There is a big team of experts behind Imperia Online – a team that constantly improves, supports and maintains the game. A vital part of it is a core, called ‘IO Elite Squad’. It consists of developers that have to deal with unusual tasks and be available in case of an emergency 24/7.
Lyubomir Slavilov is one of Elite Squad’s members. The programmer with more than 12 years coding experience gladly gives us insight into his daily work despite it being complex and rather confidential. He also explains the highly technical details with comprehensible examples and comparisons.
The source code, for example, is described as a potter’s clay: the programmers create a piece of art from a seemingly shapeless pile of code. The end result are softwares used for a huge variety of purposes. The pleasure for the developer themselves is also immense when they see their creation rise and shine before their eyes.
Lyubo’s main responsibilies can be summarized as writing the server-side code. Barbarian attacks, battle mechanics, lifespan of the Great People… all of this is just a part of his expertese. Currently he’s importing the holdings’ frontend (what we can see and hear: mountains, buildings, animations, sounds, music and so on) of Imperia Online from scratch, since a decision has been made for the game to run on a different technology. Said technology will go easier on players’ computers.
Despite loving his job with all his heart, Lyubo admits he has a rule about his free time: ‘I try to avoid coding at home’, he says and notes that this rule doesn’t always hold though. ‘When your head has been at it throughout the whole day, it’s really difficult to switch it off at the end of the working hours. Then I just sit down and finish what I have in mind, since it won’t give me peace until I’ve poured it out”.
Doesn’t this kind of work lead to a burnout though?
In Lyubo’s opinion it happens, but it’s a purely physical exhaustion. If the period is tough, there is a chance he might not feel up for the everyday tasks. In such cases he fights exhaustion with even more work. But of the ‘more interesting’ type.
Thanks to the huge variety of tasks he handles, he can always choose to work on something that seems more intriguing in this particular moment.
As far as he knows, progrаmmers should take breaks from coding every 25 minutes. ‘If you’ve been coding for 25 minutes, you have to stop for about 5. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should stop working during those 5 minutes – there are always emails waiting to be written or read, or tasks to discuss with colleagues”, the dev says. As it often happens, however, he gets sucked up in a complex task and gets irritated when the process is disrupted externally. ‘You might be writing a tiny line, but in your head it’s connected to a whole huge structure with tens of ties all around. And when somebody pokes you in that moment, asking if you;ve ordered lunch for example, it’s pretty horrific. You have to start all over again trying to connect everything piece by piece.”
Such troubles can’t measure with the pride Lyubo feels thanks to his job. The opportunity to create whole worlds inspires him and makes him certain he can never get bored by coding.