Jiri Boldys - Senior Software Engineer
Undoubtedly, what makes MPG special is the people. We’re made up of a mix of gaming enthusiasts who’ve managed to make a passion into a career, and we want to help others do the same. One way to do that is to share our Dev Stories, so that people inside or outside of the industry can learn from our experiences if they wish to do so. So, next up is Jiri.
Jiri has been a Senior Software Engineer with us since December 2020, making a big contribution to our team and also the wider community; he has recently spent time mentoring young students at a local school in the Czech Republic. The group of 6 - 9 year olds have been able to access their first taste of engineering, programming simple games in Scratch and building their confidence!
Years in the industry: 13
Number of games worked on: 11 published games (+ several DLC’s)
What’s your superpower?: I was told it is analytical thinking
What’s your kryptonite?: I am too readable
Favourite programming language: C++
Favourite software: Waze (if I remember to select the right toll pass)
Game that changed you?: Euro Truck Simulator 2
Rock / Paper / Scissors?: Paper - my kids usually choose the rock first
What attracted you to working in games?
At university I specialised in computational physics. My PhD was about simulations, modelling and image processing. I wanted to work on something I studied, so I started with image processing jobs. This involved a lot of simulations, modelling and maths and all this experience is very relevant in game physics.
Therefore, when I was offered to work on game physics, it felt quite natural. I knew game development was kind of a rocket science of the simulation domain which appealed to me and I felt lucky to have the opportunity, as I was sure that I would need a lot of the experience I had gained. Plus it sounded cool.
How did you get into the industry?
I was looking for a new job and I mentioned it to my lead in the Czech Academy of Sciences where I had a part-time job at that time. Her husband was a co-owner and CEO of SCS Software and they were working on a truck simulator, which sounded very relevant and attractive.
I have always respected the gaming industry. But after programming fingerprint sensors, simulation of medical imaging, or pattern recognition research this was quite a shift. So it was a lot of fun to observe the reactions of my friends! Especially those who didn’t know what was involved in game development.
How is the industry different now from when you joined?
Naturally there are more resources, and more experience is published. When I started, I was often coming up with my own solutions. There is much more inspiration nowadays. Also, working on a AAA title means there is the whole team that I can discuss my issues with.
I see more emphasis on good HR in some companies. MPG is a great example, and I am not surprised we are doing so well. I like how MPG hires people fitting to the company by their personalities. Most of them are very experienced, self-confident and easy going. I do not see people being confrontational or pushy. Everyone has been friendly and supportive here.
What’s your proudest achievement?
In the game domain it is definitely my contribution to the Euro Truck Simulator 2. Publishing this game was an essential milestone for the company SCS Software. I had quite a big responsibility and regarding the game physics, I was rather on my own. I was still getting experience and it was not easy.
In the middle of that my first son was born and he was not willing to sleep much at night. I lost 7% of my weight. I fell asleep at traffic lights. Most of my exotic plants died. However, we made it!
What led you to join MPG?
At one point I was looking around and I already had some good options lined up. Then a recruiter told me about MPG. The first impression was good, so I decided to wait until I knew the company more before I made a decision.
I was pleasantly surprised. It was also nice that another recruiter even congratulated me for finding a job with MPG.
Starting to work in MPG was a positive shock. The company cares about its people. The leaders are interested in you. Many people wanted to e-meet me or were willing to help me. Most people have a long history of achievements, so the working environment is inspiring. I am happy to be here.
There is a lot of respect in the company, we can see we do have cultural differences, but as we spend time and work with people of different nationalities and backgrounds, we learn about them, we understand them better.
What game do you wish you’d worked on and why?
I believe you can find something appealing about working on any game. Usually learning in different domains opens new and interesting questions. The challenge to cope with a difficult task can be in itself, attractive as well.
If I should opt for one game, then it would be NHL 22 because I like ice hockey. Ice hockey and soccer are our most popular sports. I have great memories from watching our national team when it was the best in the world. My 90 year old grandmother was watching it when I was visiting her and now my sons play it too. Watching them score in a match is a delight!
Do you have any heroes in the industry?
My direct leads have often influenced me positively. From this point of view, I have usually been lucky. Two guys who stand out are Peter Arbet and Michal Řeháček. Having good mentors determines your career and that is exactly what they were to me. They were already game industry veterans when I joined my previous company. They helped me with a smooth ramp up and they were willing to selflessly share with me all their impressive knowledge.
What changes would you like to see in the industry?
I would like to see more emphasis on documentation and knowledge transfer. I have witnessed too much inefficiency caused by deciphering or misinterpreting a poorly documented code.
I would like to see more attention to documenting core game functionality or features. I myself believe in extremes like UML diagrams or code cookbooks. If a simulation solves equations, they should be written down, derived and explained of course.
Many times I have seen new programmers, regardless of their previous experience, quickly benefit their team if they are provided with all the necessary knowledge and mentorship.
What are you looking forward to?
My younger son has started attending a primary school. The school management is very open minded and they strive to engage parents in the school life. Thus, I am leading a Tuition Circle for making simple games. My older son is willing to help me. This kind of experience fills me with energy, and it usually generates nice memories.
We're really proud to have people like Jiří on our team! If you’d like to learn more about what it’s like to work with us, check out some of our previous Dev Stories.