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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! ” 

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”.

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

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.