a series of interesting choices thoughts on game design from paul sottosanti

about the author

"A game is a series of interesting choices." -- Sid Meier

There has been some disagreement over the comprehensiveness of this definition. I do think that there are plenty of games that it doesn't cover, but since I work primarily on strategic games, it's perfect for my purposes. This blog will be an exploration of my experiences and knowledge stemming from my 12+ years as a professional game designer.

As for me: my first game design project was an expansion to the board game Titan at the age of 12, and I've been fascinated with games and their designs ever since. I attended college studying Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University and attempted to switch majors when I realized my interests were more in the realm of graphic design. Upon learning it would require a total of six full years I instead decided to finish my Computer Science degree with a minor in Communication Design.

I got my start in the game industry as an intern at Wizards of the Coast, working initially on the Duelmasters and Neopets trading card games, and then moved on to work directly on five sets for Magic: the Gathering, including as the lead designer on Morningtide. From there I moved into digital games, working on an unreleased real time digital card game, and then an unreleased turn-based multiplayer strategy game called Uncivilized: the Goblin Game. Next came Facebook games; I was the lead designer for a small team that created Dungeons & Dragons: Tiny Adventures, a Facebook app with over 300,000 players that received a lot of praise within the industry.

Eventually I left Wizards and moved to Maxis, where I was a senior systems designer working on a sci-fi action RPG entitled Darkspore. I designed many of the underlying mechanics that drive the game as well as almost all of the heroes, abilities, and enemies. Following that I took a break from the corporate world for around six months, creating many prototypes and explorations, but eventually took a job at Riot Games where I've been working ever since. At Riot I designed the league system for ranked play and the AI directed camera for spectator mode, and have now moved off of League of Legends and onto a project in R&D.

Here are some interviews resulting from my work on Darkspore:

Darkspore Daily Demo - On the Spot (live video)
How Darkspore Will Evolve the Action RPG (text)
Producer Diary: Loot & Collectibles (video)
EA.com interview (text)
San Diego Daily Transcript (live video)

And some promotional videos that I wrote and/or voiced:

Developer Walkthrough: Co-op
Andromeda Hero Spotlight
Skar Hero Spotlight
Enemy Spotlight: Scaldron

If you'd like to get in touch with me you can email me at futureyegg (at) gmail.