International Women's Month at FYX Gaming: A conversation with the 2 talented ladies working on CryptoFights

As International Women's Month is coming to an end, we'd like to take an opportunity to introduce you to the two very talented ladies that are a part of Fyx and are currently working on Cryptofights. This month was dedicated to women empowerment, so aside from introducing themselves, we gave them the complete freedom to interview each other and talk about their ideas, aspirations and predictions as two women in the game industry, totally unscripted. Enjoy!

Val: Hey Nicole, thanks for joining me today! As our absolute favorite charismatic intern, it's time to introduce yourself to our community! Can you tell us a bit about who you are, and what you do currently?

Nicole: Of course Val, thanks for having me! My name is Nicole Conrad, I am 21 years old and am currently a senior at the University of Charlotte at North Carolina where I am graduating with a BFA concentrating in Digital Media. I have always loved drawing and discovered digital art in high school, and somehow found my way into 3D modeling in college! At Fyx I am currently working with the creative team to work on character customization and attributes for the game Cryptofights. It has been a blast so far; I love getting to work with new people and overcoming new challenges!

And I know the Fyx family already knows you, but can you give us a brief introduction again about you and what you do here for the company as well? How long have you been here at Fyx?

Val: Thank you for the great introduction. We love having you on the Fyx team and hope we'd be able to have you here full-time as soon as you graduate, so make sure to pencil us in! As for introducing myself as well - Hello everyone, my name is Valeria but everyone calls me Val for short, you can find a short article about me here! I am the Lead UI/UX Designer for the FYX Portal and our flagship title, CryptoFights. I've been working for the team for close to 3 years now, initially just on and off as a consultant and designer for the early stages of the game, which turned to a full-time position working on all aspects of the user experience at Fyx.

So, Nicole, did you know that you always wanted to work in video games?

Nicole: Good question, and it might surprise you that the answer is a resounding no! I didn’t play a ton of video games as a kid, but I loved watching them. My older brother was an avid gamer and I would always sit and watch him play. Since we didn’t have much in common, asking him questions and being involved in the gameplay was kind of my way of bonding with him. After he left home, I would watch youtubers play games and draw which became my daily routine. Back then I hadn’t even been thinking of careers, but a friend of mine mentioned the game industry and from then on, I thought it might be a place I would like to end up!

And wow, you have been here since the beginning! What has been the most interesting thing to you about knowing where the game started and where it has come to now (or how far it has come)?

Val: For me the most interesting thing has been seeing how our players interact with the game, doing user testing studies with random participants and seeing how people react to the game when they first see it and figuring out how to improve the experience. And that is such a cute story! I also didn’t think I’d ever work on games, but hearing that reminded me of watching boys playing video games and being especially fascinated by games where you could build things, like Rollercoaster Tycoon. Creating something on your own inside of a game was mind-blowing to me and inspired me to start playing video games on my own. Speaking of inspiration, it usually comes in various shapes and forms for different people. Do you have any favorite artists, communities, or things that you go to when you want to get inspired or motivated?

Nicole: Oh, I love the Tycoon games! That was also one of my first introductions into computer gaming. They are absolute classics. But to answer your question, one of my main sources of inspiration or motivation is surrounding myself with other artists doing similar work who are more advanced than me. Being around talented people who have different creative ideas or opinions than I do is really inspiring to me, and sometimes helps me see things in a different way or generate new ideas I never would have thought of on my own. Working alongside people allows me to raise the standards for myself and makes me want to be all that much better at what I do!

Other than that, I love working to music, and typically a song on repeat!

Val: I like that attitude! Working alongside others and learning from each other is the best way to improve. As an individual you can only do so far, and might not be able to look at things from a different perspective, or get stuck. Seeing the amazing things our team members do inspires me a lot as well - We have some really talented people on the team such as yourself, and whenever someone is struggling, others can join in and offer help or ideas on how to go about solving the challenge.  Teamwork is something that makes our small team so great!

Speaking of work, what do you like the most about the career path you have chosen, what do you dislike the most about it? If you could go back to when you first decided to get into art, is there something you'd try to change or tell your younger self?

Nicole: I think my favorite thing about the digital path I have ended up on is that it is such a versatile industry! The possibilities with digital art and 3D modeling are almost endless. And- I won’t say I dislike- but the one thing I find the most daunting about this career is how intense each and every one of the programs are. Whether it be a new interface, workflow, or generic technical issues, completely learning new programs is always a hard feat- and I know I have many more to go haha! And hmm, I think if I could tell my younger self anything it would be to branch out of my comfort zone in terms of style and source material. Diversity is more helpful than a hindrance when it comes to working in the art field!

And for you, it sounds like you have had a hand in many different aspects of the game and company development. Outside of design, have you learned any new skills in the last 3 years that you didn’t expect, or picked up any new software/tools? You mentioned doing user testing for CryptoFights, what is that like?

Val: Yes, and I can definitely relate to that part about learning new software. When I started out initially I would just provide designs, but over time I decided I want to try & learn Unity, so that I could tweak some stuff on my own, instead of bothering someone else about it - thankfully the development team really loved the idea ( who wouldn't mind a bit more help? ) and with their guidance, I slowly learned how to change texts, add new icons or images, create animations, even fix bugs on my own! ( to be fair it was usually bugs I had introduced into the game myself, hahah ) As for user testing, that was very fun too! In the early versions of the game we used a special service where we could have random people try it out, and it would record a video of them going through it and voicing their impressions as they play. As a designer you usually have some expectation of how people would interact with a certain feature, but the results were often very surprising! I've learned to rely a lot less on assumptions and a lot more on real data now because of that.

Nicole: User testing sounds like fun! I imagine that there must have been some pretty funny or crazy reactions to the game, especially if you were testing with random people who probably weren't all too familiar with blockchain technology! The world of esports & blockchain is constantly evolving, sometimes very unexpectedly! Do you have any hopes or predictions for the future of esports? What's the craziest thing you think could happen in 10 years from now?

Val: Oh we had a lot of funny/crazy reactions for sure! I remember some people seeing the word 'bitcoin' and immediately kind of freaking out because they'd think it's some sort of a scam. Others that were very familiar with it were curious, and some players that were knowledgeable about how DnD dice rolls work even spotted some bugs we hadn't noticed yet! In the early days of cryptocurrency a lot of people thought that it's just a pyramid scheme or something like that, but more and more legitimate products are being built via blockchain technology (like our lovely game CryptoFights and the upcoming Fyxplatform!) and people are starting to understand that it is definitely the future. As for my craziest prediction for esports, I definitely think that maybe not 10 years from now, but sometime into the future it would most likely be either an official school subject alongside real sports classes or there would be entire schools/academies dedicated just to that where you could get a Bachelor's or become a Major in esports for example!

Nicole: Wow, becoming a subject in school or pursuing as an official degree in esports is something I had never thought of! That is something I can definitely see happening in the future, for sure. As soon as that degree is available, you and I will have to sign up and become some of the first women to major in esports!

Thank you so much for this awesome conversation and for the warm welcome at Fyx, I really appreciate it.! You guys have been wonderful so far, and I am very excited to start my journey here! Before we go, can you tell our readers if there's plans of any collaboration articles with other team members in the future?

Val: Thank you as well, it was so much fun chatting with you! Well, I can't reveal many details just yet, but we do have some interesting content planned for the blog in the near future. Anyone that is curious about that will just have to keep an eye out on our blog, and also on social media! For anyone that hasn't yet, you guys should totally follow Fyx on instagram, facebook and twitter at @playfyx. 🔥

Nicole: Thanks for tuning in, see you guys around!