Hooray, we’re back with another addition to our “Meet the Team” series. Today, Maya Goedert tells us all about commuting to the PreviewLabs HQ in Belgium, her Wolf, and her fascinating job as Project Manager. Let’s get right to it, shall we?
Q: Hi Maya, thanks for your time! That’s a lovely name you have there, how did your parents come up with it?
A: When my mother was pregnant, her doctor at the time had two daughters, named Maya and Mira. Since my parents were pregnant of twins, they were looking for two names. They liked those two names, so they decided to just go for that. This means that in the city we grew up in, there’s another pair of sisters named Maya and Mira!
Q: Awesome! Let’s get the basics out of the way: how old are you, where do you live, what did you study, and what’s your role at PreviewLabs?
Q: Coming all the way from Antwerp to PreviewLabs’s HQ in Wetteren by train, that’s quite the trip. How do you kill the time during your commute?
A: I play some games on my Nintendo Switch (Breath of the Wild, Rocket League, Firewatch, Super Meat Boy, …), watch some TV series or just relax and listen to music. Every now and then I decide to go by car, but getting back to Antwerp during rush hour isn’t the best experience.
“All of our projects are relatively short term, which means I get to see the results and end product quite fast.”
Q: A little mouse told me you like to bring your dog to work. What’s his name? Why is he the most awesome dog on the planet?
A: His name is Wolf. He’s very chill, yet eager to play whenever someone wants to play. A perfect stress reliever! He also likes to sit on people’s laps, so during winters he keeps you warm as well.
Q: Let’s talk about your job for a bit. How did you end up at PreviewLabs?
A: I had a short “stint” at a real estate marketing agency, and before that I worked at a CGI firm focusing on high end CGI visualizations. Thanks to these experiences, I learned a lot about working with teams and with clients on big and small projects. I missed some creativity at those jobs though, and wanted to get back in the games industry while also using my existing experience and knowledge. I realized that my ideal job is combining the stuff I handled in my previous jobs. I saw the vacancy for this position and it felt like a perfect match.
Q: You’re a Project Manager. For the uninitiated: what does that mean at PreviewLabs? Give me a quick elevator pitch of what you do and why the team needs you.
A: I keep track of all ongoing projects, their status and deadlines. During and after development, I’m the main point of contact for our clients. Before a project starts, I translate their vision into a prototype design document (PDD), which is the foundation of every project.
“I like the variety of my job. Every day is a mix of writing Prototype Design Documents, talking to clients, testing prototypes, and coming up with new ideas or improvements for those prototypes.”
Q: What’s different about being a Project Manager for PreviewLabs compared to being one in your previous job?
A: There’s obviously a lot more games involved, which is fun, but I also learn a lot about different fields because of all the various projects we work on. For example: I learned about rehabilitation of a torn ACL through the KneeVR project, exposure therapy and how people respond to it thanks to the Patronus project, and recently, we discussed a project regarding AI, which gave me a lot of new insights! All of our projects are also relatively short term, which means I get to see the results and end product quite fast.
Q: PreviewLabs is currently looking for a second Project Manager. What advice would you give to anyone who would like to apply?
A: If you’re into games and would like to find a middle ground for yourself between gaming, coming up with game concepts, and always finding ways to improve workflows, then I’d say just go for it! Writing PDDs is the core of the PM role, so be prepared to write a lot of documents!
Q: What do you love the most about PreviewLabs?
A: I like the variety of my job. Every day is a mix of writing PDDs, talking to clients, testing prototypes, and coming up with new ideas or improvements for those prototypes. We have a very wide variety when it comes to the types of projects we work on. Besides prototypes for games we also work on medical prototypes, prototypes for educational applications, and augmented reality (AR) applications, just to name a few. Thanks to this I learn a lot of new things every day.
I also really love my colleagues at PreviewLabs. we get along great and have tons of fun. The fact that I also learn a lot from them, is a great bonus, of course.
“I can’t speak for all the companies in the world, but I’ve personally never worked at a company where we play games after lunch each and every day.”
Q: What makes PreviewLabs different from other companies?
A: I wouldn’t say that one thing makes PreviewLabs different from other companies, but rather a combination of things. Being the only company in the world that focuses on rapid prototyping using game technology, as a service, for instance. Or having an office and colleagues in the US, who we see each day thanks to our daily Skype team meetings.
I can’t speak for all the companies in the world, but I’ve personally never worked at a company where we play games after lunch each and every day. And I must also add that having all these technologies lying around to experiment and play with such as a HoloLens (as used in for instance a multiplayer HoloLens game prototype), Magic Leap, drones, or VR headsets (see our Virtual Reality category on this blog), is pretty unique to me. All those things combined, is why I love working at PreviewLabs.
Q: Since you work for a company that builds rapid game prototypes, I figure you like games. What’s the worst game you ever played?
A: I wouldn’t describe any game as the worst game I’ve ever played, but I was very disappointed in the last Tony Hawk game (THPS 5). My favorite games growing up were Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 & 4, as I loved skating and they had an awesome soundtrack as well. I looked forward to get nostalgic and relive those good old days, but the game was very disappointing overall. I still have hopes for the future, though!
Q: If you get the chance to make a prototype for the next game in any franchise you like, which one would it be?
A: If it could be any franchise, then I’d be interested to see what we could cook up for a game revolving around Rupaul’s Drag Race. I would also love to see a roller derby VR game. Other than that I wouldn’t say no to anything involving Destiny or Battlefield!
Q: Roller derby, huh? I take it you play the sport yourself? What would be the key to making a good roller derby game in your eyes?
A: Indeed, been playing it for almost two years now, and my biggest regret is not discovering it earlier! There are a lot of rules to roller derby, so I guess the key would be to come up with a fun VR game that still follows these rules or at least has some flexibility to it. Maybe with an arcade-feel to it. I’d definitely play it, and would give my all when doing so, even if it means I might hit a wall – a real one, or a roller derby one ;).
Q: If you were to convince someone to work with PreviewLabs, how would you do that?
A: I would show them some of the prototypes we developed, assuring them that there’s nothing we can’t do! If that doesn’t work and I’m not able to convince them, I’d have Bernard talk to them, which always does the trick.
Q: Thank you for your time! Now is your time to shine: what’s the one thing you really want to tell or show anyone reading this?
A: No matter what idea for a prototype you have in mind, PreviewLabs can develop it! And in case you’re interested in working at PreviewLabs, give it a shot and apply for a job in our awesome team. You won’t regret it!