Now it’s the beginning of the fantastic story

Making games is my lifelong passion. As anything in life it’s a journey. What follows is a series of texts about things I have learned on my journey through the craft of game making. I hope at least some of it will be useful to someone else.

Stay tuned!

“Your feedback is very valuable to us!” — Random Comunity Manager

I still remember the launch of the first big feature that I designed. I haven’t slept much the night before. I was tossing and turning in my bed worrying about all the possible and impossible ways that things could go wrong. Most of all I was worried about players’ reactions. Will they understand my design? Will they find it fun? Will they play it?

Six and a half years later, and I still don’t sleep before each update. For a game designer, the launch day is a bit like…

“Don’t sit so close to the TV! You gonna lose your eyesight!” — My grandma, ~1987.


Full disclosure, I am a Game Designer. I work for a major company in the games industry. My specialty is designing free-to-play games for mobile devices. I am also a father of a 9-year-old child with a vivid imagination and a healthy dose of curiosity. I do my best to balance my career with my parental duties. This is not always easy. I do not succeed 100%, but I try. My position between the two worlds gives me a somewhat unique perspective. This is…

The Defense of the Sampo — Akseli Gallen-Kallela.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” — A. C. Clarke

How the choice of theme influences game design.

“The secondary gyrodyne relays in the propulsion field intermatrix have depolarised.” — Star Trek: Voyager

Rocket science

I am a lifelong Star Trek fan. I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. My head is storage of Sci-Fi trivia. I remember well when Tasha Yar died and when The Traveller took USS Enterprise to the rim of the universe. I know what “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra” means, and I sure as hell know what Dilithium crystals are used for!

Yet even all that vast array of accumulated lore doesn’t help me much when I was trying to play Star Trek…

“There is a light that never goes out” — S. P. Morrissey

Everyone has a tearjerker story. This is mine.

I knew her only as Katdanzer. It was a name she was using on a subreddit dedicated to our game. I know about her only the things that she chose to share with other people there. I don’t know how old she was. For some reason, I got the impression that she was retired. She was also very ill. A cancer of some sort if I understood correctly. A lot of her time was spent in hospitals undergoing various treatments.

Market stalls
Market stalls
Photo by Anne Preble on Unsplash

Back in 2012, when I was just starting my game design career, Free-to-Play games were, at least in the west, a brand new concept. Quite a lot of people were still trying to come to grips with the notion that some selling virtual items could all of a sudden be big business. The question that everyone was asking was why would anyone in their right mind spend money on virtual items. The company that I worked for at that time was good enough to pay and organize a workshop with Nickolas Lovell. …

The anatomy of a feature.

Fortnite battle pas
Fortnite battle pas

“Life is a game. So fight for survival…and find out if you’re worth it.” — Kitano, Battle Royale movie, 2000.

The business of mobile free-to-play games is a ruthless, merciless one. Hundreds of thousands of new games each year fight for the attention of millions of fickle players, spoiled by endless choices offered to them.

Winners can make millions, even billions in revenue, yet to make a big fortune in this market you need to start with a small one. …

Angry Birds Slingshot
Angry Birds Slingshot

“An elegant weapon for a more civilized age.” — O. W. Kenobi

I am aware that it is the year 2021, and that talking about Angry Birds now might look as anachronistic. Yet I still believe that these characters, especially their original incarnation, offer some very important lessons relevant for Character Designs and Branding.

Full disclosure: my first job in the gaming industry was at Rovio. I had a good fortune to be hired by them in 2012 when they were arguably at their peak. Back then I was just a novice game designer there without much say in how…

Stanislav Stankovic

I am a Creative Director at EA/Tracktwenty studio in Helsinki.

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