Meet Michael Khabrov

Career News

Title: Software Engineer

Organization: Worldwide Studios

Location: Montreal

 

What Type of Character Does It Take to Do Your Job?

I’m an engineer and I pay attention to details, like solving puzzles and finding solutions to problems. I have this passion for structuring and keeping things clean…to a certain extent. At the same time, I think I’m rather fun and easy-going. I use my free time to watch TV shows, like everyone does, and read some books. I just like to have fun!

Describe What a Typical Day is Like for You at EA.

I come to the office, make myself a cup of coffee and grab breakfast in the kitchen. It’s this special moment in the morning, when I come in and there’s a bunch of people there. We sit and have a chat together in the kitchen, going through what we’ve been doing. We are a big team and therefore we don’t have the ability to talk to each and every person on the project on a regular basis. We talk about everything: games, the project, our weekends. I really like that.

After breakfast, I begin my work. I check my emails and calendar while syncing the engine and game, and build the binaries. We usually have stand-ups after lunch, where we each review the work we’re doing. We also have smaller meetings throughout the day.

Oh, another thing! I play the game. It’s very important for us to play the game every day, especially team members like Creative Directors or Producers. I try to do it a couple times a week or almost every day, just to see how the game is coming together.

Everyone has the opportunity to participate in game development. Here at Motive I can feel comfortable approaching the Creative Director to offer my opinion on a certain aspect of the game and know it is valued.

What’s Your Background (Before EA)?

I’ve been a gamer since I was 10 years old. I played all the well-known, and even lesser known, games. At the age of 15, I got my first PC.  I had access to all the cool games like Doom, Quake and Unreal. I was always a fan of action shooter games!

At 16, I decided I wanted to make my own game. I started doing some 3D art, then quickly realized I should start learning programming. I would read books about C++ and programming languages and practice at home. By the time I went to university, I could already program quite well.

I started working as a game developer at a startup in Ukraine, Kiev working on a space stimulator game. I did this for about 4 years, mostly programming 3D graphics. Even though the startup didn’t work, it was great professional experience. I then moved on to bigger companies, doing UI programming, engine tools programming, and game programming.

What are Some of Your Challenges and Successes Working at EA?

I’ve only been working at EA for a short time. We are building our team, and therefore a lot of people are new to the company, new to the technology, new to the Frostbite engine. One of the biggest challenges is learning the engine as big as Frostbite in a quick timeframe, but I think we’re doing good so far!

There’s a lot of experienced people on the project from different studios who have, like myself, worked with different technologies before. We are making the right decisions; we’re not re-inventing the wheel.

What are Your Suggestions for People Who Would Like to Work at EA?

You need to have passion and skills. EA welcomes all levels; we have students working at Motive who are doing a great job. It’s not only “higher up” people that can get in EA. Practice, read books, learn, study and try things. It’s not just what you’ve learned in University. Be open and learn from all sources available. There are many developer forums, technical art guides and books out there. Get good at something and check EA’s website for career opportunities!

Is There Anything Else That You Think People Reading This Would Find Interesting About EA?

We make great games here! For me personally as an engineer, it’s important that I like the engine I’m working with, which is Frostbite. Currently all of EA is using the same technology, which means the same technology is being used to power different games of different genres.

Here at EA we have different internal summits and conferences like DevCon. Different developers from across the EA world gather together to share their achievements, techniques, features they’ve been working on, etc. We have our own GDC (Game Developers Conference), kind of, but internal. It’s also a good opportunity to visit other studios and see what other game teams are doing.

Management here at EA encourages ownership and allows people to do their best. So we (engineers, designers and artists) make the game and are given all the tools to do it well!

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