Game Design Portfolio
I’m Jonathan Persson, a passionate game developer and designer with experience and love for everything game development. I strive to make games that are densely packed with interesting choices to create an emergent whole.
I’m a current game design master’s student at Uppsala University. I previously worked as a game designer on the strategy game The Bazaar and studied game design during both my bachelor’s degree and in high school. In addition to projects made during school and work, I’ve taken online programming courses and constantly work on personal projects.
Remote work on streamer and esports team owner Andrey "Reynad" Yanyuk's strategy/card game "The Bazaar". You build your strategy throughout each game which makes every game a new experience. While a competitive game, The Bazaar aims to reach a broad audience with simple, yet deep design.
Project Type: Professional (small team)
Genre: Strategy/Card Game, Deck-builder
Duration: 9 months
Platform: PC & Mobile
Joining the small development team, my role was to help with all aspects of design. I mostly worked on what I and the other developers felt would contribute most to the project at the time. Partly due to time zones, I worked individually and brought materials to meetings for discussion.
- Overall had my hands on everything design and some UX/UI
- Figuring out design guidelines and goals (target audience, complexity, amount of player interaction, etc.)
- Balancing design space and simplistic design
- Figuring out possible card mechanics within current systems
- Class archetypes and their card types/synergies
As my first game design job, I naturally learned a lot about the process of making a game as a team and specifically working with other game designers. Here are some of the learnings/realizations I had:
- The high importance of being concise and clear when suggesting changes/mechanics
- Importance of having a common project vision and goals when making design decisions
- The value of studying other games, especially within the same genre or type
Väsen is a card battler with roguelike elements made for my and my friend's bachelor's degree project. The game was made to explore the topic of designing for replayability. We utilized several sources on variance, motivations for why a player might play again, and designing synergy.
Project Type: Bachelor's degree project (2 team members)
Genre: Card Battler, Roguelike/lite
Duration: ~12 weeks while writing the thesis
Platform: PC & Mobile (Web)
Thesis: Direct link to PDF
This auto battler prototype is a summer project made between my second and third year at University. The game is heavily inspired by Riot Games' Team Fight Tactics and was mostly made to test and improve my technical capabilities. I also tested out the full workflow of making a character using both keyframe and motion capture animation (see the frog character).
Project Type: Personal Project
Genre: Auto Battler, Strategy
Duration: ~10 weeks
The focus of this project was on the technical side, but game design was heavily considered throughout all systems implemented. Below is a list of some of the more interesting features I worked on.
- Hexagonal grid-based pathfinding
- Character state machine (including animation setup)
- Character stat system designed around modifications
- Item system
- Ability system
- Adaptive UI
Ortus is a second-year student project developed over two months in Unity. Solve 3D environment puzzles utilizing your remote-controlled boat in an atmospheric water-filled cave system on a distant planet.
Project Type: University Project (9 team members)
Genre: 3D Puzzle, Adventure
Duration: ~8 weeks
Playthrough video: youtube.com/watch?v=OEHXFydPUvA
With the help of the whole team, I was responsible for the game's design and project management. My primary focus was on prototyping puzzles on paper and then building the levels in-engine. As in most university projects, I do some of the more technical aspects of the art such as animation implementations.
- Initial game concept
- Environment puzzle design
- In-engine level building
- Sound design and implementation
- Project management
I wanted to ease the player into the game mechanics and puzzle style similar to what you do in smaller puzzle games with lots of puzzles. The biggest problem encountered during development was that we could only fit a few puzzles with the style and development time we had. This
- Value of bite-sized learning
- Balancing puzzle difficulty for a wide audience is tricky
- A variety of Unity features and plugins that I hadn't used before
- Working in and managing a larger team
- 3D puzzle design
The Stump is an arcade game with three unique competitive mini-games played with up to 4 players. This student project was made during my first year at university during an arcade course. Play as woodpeckers catching insects, racing larvae, or forest mice storing food.
Project Type: University Project (6 team members)
Genre: Arcade, Party Games
Duration: ~8 weeks
Platform: PC (designed for home-made arcade)
I pitched this project to some previous team members after bouncing ideas with some friends and family. As the "producer", I mostly worked with what felt most necessary at the time and to fill the gaps of the team skills. Here are some of my responsibilities during the project.
- Thematic and gameplay concept
- Project management
- Environment art (took and edited photos)
- Unity scene management & art implementation
- C# scripting for minor systems and details
- Quality assurance
- Sound design
Want to get in contact?
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or something that you’d like to discuss!
Interested to see more projects I’ve been part of such as game jam projects, school projects, or personal projects? Look below and visit my itch page!
The game For All Squirrel Kind was developed during a level design course at University. You play as a flying squirrel jumping between branches solving puzzle-like levels. The team divided the map into four distinct areas to design on their own with pre-planned mechanics being introduced.
Project Type: University Project (4 team members)
Genre: 3D Platformer
Duration: 4 weeks (at 50%)
Working on a project with aesthetics that are enjoyable to work with was a pleasure and is something I will keep in mind for future projects.
- Use of foreshadowing to keep player interest
- Short-term and long-term goals also to keep player interest
- Using biomes or areas that are both unique in gameplay and aesthetics
- Sound effects and ambient sounds large impact even with simple graphics
This Game & Watch game was made over roughly six days in a team of three as part of an experimental game design course.
My first digital solo project was made during the summer break after my first year at University. It's a simplistic puzzle game where you merge water droplets onto a specific spot in x amount of moves. Merging droplets change their size which affects their movement patterns. The project was mainly to practice my Unity development skills but also got to practice some design.
Project Type: Personal Project
Duration: Some work during summer break
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