Dear Denizens of Issilith!
Today we’ll introduce one of the core members of the team, our one and only Marko Turkalj! This fearsome warchief spent the last year and a half in the trenches with his fellow soldiers and today he took some time off to share a little insight on himself as well as on the development of Phageborn.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.
A: Hey, everyone! My name is Marko Turkalj and as a kid, I have always wanted to create things. If I had to pick a trait for myself, creativity would be the first that comes to mind. I used to do board games for my friends and adjust other board games to make them more interesting, to make it a better experience for us all. If we fast forward to 7th grade, that’s when I got my first PC. My dad said if I help him build a fireplace, he would purchase a PC for me. We finished the fireplace in record time, and that’s how I started. The first game for PC that I got was Heroes of Might and Magic. I loved and adored that game and it basically expanded my views on how games can be played and what games can be about. After that, the genres just kept coming, and yeah… That would be that.
Q: What is your role in the team?
A: My primary role is Game Producer and, since we are a smaller team, I also do project management for us. For anybody that doesn’t know, a Game producer coordinates with programmers, art department, sound department, VFX department, well, all departments, and has the last say in what feature will make it to the final version of the game. Depending on the studio size and policy they also do game design and any other areas they are proficient in. Project management is one of these things, coordinating with publishers as well. Being driven by creativity, I really enjoy the role in the new and updated Phageborn.
Q: What’s a typical workday like for you?
A: Typical workday? Well, we do a recap on where we’re at and we go from there. Currently, we make sure we have a plan for every department for at least 2 weeks ahead. Longer, monthly plans also exist, but when the time comes we tend to break them down into smaller tasks for a more efficient way of handling them. Our workflow is done on Trello and Slack, so the majority of the tasks are assigned there and most of our workflow is automated. I go from department to department, checking if everything is fine and if there are uncertain things that need to be resolved, and then help them resolve those things, whether they are creative/art related, or general problem-solving.
Q: You said that your work also involves a game design process as well. Can you tell us how you stay creative and where do you draw your inspiration from?
A: Well, like I said before, I consider myself a creative person and that is something that I can do indefinitely as long as I’m not limited. I think that is the core thing. Of course, there needs to be limitations within the game, but when you’re brainstorming there are no limitations and that is the process that motivates me the most. That process where you basically come up with anything and just pluck out a few of the juicy fruit ideas and use those as a reference.
Q: How did it feel picking up the project from the old Games Revolted team?
A: Well, at first, I was unsure, of course. You are joining an existing team, you basically don’t know anyone and suddenly, there you are. It kinda started as a step-by-step process where the first goal was to meet everyone and to get along. I didn’t know much about the project. All I knew was that it was a card game and I played it only once before joining. It was at Infogamer, I think 2019. Yeah, it was a really pleasurable experience when I saw how good the game was and how different it was from other card games all thanks to Danijel Matić (and his old team), the creator of Phageborn and the person I had to replace. Danijel and I made a blood pact to uphold those standards and to try to make it better, which, you know, we are all trying to do here. From day to day everyone is giving their best to give you guys the game you’ll look forward to, hopefully with a smile on your face.
Q: What was the most difficult part you faced during the development of Phageborn up until now and how did you overcome these challenges?
A: Well, there have been a lot of difficult challenges I would say, but the most difficult one is definitely the one we currently have. Since the GameSparks is shutting down and we have a good part of our game on GameSparks we need to migrate it all to the different platform and that involves quite detailed processes to be done correctly. I would say this is the most difficult phase we’ve been in just because we are forced to do such a major rehaul in as little time as possible so that we can continue to normally work on the game development like we did before migration process started.
Q: Something that often occurs in game development is crunching. What’s the situation here? Do you have a lot of it?
A: Okay, regarding crunches I can proudly say that we’ve only crunched, in the time that I’m here, for three weeks, that’s in the one year and six months I have been here. We usually try to avoid it when possible. But it was actually a really enjoyable crunch because we got extra snacks and refreshments and we got to talk a bit more privately. It wasn’t as noisy as it usually is. Just some of us had to crunch, not the whole studio, and thinking back on it, it was a more pleasurable experience than people tend to have or they expect when they hear about crunching. You know, crunching is usually something really bad in the industry and it exhausts people. Of course, we were more exhausted than usual, but we have wonderful people here that really try their best and they give it their all and that’s what makes working with those people a much more pleasurable experience than if that wouldn’t been the case.
Q: Why Unity and c#, why not some other engine?
A: Like you know, I wasn’t here from the start but from my memory… The programmers who were at the beginning of the project were Unity experts and they didn’t know much about Unreal and C++, so it was a natural course to pick Unity and C#. Also, people at the time wanted Phageborn to go out on multiple platforms and at that time it was a common belief that Unity was the best platform to do it on.
Q: What is your favourite part of Phageborn?
A: My favorite part of Phageborn, compared to the other games I played, such as Hearthstone, is that we almost have zero to none randomness. That means that the better player will win 9 out of 10 times since it is a tightly balanced game. Of course, there is randomness in every card game, you know the mulligan and the card draw, sometimes you can just be unlucky if you created a specific deck, but in most cases, the better player will win in Phageborn. Compared to Hearthstone, where there are so many swings and randomness involved that It sometimes feels more like a luck rollercoaster than a skillful F1 ride. Which, if you play any competitive game, is something you don’t want. If you are better and put more hours in the game you don’t want to lose due to some random effect in the last round.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: Well, I would just like to add that this has been, up until now, a very, very wonderful experience and like I said, full of creativity, full of challenges that we tend to overcome to the best of our abilities. It has been a hell of a ride. I know some of you stayed with us through the two years of silence, and that’s really amazing. That is a huge motivator for us to make the best game we can for you and to revive the project we all love so much and believe in. And what is most important, everything you write is being read and everything you suggest, if it makes sense and a lot of it does, we are trying to do it. We can’t say anything yet, but we are doing it. So, yeah, keep up the good work, and thank you for every contribution, it really means a lot. Because I don’t believe a single person can do anything better than the whole community can do together. So stay active and creative! That would be my message for you.
Feel free to join our Discord channel to stay updated with more information about Phageborn and it’s development: Discord.
Yours truly,
Games Revolted
Published On: March 22nd, 2022Categories: phagebornTags: