Mirko Bozovic is Game Designer at Mad Head Games. For 5 years in MHG he was on several positions, from technical art and animation to organisational roles, and ended up in game design. His specialties are systems and balance.
As a Philosophy student, what led you to a game designer career? Can you tell us more about your journey from the Faculty of Philosophy to Mad Head Games?
I have always been an avid gamer, intrigued by all things games. Through high school of mechanical engineering, I learned about robotics, electronics and programming, so it would be more accurate to describe myself as a gamer who took a brief interest in social studies. As a game designer one needs to understand how people react, behave, what they desire…and the Faculty of Philosophy helped me gain that knowledge.
How did your career develop in the gaming industry?
My career in game development started by accident – having known how much I wanted to create games, a friend of mine, who had been working at Mad Head called me and a test and an interview later, I was a part of the crew. I’ve learned a lot, grown a s a developer, made mistakes, but everything that has happened in the last five years assures me that I know what I am doing at the moment:)
Is it necessary for someone who works in the gaming industry to play games?
Personally, I believe It depends on the role you are pursuing. A 2D or 3D artist, or even a programer, doesn’t have to be a fanatical gamer, but If one wants to be a game designer or a game producer, one has to eat, breathe and play games.
Producer / Technical Artist and Games Designer. Which of these two positions is more challenging and why? Which one do you enjoy more?
Each of these roles has its challenges, pros and cons. A producer brings decisions on each and every part of a game, and is responsible for the entire team working on a project. As a technical artist, I wasn’t focused on the bigger picture – my only worry was to impeccably do my part. As a game designer, I must have a broad and deep understanding of the game, the desires it has to fulfill and feelings to evoke – so I am unbothered by technical or organisational aspects. Just to be clear, I never just took another one, my work often reached into all those positions at once, but the role of game designer I enjoy the most because of the creativity it allows and requires.
Mad Head Games announced a new chapter with revealing the collaboration with Wargaming. Could you tell us more on how is it to work with them on Pagan Online?
The turning point was when we as developers matured in a certain genre and felt ready for the next stage which is to make games we play ourselves and we believe that’s supposed to be a winning combination. The partnership with Wargaming was announced in April this year , and it came to place when the publisher recognized the potential of the project and identified our uncompromising drive to bring some fresh air into the RPG genre. Pagan Online is a new take on hack-and-slash aRPGs, featuring challenging and fast-paced combat, powerful combatants, endless gear, and tons of gory glory. The audience at this moment has an opportunity to take a look at our latest game teaser and join the trials on the Pagan Online portal which I personally encourage them to do. At this moment I am, unfortunately, not able to reveal more than what you`ve already seen in teaser and the announcement released along with it. What I can say for sure is that the work on Pagan Online is extremely exciting and offers us a precious chance to cooperate with the top-tier professionals we are constantly learning from. As things stand I can find a single reason not to promise you that we at Mad Head Games will make one extraordinary game.
Many teenagers want to work on game development as the game design is just pure fun, do you agree? What advice would you give them?
What I can say right away on this is that game design and game development should not be considered as a pure fun. To tell the truth, we have plenty of fun there, but we work so hard, develop new skills and adopt news ways of thinking and that definitely is not the easy part. If I am the one asked to give a piece of advice to youth and all those interested in game development, I dare to say that the best possible moment to start doing it, is right away. Nowadays, there are so many available sources of knowledge, so many books and picks, either they are interested in programming, modeling, game design or something else. And they will learn the most by playing video games.
Virtual reality is becoming more and more popular. What are the plans of Mad Head Games about it?
Although we are in the middle of the hype raised around VR, we, as a studio are not engaged in any related project. I personally and as a game designer, think that even though there are so many ways in which this platform might be used, certain limitations in that sense still exist. That makes me believe that VR is not likely to take the lead of the dominant platforms such as PC and consoles in the foreseeable future. Additionally, I just want to underline that the most popular games at the moment are highly competitive ones and those that require high skill set and on the other hand one of the basic problems that VR currently faces are very chunky controls.
MHG is known for very cool career videos. Is there a behind the camera advice that you would like to give to people who want to become part of Mad Head Games?
Besides the general technical knowledge, it is essential they have a strong urge to learn and grow not only as experts in their field, but as game developers. If one is hungry and willing to be the best at one’s work – anything else is easy to overcome. Yeah, our videos are funny, but so are we – and it’s important to show you the real us.
You are presenting at CGA2018 this year. Can you tell us more what is the presentation about? What is the thing you are most proud of and will be sharing with CGA audience during your session?
My talk will be on game design (tell me you didn’t see that coming!), but also on something that is often overlooked – game systems and game balance. Generally, game designers mostly enjoy coming up with game mechanics, enemies, spells, narrative – I am into numbers. There are two things I am especially proud of. One, when we come up with an idea for the new feature with no need to change and adapt the previously designed ones (which makes us feel good about ourselves because we thought in advance). Second is when the numbers begin to add up. When the assumptions I made in the excel table convert into a game and work exactly how I pictured. I could say that I love when the numbers match the feeling that I wanted players to have while playing our game.