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Roles in Games: Game Designer

Aug 15, 2017 By Chris Sroka

Games, games, games. The games industry is a wide and varied world, filled to the brim with all types of professions: from engineers to game designers, artists to marketing folks, the list goes on and on. In Wooga's Roles In Games series, they talk with people at Wooga about some of those jobs and what it takes to make it in that profession.

In this post Wooga speaks with Nick Marouhos, Game Designer for one of their upcoming puzzle games (and MDM Alumni).

Please tell me a bit about your current role and what it includes.

I currently work as a game designer on an unannounced game in Wooga’s Puzzle Studio. As game designers we create systems and features that strive to create the most engaging player experiences possible.

Did you always wanted to become a game designer and what did you study to get your role?

While I really enjoyed playing games growing up, game design was not a career path that I set for myself. Animation was what I was after… pretty much due to Disney films. When I went to undergraduate school, I strove for a broad knowledge base ranging from multimedia design, communication theory, to computer sciences. It was only later, when I started prototyping small games, that I found my passion for delivering engaging experiences and decided to focus on game design with a Master of Digital Media.

And how did you get into the role?

After completing my undergraduate degree I worked for several years in e-learning. During that time I found my drive and passion for developing interactive experiences, which is why I returned to school for my masters. This brought me to Wooga in the summer of 2013, where I joined a project called Max Ammo. I was actually the 7th person from my grad school to move all the way over from Vancouver to join Wooga here in Berlin.

How does your average day look like?

Generally my days are quite varied. Our game is currently in production and for a game designer this means a focus on feature and system development. On a given day I may be involved in varying phases of a features’ lifecycle. This includes early concepts and prototypes, implementation and testing. That’s the bit I like the best: being involved with the implementation and execution of our game systems that has all disciplines working together to create the best possible experience for our players.

What are you working on at the moment?

Our game is one where we strive to create a vast cast of characters. We are currently focused on creating the systems that will allow us to give these characters personalities and behavioural traits and really make them engaging as individuals. Just this morning we sat down and broke down this massive task into individual bits and discussed how we would integrate it into the systems that we already have in place. There’s still a lot to do ahead of us, but at the same time it is super exciting to see all these pieces come together.

How do you always come up with new ideas for the game you’re working on?

I think one of the things that we are very blessed with here at Wooga, is to be surrounded by very smart and passionate people. If there is one thing that I learned during my career in games it’s that ideas can come from everywhere. When you have a diverse group of creative people working together in an open environment, there will always be new ideas popping up and someone to help push them forward.

What would be the piece of advice for your younger self or anyone who wants to get into a similar role?

As much as possible engage and collaborate with people from different backgrounds and disciplines. Understanding how others approach their work, and games in general, is invaluable when we look to improve in our own chosen discipline. No game is made by one game designer working in isolation. It truly is a collaboration of different disciplines and mindsets working together.

What kind of games do you play “just for fun”?

I love playing RPGs and strategy games but in all honesty, and I really mean it, I genuinely enjoy playing June’s Journey, Wooga’s upcoming Hidden Object Game which is about to launch globally later this year. No, really!

Thank you, Nick!

This post was cross-published and slightly modified with the original content appearing on Wooga's blog hereNick Marouhos graduated from the CDM in 2011 and is a game designer at Wooga.