People of NRG: Jozef Mitaľ

Jozef is not only an avid cartoon enthusiast, but also a leader of the animation team at Nine Rocks Games, responsible for the outstanding realistic animations in Way of The Hunter.

Today, we'd like to introduce you to Jozef, one of the talented folks here at NRG. He's a lead animator with a unique skill set that combines animation expertise with a deep understanding and designing of animal behavior. You see, Jozef's work goes beyond just animating characters. He's the guy who ensures that animations and AI behavior work hand in hand seamlessly. He understands that animations play a key role in making AI behavior believable to players.

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At NRG, Jozef is the director, overseeing the process. However, he's not directly involved in hands-on animation. Instead, his main focus is on making sure our in-game animals look authentic and behave realistically. This involves designing animation sets, refining animators, shaping AI behavior for various in-game situations, and shaping the tools to manage AI. When the final product, a well-animated animal is done, it's a very satisfying feeling. "It is wonderful when you see that you have breathed life into several thousands of polygons beautifully sculpted into the form of a deer." It's a team effort, with everyone contributing their talents, brainstorming ideas, and collectively infusing life into our game world.

Although Jozef may not find as much time for side projects these days, he's certainly had his fair share of exciting adventures in the animation world. He animated the evening show "Drobci" and lent his skills to various commercials. For him, it's all about the joy of bringing characters to life.

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"Working on the show Drobci was a nice change, as I was able to use my skills and animate what I was told by the director, while at NRG I mainly direct my team." [Source image:]

What do you do in your free time?

I like to wander in the woods, although I don't have much time for such wanderings anymore. I play the djembe and I want to learn to play the drums. Currently, my favorite hobby is watching cartoons with my 5-year-old son. It's amazing what people at Pixar, Disney, Sony, Illumination, and others do. My son likes Miyazaki too, which makes me very happy.

Here are a few facts about Jozef that may not be essential but are certainly delightful to know:

What do you enjoy most about your job?

As I mentioned earlier, it's the moment when the animal in the game comes to life.

What is the best and worst thing about being a leader at NRG?

The best part is that as a leader I work with the people who know how to do their job, and dare I say it, I've had my dream team so far during the development of WoTH. The worst part is that such a complex AI has a very complicated configuration and it is sometimes torture to configure it with so many animals.

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Animating takes teamwork. If you could collaborate with any famous director on an animated film, who would it be and what kind of story would you create?

When I was a teenager, I used to be fascinated by Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. And since my dream is to do stop motion. If Wes Anderson would do an adaptation of Fantastic Mr. Fox again, I'd love to be there. The last time I did the stop motion was in college.

Final question, what advice would you give to people who want to work in the games industry, perhaps directly at Nine Rocks Games?

Be a good animator, there are really few of those.

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