The employees of BYTEX tell about their creative hobbies (part 1)

We have already written about the achievements of our colleagues from BYTEX team in sport. In this article we will try to tell about other hobbies of our gaming software testers. After reading this article you will see that nothing creative is foreign for IT specialists.

Today no one is surprised if a man is able to manage drumsticks and play the drum set in a rock band. But a girl playing the drums is still a great rarity. The participant of the regional contest in professional skills Wordskills and a junior tester from BYTEX team Alina Kumaneva tells how she has managed to make her musical dream come true.
– I have loved music since my childhood. When I was a child, I used to sing when we went somewhere by bus. My parents noticed it and sent me to music school. But I couldn’t study vocal because of health problems. Then I had a choice of a musical instrument and I chose a piano. Eight years of study just flew by. I don’t regret a single day when I spent quality time doing what I really liked. Last February I came across a video of a drummer. She was great. I was looking at the way she played and I was very excited. Her manner of performance captured m6 heart. At that moment I had an idea. Why don’t I try it? Although I have never thought about playing the drums.

I started looking for free trial lessons in our city immediately. Having attended some of them with different teachers, I was pleased with the result and decided to take it seriously. I had no money, I was studying on the 3rd course of college and the lessons were quite expensive. That’s why I promised my teacher to come back when I would earn enough to pay for the lessons by myself. Last year I got a job in Bytex and I got an opportunity to start my drum lessons.
A drum is a musical instrument that helps me let off steam in stressful situations instead of taking negative emotions out on other people. Maybe someday I will teach music or play in a band if I want. Why not? Everything has its time.

In fact, I faced a lot of difficulties. One of them was lack of money. But everything ended well because I always strived to solve the problem and sought solutions as soon as it occurred. I’m sure there will be many other difficulties on my way but I’ll be able to get over them. It’s because I believe in myself. That’s my way.

A tester Alexey Zhuravlev has been working in a BYTEX for three years and he established himself as a responsible and laborious employee who can handle any task. He has a hobby that is not a secret for other employees. He brilliantly plays the electric guitar. But few people know about such a hobby as decorative art, more specifically, making masks. He is going to tell you about it in this article.
– I have been interested in masks since my childhood and I can’t remember exactly what it was to begin with. Probably it started because of the film “The King of Masks” directed by Wu Tianming. Maybe the musicians from the band Kiss, whose black and white faces I often had seen in music clips in my childhood, influenced me. Actually, I was always interested in art for its own sake. I tried myself in many things and finally decided to concentrate on making masks. One of the main reasons was that only a few people made them in our city.
My hobby developed gradually. When I tried to make my first masks, such detailed guides as now were very difficult to find. There were not many maskers in Russia and they were reluctant to share the secrets. That’s why I had to learn from my own mistakes.
Certainly, the manufacturers of national or cult masks have their own canons that are recommended to follow. But an amateur like me has total creative freedom. I haven’t studied the meaning of colors, accessories and shapes of masks in detail. But I suppose that every artist can bring something different in his handiwork and the way it is designed.

When did you make your first mask? It depends on what is meant by the concept “first mask”: I think we shouldn’t take into account cardboard crafts made in the kindergarten. Probably, the first mask was made when I was 12 or 13 years old. Since that time I have been constantly trying different techniques, materials and approaches to the manufacture. Starting with classic papier mache that is used for making Venetian masks, finishing with liquid plastic that I decided to keep on.
If we speak about manufacturing technologies, firstly you need to make the shape of the future product of plasticine. After that you make a silicone cast of this shape and then this cast is filled with liquid plastic. Then it is painted and minor improvements are made. Generally, creation of a mask from scratch takes about 15-30 hours of pure time.
I draw inspiration from games (I work as a gaming software tester after all), films and music. My last work was made under the influence of a frontman of Motionless in White and the anime Detroit Metal City. According to the criteria of successfulness: a mask should perfectly fit the face, it should be comfortable to breathe in and it shouldn’t have any problems with symmetry if it’s not a part of the design.

Most masks that are finished just decorate the shelves in my Tom. Though I had thought of using them in photo shoots. Also I presented several masks and sold some of them. I didn’t have to go to the shops wearing masks, but I wore them to the thematic events at work.
Such a hobby takes a lot of time and it can’t be called cheap. However, it’s very pleasant to see the result of your work. In the future I’m going to monetise my skills and experience.

Who would have thought that a real writer can be among BYTEX testers? Kirill Begoulov tests games in the daytime but after work he writes plays and short stories.

– Let’s start with books. When did you start being fond of reading? What did you read? How have your tastes changed?
– Like all people, I have started reading since my childhood, since I learnt how to read by myself. It let me read books myself without waiting for the evening when my parents came home to read another chapter of my favorite book. I read everything: Mordovian fairytales, Harry Potter, Kir Bulychev, Tolkien, collections of Soviet jokes and English detective stories. My first experience of writing a story was when I studied on the 1st course at university. The contest was announced and I decided to take part in it. It was the beginning of my creative hobby.
– What inspired you? What did you write about?
– The first work was a detective investigation of a boy’s death. That boy had schizotypal personality disorder. I always lived noire and the atmosphere of this genre inspired me. I wanted to add more psychological drama in the story. That’s why increased mental heating problems of the victim used in the story helped to reveal the inner feelings of a child. Usually I’m inspired with two things: real life and dreams. And the line between them is blurred in the stories I write.
– Tell us about the main topics in your stories. What do you focus on? Who are the masters in literature in your opinion?
– It depends on what I’m writing about at the moment. If it’s a drama, obviously I can say about Shakespeare. His works are great, it doesn’t matter if they are sonnets or dramas. Tragedies go deep in the heart. Comedies make you laugh at characters, their foolishness and agility and then you realize your nearness to them. If I write something from prose, I have no references here. However, I have always loved short stories by Paustovskiy that were used for dictations at school. Probably, I will write something in this genre one day.

– What were your further experiments in literature?
– A lot of works were written for contests during my university years. Also I used to write articles for our faculty newspaper where I was both a writer and a designer. Apart from contests, I used to write in my free time but most of those works were not finished. Nowadays I write for myself and put all my stories in the drawer of my desk because I don’t have enough free time and I just can’t find energy to write after a long working day or at the weekend. But sometimes I can write for several hours without taking a break when inspiration grips me. In this case my friends can read my drafts. As for “the coolest experiment in literature”, I can mention the following: a play that I have been working on since the 5th course at university and philological fairytales. The first one is a mini-play about the end of the empire and the change of epochs that sustains loss of habits and traditions, on the one hand, but opens up new opportunities that nobody could have thought about before, on the other hand. And the second one is short philological fairytales. One of them is the interpretation of Romeo and Julliet within the rules of Russian language. Another one is a story about parts of speech gone on an adventure. It was one of my first attempts in writing. It was made for working with children during my practice at school.
– How do you combine your hobby and your work? How are you going to develop in literature in the future? Is there an opportunity to use your talent in the game industry? For example, you could create a game with a cool plot. Just try to imagine how fantastic such a game could be…

– My work and my hobby don’t combine well because writing is a kind of work too. And I usually have no energy to go to the second job after the first one. That’s why my hobby is put off every day. During my lifetime I have collected a box full of ideas. There are folders full of ideas for films, books and series, manga and video games. Also there are pencil sketches of the characters. I always wanted to create something. That’s why I even used to attend pottery classes at school. For this reason I have dreamed of working in GameDev since my childhood. I wanted to become a part of something big that can change the whole world, leave a mark on the history of humanity and on happy memories of each person individually. Good games are things that everybody likes and remembers. Nobody forgets such games as Tetris, Snake, GTA, The Sims, etc. These games have become living legends. They are so cool that every person who played them will remember wonderful feelings he had even many years later. And I’d like to make my ideas real someday and give people such warm memories as sunrises and sunsets of Vice City, wedding of Sim lovers of a vertical stick placed in the proper place and time.