Meet Michael Petrou, Technical Director


Every game developer has an exciting story to tell. Where did they start and what inspired them to make bold career switches? What did they pick up along the way to make their big dreams come true and how did they eventually get their foot in the door? Our Technical Director Michael Petrou began his career in electronics in Australia before he ventured into the world of game development. Years later, he’s moved to sunny Singapore and is now a Technical Director who has worked on some of Ubisoft’s most acclaimed titles. Find out how he’s managed to come so far in his career and what his proudest achievements were!


Which roles does the programming team comprise of?

The developers in ours studio are classified into two broad groups: a team working on the game and a team focusing on leadership and mentorship. The game team includes programmers working on 3D rendering, gameplay, online, networking and tools. Their primary function is writing code for our games and working closely with designers, artists, and writers.


There’s also the leadership team, comprised of technical leads, team leads and architects. These leads focus on setting the direction for our technology and managing and mentoring people.


What are some of your daily tasks?


My day usually starts with playing the latest game build. Next, the leadership team will hold an informal stand-up meeting to update each other on the previous day’s happenings and the current day’s focus. I also spend quite a bit of time with my lead programmers to ensure that everything is running smoothly. We hold technical and architecture meetings regularly to discuss the direction of different aspects of our game.


We heard that you’ve been with Ubisoft Singapore for 7 years! Tell us more about your journey of refining your craft and getting to where you are today.


I studied electronics and started my career there. In the early 90s, electronic components were powerful enough to run programs in the C language. I was exposed to the C language as a result and I instantly fell in love with it.


After working in electronics for a few years, I decided to study a night time course in computer programming and made a career switch to software development. My early programming jobs were focused around simulation and 3d visualization, which were the perfect doorways into game development. I stayed in Australia to work on games for more than 10 years before I joined Ubisoft Singapore! When I joined, the studio was just beginning the production on Assassins Creed Black Flag and I was the Technical Director of the programming team.


Over my 7 years with Ubisoft Singapore, I’ve sometimes been a Programming Architect and sometimes a Technical Director. Both roles are really exciting to me because I get to work on amazing projects.

Over my 7 years with Ubisoft Singapore, I’ve sometimes been a Programming Architect and sometimes a Technical Director. Both roles are really exciting to me because I get to work on amazing projects. My most memorable times were when I made a technical feature with a team to enable inventive gameplay experiences like the sheets of ice in the ocean of Assassin’s Creed Rogue or the traffic on the Thames River in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.


What made you stay with Ubisoft Singapore all this time?


Ubisoft Singapore a fantastic place to work because they care so much about the welfare of the staff. I’ve had many opportunities to consistently push technical boundaries and be on large, impactful projects enjoyed by millions of players. I also love living in Singapore – it’s a really beautiful city with pleasant summer weather all 365 days of the year.


I’ve had many opportunities to consistently push technical boundaries and be on large, impactful projects enjoyed by millions of players. I also love living in Singapore – it’s a really beautiful city with pleasant summer weather all 365 days of the year.

What are some of your biggest and most exciting challenges in daily work?

There are many challenges in making a great AAA game. What I enjoy most is creating highly optimized game systems which allow our designers the freedom to use their imagination to the fullest.


Let’s take Thames River on Assassin's Creed Syndicate as an example. We wanted players to be able to stand at the very top of the Big Ben and see the activity in the river below. The boats needed to exhibit normal traffic behaviors such as the lane changing, collision, docking and giving way. It was a giant technical challenge to accomplish that and push a little further by allowing players to climb onto boats and disrupt river traffic, but it was incredibly rewarding to see the team pull it off and have those features incorporated into the game.


What are some of the hard and soft skills needed to get and do well in job in the programming team?

A passion for game development is a must! As mentioned, there are many different roles in our team, so our programmers need to have a wide variety of hard and soft skills. You’ve got to be a team player because almost every element in a game is made through the collaboration of our technical and creative teams. You’ll also need to be fluent in C++. Depending on your area of interest, you may also need to have knowledge in rendering or C#.


Why is Ubisoft Singapore a great place to be for a programmer? What excites you about coming to work every day?

My team and I get to explore exciting new technologies and platforms, maybe even before they are announced. And we have the opportunity to work with some of the most experienced and brilliant game developers in the world.


My team and I get to explore exciting new technologies and platforms, maybe even before they are announced. And we have the opportunity to work with some of the most experienced and brilliant game developers in the world.

Our studio takes on many ambitious projects and collaborations, which gives me the incentive to do my best and learn new technologies. I also love how international we are! We have a melting pot culture of over 40 different nationalities and it’s very rewarding to build relationships with such a diverse team.


Any words of advice for people hoping to join the programming team in Ubisoft Singapore?

The game development industry is ever-changing, which means higher expectations from players and more innovations to be made. We’re always on the lookout for talented programmers with the right C++ skills to join us on our conquest to create even better games. If you’d like to tackle some mind-boggling challenges with us and have creative input on some of the biggest games in the world, check out our job opportunities here!

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Instagram Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White LinkedIn Icon

© 2020  Ubisoft  Entertainment.  All Rights Reserved.  Ubisoft, Ubi.com and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the U.S. and/or other countries.