Who among us actually remembers what a VHS is or what it was like to use one? At Casual Connect Europe 2015 Danial Karimimanjili and Florien Anthierens gave us a sneak peak at of the game Replay – VHS Is Not Dead. Danial reflected, “We looked for inspiration in different games and movies such as Be Kind Rewind and The Lost Vikings”. This small team started to work with Neko Entertainment for guidance which made a student project into a professional one.
Danial Karimimanjili is relatively new to the gaming industry, but he’s not wasting any time getting to work. While he spends free time watching movies, practicing guitar and enjoying drinks with friends, most of his time has been dedicated to an independent game he is working on with four others. The group started working on the game while in school and they are currently adding the finishing touches with the help of French studio Neko Entertainment.
Danial first became interested in game design five years ago in school when he learned about video game production. “(It) taught me how to manage a team on a project. It also taught me to have a realistic point of view when considering the skills and resources available before designing a game.”
While he only recently became involved with how games are made, gaming has long been a passion of his. Danial even jokes that he was born with a gamepad in his hands. With this passion for gaming driving him, he ultimately decided to dive head-first into the gaming industry.
From Start to Finish
When it comes to creating games, Danial finds inspiration in previous gaming and work experiences. He begins the actual game design by brainstorming with the game team to generate ideas for new game mechanics or game worlds. Any creative blocks he handles by focusing on another task, or, if needs be, sleeping on it; generally finding these are effective ways to overcome them.One of the most challenging aspects of game development for Danial is creating a concept that works and that people understand — which, he says, “demands a lot of calibration and playtesting.”
When he is trying to design a level within a game, he will start by sketching out the level on paper and then trying it in a game engine to make sure it is interesting and coherent. He also makes his colleagues try the level and writes down their feedback while comparing the level’s difficulty to other levels within the same game. Based on the conclusions he reaches from these things, he will adjust the level as needed.
For the Love of the Game
Despite all the challenges that may crop up along the way, Danial loves the design process. “My favorite thing about my job is the fact that I can see a project evolve from the design process to its release.”
Of course, he says, it’s also rewarding to see people play your game and enjoy it. Indeed, Danial’s proudest moment so far in his budding career has been seeing his group’s game win the Montpellier Game Critics contest. “It was our first contest, and for this to happen, we pushed our game with all our will and hard work,” he says.
For someone looking to follow Danial’s career path, he has some simple advice: “Stay humble and realistic about game projects. Also, don’t hesitate to do team projects as it will become a useful experience for your future work.”