With 15 years of web and game development, Valentin Simonov is considered a specialist in the Flash community. He began with Flash 2 and continued taking advantage of the technology throughout its evolution. Platform restrictions weren’t enough to stop Valentin. Instead, he turned towards other technologies such as Unity 3.5 and continued pursuing higher versions of Unity. Currently, his portfolio is comprised of many
completed projects, a Russian translation of a book about Unity, and public appearances. He has appeared at the Unite conferences a total of three times. As part of the Unity team, Valentin continues to share information regarding the many advantages of Unity. His search for solutions for complicated technical issues continues as well.
While not working on clients’ projects, Valentin writes educational articles for his blog, supports open source projects, and instructs university students in Russia. Valentin also plays violin, loves reading books, and working on his pet projects. He is currently playing Boom Beach on iOS “because it’s addictive as hell”. This is why he calls F2P “a really evil invention. You can’t stop paying them money”. Much to Valentins dismay, Team Fortress 2 has become a F2P game. Fortunately, Valve is not very aggressive about the F2P format. Valentin is a PC and iPhone gamer. He admits he has a hatred for gamepads and has never owned a console (unless the Android TV devkit counts). When he is on a plane or bored, he plays OpenTTD or Team Fortress 2.
The Power in Sharing
After each of the two times that Valentin has been to the Resonate Festival, held in Belgrade, he found he had tons of new ideas and felt very inspired. He began to realize that tools aren’t what is important in the game industry. What is important is the sharing, especially the sharing from new media artists and creative coders. As a result, Valentin finds himself able to “be more open, share my experience, help people, and speak about it on conferences”.
The Pragmatic Approach
When asked to describe himself using one adjective, Valentin explains, “It would probably be either “lazy” or “pragmatic”. I always try to find the easiest way to do things or a way to automate everything so I won’t have to do anything at all. And years of experience taught me to work only on what is needed right now and stop trying to invent magic frameworks that only work in a vacuum.” At the company that Simonov worked at before Unity, this “lazy” approach really came in handy. They used to create interactive installations in just a few weeks or sometimes even days. He reflects that he has coded entire projects within a 48 hour period. It was for this reason that Simonov developed a pragmatic development approach to the madness. This approach really made a difference in a pinch. As an example, he says, “I magically pulled hacks and fixes to make something work in the last moment, many times I saved projects which otherwise were doomed.” This development style helped him as he tried “to figure out why two Kinects, a microcontroller, a bunch of sensors and a video wall refuse to work together in the last minute.” Simonov admits that he realizes that while these 48-hour long sprints were fun, they are totally unhealthy. He hopes that one day he will do something of importance that is worth bragging about. Still, his hard work payed off. Unity approached him personally and asked him to do the same thing for them.
Who Holds the Future?
In Valentin’s opinion, “Valve and other guys are doing great things and continue to improve”. He is proud to say that the majority of content for the Rift is developed by Unity. As for who holds the future, Valentin’s bets are on Oculus, particularly because they have John Carmack on their team. Oculus also has Michael Abrash (Chief Scientist at Oculus) and a large chunk of Facebook’s money. He predicts that Carmack will foster another industry within his lifetime. Unity hopes to incorporate Gear VR into their future game development.
Emily Baker is the Production Supervisor for www.gamesauce.biz. Emily loves learning about cultures, taking care of her hobby farm and spending time with her two kiddos.