Interview by Sarah Kilcoyne
Once a month here at ESDIP, there is a prestigious prize up for grabs – the esteemed ‘Coworker of the Month‘ award!
We are proud to take this opportunity to show off one of our fabulous coworkers, and give you an insight into the type of work that our community members do here on a daily basis.
Photo credit: Sarah Kilcoyne
We sat down for a chat with one of our newer coworkers Ksenia Shatunova, to find out a bit more about her studio work and her artwork. Ksenia has been coworking with us at ESDIP Berlin since July this year, and is one of the founders of ‘Dash and Dot Game Studio‘. She currently uses her Fixed Desk to work on their upcoming game ‘The Oddinary Highway‘.
ESDIP: Hi Ksenia! So, let’s start with you – where are you from?
Ksenia: Hey Sarah! I’m from Moscow, Russia.
E: And what brought you to Berlin?
K: Chance! Me and my husband worked remotely before, but this time he got a new job onsite – in Berlin, so we’ve moved.
E: Tell us a bit about your work – it looks like you’re doing something creative there at your desk?
K: I make video games with folks at our own small game studio Dash & Dot. I do 2D graphics and am involved in game design a bit.
Oddinary Highway is a retrofuturistic extra-oddinary shmup!’ Check out the website to Alpha-test the game – Ksenia uses one of our Fixed Desks here at ESDIP to work on the game graphics and design. Photo credit: Ksenia Shatunova
E: How did you decide to start your own game-studio?
K: Quite spontaneously. Several years ago, when the iPhone was released it became possible to publish your own mobile games. There was a “wave” of cool indie games, so me and friends were inspired by that and were like “screw it – let’s do it!”.
E: And what are you working on right now?
K: I’m making pixel art graphics and animations for our retro-futuristic shoot ‘em up game Oddinary Highway. In the game you are traveling on a sentient 50’s Cadillac-like hover car between different worlds through hyperspace named Oddinary Highway. We combined classic shmup from 80s with randomly generated stuff, so there’s a lot of “odd” unpredictable events every stage.
E: I love the oddness of Oddinary Highway! And I quote: ‘Random weird stuff happens all the time due to weirdonium leaks’! It must have been fun concepting the universe for this game?
K: Yeah, it took a while to connect game mechanics with narrative – had a lot of fun!
E: What’s your favourite aspect of game design?
K: In our team we have a dedicated game designer, but usually we’re brainstorming new ideas with the whole team during daily calls.
I like to come up with ideas, how, say, a boss may behave in a particular situation, which cool event may happen, or how a new weapon should look, etc. This is the most creative part, where we can come up with a new awesome idea on the go, how it should work in the game and then, everyone does his/her own part – game mechanics, animation/effects, code.
Here is a sneak-peek screenshot from Ksenia’s game – ‘in the game you are traveling on a sentient 50’s Cadillac-like hover car between different worlds through hyperspace named Oddinary Highway’! Photo credit: Ksenia Shatunova
E: Does it affect your work/motivation in a positive way, to work amongst other artists and creatives?
K: Yeah, it’s ideal atmosphere for doing creative stuff: relaxed, but motivating.
E: Since you’ve been at ESDIP, you’ve also been an active member of our Life Drawing Sessions – do you get much time to draw and paint outside of work?
K: Drawing from time to time, but I never miss ESDIP’s Life Drawing, because I’m always learning something new there. Checking out other peoples’ works after the session is so inspiring!
E: What’s your favourite subject to paint? And/or medium to work in?
K: I’m trying not to stick to one thing, but I like landscapes (from places I’ve been and imagined). Now I’m painting mostly with watercolour and ink.
Photo credit: ESDIP Berlin Some of Ksenia’s watercolours, painted at August’s Life Drawing Session, with the wonderful Martha modelling. Photo credit: Sarah Kilcoyne
E: How does it feel to be chosen as coworker of the month?
K: It was a nice surprise!
E: What inspired you to join a coworking space? Had you worked in one before?
K: Working from home is like these 3 known stages:
– ‘Yay I get to work from home’
– ‘It would be nice to talk to people’
– ‘I hope that pigeon sits in the window today!’
Yep, I worked in A-Lab in Amsterdam. Once it was decided that we’re moving to Berlin, I started to look for a coworking space there. When I read the history of ESDIP and checked out the pictures of the coworking space in Berlin, I decided, that this the place to be!
E: And last of all – any advice to aspiring artists who want to get into the industry?
K: Work hard (but don’t forget about work-life balance), be a good teamplayer (reliable and responsible), don’t believe in success stories (it’s an exception), and be passionate about what you are doing (otherwise, it’s hard to convince others).
You can find out more about Ksenia’s game here: www.oddinaryhighway.com
Are you also interested in coworking? Then check out our pricing plans here, or just drop by the space any day within the opening hours, Mon-Fri 10-19h, and we’ll show you around.
Photo credit: Víctor Puigcerver