By Jonay Suárez, Head of Marketing at Wibbu.
Amaan is from India, where he worked on the team that created the world-renowned game The Sims. Now he lives in London. What Amaan lacks in height, he makes up for in ideas, passion and teamwork. Amaan can do anything! He arrived at Wibbu with two goals: to create the best video game to learn English, and to infect everyone with his contagious smile. In this interview, we tells you how he does it.
Amaan, what does your name mean?
It means ‘Peace’, and I think it must have had an effect on me as I’m quite a peaceful person now!
A year ago, you decided to jump on a nine-hour flight from Delhi to London. That’s a bold move! Why did you do it?
When I first came to London it was because Wibbu offered me a fantastic opportunity to grow as a game developer. London was also a dream place to live! 🙂
But now that I have been here for almost a year, I can say that there is even more to it than that. I can feel that I have also grown as a person.
I feel more confident when communicating with people, or addressing groups of people. I now know a lot more about other cultures because of the people I work with and the other friends that I have made since moving to London.
Being more than 7,000 kilometres away from your family can’t be easy. What do you do to keep yourself smiling?
Well it’s just nine hours!
It obviously helps that I absolutely love my job and the people that I work with. But I believe that positivity is a state of mind, the same as feeling fatigued or feeling motivated.
Learning and experimenting with new things gives me joy and I want to build a tool that helps our customers in a similar way. Learning can be a tonne of fun if done in the right way. I share Wibbu’s vision and I know that I can contribute to making it a reality.
What do you like most about working at Wibbu?
The people. Everyone is so different, but we still share a common goal. I get to interact with everyone on a daily basis and understand their side of the story or how they are trying to tackle a problem. This helps to give a different perspective on the same problem, and it’s just amazing to see how great things are built from scratch.
What are you working on at the minute?
Right now, I’m learning some new programming techniques to help build the game in a more intuitive way that can be easily customised and understood by the non-programmers on the team.
The idea is to build tools and to write code in such a way that it empowers the Game Designer or the Artists to tweak values on the fly and to check how this affects gameplay. This minimises the back-and-forth that typically occurs when building products.
We know that when building Wibbu you often find bugs and errors. Sometimes a simple error can take days to fix. How to do you deal with those situations?
There have been lots of those situations! I think it’s important to just stay calm and not panic when it happens. I like to think that I don’t panic too easily or get scared by situations.
My way of approaching this is to start thinking of the worst case scenarios and to try to objectively figure out a solution for each of them. I think this approach has served me well so far.
Why do you think that a game is a good way to help people learn languages?
The idea is to build something that people look forward to playing every day – something that you care about and is engaging. The learning will take care of itself.
You speak three languages perfectly. What have these languages brought to your life?
Without a doubt, the biggest opportunity that I’ve had from knowing multiple languages has been being able to move to London. It was a really smooth transition just because I could understand and speak the language.
I intend to learn more languages to help myself understand people better when I visit other parts of Europe later this year.
And just to finish, could you tell us something in Hindi.
Namaste (This is a common greeting, although we tend to say “Hi” or “Hello” nowadays).
Aap kaise hain? (How are you?) It is a useful one too!