Our second interview is with a well-known player on the Counter Strike Global Offensive scene, the 26 year old Brazilian Lucas “steel” Lopes. His walk at CS: GO began in 2015 when he played for ESL Katowice by the Keyd team, team being led by Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo. After that, he spent a few months with the g3x team.
A few months later, he defended the colors of Immortals, leading the team that had kNgV-, LUCAS1, HEN1, boltz reaching the second position in PGL Major Krakow. After the end of the line, steel tried a new experience at Team Liquid, with fellow Americans the language would be the disadvantage. 5 months later, he returned to work with a Brazilian lineup, at Luminosity Gaming, and finally, another new experience in a Spanish lineup, at Movistar Riders, where he is today.
How is your experience in Europe in the Movistar Riders lineup?
My experience at Movistar Riders has been great, I’m loving playing in Europe, it’s been very positive as a person and as a professional.
What do you expect from Movistar Riders for this year 2020?
We started this year in 2020 very slowly, but we know that it is only the beginning of the season, but what I hope is to play well, do a great job with the team to be able to qualify for the face-to-face tournaments.
Your communication in English is not a problem since it was present in Liquid’s North American lineup, but now with your Spanish companions, do you have any difficulties with communication in the game?
In the beginning, communication within the game was difficult, nowadays I am already well adapted to the Spanish language only within the game, I already know all the words I need and I understand all the words they use to communicate too, so it is no longer a problem. If we are out of the game, it becomes difficult to understand, especially in diverse subjects other than Counter Strike.
Does the great experience you have in the game, positively affect the teammates in your current team?
Yes, they trust my ideas and philosophies a lot, and it’s a mutual feeling. I also learned a lot from them since I arrived, surprising me positively when I got here.
Would you have plans to return to the NA scenario in the near future and act again with a Brazilian lineup?
I don’t like to plan things like this, I keep focused on the present and at the moment my only plan is Movistar Riders. I really believe in the organization, for all the support they give us and also for my teammates.
What was your biggest special career moment so far?
The biggest moment of my career so far has been the Major final. Playing a Major will always be special, and having made a campaign like the one we did being the “underdogs” made everything more special.
Which CS: GO player did you learn the most when playing together?
You can’t choose just one, I learned a lot from all the players I played with, without exception, they were all great Counter Strike players.
What do you have to say to anyone who wants to start playing CS: GO professionally now?
It all starts with looking for a team, it is the most effective way to learn and enter the professional world of CSGO. You can start with friends, where you will evolve together, like this
Currently Movistar Riders, the steel team, dispute ESEA MDL Season 33 with 15 points, 5 wins and 5 losses. The team is also preparing for the Europe Minor Closed Qualifier dispute for ESL One Rio 2020.
Veronica Gonzales, Design & Marketing at INTO THE AM – Interview Series
Veronica is a graphic designer and is a member of the design and marketing team at INTO THE AM. They are curators of all over print clothing, and they have a strong connection to the gaming community with their graphic tees and other core products.
Do you remember the first game that you played?
The first game I played was the original Sonic game on Sega Genesis.
When did you start getting serious about gaming?
Gaming was always something I felt dedicated to, but when Twitch and streaming games started back in 2013 this was when I started taking gaming seriously.
Can you walk us through one of your finest gaming moments?
Competitive multiplayer games can get extremely intense. Being the last person left on your team, knowing you need to get the win for everyone, and then being able to secure that victory will always be one of my greatest gaming moments.
What is one of your career highlights?
Within the gaming industry, networking is a huge part of being successful, one of my biggest highlights was being able to join the EA Game Changers Program. Being able to promote the EA brand and be seen as an Influential player for the community is something I will always honor.
What inspired you to begin streaming?
When Twitch first started, I watched other streamers get to play the games they enjoyed while providing entertainment and content for others to watch. It made me want to try and build a community of my own with gamers who enjoy the same content as me.
What are your favorite games and why?
EAsports NHL – This is the one sports game I enjoy playing the most. The 6 player team play mode is the most fun. Being able to have 6 friends play as a full team always leads to a great night of gaming.
MMO games – Massive Multiplayer Online games like Elder Scrolls Online, Bless Unleashed, Warframe let you build a guild, work together to level up for better gear, and have many different content options for group gameplay that lets you have fun spending hours to get your player to the highest level.
Competitive Team Games – First-person competitive team games like Halo, Call of Duty, Overwatch are always intense and fun when you are a part of the winning team.
How often do you play?
I play games every day. Even if I am not streaming I will still get on my Xbox and play something. On weekdays normally I will play for 4-6 hours. During the weekend it can range from 8-10 hours.
Would you join a professional esports team league or start your own?
I was part of an esports team as one of their Streamers. The name was World’s Best Gaming. They had professional players for Fortnite and Gears of War. We had discussions about starting our own NHL EA Sports team. However, at the time my schedule was not flexible for me to dedicate time to that project. That esports team no longer exists. I have thought about joining a new esports team because the people you meet within a group like that is very beneficial to helping a person grow.
I used to think about starting my own esports team, but that takes a lot of time and dedication. Which I do not feel I can commit to at this time in my life.
You are a member of the design/marketing team at INTO THE AM. Could you tell us about this company?
During Twitchcon 2017 I had the opportunity to sign up to be an affiliate for INTO THE AM. After that, I received an email telling me I was accepted and could start promoting the company. I had worked with other companies with affiliate programs and INTO THE AM was always the best when it came to communication and caring about their partners.
This made me love the brand even more, once I found out of an opportunity to join their Team I jumped at the chance. Everything I knew from the company’s great communication and respect to me as a Streamer/Gamer was the same when working in the office.
INTO THE AM has a strong connection with the gaming community and offers some cool licensed gaming content. What are some of the products that are offered?
INTO THE AM has had apparel for video games like God of War, Assassins Creed,
Smite, World of Warcraft and others. The products ranged from Pullover Hoodies, Shirts, and Blankets. They also had partnerships with Overwatch League, with products like Jerseys, Pullover Hoodies, and Blankets.
Is there anything else that you would like to share about INTO THE AM or esports?
INTO THE AM has always been about self-expression and passion. In my years of gaming and networking, I’ve learned that Content Creators and Professional esports players are extremely passionate about their work. This company is a great fit for any type of gamer.
Thank you for the interview, readers should visit at INTO THE AM to check out some of their cool gaming gear.
Minko Minkov, Game Designer at Rebellious Software – Interview Series
Minko Minkov, is a Game Designer at Rebellious Software, a development company focused on making games that make you think.
When did you originally discover your passion for gaming?
I was 12 and I have just discovered fantasy books (“The Little Prince” and various gamebooks). I wanted to share those adventures with my friends but simply telling them what the book is about felt too boring, so I wanted to make them relieve these adventures. That is how I made my first game. It was of course a very simple dice game – a hero walking through a labyrinth, painted in a notebook.
Do you have a personal favorite game and why does this game resonate with you?
A classic from 1999 – Heroes of Might and Magic III. I don’t like games with a very high pace or where quick reactions are needed. I am a very calm and laid-back person, so I enjoy this type of games. HOMM3 is a turned based strategy game (no time pressure) with a very hard-core fantasy style and up to 8 people can play together on the same PC – the perfect match for the children of the 90s in a small town, where only 1-2 families on the block could afford a PC.
What made you choose to become a game designer?
After making my first few games, I discovered that watching other people play games and try to overcome the obstacles and advance through the story is as much fun for me, or even more fun, then playing games myself. It brings me enormous joy to go into my imaginary worlds and create adventures, which help people to escape reality for a bit. It is the perfect job for me and I am very grateful that I have the opportunity to dream every day.
Could you tell us about Rebellious Software and what the company does?
After the amazing results at the NASA Space Apps Challenges, the guys gained enough confidence and wanted to start working on bigger projects, and it had to be something we are very passionate about. The direction was clear – gaming!
We are an indie game developer based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Our goal is to create games that challenge existing genres with creative innovations.
One of the first products that was launched was the Chicksbook app, could you describe what this does?
Chicksbook was developed before we switched to game development. It was part of the NASA Space Apps Challenge – the largest hackaton in the world with 25 000 participants. NASA Space Apps Challenge is an annual event that brings hot challenges that NASA was facing both in the daily life on Earth and in space exploration. Raising chickens at home during that period was among those problems as many people started doing it for more healthy products without any preparations which led to multiple diseases being spread across the USA. So, we created an app – Chicksbook that can help people raise their chickens, schedule vets appointments, detect diseases, etc. We event received recognition from USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture). All that was in 2013 and Chicksbook won one of the six categories in the hackaton.
Another early app was the leaf zone, what is this app?
Leafzone was another project developed for NASA Space Apps Challenge in the following year. You can use the app to take s photo of a plant and the app will tell you the species of the plant and whether it has any diseases. In addition, it was sending data to servers about how affected is the plant from the ozone holes which was the ultimate goal of the app – to gather information on where the ozone holes are most affecting plants. Leafzone was another successful application that won one of the six categories in the NASA Space Apps Challenge 2014.
World of Myths is the latest game that is being worked on, could you tell us about this game?
When we started with our first brainstorming sessions about the theme of our first major game, everyone made a list of their favorite fantasy themes, characters, books. In the end, all lines crossed at “Mythology” – the myths and legends of the ancient civilizations.
The game itself had to be a collectible card game (CCG) as we are all very passionate card game players. Combined, we have played almost every card game that was ever created – Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh, Hearthstone, Legend of the Five Rings LCG, including the game that brought us all together – Game of Thrones LCG.
Using all the knowledge we have accumulated throughout the years, playing all those card games, we were able to put together some of the best elements, that would fit the digital format of the game and also create a combat system like no other.
The game board looks deceptively simple with only 5 slots for playing creatures, but the Endurance mechanic and the 3 different Temples, that can be plundered for various bonuses on each successful attack, makes for very deep and strategic gameplay, where luck (RNG) is reduced to a minimum. This is truly a skill-based game where every move counts – like chess with fantasy creatures!
What type of players would like this game?
The game is for the mid-core player. Someone who would like much less complexity and more manageable card pool than Magic, but deeper and more strategic gameplay then Hearthstone. It is truly free to play game with an amazing art style.
What do you enjoy the most when you work on World of Myths?
I personally love creating new cards. From the very first steps of digging through the books to find the right mythical creature, imagine what his abilities in the game should be and then testing for the balance and most importantly – the fun it would bring to use it in play!
Is there anything else that you would like to share about Rebellious Software?
We are a small but extremely motivated team, trying to outperform studios with 10 times our size in this very competitive industry. So far it is working well and the great reviews we have received for World of Myths on Steam (85% positive reviews) give us the strength to move forward.
Daniel Yoo, Chief Marketing Officer at Sizzle.gg – Interviews Series
Daniel Yoo, Chief Marketing Officer at Sizzle.gg, a one one-stop shop for gaming stream highlights.
When did you first discover your passion for gaming?
My parents own a video game store in New Jersey that’s older than I am, so I was blessed with almost every gaming console since the 90’s. But I started taking gaming seriously after meeting dozens of competitive Starcraft and DotA players in the Pittsburgh area while I was an undergraduate student at Carnegie Mellon. Although universities didn’t have an official esports scene back then, there was a healthy underground scene for competitive gaming in and around Pittsburgh. After graduation, I pursued Starcraft 2 then Hearthstone professionally while playing poker as my main source of income. Although a wrist injury ended my competitive gaming career earlier than I liked, I’m still involved in competitive gaming with Riot’s newest card game, Legends of Runeterra, by sharing strategies and tips on Twitter, @runeterradex.
Could you tell us what is Sizzle.gg?
With over 5 million monthly streamers and streams lasting up to 12 hours, it’s not fun to comb through long videos to look for the best scenes. Our mission at Sizzle.gg is to become the “SportsCenter for Gaming” by showing you only the best moments based on your preferences, whether they’re fails or high-level gameplays.
How did did the initial idea for Sizzle.gg come about?
Before Sizzle.gg came about, the co-founders Vijay Koduri, an ex-Googler, and Murali Raju, who previously started his own media company, wanted to build a tool that allowed users to create highlight compilations manually. As we discussed the possibilities, we realized that compiling gaming highlights can actually be automated through AI. We could detect the kills, the action scenes, and even the funny moments. So we interviewed hundreds of gaming fans about our idea and they loved it. Most of them followed 3-5 streamers and asked if we could extract the best moments from those streams while keeping the arc of the story. So that’s what we set out to build. I’m proud to say that we’ve now built a great AI foundation for gamers.
How does the AI determine which moments to feature in the sizzle reel?
We analyze the video, audio, and chat from Twitch and YouTube. For instance, analyzing the video of the gameplay tells us the kills and action scenes. Our chat analysis can detect when an online audience is laughing, so we know it’s a funny moment. And our video and audio analysis can detect when a streamer is excited, so we clip those moments. With all of these detectors, we get a pretty thorough picture of the best moments for our sizzles. We also use artificial intelligence to determine how a highlight is compiled for a user based on their preferences. For example, I might be looking to improve as a Brimstone player in Valorant. Sizzle.gg would then personalize the highlights and show the high-level plays made by Brimstone.
What games are currently offered on your platform and which games are you working on adding next?
Initially, we started with Fortnite and League of Legends and recently added Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (Warzone) and Valorant to our list of supported games. Since we’ve already built out the foundation for launching new games, we’ll be adding many more games in the upcoming months at an accelerating pace. Our goal is to eventually support the top 20 gaming titles on livestream platforms.
How has the feedback been from the gaming community?
Overwhelmingly positive. Based on the feedback we received, Sizzle.gg doesn’t cater only to the most serious gamers, but even the casual ones. I personally might be looking to only watch high-level plays in Valorant to improve my own gameplay, but another viewer might want to relax for the day and watch just the funny moments in Fortnite. We’re currently in the process of collecting as much data from users to better understand how we should personalize for different profiles.
For a streamer that wishes to join the network what’s the process?
If you have at least 10k followers/subscribers on Youtube or Twitch, you can introduce yourself and ask for an application our #content-creator channel in our Discord. You can also email us at email@example.com.
What’s next for the Sizzle.gg website?
More games and features. We’re currently in our beta stage to collect feedback and focus on product features such as personalizing highlights and the ability to create highlight compilations on your own. We’re also looking to expand our partnerships in esports to provide more value to gaming fans. Recently, we supported multiple Fortnite tournaments and produced highlights for the fans to enjoy. As we grow as a company, so will our involvements in esports.
Is there anything else that you would like to share about Sizzle.gg?
We’ll be running tournaments and giveaways in our Discord channel for feedback. If you have a favorite game you’d like to mention, or maybe a new feature on our website, let us know by joining our Discord channel: https://discord.com/invite/Xu8pTrb
Thank you for the interview, readers who wish to learn more should visit Sizzle.gg.
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- Minko Minkov, Game Designer at Rebellious Software – Interview Series
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- Daniel Yoo, Chief Marketing Officer at Sizzle.gg – Interviews Series