Let us introduce you to Stano, a gameplay engineer and the friendly face of programming at NRG. Stano works behind the scenes to bring game mechanics to life. He's behind the damage system, trophy system, taxidermy, and other important features. His tasks include analyzing the gameplay designs that come from our game designers, brainstorming ways to implement them, identifying potential problems and edge cases, and ultimately transforming them into code. Then, he iterates on these features until they're ready for release and continues to provide support post-release through bug fixes and adjustments.
Before joining NRG, Stano cooked up a bunch of games, some as a pro (mostly mobile free-to-play stuff) and others just for kicks. One of the gems from his early days is Diet Struggle: Stano and a few of his former colleagues came up with at a game jam. The whole development took a bit less than two days. "We had a blast working on the game, managed to win the jam, and watched people have fun with our creation, which was exhilarating," Stano fondly recalls.
The game focuses on a man who struggles with his diet - part of him wants to eat healthy and stay fit, and another part wants to devour all the bacon and steaks in the world (the dichotomy many of us are familiar with). It is a competitive, couch multiplayer game for 2, with each player controlling a hand. The hand's purpose is to feed the person with a specific type of food - vegetable or meat. Each food that reaches the man's mouth fills the bar, and whoever fills the bar first wins.
What do you do in your free time?
Apart from gaming, the major one, I've recently rediscovered my love of lifting heavy objects and putting them back down, so I am back to strength training after a few years' hiatus.
I am also a huge ice hockey nerd, although I don't play as I never learned to skate. But I watch a lot of games, mainly the Slovak national team and the Montreal Canadiens (Go Habs, go!). I also tend to dive into the statistics, history records, and funny anecdotes from hockey. I like to share them with whoever is listening, well beyond the point of annoyance to the listener. Like that time, the great Marian Hossa played in three subsequent Stanley Cup Finals for two different losing teams before finally earning his ring with the Blackhawks. Or that time Phil Esposito was told he was being traded…
Finally, does cuddling with my dog count? Her name is Pizza, and she's the best!
Here are a few facts about Stanislav that may not be essential but are certainly delightful to know:
After completing his scriptwriting degree, Stano faced limited options: advertising or local TV. Uninspired, he turned to the game development fueled by a lifelong love for gaming. Even though he spent a good 3.5 years in narrative design, he found his real passion for programming at Nine Rocks Games!
What was your first job? Did you like it?
My first job was to wear a suit and tie, drink beer, and shout at people through a megaphone. It was a promotional gig for a major beer brand. They had this exciting marketing idea that was somehow connected to James Bond. Anyhow, I was supposed to come into a bar, get patrons' attention, order a beer of that brand, and pick a winner of a keg from a raffle. I loved the job.
What's your favorite meme or internet trend? (insert the meme)
Ladislav Meliško, the Slovak internet phenomenon. His quotes are still relevant and valuable daily, even after almost 12 years of his untimely passing. RIP Maestro.
Do you have any hidden talent no one knows about you?
I can turn my feet backward well beyond parallel, which makes for some confusing photos.
What's the most exciting place you've ever traveled to, and what did you enjoy most?
I've visited Bologna (Italy) numerous times and always enjoyed it. It has a lot of sights, a storied past, and delicious cuisine. It is also a central railway hub. You can get anywhere in Northern Italy in a few hours. So, suppose you ever get bored of eating ragù. In that case, you can have a day at the beach in Rimini (and feast on some spaghetti alle vongole), have a look at that gorgeous cathedral in Florence (and obliterate a kilo of Bistecca), or a shopping trip to Milan (finished by a nice cotoletta with risotto).
What's your favorite video game of all time?
Fallout 1, by a long shot. Great world design, art direction, an innovative approach to the story, and the best villain in the history of video games. Also, the game has solid turn-based combat mechanics and excellent writing. Everything about the game is great.
If you could design your own video game, what kind of game would it be, and what would the gameplay mechanics be like?
I would love to make a remake/sequel to Spellcross, the first Czechoslovak PC game released on the Western markets, and a part of NRG's lineage. It was a pure, hardcore, turn-based strategy developed by Cauldron and released back in 1997, back when I was still a kid. You don't see the setting often - you controlled a contemporary military unit in a fight against legions of dark-fantasy-themed creatures (undead, orcs, gargoyles...). Also, the gameplay was pretty solid.
Unfortunately, both TBSs and MS-DOS games had been on their way out when the game was released, so not many people have played it. But sharing the offices with some of the guys that made the game still fills me with pride.
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