo2, when I got into a Chaos run with my necromancer. I wrote in French on the chat and another Quebecer answered me. In the past it was quite rare to find another person speaking French in a game. I told him I was a girl, he didn’t believe me, so we exchanged our MSN to talk to each other. After a year of virtual friendship, we decided to meet at the Longueuil metro station and that was the beginning of our love story that has been going on now for 10 years!  

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The First Steps – Olivier Rayé-Lalonde, Game Designer

When I was little, I played Doom with a friend in a hot seat.

The first time we met a Pink Demon, we let out a high-pitched scream as we backed away from the computer screen! My father knew at the time that video games were visceral and immersive for me. Going from the SNES to N64 with the same use of the computer, I knew pretty quickly that I was hooked. Very young, in the 90’s, I started doing amateur level design. I thought it was crazy that games provide us with free editors to make maps in their machines.

So I had fun making maps for strategy games such as Age of Empires and Starcraft, but also for the first person shooters of the second generation: my favorite being Worldcraft from the original Half-Life. Some of my levels were part of additions to the game, commonly called “mods” (for modification). I played and modded a lot one of the first shooter coop games I knew at the time, I named Sven Coop. As a gamer, I was involved in the development of the Valve Source engine, particularly enjoying the Half-Life (then Half Life 2) mods such as Team Fortress Classic, Counter Strike (which was just a mod at the time!), The Specialists and The Hidden. 

This passion and talent acquired during my early years allowed me to access the Game Level Design program at the ADN Campus in the 2000s, and then land a series of jobs in level design!

Coretech Dev: At The Heart of The Development Division of our Tech Experts’ Team

At Ludia, we’re composed of many teams, with many different profiles and positions essential for a games development: support teams, administrative teams, but also a core team that pushes innovation even further, the improvement of existing technologies and implementation of new tools and processes. This team is called CoreTech and is organized into 2 divisions: infrastructure and development.

Today we invite you to dive into the heart of this department and learn more about the Coretech Development team and the expertise of its members who provide indispensable support to our games’ teams!

Three teams in one!

The main mission of the Coretech Dev team is to provide all essential technological elements so that our games teams can communicate with the games’ servers, whether from a phone or our internal servers. To do this, the team develops, deploys and maintains various products and tools that are then used by the game teams to facilitate their lives and unify the way they function. In other words, for each one of our games, the teams will have access to an Application Programming Interface layer (commonly called API) that will allow them to call functions to connect, save their progress, receive events and messages, create guilds, enable purchases, etc. The team is dedicated to simplifying the life of game teams and providing them with the necessary tools. This is where the expertise of the members of Coretech Dev come into play. To carry out this colossal work, which increases as new titles are added to our portfolio, 29 passionate people are divided into 3 specialties: Back-End, Front-End, and Framework.

 ·       Back-end

The Back-End team is responsible for building and providing the games teams with the most efficient set of functions possible, adapted to their specific needs. It is this team that is responsible for the development of the Luna 1 and Luna 2 platform, but also of the Jazz and Titan analytical pipelines. As Ludia develops different games mechanics, the Back-End team must constantly develop new functionalities and implement innovative processes while improving existing ones in order to save precious time. This development takes place for the game’s base but also for each new function that will be added or modified. For example, if we need to be able to track data from a new subscription system set up by Apple or Google, our experts have to develop and implement this at the server level, and propose one or more APIs in the games environments. 

 ·       Front-End

This specialty team focuses on high-level tools for the graphic administration of the back-end. It is thus about providing the different roles of our game teams (producers, designers, community managers, support…) with web graphic tools to be able, for example, to administer the game, manage reclamations, ban members in case of extreme necessity, or manage GDPR data. For the latter, we want to offer the teams the possibility to access information quickly and easily just by pushing one button and performing actions in a single click. Another example: for the implementation of a segmentation in order to make A/B tests and improve even more our player experience, it was necessary to make developments in the Back-End and to create a Front-End interface to collect the segments and manage the events. The Front-End team is also responsible for the development of LiveOp tools.

 ·       Framework

The specialty of our Framework experts is to develop the Unity gateway, allowing to pilot the Back-End, the client part and the data for the game teams. The game code must be able to connect at any given time. Their work therefore focuses on a set of C-Sharp class libraries, called LudiaNet, that teams can “call” and take care of the communications aspect with all possible errors, the connection flows via Facebook, Apple Signing, Google, etc. Ideally, the games then have just one function call to make, the rest is taken care of by the Framework layer.

In addition to these 3 “customer-oriented” poles, a Project Manager’s team, composed of managers, handles more specific projects in parallel. These managers follow up with the game teams to ensure that CoreTech Dev teams’ work is aligned with the needs of the games. They guarantee the respect of the schedules, priorities and communication between all teams.

Within each of these divisions, a team member is always “on call” to answer specific questions from the games teams. He/she answers questions, and is the one receiving the requests and needs. This leaves the rest of the team free to concentrate exclusively on the development of tools and processes without distractions. This organization becomes more necessary as the games portfolio grows. Our games live today much longer than we would have anticipated a few years ago, and LiveOps also demands the ability to deliver efficient, optimized and innovative solutions in an increasingly short time frame.

A Constantly Changing Environment

The video game industry is known for it’s constantly changing environment. We often talk about adaptation, and those are not just words on paper – the Coretech Dev team can attest to that! Over the department’s life, the teams have had to face many challenges, and we must say that they have done so brilliantly! Here is a brief overview of the projects that have required (and still require) the most adaptation, energy, and innovation.

One of the major challenges was, a few years ago, the transition from our “in house” game engine to that of Unity. In just a few months, everyone had to adapt, transition, learn a new language, and sometimes reinvent themselves. It was a real eye-opener for the team, and it’s members’ impressed us with their development and learning capabilities. 

Another big project, which is now a constant issue, revolves around GDPR issues. This is a small revolution in itself, which has a significant cost in terms of time, technology but also regarding the human aspect. Surrounding oneself with lawyers, developing knowledge, nourishing oneself with each other’s expertise is essential to do things properly. As with other challenges that the team regularly faces, expertise and knowledge were not entirely present internally, as these issues are not always part of the core business of the teams. This is the strength of Coretech Dev, and more generally one at Ludia: the ability to develop the knowledge and potential to be able to deal with any situation.

Other ongoing projects require increased flexibility and adaptation for the teams, such as the question of the implementation of automation systems on a bigger scale or the transition from a regular release mode to a continuous deployment mode.

We can always count on our Coretech Dev team to take our tools, processes and by extension our games to the next level! Continuous improvement, development of their knowledge and skills, adaptation, innovation and knowing how to make the most of each member’s potential are the characteristics anchored in the DNA of this team.

A Unique Expertise

Even if Unity is used for the graphics of the games, the server part remains “in house” at Ludia. The decision not to use an external partner is simple: an internal tool is further developed, adapted and customizable than what is currently available on the market. By working very early on the development of mobile games and LiveOps, Ludia has developed a unique expertise and this is where the studio clearly stands out. Thanks to this orientation, Ludia has been able to give itself a clear step ahead, a sharp expertise. Far from taking everything for granted, the team continues to improve its tools and processes with the integration of Cloud tools, DevOps, to quickly pass a technological milestone that will benefit all games. This new direction will allow the studio to easily pass the next 8 to 10 years on this technology, taking into account the increasingly long lifespan of the games and the stakes involved.

Curiosity and Diversity at the Service of Innovation

According to Coretech Dev:

“At Ludia, we are fortunate to have people who are eager to learn new things, who are always eager to learn more, who nourish each other, want to try new things, and move the studio, projects, processes, and tools forward. It’s really incredible.”

Each member of the team is eager to share, can and knows how to learn quickly but also how to teach, so that they can always benefit from everyone’s expertise and experience. Taking advantage of all of the team’s strengths is done organically. For example, one person on the team today is particularly familiar with the world of CICD (continuous release). This person has therefore created discussion groups and regularly prepares internal presentations for the team but also for production. It’s a perfect way to share on what would be good to implement and how to improve things, what the problems are and how to solve them.

The team’s management style is based on sharing. It is simply not about imposing technological solutions on the 29-person team here. The idea is to know how to learn from what is being done elsewhere, from the problems of other sectors/ markets. With this in mind, Coretech Dev also knows how to surround itself with external experts who will accompany them, carry out a sharp analysis of the available technologies and present what they have identified as opportunities and problems.

In addition to experts and very curious members, the team is made up of very different profiles, in terms of experience, knowledge, and affinities. Its richness lies in the diversity of personalities, cultures, and its openness. It also includes a number of atypical people, some of whom suffer from autism spectrum disorders. It sometimes requires adaptations, but a safe and comfortable environment for everyone was quickly and naturally created.

When the director is asked how he managed to create such a degree of inclusion and openness in his team, he simply answers: “It’s like it’s in our DNA. Having open people at Ludia is an integral part of the process from the very beginning of the recruitment process. A lot of attention is paid to see if the person is open, shares the same values and will blend well into the team.”

Everyone is aware of the differences and knows how to adapt in terms of communication, workload, work rhythm, and relational specificities. Even if cohabitation is not always the easiest, collective work and a strong team spirit always contribute to the smooth running of this department. And when you bring up the subject, you quickly come to the conclusion at Ludia that yes, this open-mindedness, inclusiveness and diversity nourishes the spirit of innovation and pushes it to a higher level.

If we had to walk away with one piece of advice in our exchanges with the Coretech Dev team, it would surely be: always value open-mindedness and never neglect communication. 

Les dinosaures de Jurassic World sont plus vivants que jamais !

Aujourd’hui est un jour très spécial pour tous les amoureux de créatures préhistoriques, Ludia et Universal Brand Development s’associent avec Google pour donner vie à 10 dinosaures grâce à la Réalité Augmentée dans Google Search.  Vous pouvez remonter dans le temps jusqu’à la préhistoire et observer un T. Rex piétiner dans votre salon ou le majestueux Brachiosaure dominer les arbres de votre quartier. 

Pour les trouver, recherchez un dinosaure dans Google en utilisant votre appareil mobile et cliquez sur “afficher en 3D” pour leur donner vie grâce à la réalité augmentée. Cliquez sur “Voir en taille réelle”, les technologies d’éclairage repositionneront automatiquement le dinosaure dans l’espace dans lequel vous vous trouvez pour lui faire prendre la place nécessaire. Vous pouvez également zoomer pour observer de près la texture de sa peau. Les modèles de Jurassic World Alive de Ludia font en effet partie des dinosaures en réalité augmentée les plus réalistes créés à ce jour. 

Les dinosaures de Jurassic World disponibles en réalité augmentée sont les suivants : Tyrannosaurus Rex, Velociraptor, Triceratops, Spinosaurus, Stegosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Ankylosaurus, Dilophosaurus, Pteranodon et Parasaurolophus.

N’hésitez pas à faire preuve de créativité, à créer vos propres vidéos, et partager vos rencontres avec ces créatures majestueuses sur Facebook, Instagram et Twitter, en utilisant #Google3D and #JurassicWorld. Et une fois que vous aurez trouvé les 10 dinosaures sur Google AR, n’oubliez pas de venir jouer pour pouvoir en trouver plus de 200 dans le jeu et tout autour de vous ! 

Curieux de découvrir comment notre équipe crée les dinosaures ? Modelisation 3D, textures et animation, regardez cette vidéo pour découvrir le processus:

Plus d’information sur Jurassic World Alive 

Plus d’information sur les dinosaures dans Google search AR

Jurassic World Dinosaurs Are More Alive Than Ever Before!

Today is a pretty special day for all dinosaur lovers, Ludia and Universal Brand Development  partnered with Google to bring to life 10 dinosaurs with AR in Google Search. You can travel back to prehistoric times and watch the T. rex stomp in your living room or a majestic Brachiosaurus as it towers above a tree in your neighborhood. 

To find them, search on Google for a dinosaur on your mobile device  and tap “View in 3D” to bring them to life with AR. Tap on “see actual size” so deep lighting technologies automatically reposition where the dinosaur is in your space to make room for it. You can also zoom in to see its textured skin up close. Ludia’s Jurassic World Alive models are indeed some of the most realistic AR dinosaurs created to date. 

Jurassic World dinosaurs that are viewable in AR include: Tyrannosaurus Rex, Velociraptor, Triceratops, Spinosaurus, Stegosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Ankylosaurus, Dilophosaurus, Pteranodon, and Parasaurolophus.

Feel free to get creative, create your own videos, and share your encounters with these majestic creatures on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and tagging them with #Google3D and #JurassicWorld. And once you’ve found all 10 dinosaurs on Google AR, don’t forget to come and play so you can find more than 200 in the game and in your world!

Curious about how our team creates the dinosaurs? 3D modeling, texturing and animation, check out this video to discover the process:

Learn more about Jurassic World Alive  

Learn more about the Dinosaurs in Google search AR 

Warriors of Waterdeep: One year of adventures at the heart of the Forgotten Realms!

Just over a year ago, Ludia led for the first time players from all around the world in an extraordinary new adventure filled with monsters, heroes, and epic battles across the iconic universe of Dungeons and Dragons. Opening wide the gates of Waterdeep, Ludia offers, at your fingertips, the chance to complete quests full of mystery and challenges in the heart of the Forgotten Realms. For either undisputed fans of the license or simply curious minds, Warriors of Waterdeep knows how to enchant its community!

Once upon a time … Warriors of Waterdeep

As surprising as it may seem, the adventure of Warriors of Waterdeep did not start in a forest but at a conference table! Let’s go back in time, and discover together the steps of this tremendous project!

A few years ago at Ludia, during an event such as others regularly organized at the studio, employees were encouraged to present game ideas. Having big fans of Dungeons and Dragons ™ the license emerged among the favorite ones and the team began to brainstorm on how to transcribe this complex and fascinating universe into a mobile game. How to combine the key elements and retain the essence of this role-playing game? Which heroes to choose? Which monsters? The gelatinous cubes and the dragons of course but what else? Which mechanics? Which tactics? And in which kingdom?

After intense thinking, the prototype is finally brought to life… in paper format! The mechanics of the game was tested during a play session with the team developing the project and our executives, including our president himself who will be at the source of central iterations for the rest of the project! After fine-tuning the project, the passionate team presented the idea to the company behind Dungeons and Dragons ™: Wizards of the Coast. And from the very first visit, a strong bond was created. The feeling of understanding each other right away and the open exchanges helped to build immediate trust between the two parties. Since that day, a close collaboration has been established to make the best use of the resources and result in a game that deeply respects the DNA of the license and the passion of the players, for whom Dungeons and Dragons™ is not only a game but a true lifestyle. And all this while allowing a new audience to discover this fantastic universe. To carry out this project, as in any good part of a D&D play, building a complete team to succeed in the full of obstacles’ quest that was ahead of them was essential!

“Choose your team!”

Contrary to what some would think from an external point of view, creating a video game is complex and sometimes exhausting. To successfully complete such an adventure, you need to surround yourself with passionate, brilliant and hard-working people. But at Ludia, not only we value those traits but also like our employees to be open, caring, with a nice touch of creative craziness. All these elements combined, the colorful personalities, the different cultures and the common passion are making Warriors of Waterdeep’s team a great team (but if you come to Ludia, you’ll soon realize that all our teams are! 😉 ). Artists, QA, designers, writers, programmers, analysts, … Each person is a vital element for the success of the project and for balancing the team’s dynamic. Each member feels and takes to heart this sense of responsibility towards the license and the fans and gives the best to always bring the project to a higher level.

The D&D team at Ludia, it is also a lot of laughs, listening, brainstorming about “How to make our monsters even scarier? , “How do we make the game even cooler? “, ” How to surprise the players? “, ” What date should we schedule our next team building for axe-throwing or paintball, …? ». Cohesion, communication, listening and sharing are key elements here!

All this atmosphere and values are shared with the Wizard of the Coast team as well. The special relationship between Ludia and Wizards of the Coast is a great pride. Each one learns from the other, is flexible, does not hesitate to share points of view and doubts but also the joy of working together. It is an authentic collaboration, with a common goal, which is nourished by a deep respect and mutual appreciation.

This wonderful relationship allowed our team to benefit from exclusive information, sneak peeks, attending the Wizards of the Coast Creative Licensing Summit, but also to receive messages that have touched the heart of the team such as those you can find in this extract :

 “Challenge and Discover”

When you create a game, as during a play, comes the time to challenge your talents as an adventurer (or game designer here). Then you face the steps that consist in discovering the final version, confronting the players’ opinions, and improving the mechanics. After the game development in itself, the team did not stop testing and improving the game along the way. It’s a long process that requires a never ending dedication to ensure the well-being of the game and the experience. The players have proven to be incredible, and continue to be in their feedback!  Dungeons & Dragons ™ has such a passionate fan base that the feedback is incredibly constructive and really pushes the concept of the game. Many iterations and improvements have been made as a result of the feedback received, and that’s still the case today. What players expect, what they want to see, their behaviors within the game, how fast they go through the levels and the content, all these are key indicators to improve the game and make it better for tomorrow.

“Battle and Earn”

After facing the obstacles that stood in the way, it is time for victory and rewards. After this first year, the team knows how lucky it is to have such an involved community! They are always very good at guessing what the next updates will include even before any announcement and players enjoy going through almost all the content available in the game every time! Their commitment is a real motivator for the team. The players are always surprising and it seems that the game has not only promoted cooperation between the heroes, but has also encouraged cooperation and team spirit between the players.

The kindness, cooperation and mutual help between players is one of the team’s greatest discoveries about this community through the game. During the launch a positive energy spread quickly. The spirit of helping each other led to tips sharing, recommendations and advice through social networks. They found new combinations of abilities which led to a round of rebalancing the game! Even after a year, far from fading, this positive energy continues to be shared between players, and the competition remains friendly.

One of the biggest surprises has been to discover the players, in addition to their in game’s sessions, also starting Dungeons and Dragons ™ games in the chat rooms!

Of course, not all the feedback is exclusively positive. Sometimes some are more incisive than others, but at Ludia we decide to see the glass half full and realize that if they take the time to express themselves, it’s because they’re deeply involved. These are also a victory because they always push the experience further and the quality higher. Our team’s motto since game launch has always been:: continuous improvement.

The first of many anniversaries to come

There are always new exciting adventures and new quests to experience and play! The team is very excited about the upcoming updates! The excitement shared with the players adds another notch to their level of motivation and willingness to go beyond expectations! The Live-Ops team has some great surprises in store in terms of events, new characters may be appearing very soon and whispers tell the story of an impressive black dragon being on its way to Waterdeep, so keep your eyes open!

The adventure continues, mighty warriors!

The Journey of A Talented and Promising Artist: Felipe Ramos

Artist. If you look it up, you’ll find literally thousands of different definitions: a person dedicated to the expression of beauty, technique master, creator of emotions. In reality, there are as many definitions as people practicing Art, with a capital A, in the largest possible sense of the word. At Ludia, we’re lucky enough to count close to 100 of these amazing people. Inspiring, passionate, hard working, talented and curious experts, everyone’s source of inspiration is unique. To define this wonderful team, which amazes us daily with their creations, in one word would be: richness. 

Today we embark on a journey with Felipe Ramos, Concept Artist here at Ludia on our game Dragons: Titan Uprising. 

Felipe

Concept Artist: What’s That?

Concept Artists are key people in the pipeline of a video game production. Their objective is to illustrate, in images, a concept that was solely living in the designers mind prior to that. The project is brought to life thanks to their creations. All their work allows the entire team to visualise which direction everyone should take and how to move forward together on the project. 

One of the most important key characteristics for an artist? According to Serge Mongeau, our Art Expert at Ludia, “It’s the will to always push forward while improving your work methods, being curious and exploring new techniques.” And this is the aspect of Felipe’s profile that makes him more than just talented, but an artist with a promising future. “Felipe is deeply curious and does not hesitate to embrace new technologies, to improve its productivity and define a new coherent universe throughout multiple characters.”

Passion and Hard Work 

Being a great artist is not only about having good predispositions and “natural talent”,. To succeed in an artistic career often means facing of obstacles,. It requires a strong will and hard work. Especially for a concept artist, as it is quite similar from one studio or project to another, and so it turns competition into an even more intense game on a worldwide scale. , You need to be  deeply passionate and dedicated to your art, to get the chance to turn it into a professional career. But if curiosity, hard work, sacrifice, and commitment are your daily mantras, success could be at your fingertips. 

To reach his goal, Felipe worked ruthlessly until developing the necessary skills to be able to get into an art school here in Montreal. But once he reached this goal, an even harder goal was set. Leaving his family and friends behind in Brazil and facing the reality of the competition and how good and hard working some of his friends were at school, was, at the time, a tough period, but nevertheless forged his work ethic. 

Today, he still puts a huge emphasis on self educating. Internet tutorials, sharing sessions with coworkers and managers, new software learnings, online classes from the artists he is most inspired by: he takes every chance he can get to learn something new. Through time, as a Concept Artist, he came to the conclusion that he “can’t just specialize in a specific form of art”. That eagerness for learning was nourished by his professors’ who guided him, not only in mastering the existing techniques, but in continuously seeking knowledge, innovation, novelty. It is also, in part, motivated by a small fear of being outdated quickly in an environment constantly changing and marked by fast evolution. 

Albert Einstein once said “Genius is 1% talent and 99% percent hard work…”. This might also be very true for art.

Why use a quote from a scientist? Well, it’s a natural correlation! 

Science and Technology: The Heart of Felipe’s Inspiration

When asked if he always wanted to take an artistic path Felipe answers: Yes, I always wanted to be either an artist or a scientist, since I first saw a Leonardo Da Vinci exposition in Sao Paulo when I was a kid, it changed my life. So setting myself towards a career that would allow me a similar creative freedom was my main goal”.

After studying biology back in Rio, and realizing science was a hard reality in Brazil, he deeply dedicated himself to his art to reach this ultimate goal. 
But never truly forgot about the scientific universe. He still nowadays, besides taking inspiration from personal experiences, what’s surrounding him, events, films or environments he wanders in, science and technology remain in a special place amongst his inspirations. 

His current obsession? The artificial intelligence movement in art. More and more technologies allow us to make art and will surely change the creation process, artists’ work and way of thinking. It’s that part Felipe is exploring, and his thinking is nourished by his own research as much as sharing ideas with some of his peers, which are equally captivated by this subject as well. 

The idea behind it? Always keeping an eye on the potential future evolution of his job.

The Video Game Industry and The Creation Process 

Even if he thought he’d work for the movie industry at first, Felipe “always knew video games were the next step.” “It was just a matter of time until the graphics I was seeing turned into full immersion, like an obvious progression. Right now it has the potential to be the ultimate form of art and immersion.”

What he loves most in his job is world-building. “So things have to make sense when I’m creating them. Character and creature designs are my favorite thing to do for fun and at work.” He balances his time between his artistic practice at work and his personal projects in his free time. He does not limit his creative mind to express itself during work hours only. As a technology lover, he likes having access to a wide range of tools. “It forces me to learn new ways to make things every once in a while.” His managers are more than open for him to explore further to allow him to develop his full potential. 

How does the creation process for a Concept Artist work at Ludia?

Of course, every artist has a specific vision and way of doing. For Felipe, “it varies a lot, depends on what the asset is, or for what it is for.” In every case, some elements stay part of a routine in the creation process, as the research part for references and to form moodboards. Then, for a piece of concept he usually does it on a 2D media, render a base model of the asset then painting on top of everything on Photoshop. For those assets, his favorite technique is to approach things manually and painting stuff out as it is the fastest way to get a realistic looking finished piece. For a piece of illustration, like a splash screen, his first step is usually 2D sketches, then pass on a 3D process. It might take longer at first, but allow him to make interesting iterations and changes of camera angle. For in-game assets, he starts by creating many 2D concepts then moves on to make 3D models (in 3D coat) based on the best ones approved, so he can interchange/kitbash pieces and produce more variations. Then, the final assets being 2D, the final steps are assigning basic materials, rendering it and painting on top to deliver the best pieces. 

Covid-19 and Creativity

Along with the entire studio, our artists work from home. Some elements remain the same, no matter the job position occupied. Thus, the necessity of being adaptive, finding the best ways to communicate remotely, and focusing on the positive aspects such as: being less interrupted and being able to enjoy more free time as commuting is no longer part of our schedule is the same for everyone. 

For the most part, Felipe’s daily work, as for several of our artists, did not drastically change since the implementation of work-from-home. Same material, same meetings adapted virtually, projects still going on. But the quarantine has had a deeper impact on his creativity.  Inspired by the tiny daily details of life, his social experiences, being in contact with different personalities, being able to encapsulate moments of his life outside are elements that usually nourish his work. “For inspiration it can be tough sometimes, it can be blocking. For example, when you need to develop images reflecting summer and all the characteristics that encapsulate this season… it is very complicated when you can’t go outside, or are not living this usual summer vibe when going out.” So, he is a little more “forced” lately to solely find inspiration on the internet. 

Finally, of course, whether you are a parent or someone living alone, one of the main things is being organized. Not that Felipe lacked this before, but remote work still requires optimal organization. Feedback he received from his peers was key to improve even more his organisational skills. He also disciplined himself, still respecting the schedule he was doing in the office, even if he was tempted to move around his hours to meet the ones during which he thinks he would be the most inspired. That way he keeps the right rhythm and a good balance.

Some Advice During This Pandemic Situation

Felipe says that even if it feels very complicated sometimes, it is important to try to keep yourself up to date and well informed about the situation while protecting yourself from the media chaos. It will be good for your mental health. He also notes, not to forget about the importance of disconnecting from work, especially when being locked down alone. “The first 2 weeks were a bit more complicated as I use the same sound system for both my personal and professional computers. So it’s happened that while working on personal projects after my working day, I would hear my Slack notifications. I was tempted a couple of times to go check the messages and go back to work. But since then, I am more careful to draw a clearer line between work and personal life, and strive to get the best balance.”

Marketing in Video Games: Discovering Creative Services at Ludia

“Oh! You work in the Marketing department? What do you do exactly? Where do you fit in the production cycle?”

We hear that a lot. If you ask the people around you what marketing does in a video game studio you’d get answers like: they create tools and strategies to promote games and help with internal and external communications for the studio. Indeed, the big picture may look a lot like that. But we also often hear that marketing “only creates nice, pretty images” or that “everything is done last minute”. Believe me, I’ve done the exercise!

That being said, we’re not just about creating “nice images”. To show you what we do on the daily, let’s begin by introducing ourselves.

Creative Services: Who are they exactly?

First, who are we? We are the Creative Services team here at Ludia! In a few words, we’re a pretty cool team managing the creation of promotional videos and images of our games, ensuring that both our studio and our games get a great visibility externally, making them shine and last through time. 

Let’s get back to basics, shall we? What are our daily goals and who is part of the team? 

Our department is composed of a multidisciplinary team of graphic designers, web designers, motions designers, video editors, and sound designers. 

We study vigorously the market, our competitors, and the different updates and events occuring in our games. This information allows us to create assets that are perfectly aligned to our players’ reality and our studio’s image. Every image or video created has gone through a well reflected process of research and development. 

In order to keep up with what’s relevant in terms of our games, we also have a close relationship with the production team. We try to avoid, as much as possible, last minute requests, in order to deliver only thoughtful work. We constantly check Confluence pages dedicated to projects, and also maintain a close relationship with Producers and Artists. Staying up to date and having close communication are key. 

Promotional images but so much more…

One of our main responsibilities is creating promotional images. But we don’t stop there. We create visuals and animated content for our communities, web sites, newsletters, audio content, and video trailers. The tasks we handle are so diversified that even internally, people in other departments, still get amazed at all the things being produced by our marketing team. From time to time, when sitting in on interviews with our recruitment team, even they get surprised by all the current projects going on. 

This continuous variety in our missions and the multi-talented people on the team allows us to interact with various departments in the company: executives, producers, leads, animators, artists – most would be surprised to find out that we are connected to all of them at one point during a project. 

How can we build such close links with all those different departments? We developed, little by little, the right knowledge and capacities to help. Today, we know by heart what each department needs, we gather as much data and information as possible, exchange ideas based on our experience and on what’s going on in the market. Thanks to that, we are able to suggest possibilities and solutions whenever necessary. 

Daily, we discuss ideas, study references, search for what’s new and trendy, and transform the information received and collected into relevant images and videos that deliver results. 

By continuously engaging our players, we are able to help games stay relevant and players coming back even after years of their first release. A good example of this is our game “Dragons: Rise of Berk” which was released in 2014 and which still has a LiveOps Team to promote sales, new dragons, and new events. 

Our work is the result of deep reflexion and rigorous analysis

To create engaging and relevant material, we base our work on research conducted by other departments and the license at hand. In our promotional material we always try to put a spotlight on player favorites or what makes the players more reactive to an ad. This explains why in our Dragons games, Toothless and Light Fury are featured in most of the promotional material, and in Jurassic World: Alive you might see, sometimes quite funny AR situations, seeing as this feature enables us to display a dinosaur in the real world.

Our research can also lead us to creating new assets we would never have thought of on our own. For example, by checking in with our Community Department, we noticed that fans were screen grabbing splash screens because they really liked them, so we decided to offer phone background wallpapers based on them (and more!) in the Jurassic World: Alive landing page. We now see a good amount of wallpaper downloads after every update.  

To stay up to date and relevant with a game, we also analyse competitor strategies and what they might do differently regarding User Acquisition Ads, Promotionals Videos, Community Pages, Newsletters, and so on.

Remember when we mentioned that we are a multidisciplinary team? As you can see, it is more than necessary to be multifaceted when we look at the list of all the tools and different channels used in promoting a game

Working for our games, but also for our beloved Ludians!

Not only do we work for the games, but we also take part in our studio’s internal and external communications! For our parties or assemblies, the Communication’s team comes to us for the creation of all the assets required for the events: posters, cards, pins and videos, we always love to lend a helping hand.

We also take part in more big scale external events such as MIGS for example, by supporting the Communications and Human Resources teams. We can create posters, cards, one pagers, graphic elements for goodies or social media publications, but also corporate videos illustrating our daily life at Ludia and our amazing games. 

Being a point of contact for almost every department, we discuss with producers, communications and HR teams about their needs and expectations so we can participate in the creation of those assets and improve the visibility of our studio, who we are and what we do at Ludia. These elements combined help in attracting new talent, and in creating a positive impact on employees in the studio. 

Our ambition: to make a positive impact

It is so important for us to see the results of our work, internally as externally. We hope to make a positive impact, and that what we create can last through time for both our player base and our coworkers. We are so proud to support the development of clear communications internally and even prouder if we can contribute to the attraction of new talent. Externally and for our games, it is always a huge satisfaction to know that we contribute to the players’ engagement. We study new ways of attracting players, help in the preparation of new game launches, and collaborate with all departments to help our studio grow. If a game still appears fresh and exciting after 5 years, and we, at marketing, have a little input on it, we are more than happy!

In a nutshell and a few hundred words, that’s what we do, this is who we are as part of Ludia. Maybe sometimes we do things that look shiny and cool – and sometimes just plain and to the point, but there’s always a purpose behind it. We love being part of this dynamic and ever changing environment. We take pride in delivering great assets, that are relevant and creative, and that deliver good results. Each day, we do our best to be up to this challenge!  

So next time you see an ad, a poster, a video, a promotional offer, a landing page, a pin,  please think about all the amazing people behind the work and everything involved that made it possible!

Love, Creative Services at Ludia.

Moderation and Social Care: let’s meet the team behind our forums and app stores

Every studio has a different name for this team.  They are what you could call our daily heros, working in the shadows, answering our players on forums and app stores. They help players the best they can and give advice with kindness in mind. They also bring player experience to the production team, by sharing player opinions. Production teams use their feedback to level up the quality of the game. At Ludia, we call this  team“Moderation and Social Care”. That name is representative of what they do, which is to take good care of our communities. 

Their work, their daily interactions with players and production teams, their challenges and their adaptation to work-from-home… we decided to shine a spotlight on them and let you in on this amazing group of people! 

Moderation and Social Care: What do they do exactly?

You’re probably familiar with job titles such as “Player Experience Manager” or “Game Master”. But at Ludia, those titles did not fit with the personality and mindset of our team. After some time of reflection, we came up with something that was more representative: “Moderation and Social Care Specialists”or as we refer to them internally the MSCS team.

The main objective for this wonderful team? To keep our communities on forums and app stores as happy and safe as possible, which allows us to in turn keep our employees safe as well. 

But, what is it they do exactly? 

All the forums, app stores, comment spaces; our team manages, not to mention in several different languages too! Their goal is to ensure that all questions get answered as quickly as possible, and that everyone respects communication guidelines, to update all platforms, inform players of any changes or updates, and ensure the safety of our communities . 

It is a very meticulous and rigorous role that requires a lot of energy and dedication. They must identify questions, research information, evaluate the risk  of aggressive comments. They need to act fast, with kindness and understanding, be able to interact with diplomacy, and make difficult decisions when necessary. The internet is indeed a funny place, where certain people seem to forget how to act respectfully. Comments can be hurtful, even violent and threatening at times towards other players and our employees. MSCS ensures to flag these, evaluate their risk, and as a result take the necessary measures . Between you and us, no one likes to ban someone, but safety always comes first. It remains our top priority. 

Internal and remote employees: coming together for our players!

At Ludia, 5 amazing people make up this department. But we are lucky to count on remote colleagues as well. A total of 16 people are also part of the team. Based in several locations abroad, from the US to Scotland, Poland to the Philippines, and other countries, this allows us to better serve our communities around the world. 

Rigorous organization and distinct specialties for a top performance

You guessed it! With all the hard work that comes with managing various platforms, the team needs to be very organized and have a good grip of time management to fulfill its mission. 

In addition to it’s manager, every internal team member of MSCS works on app stores management as well as the moderation of forums, but a specialty is assigned to each. Two people are assigned the biggests app stores that have numerous and highly engaged communities and some of the forums, two other people are managing the biggest forums with the most active communities and some of the app stores requiring a bit less time to manage. This way, every platform is covered efficiently by one of our experts. Comments that require answers are replied to within 24h. The priority is to offer the best service to our players. When a new member joins the team, specific attention is paid to give them the best tools and pieces of information to better organize their tasks and work schedule. In order to guide a new employee, they receive an example of a typical work day, the tasks that need to be completed, the time it should take etc. Each person being different, organization can be too. If difficulties had to occur, the manager would take time to discuss, evaluate and understand the blocking points and the best way to rectify the situation. 

Besides one-on-one meetings with their manager, who cares more than anything about putting the wellbeing of the team first and is available each time someone expresses the need to talk, the team also has 3 meetings a day. They discuss workflow, energy and the mental state of each team member, definition of new priorities and redistribution of the platforms according to the current situation. Those meetings are essential for the good work and dynamic of the team. There are also less formal meetings just aimed at taking a deep breath, being together, laughing and sharing some time together to let go of the pressure that could have come up. 

Most people tend to finish their work day at 5:30 p.m., for the MSCS this isn’t exactly the case. Alternating each day, each member of the team is on-call. They monitor the platform to make sure app-stores and forums stay safe places whether it be day, night or the weekend. Isn’t it a great proof of their ruthless commitment ?

A close link with production

In order to plan the workflow, and because they are anticipation masters of our players’ reactions, MSCS takes part in production meetings where new updates are announced. Those meetings are fundamental for the organization of the team. It allows them to work on their priorities calendar, and make sure no major update is made on the exact same day as the one planned for another game. This indeed could result in a huge inflow of comments, that could be very difficult to handle. Some producers even integrate MSCS before the update announcement to get their feedback. Players’ perception is key, and the team can bring this vision and expertise to the table. 

MSCS’s role is even more relevant during soft launches, as it is a direct window to the players visions and reactions. At that time, optimization can still be made before the worldwide launch. Our community’s feedback is then a golden source of information, extremely useful for the production team. 

Front row seats to player reactions

Throughout forums and app stores, MSCS get an exclusive view on player emotions or behavioral changes. This can be such a great moment when reactions to the launch of a feature are positive, for example. But when reactions are negative, it’s quite the opposite. 

With the current pandemic and lockdown, the situation can sometimes be difficult to handle for a lot of people. Our team has noticed huge changes in terms of player behaviour these last few weeks on our platforms. Our players are more committed than ever, they come back, share a lot, discuss regularly about the games. This part is extremely positive and reminds us how lucky we are to be part of this wonderful industry, we are truly blessed. But in parallel to that, we can deeply feel the tension. There is, with no doubt, a huge effect on our communities’ mental health: more sensitivity, fast answers based on emotions, sometimes more distress, anger and aggressivity are common lately.  

A huge challenge: mental health

Our amazing team,Moderation and Social Care, just as all Ludians, deeply care about our communities. During these weird and difficult times, it is more important than ever for us to pay special attention to our players, and double our efforts to keep everyone safe, promote well being and good mental health for all. When they feel like it is needed, the members of MSCS do not hesitate to remind the entire community of  different help and emergency contacts(all links will be available at the end of the article).They have even decided to make them available continuously on the forums page. No matter the player, they make it clear that this person counts, and is not alone. 

Beyond the players, our employees’ mental health is also a top priority at Ludia, maybe even more within the Moderation and Social Care team. As said earlier, it is such a passionate job but can be demanding and threatening at times. Comments said in distress can also hit hard to our wonderful MSCS team members behind their screen, as they have a lot of empathy; an amazing gift but sometimes a burden. Ludia and even more so their manager take great care of discussing with each team member to check in if they are ok, be the listener they need, offer extra time off and implement fun activities to cheer them up! The last one implemented: share the funniest comments of the community! This works every time by bringing a bit of joy and lots of laughter to everyone. 

Another thing that helps a lot? Sharing and the continuous support! All team members, internal and remote, are invited to share, express themselves, be open so that everyone can contribute and be honest, improve procedures, and lift team spirit. The managers main focus: “That everyone has a voice, to encourage everyone to express themselves and not keep everything bottled up inside.”. Good listening and transparency, are the pillars of this incredible committed, hilarious, and passionate team.

And during covid-19, how has working from home changed for the team?

In all transparency, if a team has all the tools on hand to be able to work remotely, it’s surely the Moderation and Social Care department. As mentioned above, part of the team is working remotely already. Have you ever noticed that the team is also available not only evenings and weekends but also during the holiday season when our studio is closed?  A work-from-home approach was already taking place for this department. The preexisting team’s cohesion, great management, and organization has allowed them to be fully operational and as effective as usual since the announcement of the temporary closing of the physical studio.. 

Of course, some points are not as easy to handle. It can be a bit difficult to get the answers needed right away,there’s a delay when waiting for a reply on Slack, we can’t just stop by our coworkers desks anymore, or take an actual  face-to-face break together. So MSCS compensates with more team and one-on-one meetings, Slack conversations, and videoconferences. 

On a brighter note, everyone has decided to make the best of the situation and try to enjoy the small joys of working from home: spending more time with family members, being able to jump in a workout session during breaks, being able to listen to any music, working with a lovely cat on your knees! 

Advice for people interested in joining such an amazing team? 

It is a fantastic job, and it’s even better when you are lucky enough to be part of a hardworking, passionate, and fun team as our beloved Moderation and Social Care one at Ludia. To succeed in that type of position here are two tips : have tough skin and have a tremendous sense of humour! With these two qualities, there is no doubt you’ll be a future shining star in moderation and social care!

To wrap up, we wanted to add:

For everyone managing moderation, forums, and app stores: we see, we care, we are so proud. Simply, a huge thanks! 

To  everyone else: Be kind and indulgent, always, with others but even more so with yourself. Take great care! #everythingwillbeok

*If you ever feel the need to, here is a list of help and emergencies numbers. Please never hesitate to use those and ask for help. It is the best gift you could offer yourself, and one of the bravest things in the whole world.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Canada and USA : 1-800-273-8255

Kids Help Phone Canada  1-800-668-6868

Crisis Line Canada: 1-866-996-0991

HopeLine USA : 1-919-231-4525

International Hotlines: Links to suicide crisis numbers from all over the world by Country

Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention 

Information for those considering suicide and those who have recently lost someone to suicide and need help

Phone number: 1-613-702-4446

NEDIC Information on Eating disorders and links to helplines

Helpline: 1-866-633-4220

Game Producer and Mother to an Infant: Coralie Munier Lets Us in on What It’s Like to Work From Home

For the last month and a half all teams at Ludia have been working from home. The current situation is complex and necessary, but brings with it its slew of challenges in the development of our projects, and also for the daily lives of all of our employees.

In this context we wanted to let you in on the day-to-day operations of the studio and some of our Ludians daily routines. This week, we start off with Coralie Munier, who has been a Producer here at Ludia for the last 8 years, and is a Mother to her 18-month old daughter. 

Coralie and Clémence

The production of a game while working from home

Coralie is a producer on our game Dragons: Titan Uprising. Between strategic planning, defining objectives, distribution of tasks, collaborating with other departments and managing a team of 30 people, even in a “normal” context this is a demanding role, highly based on communication. This can be very challenging to manage, especially at a distance.

On the other hand, Coralie and her team were able to rapidly adapt and efficiently keep up with production. “What helps us, is having an extremely clear roadmap. When the vision is clear, they know where they’re going and what they need to do.” Certain situations need to be managed more regularly but globally, they’ve tried to keep and maintain the same routine and functioning in place as the one at the studio; the sprint meetings once every two weeks, and the recurring, habitual meetings. The only thing that changes is that they are now virtual. 

It’s by being organized and keeping a weekly rhythm similar to that of what the team is used to, with a few exceptions of course, that allows for them to produce and maintain their same quality of work. 

Managing a team at a distance

It takes a lot of organization to manage a 30 person team including, notably game designers, developers, testers, and artists, in a way that is as efficient and human as possible. There wasn’t a need to put in place new things, but rather to simply adapt all the previously physical actions into virtual. Naturally, specific attention was placed on reinforcing communication and a regularity of contact (whether by call, video, or chat). This regular contact is more than to just discuss tasks and projects, but to ensure that each team member is feeling good, that there are no specific issues or to simply allow them to talk about how they are feeling. The team is encouraged to be open and honest about their emotions in order to be accompanied in a way that is ideal for them during this worrisome time. In addition to regular stand-up meetings, every team lead is responsible for 2-5 people which he or she must speak with every day. Similarly, Coralie takes the time to discuss with each of her leads daily.  

More generally speaking, for Ludians that have been with the studio for a longer period of time, it’s a bit easier, but for new employees, working from home can be a big challenge. The team therefore places special attention to the latest recruits. “One of our new arrivals started about 1 month before the deployment of remote work. He’s just freshly arrived in Montreal; he’s not in his country, doesn’t really have any friends here, nor family, and just moved into an apartment that doesn’t feel like home yet. We pay very special attention to him, his lead speaks to him everyday and creates social, informal moments. For example, they connect together at lunch time to play games together.” The most important aspect for Coralie is that not one person of her team feels isolated. 

Another category of people that are naturally having more difficulty in this situation, but for different reasons are parents. The key message for them is: do your best. As herself, a Mother to a young child, Coralie reassures parents and reminds them of the flexibility offered by Ludia to work when they can (in respect to the deadline of deliverables). She even rallied her troops to create a wonderful team spirit that allows others to support and help lessen certain people’s workload if need be.

“I think that with the current situation we’re really seeing Ludia at it’s best, the support between Ludians, and it makes us realize that we are lucky to be working in these conditions and for this studio.”

Although if she allows parents a lot more flexibility, it’s often a lot more complex for her to benefit from the same flexibility. 

In fact, when others can organize their schedules to work early in the morning, or late at night whilst the kids are asleep, it’s not always a conceivable solution when you’re managing thirty people daily. Coralie must be available to her team during regular hours, which has required a lot of adaptation. 

Working from home with a young child

What she misses the most? “The ability to switch my brain and concentrate solely on my work. In the Ludia offices, I can devote my entire energy and concentration to my work. When you need to also take care of an 18-month old at the same time, it changes everything. We realize that there are so many things we take for granted, and we’ll appreciate them so much more once we’ll be back in the studio. I also have a lot more admiration for my child’s caretaker, haha.”

So how does one organize themselves to manage their work as a video game producer and also care for their young child?

Coralie and her partner Romain, adapt their time management by alternating their work moments and moments spent with their little one. They try, to the best of their ability, to schedule meetings in function of each other’s agendas in order not to be both working at the same time. Does it always work out? Well, no, sometimes one or the other has the little one on their lap during a videoconference, “but everyone is really considerate and understanding in these cases”. We adapt!

In a few words, here’s how a typical day works out for Coralie:

7 a.m.: The little one wakes up.
9:30 a.m.: Nap time. This is where Coralie and Romain plan out their most important calls: VP production, Human Resources, Team Meetings…
12 p.m.: The little one wakes up and lunches are prepared (it’s crazy the time we spend just preparing food! When at the studio, we simply just stepped out to get a salad or sandwich – it’s the little things that we take for granted!)
Afternoon: It’s at this point that both really start alternating taking care of the little one. Certain days she’ll do another nap, but we’re never sure. So, again, we need to re-arrange our agenda’s in consequence and organize ourselves the best we can to ensure we can get some work done while being reasonably available for our teams.
6 p.m.: Already a new meal to prepare.
7 p.m.: The little one goes to sleep and Coralie and her partner start up work again. Planning tasks, meetings, defining objectives, and everything else that doesn’t require other teammates. 
9 p.m.: It’s time to eat and to relax!

“To be perfectly honest, it makes for long days, but we finally found a rhythm. Thankfully our daughter has really good nights, and generally stays asleep from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. the following day. In the beginning, we wanted so much to follow a specific routine, that would be the same daily, but that wouldn’t work. With a child, we need to go with the flow and take things as they come. If one morning I see that it really won’t be possible, I let my team know that I’m taking a day off. They all know what they must do, and  there is less pressure on me. The following day I can return rested and more readily available to them. It’s also leading by example. I encourage the parents on my team to do the same, our mobile days are there for a reason. And in emergency situations, everyone adapts. Again, we’re all doing our best, there is more magic recipe.”

Concluding words?

“My advice to parents: don’t try and be perfect, nor find the perfect routine! Take it day by day, be indulgent with yourselves and with your little ones. You are stronger than you think!”

“Also, my last piece of advice: take time off if you need it! Parent or not, don’t wait until you’ve reached your limit. Taking the day off from time to time to concentrate on yourself or your family without the pressures of work-from-home can make all the difference!”

Even at a distance, Ludia puts the wellness of its employees first!

Almost one year ago Ludia was bringing it’s wellness engagement to another level with the opening of our corporate Gym, Gym360 – Wellness by Ludia. Even though the current situation comes with its slew of challenges, we are committed to providing our employees wellness at distance.

Normally, our Ludians have access to a healthy breakfast at work, daily access to our free Gym that is decked out with gym equipment and machines, but also daily classes and advice and tips from expert coaches, the possibility to reserve massage sessions, and the regular expertise of an ergonomist if needed.

Now that we’re at a distance, these advantages are a little hard to come by. But we rise to the challenge, never forgetting our engagement to employee wellness. Incidentally, this time probably calls for even greater wellness and health support, both physically and mentally. We are thus doing everything in our power to accompany Ludians even more. 

Physical well-being at home by Ludia

  • Ergonomic tips for at-home work stations

    Setting up an at-home workstation is not always easy. Beyond technical equipment, desks at the studio are ergonomically sound for employees. Therefore, in order to create the best possible work environment at home, the entire studio received ergonomic advice and best practices to replicate at home! 
  • The wellness account adapted 

    Because an adapted desk and a good office chair isn’t always what we have at home, our employees responsible for Employee Benefits worked hard to adapt our employees’ wellness accounts. The amount offered to employees per year for wellness activities and equipment can now be used to purchase office furniture to provide the best possible working conditions at home. That way we can avoid small aches and pains, that are uncomfortable and maybe even dangerous long term. 
  • The Gym 360 – Le bien-être par Ludia becomes virtual

    One of the advantages most appreciated by Ludians is probably access to the gym. Classes, machines, advice from certified coaches, easily accessible, locker rooms, showers with hygiene products… The gym was created with our employees’ wellness in mind. In this context, we could think that this privilege is of course momentarily put on hold… but not at all! Concerned about employees well-being, teams at Ludia and staff at Gym360 came together to launch virtual classes. Everyone can therefore continue to take advantage of their favorite classes. HIIT, Tabata, Yogafit, WOD, Yoga… there’s something for everyone in terms of exercise preferences and schedule.  And for those that are a little more pressed for time, and want to jump start their morning, a new session lasting a short 15 minutes, for all levels is now being offered so everyone can stay in shape together! Above staying fit, these meet-ups also allow us to keep a close-knit atmosphere with the team and improves everyone’s good mood, giving us a sense of normalcy. 

A specific attention to mental wellness

One of the challenges in the current context and working from home long terms is definitely the impact on our mental wellness. That’s why it’s one of the main attention points at Ludia. Teams make their best to anticipate potential issues that could come about and bring forth the tools and support necessary to all members of the studio. 

  • Advice for work/life balance

    Pouring yourself dry in your professional life or on the contruarty not being able to properly maintain it, granting too much or not enough time to your professional life or personal life can quickly happen in this context. All this demands for a period of adaptation and a good dose of organization. It is often complex to know where to begin in order to maintain a good balance that will allow us a bit more serenity as we face the next couple of weeks. To accompany and support our teams in the transition to remote work, our Ludians received a number of tips and tricks, but most importantly messages of benevolence: the idea being to do your best. There is no perfect recipe in this situation. Like everybody else we are in a period of adaptation and tests, and effort and support from all is key. That’s why all Ludians were invited to share their experience and tips through a short survey. And new communications are regularly sent to employees concerning this subject. 
  • Specific tips according to your work-from-home situation

    Diversity is one of the characteristics that represents Ludia the most. It’s also representative of the patterns of life present among our Ludians. Large families, single parents, with young children, with teenagers, with partners, with roommates, with pets, alone, all these situations bring their own unique challenges. Because we want to support and accompany ALL our Ludians and respect our fundamental value of inclusion, our team strives to address each one of these situations and their associated issues! We are together, even at a distance!
  • Increased flexibility 

    While at home we must take care of young children, the traditional 9 to 5 is quickly called into question. Even the “core hours” that are usually mandatory, quickly became an issue to address. At Ludia, an exceptional context means exceptional measures and adaptations. In order to facilitate every parent’s life, we allowed for flexible agendas; Ludians can now organize their time as they wish (or can rather). They must simply submit what is required of them, and inform their manager and teams. 
  • The importance of opening up, and talking about your emotions 

    Beyond the purely logistical and organizational aspects of work, the current situation can easily take a toll on your mood and emotions. Ludia encourages all Ludians to open up. It is totally normal and ok not to feel your best emotionally, but it is not ok to shut down when dealing with these types of issues. Managers are invited to host 1on1’s, and Ludians in general are encouraged to open up and be honest with their team, colleagues and friends, the HR Team, and most importantly themselves regarding this subject. 

The message that is repeated internally at the studio, but merits being heard more largely, is that : if you need to talk, never hesitate. Ask for a call, video chat, or even a conversation through messaging, whatever is more comfortable for you. If you ever feel the need to talk, don’t stop yourself. Don’t ever be scared to say that you need to talk, as there’s a big chance that the person on the other side of your screen needs it too. Venting is so important in these moments in order not to explode later. 

  • Virtual office: maintaining a social life at the studio, even virtually 

    Again, being at a distance does not mean being alone or isolated. The social life at the studio thus continues! It’s only a bit different than before: it’s now virtual. Breakfasts, coffee breaks, lunch times, exercise classes, happy hours: all these social encounters that are essential so we can keep being close and maintain our good spirit at Ludia! The tools available today are wonderful and allowed the creation of a virtual office! With the help of an interactive map, Ludians can now find all the key spaces at the studio:
  • The kitchen to share a coffee, breakfast or lunch with colleagues
  • The lounge for our traditional happy hour and Lunch & Learns 
  • The Gym to quickly access virtual sessions
  • Our LudiaLive space for our town hall meet-ups

The idea being that if you think you can’t do something because you’re at home, think again – and be creative. You’re only limited by your own imagination, right?

Simultaneously, we also have tools such as our virtual clinic available 24/7 or access to an Employee Assistance Program which offers a great number of services. Both are available to all employees in order to better accompany them during these difficult times.

In all honesty, this is an uncharted territory for us too; but a wonderful and wide field open to new opportunities and ideas. Ludia is ready to put in place further actions, to adapt, and to guarantee the wellness of all members of its crew.

Recruiting remotely during the COVID crisis

The current situation is quite particular, but we are lucky to be part of such a booming industry abuzz with activity, and fully operational with all staff now working remotely. Beyond Live support for our games, we continue to work hard on our games in development. We are also working hard to complete our teams so that projects may continue to move forward.
Frédérique et Marion, our Talent Acquisition Specialists, are always on the lookout for new recruits. Here are a couple of details about Ludia and the procedures put in place.

Adapted procedures

One of the strengths of our Talent Acquisition team is their ability to recruit remotely through global recruitment for international profiles. Before announcing that Ludians would be working from home, they already had a solid process down pat. Many managers had already gone through this exercise and were equipped with the tools necessary to move forward without any major issues. That being said, a period of adaptation was imperative. 
In order to not lose the quality of in-person recruitment processes, the team takes their time, they’ve added steps so that everyone concerned can follow advancements and be comfortable with how things are rolling-out. They make sure that every step is properly concluded before hopping onto the next. 

They of course, use internal tools such as Slack and Hangouts, but they’ve taken preparation one step further. The most important aspect is communication, the exchanges they have with candidates. They therefore don’t neglect preparation, follow-ups and conclusions. All parties must be able to express themselves, ask questions, provide details, raise doubts, and interrogate. All that demands learning and adjustment, but especially a benevolent support from both the candidates and the Ludians involved in the recruitment process.

Our teams are more organized than ever. Frédérique et Marion were inspired by our games and applied best practices on recruitment processes: added steps, becoming stricter on QA milestones, working in a more agile way… 

They are continuously bettering this process in regards to feedback from internal contacts and candidates. 

The importance of people

Because we spend a lot of time using various software and tools, and that conversations are essentially virtual as of today, we have placed an increasing emphasis on the value of people in our remote hiring process.

The fact that we’re only seeing people through videoconferencing: sound problems arise, connexion issues ensue, these are all daily challenges. It is also often complicated to match the feeling that we may have meeting a candidate in the flesh. 

So, again, we’ve taken the decision to take our time, to keep up with good habits. Patience and support are key words in this situation. Our recruiters support Ludians who are leading the interviews by keeping the conversation fluid. Often videoconferencing can be awkward when there are more than 2 people present. They pay special attention to each participant in order to dig deeper on certain subjects, raise doubts, clarify situations, all of which lead to high quality interviews. 

But what Marion and Frédérique have realized is that in the end, this adapted procedure allows them a lot more proximity with those involved. They exchange more, but also because the current situation is global and touches everyone. There’s a feeling of solidarity. They take the time to ensure that everyone is comfortable and they try to lessen any anxieties. Comprehension and support is felt and shared by everyone.

What about new employee integration?

In all honesty, new employee integration in this context adds a level of difficulty and is a challenge. But integration for new employees has still been happening in the last weeks, and it’s turning out to be very positive. 

New logistics have been put in place for newcomers. There are obviously no studio visits or the physical discovery of workstations, but essential elements are still very much part of new employee onboarding! Our new Ludians receive their work equipment to work from home and are greeted on day one by a member of the Talent and Culture team for the habitual presentation of the studio. Everything is done virtually, of course, with a shared screen for the presentation. We also never forget to take the time to share a coffee and answer any and all questions. Next, via a group conversation or by videoconference we present the new recruit to their team, and their adventure at Ludia begins.

At a distance, yes, but isolated, definitely not. 

In the current context we know that a solid, structured recruitment process and integration is even more imperative and we are always looking for ways to better it.

Like everyone else, this unprecedented situation is a learning experience, and we are making an effort to learn and take away the good from these lessons. We sincerely hope that all these additional efforts will give candidates the best possible experience. We are doing and will continue doing everything in our power to adapt quickly and efficiently to all possible outcomes. 

A career change is such an important step, even more so today. It’s also why our teams put people first; in the end people are at the heart of what we do. 

Rolling Out Emergency Work-From-Home at Ludia: What We Learned

On March 13th, Ludia took the decision to transfer all it’s teams remotely starting the following Monday. In a week’s time,no less than 380 employees were equipped and fully operational. A real feat of strength for our IT team and all the people who volunteered to help them deliver. 

The Dream Team

A Unique Remote Work Situation

As with any emergency situation, what was put in place was very different from what would have been done in a different environment. If we would have decided to put in place remote work at Ludia, in a non-urgent context, which wasn’t the case, the logistics, equipment, decision-making, planning, and the entire implementation would have been entirely different. It would have been a real challenge of course, but with completely different problems and approaches. 

In our case, remote work is less than common, especially considering equipment. Few employees are equipped with laptops, therefore complete workstations had to be distributed, some were even improved as they went along: computer tower, monitors, plugs, webcam, microphone, headphones.These material, human, and logistical challenges were carried by our IT Team.

A Huge Challenge

When the situation started to become concerning, the board rapidly established provisional plans and list of priority workstations. These plans demanded numerous resource materials and deadlines. Orders were placed with the idea of providing a deployment within the span of a couple weeks. 

Then, everything accelerated very quickly. In lieu of the rapidly evolving situation, a decision was taken on Friday morning, March 13th based on the health and security of our Ludians. The entire studio would work-from-home starting Monday, March 16th. While the board of directors announced this decision personally to each team, the IT team, supported by the HR team and many other decisionnaries, searched for the best solutions to the following problem: how to rapidly equip 380 people with the necessary tools and equipment to work remotely? We were going into uncharted territory, with a big challenge to overcome.

Organisation: More Haste, Less Speed

As all employees were sent home, the IT team was still faced with the challenge of how to provide all employees with the necessary workstations to work-from-home. Knowing well that laptops were not a possible solution, the question remained: How to provide everyone everything necessary to work from home? Mirroring employees’ exact set-up (equipement, tools, and documents) was the most logical solution to ensuring that everyone was operational and productive. 

With that solution in mind, the deployment needed to be organized! Theoretic plans were now reality: employee priority lists, team meetings, retrieval of needs. Everyone rolled up their sleeves and went to work. With due diligence, we reflected and worked for the success of the deployment, rather than too quickly. Our CEO Alexandre Thabet, took the time to personally see all deployment teams to say: be organised and deliver this deployment, but do not burn yourselves out completing the task; remember to also take care of yourself. 

Knowing that we needed to move quickly but knowing that rest was as important, really helped the IT team surmount this feat. Having our CEO present everyday and in contact with every team was also a key factor. “Human” is one of our values here at Ludia, and that’s what remained at the heart of this operation. 

Well Defined Logistics

With a well-defined plan, it was now time to prepare logistics!

First things first, dispatch all employees by order of priority and business criticality. This meant, as a first step, we needed to ensure LiveOps support for our games, and then we could roll-out equipment for our games in-development. First step was to create a list of materials for each phase of deployment, fill out and make orders, and only then could the preparation of the boxes of equipment commence. The IT team worked all week-end long to prepare the material and begin the distribution process (either by in-studio pick-up or at-home delivery) to begin Monday, March 16th. The following week rolled-out one day at a time.

A typical deployment day:

The IT team, executives, HR, and our incredible volunteers met-up every morning to define the plan of action for the day:

  • What must be done
  • Who does what
  • What are the priorities and deadlines
  • What elements we are waiting for and how can we remediate the situation
  • What are today’s possible obstacles and how can we avoid them

Teams and volunteers turn to Jean-François, our IT Director. Have we ever told you about humility at Ludia? Whatever a person’s role, everyone involved listens to directions and recommendations given and starts working towards moving the deployment forward efficiently.

Following this morning meeting, we start working: assembling nominative equipment boxes, managing the employee pick-up process, gathering the lists of needs for the next phase, managing deliveries, and next steps. At lunchtime, we take the time to sit and share a meal. Then we meet another time and continue moving forward, anticipating blockages and finding solutions. We contact employees that have not yet responded concerning their equipment needs. By mid-afternoon, we can start to have a clear vision of next day’s equipment distribution. 

The most important part? Always ensuring that all elements have been prepared for the people in the current phase before starting the next. This avoids any mix-ups and potential errors that would take time to fix. Every employee box is prepared so that there is minimal installation and as little IT intervention as possible. That being said, a separate IT team forms to offer technical support to employees at a distance.

The same system is put in place everyday. If a new person volunteers their help, we take the time to explain what is to be done, how and why.

Within this context, one thing remains the same: we take our time. We take the time to explain, to analyse, to listen, to organise, to deliver properly. 

Of course, minor errors were committed: a forgotten keyboard here and a broken screen there, but nothing too significant compared to that fact the 380 employees were equipped after only 7 days! These minor errors were all dealt with appropriately: we took note and found a solution. There’s no time to reprimand, especially with a team that does such a great job the rest of the time.

On top of that, not only are our current teams now equipped, but also our new employees. Even more impressive: everything is ready to be delivered to new team members joining in the coming weeks!

But the work isn’t finished just yet. This is just the beginning of the biggest pilot project we’ve launched. It’s going to require a lot of adaptation, cooperation, and preparation for the coming weeks. But our teams are ready, close-knit, and motivated!

2 Factors for Success: Trust and Human-Centered Thinking

Organization, well-oiled logistics, responsiveness, and agility we’re at the forefront of this deployment. But after discussing with the teams, what really made a difference was trust and our human-focused  thinking. 

Working like machines, burning out our teams, forgetting to take the pulse of others and forgetting to listen can easily happen in situations like this. Yet at Ludia these elements were naturally a priority. A wonderful example of this is our CEO’s way of thinking during this situation. Physically present during the entire deployment, he asked us to do our best but to make sure to take care of ourselves. 

Our entire team upheld this spirit and state of mind. We worked hard, laughed together, and ensured that everyone took breaks. We learnt to better know and understand each other and bring out the best of everyone’s strength. We took the time to share, to listen, and that’s what enabled us to succeed and surmount this challenge; tired but not exhausted, proud and closer than ever.

Trust was primordial. No one was scared to express their thoughts, to stop the process if they had a doubt or an eventual error, and this combined, resulted in quality work. 

Our employees provided incredible support, care, and mutual assistance which facilitated the deployment. It also brought an immense amount of company-wide gratitude towards the team that made this all possible. 

With the help of our teams and volunteers, and the caring and comprehension of our Ludians, what seemed like a daunting logistical feat in uncharted territory, transformed itself into a beautiful success and an illustration of our values and corporate culture. 

A Golden Ally

We would also like to say a special thanks to our unsung hero who enabled all home deliveries, while also recuperating material in all four corners of Montreal. This permitted us to advance, saving us precious time. Thank you Marc, our Chronos courier.

We call Marc our hero internally – he inevitably is a vital part of our dream team. If our employees can work operationally from home today, and you and your kids can find some small comfort playing our games at home, it’s in part thanks to him!

It’s moments like these that make us realise how lucky we are to work with quality partners and collaborators. We couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish and to count such incredible people as part of our crew.

Lancement du télétravail en urgence chez Ludia: Retour d’expérience

Dès le 13 mars, Ludia a pris la décision de mettre toutes ses équipes en télétravail à partir du lundi suivant. En 1 semaine, ce n’est pas moins de 380 employés qui ont été équipés et sont maintenant tous opérationnels. Un véritable tour de force pour notre équipe TI et toutes les personnes qui se sont portées volontaires pour les épauler.


L’équipe de rêve

Un télétravail bien particulier

Comme pour toute situation d’urgence, ce qui a été mis en place est bien évidemment très différent de ce qui aurait été fait en temps normal. Si nous avions décidé de mettre en place le télétravail chez Ludia hors contexte d’urgence – ce qui n’était pas à l’ordre du jour – la logistique, l’équipement, la prise de décision et le planning, la mise en place entière aurait suivi un tout autre déroulé. Ça aurait été un vrai défi en soi, mais avec des problématiques bien différentes.

Ici nous sommes donc sur un télétravail peu commun, au niveau de l’équipement surtout. Pas de laptops pour tout le monde, tous nos employés n’en étaient pas équipés, mais une distribution à tous de leurs stations de travail complètes et même améliorées : tour, écrans, prises, webcam, micro, casque audio.

Un défi matériel, humain et logistique qui a été porté par notre équipe TI.

Un défi de taille

Lorsque la situation a commencé à se révéler très préoccupante, les équipes décisionnaires ont rapidement établit des plans prévisionnels et des listes de personnes à équiper en priorités. Ces plans demandaient des ressources matérielles nombreuses et des délais. Des commandes ont été passées mais l’idée était de prévoir le tout pour un déploiement possible dans quelques semaines.

Puis tout s’est très vite accéléré. Aux vues de la rapide évolution de la situation la décision a été prise vendredi 13 mars au matin de mettre en priorité la santé et la sécurité de nos Ludiens, et de lancer le travail à domicile dès lundi 16 mars. Pendant que la direction annonçait cette décision en personne à chacune des équipes, l’équipe TI, épaulée des RH et de plusieurs autres décisionnaires a cherché les meilleures solutions au problème épineux suivant : comment équiper rapidement chacune des 380 personnes du studio avec le matériels et les outils nécessaires à leur travail ? Beaucoup d’inconnu et un défi de taille à relever.

Organisation : vitesse oui, mais certainement pas précipitation

Nous envoyons donc tous nos employés chez eux. Et comme évoqué précédemment la solution des laptops n’était pas envisageable. Sachant cela, l’équipe TI avait anticipé un peu la question la veille.  Comment fournir à tous ce qui leur est nécessaire pour travailler? Les logiciels, les outils, les documents, tout ce qu’ils ont à disposition sur leurs stations de travail actuelles ? Leurs stations de travail actuelles, voilà, c’est ce qu’il faut pouvoir leur fournir ! C’est la solution la plus sécuritaire pour s’assurer du bon fonctionnement de tout le monde.

La solution trouvée il faut maintenant organiser tout ce déploiement ! Les plans théoriques deviennent réels : listes de priorités des employés, rencontre des équipes, récupération des besoins. Tout le monde se met en marche, on réfléchit et on travaille vite, oui, mais on ne se précipite pas. Alexandre Thabet, notre CEO, prend le temps de voir les équipes et leur dit alors ce qui va faire toute la différence : organisez-vous et déployez le télétravail mais ne vous brûlez pas, ne vous tuez pas complètement à la tâche, prenez aussi soin de vous.

Savoir qu’il fallait agir rapidement mais sans pour autant tout faire dans la précipitation et  savoir prendre des temps de repos a grandement aidé l’équipe TI à relever ce défi. Avoir notre CEO présent tous les jours au contact des équipes a été aussi un point clé. L’humain, une des valeurs clés de Ludia, est resté au cœur du processus tout du long.

Une logistique à bien cadrer 

Le plan défini, il est temps de préparer la logistique !

Tout d’abord répartir les employés dans des listes par ordre de priorité de mise à disposition d’équipement pour assurer le support de nos jeux Live dans un premier temps, et de nos jeux en  développement dans un second. Faire la liste des besoins matériels pour chacune des phases de déploiement, passer les commandes et le travail de préparation des boîtes de matériel pouvait commencer. L’équipe IT œuvre le week-end entier pour préparer le matériel et commencer le processus de  récupération (ou livraison pour les personnes à risque) dès lundi 16 mars, et le reste de la semaine s’organise.

Une journée type de ce déploiement :

Les équipes TI, exécutifs, RH et les (incroyables) volontaires se réunissent le matin pour définir le plan d’action de la journée :

– ce qui doit être fait

– qui se charge de quoi

– quelles sont les priorités et échéances

– quels sont les éléments pour lesquels nous sommes en attente et comment débloquer la situation

– quels sont les obstacles éventuels à anticiper pour la journée

Les équipes et les volontaires se tournent vers Jean-François, notre directeur TI. On vous a déjà parlé de l’humilité chez Ludia ? Quel que soit son poste habituel chacun se met en ordre de marche pour faire avancer efficacement le processus et écouter les directives et recommandations.

Après ce meeting tout le monde se met au travail : constitution des boîtes nominatives pour chaque employé, gestion des employés qui viennent récupérer leurs boîtes déjà prêtes, récupération des besoins des prochains sur la liste, gestion des livraisons, des prochains plannings. A midi on prend le temps de partager un repas, puis on se rencontre une nouvelle fois et on avance, on évoque les points bloquant, on trouve des solutions. On contacte les personnes n’ayant pas répondu concernant leurs besoins matériels. En milieu d’après-midi on peut commencer à y voir clair sur les livraisons possibles le lendemain.

Le plus important ? Toujours s’assurer d’avoir parfaitement préparé tous les éléments pour les personnes dans la phase en cours avant de commencer la prochaine phase. On évite ainsi de se mélanger et de commettre des erreurs qui prendront tout notre temps à régler par la suite. Chaque boîte a été constituée de manière à ce que l’installation requiert le moins d’intervention TI possible, mais en parallèle, une partie de l’équipe se met de suite en support pour aider les employés à distance.

La même mécanique se met en place chaque jour, si une nouvelle personne apporte son aide on prend le temps de lui expliquer ce qu’il faut faire, pourquoi, comment.

Dans cette tempête c’est un point à retenir : on prend le temps. On prend le temps d’expliquer, d’analyser, d’écouter, d’organiser, d’exécuter correctement. 

Bien sûr de petites erreurs ont été faites, un oubli de clavier par ci par là et un écran cassé, mais rien de significatif au regard des 380 employés équipés finalement en 7 jours seulement ! Et ces erreurs ont toutes été gérées avec bienveillance : on constate et on trouve une solution, pas de temps pour réprimander, surtout des équipes qui font du reste un travail formidable.

Et ce n’est pas seulement nos employés actuels qui ont été équipés, mais nos nouveaux ont également reçus leur matériel. Et encore plus impressionnant, tout est prêt et pourra être livré à ceux qui nous rejoindront dans les semaines à venir !

Le travail n’est donc pas fini. C’est aujourd’hui comme si notre plus gros projet pilote était lancé, il va demander encore beaucoup d’adaptations, d’entraide et de préparation de ce que nous allons devoir mettre en place dans les semaines à venir. Mais nos équipes sont prêtes, soudées et motivées ! 

2 facteurs clés de réussite : la confiance et l’humain

L’organisation, la logistique bien huilée, la réactivité et l’agilité ont bien entendu été essentielles, mais en discutant avec les équipes, ce qui a réellement fait la différence, ce sont la confiance et la dimension humaine.

Travailler comme des machines, brûler les équipes, oublier de prendre en compte le ressenti des autres, de partager et d’écouter peut facilement arriver dans ce type de situation. Pourtant chez Ludia ces éléments ont été mis en priorité naturellement. Notre CEO qui nous demande de faire de notre mieux mais de nous préserver et qui est présent tous les jours en est une belle illustration.

Mais c’est l’équipe au complet qui a su garder cet état d’esprit. On travaille fort, mais on rit ensemble, on s’assure que tout le monde prend des pauses. On apprend à mieux se connaître et exploiter les forces de chacun. On prend le temps de partager, de s’écouter, et c’est ce qui nous permet d’arriver au bout, de relever ce défi, toujours entiers, fatigués mais pas brûlés, fiers et soudés.

La confiance a été primordiale. Personne n’a eu peur de s’exprimer, d’arrêter le processus lorsqu’il y avait un doute, une erreur éventuelle et c’est ce qui a permis ce travail de qualité.

Et nos employés ont fait preuve d’un soutien incroyable, de bienveillance et d’entraide qui ont facilité tout le déploiement, de reconnaissance aussi envers les équipes grâce à qui tout cela a été possible.

Avec l’aide de nos équipes, nos volontaires, la bienveillance et la compréhension de nos Ludiens, ce qui apparaissait comme un énorme défi logistique avec de nombreuses inconnues s’est transformé en un beau succès et une belle illustration de nos valeurs et notre culture d’entreprise. 

Un allié en or

On voudrait aussi en profiter pour remercier un allié en or qui nous a aidé pour les livraisons des stations de travail chez nos employés  mais aussi pour récupérer du matériel au 4 coins de Montréal afin de nous permettre d’avancer, nous permettre de gagner un temps plus que précieux : Marc notre coursier Chronos.

Ce coursier, en interne, on l’appelle notre héros – il fait partie intégrante de cette dream team- et si nos employés peuvent aujourd’hui travailler, et vous et vos enfants pouvez trouver du réconfort en jouant à nos jeux, c’est aussi beaucoup grâce à lui !

C’est dans ces moments que l’on se rend compte de la qualité des partenaires et collaborateurs avec lesquels on travaille. Nous ne pourrions être plus fiers aujourd’hui de ce qui a été accompli et de compter parmi notre crew des personnes aussi incroyables.

Ludia selected as one of montréal’s top employers!

Once again this year, our commitment to the well-being of our employees is recognized and rewarded with a place in the “Montreal’s Top Employer 2021” ranking!

A solid foundation of balance and sharing

At Ludia, our employees are our greatest strength. We work every day to develop a culture based on inclusion, humanity, collaboration, and balance.

This distinction rewards and reaffirms Ludia’s consistent efforts to offer a superior quality work environment, prioritizing cooperation, wellbeing, respect, and our employee’s work-life balance.  

The Montreal Top Employers 2021 ranking is based on 8 criteria divided to reward the most exceptional work environments in the Greater Montreal area!

(1) Physical work environment;
(2) Work atmosphere and social aspect;
(3) Health, financial, and family benefits,
(4) Holidays and free time;
(5) Dedicated employee communications;
(6) Performance management;
(7) Training and skills development;
(8) Community involvement.

This year Ludia has shown itself to be a leader in many of these categories but has particularly distinguished itself in work-life balance. Ludia offers 3 weeks of paid vacation as well as a paid year-end vacation on top of the 10 mobile days per year allocated to our employees. As well, we have our studio’s success with our Ludians with an annual bonus, all on top of our generous referral program for which the bonus can go up to $5,000 per hire!

This is just the beginning and we hope to distinguish ourselves even more next year! 

Ludia is also ranked amongst Canada’s top employers for recent graduates!

We strongly believe in the talent of each and every one of our graduates, who will soon become some of the best talents in our industry. We aim to support them in developing to their full potential as they are essential in bringing us a fresh perspective! They achieve this while they learn from the knowledge and expertise of their peers, allowing us through this corporation to look to innovation. This is why we are proud to be part of this ranking of Canada’s Top Employers for recent graduates!

Continuous work

Beyond these distinctions, it’s above all the satisfaction and recognition we daily receive from our employees that pushes us to question ourselves, nourish our thoughts, and explore more and more ways to offer the best to our exceptional Ludians.

The past year has brought us its share of challenges and the future will certainly require us to adapt and continuously change, but we are ready and enthusiastic to work on these upcoming projects!

Our next big project related to the well-being of our employees for 2021? Our flexibility program! Complete flexibility, choice of work environment all within a 100% customizable program designed to best meet the needs of our Ludians. We want to guarantee them adapted spaces, ways of working aligned with their expectations and needs while respecting their health and safety, facilitating collaboration, creativity, and personal development. We aim to provide them with all the tools needed to keep giving their best selves in creating high-quality games that touch people’s lives! 

All of this because people are at the heart of everything we do! 

Learn more about the ranking of Montreal’s Top Employers and why Ludia was selected: https://reviews.canadastop100.com/top-employer-ludia

Ludia ranked among Montreal’s Top Employers 2020!

Our commitment to the well-being of our employees was rewarded this year by being selected as Montreal’s Top Employers 2020!

A wonderful accomplishment!

Ludia is very happy and proud to be part of this ranking. More than a distinction, it’s an accomplishment that echoes all the efforts made in our studio to promote the well-being of our employees and allow them to have a good balance between their professional and personal lives. This encourages our desire to go even further, to offer the best possible work environment in order to carry out exceptional projects and to promote the development of our Ludians!

The criterias for an exceptional work environment

The Montreal Top Employers 2020 ranking is based on a list of precise criterias that reward the most exceptional work environments in the Greater Montreal area! These are divided into 8 distinct categories:

 (1) Physical work environment;

(2) Work atmosphere and social aspect;

(3) Health, financial and family benefits,

(4) Holidays and free time;

(5) Dedicated employee communications;

(6) Performance management;

(7) Training and skills development;

(8) Community involvement.

Ludia was able to meet these criterias with some of the highest scores to make it into the final rankings! But our studio distinguished itself more specifically around these 3 reasons:

  • Along with three weeks of starting vacation allowance, Ludia is supportive of employees spending time away from work with paid time off during the winter holidays (up to five days) as well as up to five paid personal days off, which can be scheduled as needed
  • Ludia lets everyone share in the company’s success with profit-sharing and year-end bonuses, and also offers generous referral bonuses for employees who help recruit friends (up to $5,000 per successful hire)
  • Ludia’s head office features a number of onsite amenities and perks including unlimited breakfast goods (bagels, English muffins, raisin bread), fresh fruit, a fully stocked employee lounge (video games, pool table, a tiki bar and personalized beer on tap known as “La Ludique”) and free membership to an onsite fitness facility

For more information on Ludia’s selection, have a look here : https://reviews.canadastop100.com/top-employer-ludia