Ever wondered how a game like Arkheim - Realms at War is made? What is the journey of an idea before it makes it to the game? How are bugs being fixed? Who creates the beautiful images? How do we keep players entertained? And - who are the human beings behind this project? The Arkheim - Realms at War Team invites you to take a peek behind the scenes. Today we want you to meet Game Developer Markus!
Discord Name: RedMax
1. Hi Markus. First of all, tell us something about yourself. What is your background and how did you end up in the Arkheim Team?
I’ve always been into developing (browser) games. It started on the C64 and continued all the way into my university days where I created my own game that I maintained many years. So it was a natural move for me to join Travian Games nearly 15 years ago and keep continue creating those games. I worked on Travians (notice the “s” 😊), Travian: Kingdoms, Roger & Out and now for some years on Arkheim.
2. How would you describe your role in the Arkheim Team?
As I am one of the guys responsible for bringing to life the vision of the other departments, I try my best to implement all the details of concepts and art to a finally fully working product. In this process I often suggest small changes that might speed up development. I also have to keep in mind the big scope of the whole project code base. Does it stay maintainable? Is the performance on server side and on client side good enough?
3. Can you tell us what is the most challenging thing, from a programmer's perspective, when implementing new features?
The ideal result of a new feature will have great client-side performance and will handle all kinds of edge cases (something is not in a state it usually should be – this might be something as simple as not having enough resources). At the same time the code to implement should be maintainable so that it can be easily adapted when changes are required.
Very often it is extremely quick to implement a feature in a prototype way – it will work in most occasions, but the code is totally ugly and it will have a bad performance.
The challenge is to find a solution that comes close to the ideal result but doesn’t take 100x the time of a prototype.
4. When playing other games, do you often think about how the code behind it works?
Not really the code, but yes, the algorithms. A common problem we face is scalability. How can we support thousands of players on the server? But also: How can we show thousands of 3D objects at the same time?
So when I play other games, I always wonder how did they do it? Sometimes they prevent interaction with all other players, sometimes they don’t show all objects at the same time. Sometimes they use 2D sprites that look like 3D objects.
Same goes with other algorithms like Matchmaking, Netcode or AI.
5. Tell us something you're passionate about outside of the gaming industry.
I really like to create things. So not only do I also code in my spare time, but I also tinker with all kinds of electronic devices (Arduino, RaspberryPi, repair radios, …). Also I have a huge collection of RC Planes and helicopters that I like to build and fly.
6. And lastly, do you have a message for our readers out there?
Thank you for all your feedback so far. Keep in touch with us - all of us are approachable in Discord and we all try to make a game to enjoy for as many players as possible. It is clear that we can't tackle every problem you might see and it is also clear that implementing something always takes way longer than all of you would like to. But we really listen and try to make the best game with the resources we have.
Do you have any more question for Markus? Let us know in the comments below!