I've started playing games at the age of 6, when Commodore 64 was the most popular video game console and PC's were running DOS on Intel 80286 CPUs. Alley Cat by IBM was one of my first and favourite titles (in case you're not familiar, I truly recommend checking it out). A couple of years later, the Interplay Entertainment era began. Earthworm Jim, Heart of Darkness, Ignition, MDK, Fallout, Baldur's Gate and other true gems brought a whole new level to gaming. In 2003, when I was 18, I started making games in Flash. I did a few funny 2d games which I shared with y friends at school, but I didn't consider game dev seriously back then.
Everything changed when in 2011 I started PhD studies in Artificial intelligence at Wrocław University of Science and Technology. Still as a doctoral student, in 2012 I was asked by one of my students (I was teaching database design and SQL then), whether I would be interested in becoming a scientific tutor for a new group called "TK Games". I was quite surprised, but also super excited for the vision of making games more seriously. As I believe in serendipity, I said "yes!". Since this moment, my life changed completely and every year I was getting more and more deep into gamedev.
TK Games aimed to teach students' how to make games from ground up. The union was organizing lectures for sound designers, programmers, graphics designers, game designers and for testers, so pretty much anyone interested in game development could find something that matched his or her interests. This open approach led to an explosion of popularity of TK Games. In less than a year, the group grew to over 250 students, becoming the biggest and fastest growing students' union at the whole Wroclaw University of Science and Technology. In 2014, together with a couple of the brightest students we've decided to start a company in order to participate in the nation-wide contest for a concept of a game promoting Wroclaw as a European Capital of Culture 2016. The winner would receive funding for the production of the game. As the prize was quite big, it attracted over 40 companies from various parts of Poland. Still, the winner could be only one and guess what.. we've won the first prize! Our team of 18 people worked for 5 months to create a mobile (iOS & Android) and web (HTML5) game called Wroclaw Quest, which is a 2d arcade game with 10 mini-games inside, cool graphics and a fun story.
After this success, we wanted to do more. Observing the market, we've noticed that creative parts are the most risky areas of each project, so we've decided to focus only on the development and become the world-class experts in one game engine. That's how in 2015 with 2 of my top ex-students, we've founded The Knights of Unity - a company focused on top-grade Unity development. No art, no design, pure execution and with one goal: to always deliver. In the beginning, we've been only hiring 2 more Unity developers, so the company was 5 people in total. In the end of 2015 however, we were already 12. In 2016, the team had grown to 24. In 2017, we've closed the year with 44 employees. Today, the company is over 50 people, with 28 experienced Unity developers on board, and with over 60 delivered projects, ranging from 100 to 7000 hours.
I am sure, that this amazing growth speed could not be possible without our focused and honest approach to Unity development. The market of Unity outsourcing is unstable. Unfortunately, a large number of freelancers and studios are not capable of delivering commercially ready, polished, optimized and complete products. Observing this, we have created three rules of The Knights of Unity that we follow at all times: 1. Reliability - we value long-term cooperation with our clients, hence we prefer to reject an assignment, rather than risk not delivering it. Having a team of 28 experienced Unity developers in the same office significantly increases the stability of the development - if any developer has a problem with his or her task, they have an instant backup of 27 other experienced Unity developers that they can turn to for advise. 2. Quality - The Knights are the experts in Unity. We hire only top talent, based on our four-hours long Unity test that only 2% of candidates pass. We have created an internal QA team that is dedicated to testing each build of every project, and we also do regular code and documentation reviews to make sure that the project is clean. 3. Transparency - working remotely, communication with each person working on the project is critical (according to statistics, in IT 80% of all bugs are caused by miscommunication). Therefore, we not only assign a PM to the project, but also set up direct communication channels with each of the developers as well as share a project management space on Jira, so all information about the progress of the development and about logged hours can be monitored by the client at any time of the day. The PMs also regularly organize project meetings and send the progress reports, so there is no doubt that everyone is on the same page.
I'm sure, that even the greatest plan couldn't succeed without a dedicated team, though - and I have to say, I am more than proud of The Knights. A couple months ago, we have had our client from France visiting us for a week, working each day with us in our office and when he was leaving, he said something, that perfectly summarizes the atmosphere that we have in the company: "You don't have a company. You have a community." - and that's exactly what it is. We are a Knights' Family :)
Working at The Knights of Unity gave me an opportunity to realize my dreams: working hand-to-hand with the lead designer of Fallout, working with Team17 or Daedalic Entertainment, releasing Scythe, these are just a few and we have been in operation only since 3.5 years! I am really looking forward for more adventures to come.