Each medium has its own unique traits that allow for creating really strong emotional bonds between the consumer and the work of art. In games that’s interactivity – controls and mechanics. At Casual Connect Kyiv, a Game Designer at Ubisoft by the name of Stanislav Costiuc talked about the unique traits games can use to elicit feelings, emotions, and create strong bonds with players. Hear his full lecture entitled Show, Don’t Tell? Play, Don’t Show! below.
Stanislav Costiuc is Game Designer at Ubisoft. Stanislav has been connected to games from his earliest years. As soon as the opportunity presented itself he began studying at the Vancouver Film Studio Game Design Program in Canada. After completing his studies he worked at Electronic Arts Canada and then Peak Games in Moldova before coming to Ubisoft in Ukraine.
As that rare person who can claim to have been passionate about games almost from birth, Stanislav relates that his parents claim he was trying to play games as soon as he learned to crawl, trying to reach the Atari 2600 and could even differentiate which joystick was connected to the console. He actually doesn’t know what the first game he played was, but the first one he remembers was Death Track.
A Nine-Year-Old Designer
At only nine years old Stanislav knew he wanted to be a game designer. It was playing the Russian role-playing game Evil Islands that led to this ambition. He began immediately to design for himself and discovered sites like Gamasutra. He learned scripting and started modding. Even earlier he had dabbled with map editing tools for games such as Age of Empire II as well as a game creator tool.
If Stanislav could have unlimited time and resources, he probably wouldn’t create a single game! At one time he believed creativity was limited by resources and time. Now he believes these limits focus and funnel creativity because you have to get a finished game out within those parameters. However, if he has the opportunity, at some time he would like to create a game that is a spiritual successor to Evil Islands. He has been fortunate to expand his horizons by working on genres other than the one he was first interested in, but someday he wants to create a game that would honor the memory of the game that first sparked his interest and inspired him to follow this career. And he would like to honor those who created Evil Islands.
Turn Ideas Into Reality
Stanislav has some very specific and important advice for anyone who wants to pursue a career in game design. He points out that it is not enough to have ideas, no matter how exciting they may seem. He says, “It’s something you hear a lot from people applying to junior positions. ‘I’m very creative and I have tons of ideas.’ Well, sorry to break it for you, but everyone has those.” What really matters is the ability to turn ideas into reality. Fortunately, today there are more tools than ever before for people to try out game design and development and learn from what they do. He claims, “My mother has made a couple simple games with these tools, and, ironically, that’s more than a lot of people who say they’re interested in pursuing a game development career have done.” He also added, “I believe everyone has got potential, and still implore people to follow their passions and try to achieve their dreams and it’s never late to do so.”
Despite the fact that Stanislav spends eight hours a day working on video games, when he wants to relax he plays video games! He realize it might seem that in his free time he might like to interact with other types of media, but at least for now that is not the case.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.