Paulina Raguimov had no idea that she will be paid to make video games when she entered her high school career fair, at 16.
Paulina Raguimov walked up to the JumpStart booth to talk about the internships they had available, without having a resume or any kind of experience with making games.
Irrespective of that, she liked that she heard and applied for the post. When she was interviewed, she was not questioned about her lack of experience, neither much emphasis was placed on her grades, instead the focus was placed on her personality and interests. Paulina Raguimov thinks that she got lucky as she considered herself as the worst student until she got the job.
She started off as a production intern at JumpStart. Some of her responsibilities included quality assurance. Such a job might sounds appealing when you are 12, but it is actually very dull. It requires one to play the games endlessly to find the bugs. Paulina Raguimov was taught to use the bug tracking tools and the methods to update the game studio’s documents.
She was also taught how to describe Gameplay mechanics in a design document and to use the custom tools built on top of the engine of Unity game. Nine months after beginning at the education game studio, she started struggling in her chemistry class when something popped up her mind.
While looking at the periodic table and its groups, Paulina Raguimov thought about Match-3 games. She came up with an idea that she could actually combine the concepts to teach the fundamentals of chemical reactions and groupings in a fun manner.
She used what she had learned on the job and started building the concept in her own time. She managed to piece together a 30 page design document. She shared the idea with the studio’s curriculum designer, who liked it and forwarded to her boss. The boss forwarded to the CEO of the company. Paulina Raguimov said that then it suddenly became a top priority to get the game out in the market. She was also promoted to production assistant from an intern.
The team was given around two and a half months to get the game out. The team decided not to launch it as a standalone title, instead, it was built as a mini-game within School of Dragons, the multiplayer online game based on “How to Train Your Dragons” by Dreamworks Animation.
The game was a huge success. Just after a month of the release of the mini-game, the CEO of JumpStart, David Lord decided to commit more resources to the concept. They started working on making it a full-on mobile title, with level progression and some of the more complicated gamplay mechanics Paulina Raguimov has thought up in her original design document, but were not feasible to build quickly into the first release.
The team let Paulina Raguimov to lead the creative side of the entire project. She spent time on constructing levels. The artists would always come to her and ask if everything matches up to her imagination. Paulina Raguimov gained the experience of managing a team of remote programmers. She would send pictures and GIFs to show how exactly the game should feel to play. Paulina Raguimov said that she felt awesome to have all the responsibility on her shoulders.
The final result was ‘How To Train Your Dragon: Alchemy Adventure’. The game has been out since fall and still gets updates. On the App Store, the game has received an average of five stars from reviews of all versions
Paulina Raguimov is officially a game designer at Jumpstart now. She is currently working on the studio’s upcoming flagship title.
Paulina Raguimov is now 19 and is working at the studio full-time. She tried to enroll in a college program which she could do while keeping the job, but her application was turned down for the student loans required to afford the classes. She said that college is still in her plans but she is happy to keep gaining practical experience.
Paulina Raguimov dreams of starting her own game development studio in the future. She already has in her mind the kind of games she would like to work on.