Meet the Devs – Georg Zoeller – English

We are proud to present the second part of Meet the Devs and we have a real VIP guest for you. Principal Lead Combat Designer Georg Zoeller faced our questions and gives us a detailed inside view of his work. Have fun!

What is your name and what is your job title at BioWare? And what are you doing in this job?
I’m Georg Zoeller, Principal Lead Combat Designer on Star Wars: The Old Republic.
I am responsible for the immediate design of the game’s combat experience and enforcing the will of my boss, James Ohlen, our Studio Creative Director.
My day to day work includes managing the combat team, coordinating game feature and asset delivery from other departments such as art and engineering, analyzing metrics and feedback from game testers in regards to combat design and, of course, playing the game.

Was it a dream of your childhood to work in the game industry? And how did you end up in such a legendary studio like BioWare?
I was always fascinated with computers, but didn’t actually own one until I was 12 (a blazing fast 1MHZ 8088). I quickly went from just playing games to modifying them and eventually trying to create my own and ended up becoming a programmer working on exciting things such as preventing the famous Y2K Armageddon for banks and other customers.
In 2003, when BioWare released Neverwinter Nights I was in university and had enough time on my hands to create a bunch of popular scripts that got the attention of one of the game’s lead designers. We got into contact, there happened to be a designer job opening posted on the forums and I was encouraged to apply to it. A few month later I was working on the Neverwinter Nights expansion packs up in Hoth Edmonton.

What are you currently working on?
My team is currently polishing class combat and incorporating feedback from our game testers. We also are busy creating special abilities for creatures in many of the more challenging areas of the game like flashpoints, heroic instances and the like. Additionally, I spend a lot of time analyzing metrics and telemetry gathered from our regular tests, observing the occasional live debrief of testers and, of course, playing the game a ton on our test servers.

What is your suggestion for the first class we should play in SWTOR?
Whatever fulfills your Star Wars fantasy, really. Unlike the class designers (who are working on the classes they love most), I’m not allowed to a have a favorite class.

Who is your favorite character in the extended Star Wars Universe?
My number one choice I can’t tell you, since that’d be a spoiler for our game. So I’m gonna go with R2 instead.

What genre of games do you like best? And what games are in your top 3 list of all time favorites?
I tend to play games from most genres, but my favorite genre is still RPGs. My top games of all time are Team Fortress 2 – for the clean and humorous visual design, easy to learn / hard to master class mechanics and its awesome community, Ultima VI-VII/2 – for the unmatched combination of virtual world and directed story these games provided and Medieval: Total War – for blending board game strategy, historic gameplay (I’m a history buff) and and real-time combat.

Do you like reading? If so, what kind of books do you have in your bookcase?
Although the concept of book-case is quickly becoming a virtual one, I see names like ‘George RR Martin’, ‘Katherine Kurtz’, ‘Neil Stephenson’ and the occasional Drew Karpyshyn in there.

What are you doing in your spare time?
Spare time means you fail at scheduling.

Who shot first? :)
The smuggler with the ‘Shoot First’ ability activated.

And finally the famous lonely-island-question: What, except the German SWTOR-Community, would you take to a lonely island? Lonely… uhm… of course with connection for power and internet.
My family, a copy of Visual Studio to pass and maybe a copy of Minecraft to counter the urge to punch the sand on the beach with my bare hands.

Thanks to Georg for answering our questions!

You can find a german translation of this interview here on our page and we have also a little overview of all our meet the devs-interviews right here!

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