Radoslaw Gwarek — 11 Bit Studios
AI designer, who worked on This War of Mine and Frostpunk.
What led you to the game dev industry and how did you become a game designer?
Pure love for creating video games from the very beginning. As a kid I was making a lot of small games, so going into the gaming industry was a natural way for me. First, I was responsible for general game design, making various things. But later on, I started specializing in designing AI for games like This War of Mine and Frostpunk.
What does a typical day look like?
- I start with a cup of coffee (double espresso with tons of milk)
- Making tasks for Frostpunk
- Meanwhile compiling yesterday’s changes in my helper tool code
- Getting a compilation error
- Fixing a compilation error
- Making tasks for This War of Mine
- Meanwhile compiling again and getting a linker error
- Fixing a linker error
- Making tasks for the top secret project
- Meanwhile making some changes in the code and postponing the compilation for the next day
What's your setup?
i5-7600 @ 3.50 GHz, GTX 1060, 16 GB RAM, 2× SSD 256 GB for repositories, 1× HDD 1 TB for memes storage, Win 10 Pro.
Which apps and services do you use most to complete your main tasks?
- Jira, Confluance and other Atlassian stuff
- Our in-house game editor
- Visual Studio
- Blue steel crowbar
Where do you gain inspiration from?
Like quantum fluctuations, inspirations randomly appear in my head out of nowhere. Most of them are useless, but a very, very tiny part of them is useful. Then I implement them in our games and they become an inspiration for other game developers and players.
When and how do you start working on a new feature? Could you describe the process?
First of all, you have to get from the other designers what they need. Then you need to prepare a plan. Making the prototype is important, it allows you to quickly test the idea. If the dev team is happy with the prototype, you can start a full-fledged production of a feature. In the meantime, you are preparing a set of test procedures for QA, so they can quickly verify the new content. Iterationally check and make fixes. If everyone is happy with the working and polished feature, you can get from the other designers what they need for the next feature.
Which games have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?
Of course This War of Mine and Frostpunk. But other than that — Tales from the Borderlands.
What achievements in your career are you most proud of?
Making the design job of AI for Frostpunk is the most difficult thing I’ve done in my life. I’ve never made so many mistakes before, but I’ve never learned so much before. So that’s why it’s definitely Frostpunk!
If you could change one thing about your career, what would it be?
I would like to unlearn C++, it’s a trap created by reptilians!
Which recent task turned out to be much difficult than you expected?
Creating NPC behaviours for the new This War of Mine scenarios, which need to be very immersive. It requires a lot of commitment. The stories of civilians in war are a very serious matter, so we must work with respect on this topic. In general, creating touching stories is more demanding. For this reason, I try to use jokes as counterweights everywhere else.
How are the disputes about variants of feature design solved in your company?
I use a blue steel crowbar.
What do you do to self-improve in game design?
I learn a lot of new stuff. Preferably on someone’s mistakes. Sometimes on my own mistakes. For example, learning programming allows me for a more analytical approach to design.
What music do you listen to whilst designing?
I put headphones on because they quiet the surroundings well, but I don’t listen to anything.
If a game designer would want to apply to your company, what would you advise him?
Specialize in designing AI systems for video games.
Any advice for game designers in general?
All designers should know programming at least at the basic level. This allows a better understanding of the process that must take place between the idea of something and the implementation of this in the game. It gives you a more analytical mindset. Besides, I think that today a lot of designers are trying too hard to follow the existing trends, instead of trying to create new trends.