Why passion matters

Our Development Manager Chi is based in goGame’s Vietnam office and he has been there since Day 1. He has seen a lot, and been through even more. And at the end of it all, he discovered that passion is the most important trait of all.

This article is adapted from a speech he delivered during ‘Up Our Game’, a cross-office leaders workshop we held in March 2017.

I want to talk about passion.

Passion is what helped me and my team overcome challenges, and I want to share some of our stories with you.

1) Passion helps you level up.

When I first started to build my team in Vietnam, there was no one to help me with recruitment. I had to go out and meet people, and personally convince them to join goGame by telling them how hip our company is, and how SEGA invested in us. This was way back in the beginning when no one knew who we were.

Before this, I was a game designer, then a game developer. I had no HR skills and I had never recruited anyone before. But I had to do it because I have a passion and I have to find people who share this same passion so we can do great work together. Today, I’m proud to say that these people I have hired are all key members of the team, and I have leveled up by gaining new management and HR skills.

2) Passion fuels you.

One day, before we secured the contract for Disney Crossy Road SEA, I received a call that went: “Hey Chi, I’m going to meet Mike (CMO of SEGA, our investor) in San Francisco and we need a DCR demo and deck.”

I immediately called my team and said “Hey guys, we have to work overtime tonight.” So all of us got together and started working. We worked on the UI, the controller, and everything else.

And we worked through the night to build that prototype—which probably helped us get that contract.

What kept us going? Passion.

Working at goGame also gives us an opportunity that few companies can provide—we get to work on big projects and big IPs. Because of our passion, this opportunity means a lot to us. This makes all of us excited to go to work every day, and it helps us stay focused at work all day.

3) Passion makes you thirsty for knowledge.

When we were working on porting the Sonic CD mobile game, we received the original source code, but it came without any documentation. One of our team members spent a lot of time to study every single line of code so he could complete his work.

He could very easily have said: “Why isn’t there any documentation? We need one to work on it.” But he didn’t. Why? He was passionate about his work and he wanted to be like Christian Whitehead.

Christian Whitehead is a game developer who knows some basic programming language, but is actually not a programmer. His passion for games turned him into one. And because he didn’t have lots of programming knowledge, he stayed away from the complicated frameworks and kept to the basics. This turned out to be a good thing because the games he developed turned out to be small, fast and efficient—perfect for mobile.

4) Passion makes you responsible.

With Disney Crossy Road SEA, we were building a brand new multiplayer mode that’s not found in the original Disney Crossy Road. But we felt that our multiplayer mode wasn’t good enough. If we didn’t have fun playing it, our players wouldn’t have fun playing it as well.

The entire team decided to sacrifice our Tết holidays so that we could start from scratch and build a multiplayer game mode that’s actually fun for our players. Tết is Vietnamese New Year, and it is a very important occasion for everyone in Vietnam. Why did we do it? We felt responsible for delivering the best possible experience to our players. The game has been released and we’re glad that we are receiving many positive comments about the multiplayer mode. That’s passion.

There was also another incident when one of our team members was assigned with the task to develop a WebView, which is a screen that will display the news items within the game app. This is a very easy task but it took him half a day to complete it. I was surprised so I went over to him and asked why it took him so long.

He told me that the WebView was already done, but there was a different problem. The loading time was too slow, so when the user taps on the button, it feels like the game screen has frozen. So he spent an additional four hours to fix that issue.

To others, it may be a simple issue. But he went beyond what he was assigned to do because he too, felt responsible for delivering the best possible experience to his players. Again, that’s passion.

5) Passion is love.

When SEGA came to visit us in Vietnam, we wanted to decorate our office to give them a warm welcome. The team gathered, picked up the chalk, and we started drawing.

We weren’t artists. But we are developers who wanted to show our love for the company. So we all gathered, picked up the chalk, and started drawing.

Can you believe that? This was drawn by a developer—and it was his first day at work!

So with these five points and five stories, what I’m really trying to say is that when you share a passion, you can face challenges, overcome obstacles and do great work together as a team.

That’s what we’ve done, and that’s what we’ll continue to do here at goGame.

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