Get to Know Miss Universe 2014!


Today at High 5 Blog, we feature an exclusive interview with Miss Universe 2014, Paulina Vega, held during her visit last week to our New York office. Like many High 5-ers, Miss Universe has her favorite when it comes to pets, vacations, food, and much more. So… Did you know that she prefers dogs over cats? Did you know that her favorite vacation destination is relaxing on an island! Paulina enjoys relaxing with her friends and watching movies, just like you and me! If you find yourself relaxed while playing Miss Universe Crowning Moment, you are not the only one. Miss Universe 2014 is definitely doing the same thing!

Check below to unveil some quirky facts about Miss Universe 2014 and see if you have anything in common!

1) What’s your favorite food?
a. Italian food and Sushi

2) What’s your favorite sport?
a. To Play, Volleyball. To watch, Futbol…GO Colombia!

3) What’s your favorite movie?
a. Dead Poets Society

4) What’s the last movie you saw and what did you think of it?
a. I watched ‘Hot Pursuit’ last night with Sofia Vergara…OMG so Funny!

5) You travel all the time, what city did you have lots of fun in?
a. Bali is so fun

6) Who inspires you? Why?
a. My mother, Laura. Because she is the woman I most want to become.

7) Which superpower would you choose to have?
a. Control minds…no question

8) What’s your spirit animal?
a. Cockroach…no I kid, I am a Tiger.

9) If you could have dinner with any celebrity, who would it be?
a. Bradley Cooper, because he is handsome and he knows how to laugh at himself.

10) What do you think of Miss Universe Crowning Moment and how do you feel about being featured in it?
a. It’s so exciting! I love to play and see myself being crowned. Soon I’ll be in my very own game and be the only one being crowned.

11) What’s your favorite part about being Miss Universe?
a. Everything, having the platform to inspire other young women, and myself, to continually grow is incredibly gratifying.

Do you and Paulina Vega share the same things in common? Make sure to comment in the conversation bubble located on the top right of the blog post and let us know.

Meet a High 5-er: Chatting with H5G’s Director of Game Development Peter

Peter Headshot
What are your responsibilities here at High 5 Games?

I’m the head of the game development team, which is responsible for writing the first versions of all the games. It’s a collaborative process; while we are programming a game, we first work with the math team to get all the gameplay right, then we work with the art team to get all the static art and animations in. There’s a lot of back and forth between the artists and the programmers. The artists will put some art in, then the developers will look to see how it plays in the game and say, “Oh, this needs to play a little earlier, or you need to loop the animation a little longer, or it’s not correctly synced up with the gameplay.” Then, when the art team’s done with the prototype, it goes on to the sound team. The sound team creates each bit of audio individually for each animation, but then they have to see how it sounds in the game, because sometimes more than one sound plays in the game and it sounds jarring. Again, there are more adjustments going back and forth between the artists and the programmers, then it gets passed on to quality assurance – the testing department – and that’s another collaboration. They find bugs and tell the programming team where the bugs are, then we fix the bugs, they test it again, and we have a finished product.

How long does that process typically take?

It could take months. It’s not always a consecutive, linear development process, but I guess if math, art, sound, and QA all go one right after another we could possibly have a game in a couple of months.

How was the game development team involved in the launch of High 5 Casino?

Well, a large amount of our Facebook users are slot machine players in casinos, and a big draw of our site is that they are the same games that you find in casinos, so it’s very important that the games match. The Flash programmers need to see a version of the original game so they can be sure to match it. That’s where we come in – we make protoypes of the games so that the programmers can check to make sure the social game matches the original title.

What’s your favorite part of working at H5G?

I love the people who work here, and it’s exciting to be part of such a successful company that is growing so fast. I look forward to coming to work every day!

Meet a High 5-er: Chatting with H5G TA Manager Brian

Haykin Head Shot
So what exactly does the Technical Artist team do?

We’re sort of in the middle of everything – the gearbox in the middle of the company. We work with the math guys, the engineers, the artists, the animators, the sound designers, everyone. We’re basically there to make sure that our games meet the technical requirements given to us by our clients – whether that’s Bally, IGT, or whomever.

What would some of those requirements be?

Slots are essentially weak computers without lots of memory or processing power, so we need to optimize our games so that they still look and sound amazing while being able to run on these cheap machines. For example, an animator might come up with lots of fancy, elaborate animations that look great but won’t run on a slot machine, so we figure out ways to keep as many of those visual flourishes as possible while minimizing their impact on the machine. Same with the sound guys; we find out when and how they want sounds to play, and we work with them and the engineers to make sure their original ideas make it into the final product.

What is the process of optimization and searching for bugs like?

Basically, we review the builds we get on a machine, and play them to make sure the known issues were resolved and no new ones have popped up. When we know it’s ready, we have producers, art directors, sound guys – everyone comes and plays and looks and listens.

Do you work on one or multiple games at a time?

We work on all the games as they’re made. Other departments finish a game, send it off, and then they’re done, whereas the TAs might go back and forth for months with the engineers polishing the product. Even when everything is done and the game is sent to the client, the TAs are still not even close to being finished because then we’re going back and forth with the clients. It’s the nature of the beast; we are in constant contact with the client, because we have to make sure they have the content they need in the format they need it in.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

My favorite part is all the problem solving I get to do. I love trying to figure out how to optimize the games so they look and sound exactly the same but run as needed.

Meet a High 5-er: Chatting with H5G Animator Kori

Kori 2

What’s your role as an animator here at H5G?

I take the art from the illustrators and I make it move around in a pretty and pleasing way. That’s the bare bones of it, but it’s different every time. I just finished working on a Hayao Miyazaki-inspired game; he’s a Japanese filmmaker, like the Walt Disney of Japan. It was super fun because it’s cartoony and I really like animating in that style. Lots of H5G’s stuff is photorealistic and gorgeous, but Miyuki and Friends, which is the name of the game, is a totally different style. It’s just nice to do something different. (Editor’s Note: Miyuki and Friends is available at Shake the Sky!)

Do you work on one game at a time, or is there a bunch of stuff on your plate constantly?

I work on a bunch of different games at the same time. I could be mainly animating one game while fixing animations on another, planning what we’re going to shoot in a live action game, coming up with game themes, and working with the starting artists to make sure we get the right elements. I’m all over the place — all games all the time.

Are there any games you’ve worked on that really stand out to you? Any upcoming projects you’re really excited about?
Miyuki has been the best game I’ve worked on so far, I love it! If I look at the animations I did when I first got here, I’m like, “Oh god, that’s awful,” so now I’m finally getting into the groove of things. Maybe that’s why I like Miyuki the most. I really liked working on Silk and Steel, and Lucky Animals too. Tall, Rich and Handsome is the one live action game I’ve done so far. It’s an Asian game, there’s a girl with four different guys trying to date her. It’s really cute. Going forward, I’m really excited to do more Wu Xia games, which are martial-arts style. We’re shooting martial artists and cloth with a high speed camera for Way of the Blade, and it’s going to be super cool. (Editor’s Note: Silk and Steel and Tall, Rich and Handsome are available now at Shake the Sky, and Lucky Animals and Way of the Blade will likely debut there later this year.)

What’s your favorite and least favorite part of being an animator?

My favorite part is the end product — once the game comes through the animation stage it looks amazing and really comes to life. Animation is where a lot of the emotion happens, so I like that I’m in a vital stage. The worst part is that it takes a really long time to get it to look right.

Play Shake the Sky: