From Cuba to Uruguay: Lermy Is Game for a Change

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Lermy García Mas has made a living out of creating games. From an early age, his passion for gaming led him to a career in game development. Having grown up in Cuba, Lermy moved to Uruguay to pursue his dreams of bringing the magic of gaming into people’s lives.

Lermy García Mas has made a living out of creating games. From an early age, his passion for gaming led him to a career in game development. Having grown up in Cuba, Lermy moved to Uruguay to pursue his dreams of bringing the magic of gaming into people’s lives. He talks to Nearshore Americas about his journey from his childhood island home to his settlement in Uruguay.

“Stepping off the plane from Cuba in Montevideo, Uruguay, I felt amazing! I had been waiting to have the chance to thrive in what I like to do, and arriving in Uruguay made me feel like that’s exactly what I will do.

I started enjoying the computing world from the age of six, spurred on by my obsessive attraction to video games. My mom studied computer science and my dad is an electronic engineer, so I was always supported by my parents in terms of my dreams and my professional inclination towards video game development.

“If I wanted to have the opportunity to grow professionally, I would need much better access to technology and communications, since the latter is practically non-existent in Cuban homes. So I decided to leave the island in the hope of a more promising future.” – Lermy García Mas

Stepping onto the road of software development involves a lot of time in self-preparation and constant research. For many people in my country there is also a language barrier for this field, since the latest technologies are always in a foreign language. Luckily for me, my parents encouraged me to take English classes, something that really paid off during my studies and in my IT career.

My passion for games has always been the main inspiration for my research in computer graphics, and therefore to start an IT career made a lot of sense when pursuing this dream. Being part of the game-development process is an amazing journey that I have always dreamed of being part of, and bringing entertainment and wonderful experiences into people’s homes is another perk that makes all the hard work really worth it.

Focusing on game development did not stop me from making another type of scientific research like parallel programming, which was my graduation thesis subject. Even though this field’s spectrum is wider in scientific applications than games, nowadays this parallel hardware is exactly the same graphic processing units that are the soul and heart that make games run. It is now possible to go beyond in science because today’s GPUs now have evolved to become a generic parallel computing device. This second path in my professional career has brought together two things I love: computer graphics and science.

After I graduated from UCI (Universidad de las Ciencias Informáticas) in Havana in 2009 and started to work there as a teacher and developer, I realized that if I wanted to have the opportunity to grow professionally, I would need much better access to technology and communications, since the latter is practically non-existent in Cuban homes.

So I decided to leave the island in the hope of a more promising future. I started to apply to Canada, but the papers took too long. It was then that I started to work at ICAIC Animations Studios, and I joined a wonderful team developing the first Cuban 3D animation feature, called “Meñique” (Pinky finger), which was a great success both locally and internationally.

uruguay lermy garcia mas
Lermy Garcia Mas loves gaming — and playing games with his best friend

After the film release, I presented a project to the studios to develop a video game of our own, and they were very excited about it. We had a well-prepared and very versatile team, so we started with the development of “Sagua: La Aldea Embrujada” (Sagua: The Cursed Village). The game was finally released in March this year, and it was a huge milestone for the studio. It is a game of puzzles and traps, aimed at those seven years old and up. The main character is Thomas, a boy who is trying to save his village from a curse. The game, which costs 30 Cuban pesos (CUP), is based on a comic of the same name by Tahimí Tovar and illustrated by Arturo Palacios. They are now preparing to launch two more games this year.

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It was back in the second half of 2014 when I heard from my friends that Uruguay was accepting professionals to go to work without any major complications, and the legal process was rather simple and fast. I then started asking my aunt about Uruguay, since she had lived there for two years in the past, and she gave me a very good recommendation. I did some additional research myself and found out that Uruguay’s enterprises have stepped up their exports compared to the rest of Latin America when it comes to software development and the nation has one of the fastest Internet services of the region. I saw a great opportunity since programmers and IT specialists are in high demand in this country. I didn’t think twice about it and decided to go, although I had never had the chance to travel in Uruguay before.

“I moved to Uruguay in February 2015 and started working for KefSensei Studios in April. We are developing a new version of the popular strategy card game ‘BloodRealm – War of Gods,’ which has already been published on multiple platforms.” – Lermy García Mas

I moved to Uruguay in February 2015 and started working for KefSensei Studios in April. We are developing a new version of the popular strategy card game BloodRealm – War of Gods, which has already been published on multiple platforms and stores like Facebook, iTunes App Store, Google Play Store, Steam and Kongregate. I am one of the programmers for this new game, and we are very excited that the new unified version is bringing lots of new features into the gameplay. The team is awesome and the community has high expectations for this release. We are hoping to meet all their expectations!

There are many ways in which local cultures are different, but beyond that Uruguay and Cuba have similar idiosyncrasies. Because of that it has been easy to adapt to life in Uruguay, whose people have welcomed me with open arms.

I would like to visit Cuba in the future. I hope to go on vacations someday in the not too distant future. I do miss my friends and my family a lot, especially since it is very hard to keep in touch with them having so many problems with Internet and communications in Cuba.

What will the future hold? It is hard to tell actually. Even though I am hoping to stay in Uruguay for a long time, I would also like to know different cultures and have other professional experiences. Let’s see what the future brings.

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