Hey there, my name is Iuliana, I’m a User Experience Designer at Stoic. Here are some fun facts about me.
Why did you choose to work in game development?
I wanted to be involved in game-creation since I was 4. To know how games are made, to create my own, I was utterly fascinated by them.
After getting a Degree in Computer Science, I had a tough choice to make. Do I pursue Art or Programming in games? I worked as a Freelance Graphic Designer at the time, so I naturally gravitated towards art. A year later, I was hired as Lead Artist on my first indie game.
I enjoy learning new things, so I continued to learn different skills that I could apply in my work. After over 8 years of Freelancing, this led me to User Experience. It’s an area, that is all about figuring out how people interact with your creation. As part of Stoic, I use it to create engaging content for social media, improve our website experience and give feedback on new game features.
What part of your role do you enjoy the most?
I love the research stage of my work. You gather as many relevant solutions and inspirations as you can. Fill all your time with them and see what your mind makes of them. There is always something new you find, some new thing to learn and experience. It’s incredibly rewarding.
What inspires you?
Unique indie games and the stories behind their creation. Learning about how a small team of people creates something so amazing is inspiring and gives me strength to move forward. I’m also a visual person, so seeing pretty pictures can be a great source of energy. My latest passion is paper art – so many creative artists working in this field. I’m always amazed with how much unique art they can create with “just paper”.
What is your favorite videogame genre?
My all-time favorite genre has always been RPG. Most played game of all time – Fallout 1 and 2. I’m addicted to great writing in games. Other games in the genre that are close to my heart: Shadowrun series, Mass Effect, SW: Knights of the Old Republic, Final Fantasy 8.
I also try to experience a broad spectrum of games. Some days I just want to relax and play a shooter like Crysis, build a mansion in Minecraft, or time travel by playing a few games of Civilization. As a hobby, I try creating fan art of any game I play, to justify those long long hours I spend in them.
What moment or memory from a game do you have that has had the greatest impact on you?
My favorite game of all time is surprisingly not Fallout! It’s Journey by Thatgamecompany. It’s one thing to love playing a game, but it’s another to be emotionally impacted by a game. You might not want to play that game more than a few times, but the emotions stay with you for the rest of your life. Journey fundamentally changed my life and taught me something about myself.
Journey made me confront the difficult feelings I did not know I had about life and death. It’s just a game about sand and reaching a mountain. Simple, visually minimalistic and just 4 hours long. By the end of the game, I was stunned and deeply moved. It took me a while to understand why it affected me so strongly and I’ll never forget the rollercoaster of emotions it made me feel.
What would you be doing if you couldn’t make video games for a living?
I have a number of different skills I can use, so there’s loads of areas I can work in. If not games, then anything related to computers, from design to engineering. Working in IT, teaching, doing art on the side. As long as I get to learn something new, I’m happy. Games are just incredibly challenging and rewarding to work in – that’s why I’m here.
If you could give some advice to someone who wants to work in this industry / do what you do, what would it be?
Secret tip! Not many people will tell you this so listen up! Your most important tool is YOU. I know it’s tempting to ignore your physical health or social skills when working hard on something. If you want to be successful – work on yourself first! Traits like perseverance, ability to pace yourself, patience and compassion need to be learned and practiced. Self-improvement is your secret for standing out among a sea of people with the same skills as you.
If you had a superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?
I’ve recently though of a silly superpower that I think is neat – knowing the full name of anyone you see. You could identify criminals by just a picture of them, always greet your acquaintances by name and puzzle/scare total strangers by calling them by their full name!