Get to Know the ME Team: Felix Hartung-Hespelt | Game Design Director


April 2023

Team Medieval Empires

With the recent Early Access release, valuable feedback has been pouring in from the community and it has been a huge help for our game development team. So this week, we decided to speak to the brilliant Game Design Director of Medieval Empires, Felix Hartung-Hespelt about the game, its design process and how the community has responded to it so far.

In addition to that, we'll also be getting to know Felix a bit better, with a sneak peek into his hobbies, interests, and maybe even some guilty pleasures!

What inspired you to join Medieval Empires?

The answer is rather a ‘who’ than ‘what,’ and it was Assad who convinced me to join. At that time, I had a very negative impression of blockchain games because he was not the first person to approach me for a blockchain project. Other projects I looked into were pyramid schemes or Ponzi mechanics, so I thought all crypto projects were just scams. However, after speaking with him and understanding their genuine plans to build a great game, I realized that this project was not like the others I had encountered before. That's why I decided to join the team.

Tell us a bit about what you do in Medieval Empires team?

I am the game designer, which means I have to be a jack of all trades. I have to understand art, coding, analytics, management, and work with all the relevant teams. It's my responsibility to provide everyone with the necessary information to develop and execute the game's vision. I am in charge of conceptualizing the game economy, its logic, and all its features. After that, the artist visualizes it, and the developers create the code for it. It's similar to being an architect.

What’s your favorite video game? /What was the last video game you played?

Civilization. Currently it's Civilization 6. I've been playing the series since the first one game out.  

Felix takes Halloween seriously!

What’s the process that goes into creating a sustainable game economy?

That is hard to explain! 😀  

Firstly, it depends on the type of game being created, as well as understanding the players' needs and researching the market. And detecting the problems in existing blockchain games. For instance, NFT inflation is a major problem for most existing blockchain games. There are more and more NFTs being created so they get devalued.  

Once the problems are identified, I focus on finding solutions. For instance, we introduced durability to ensure that NFTs expire and there is a need for new ones. We also consider potential future problems and estimate solutions for them. Next, we move on to the numerical aspect, such as determining how high the durability should be. For example, an NFT lasts for 30 days.  

Once we have these estimations, and they are validated, we then validate them with test players to see how real people would react to them and make adjustments based on their feedback. This is a comprehensive process that takes time and involves both mathematics and even an understanding of psychological effects, such as how often players should win or lose and how it might impact them psychologically.

What kind of feedback did you get from the community after the early access release of Medieval Empires? And how do you plan to implement it?

We received a lot of feedback from the community, and I can give you a few examples. For instance, players found that archers were stronger than any other unit, which shouldn't be the case. I realized that I made a mistake when doing the level up for archers compared to other units. After receiving this feedback, I fixed the issue.

Another example is a small mistake I made when preparing a formula given to developers and it had a small typo, which resulted in the Heroes strength increasing 10x as compared to other units. Once the community feedback came for this, I had to validate the problem, detect the reason and fix the issue.

Also, the community wanted more competition with each other. While Player vs Player (PvP) is planned for the future, one thing we can do right now is push leaderboards, where players can compete with each other in terms of progress and level of activity.  

Listening to the community is very helpful in terms of game development!

What’s your guilty pleasure?

After my children are asleep and my work is finished for the day, my wife and I usually sit on the couch and watch a TV show episode while snacking, even though we've already had a full dinner. We know we shouldn't, but we always do it anyways!  

Another one of my habits is collecting things. I'm not a collector, but it just happens. For example, I have so many games on Steam that I've never even played. 😀 Additionally, I collect Legos, but I never have time to build them. In fact, I still have a whole Millennium Falcon that I bought six years ago that is still in its original box. Now, I think it's too valuable to even open!

If you were in medieval times, what character would you be, and why?

A dead scholar. Dead because I question everything, and if I see something is wrong, I will raise my voice against it. And in medieval times that would have been very dangerous. I would be executed!  

What is the best part about working with Medieval Empires?

The atmosphere and the team. We have a very open and positive culture. There is no dictatorship from any side, so we always find a way to go forward that everyone agrees on.  

Another thing is exploring new territories. Not only blockchain. But the fact that currently there is no successful mid-core strategy game out there on blockchain, and that is really exciting! We could be the first ones!

Biggest misconception about your designation?

Whenever I say I am a Game Designer, people think I am play games all day! 😀  

Next, they assume that I program the whole day, which is also not true. Then they assume I am making the art in the game, which again is not true! I usually explain it to them by using the example of an architect for a building. Just like how an architect creates the outline of the whole plan for a building, I create the concept and vision of the game. Then everyone else puts their own expertise and skills into it to make it a reality.

What’s your all-time favorite old/war movie and why?

There are several movies that attracted me at different times in my life, so I have no one constant favorite. At one point it was actually the Disney movie, Tangled. It is so funny! It has to be one of the best Disney movies ever made, and for adults too!  

Your favorite pastime/hobby?

Any kind of games. Video games, strategy games, RPG. I also play real world games like card games, board games, role playing games, escape rooms, etc.  

What’s your one hidden talent?

Wood crafting. I have actually made sort of a second level in each of my kids’ rooms complete with stairs and a railing! I dont know the English word for it, but in German, its called a Hochebene.

Felix is a big fan of woodworking! One of his crafting projects was a loft bed in his kids' rooms.

Your colleagues in 3 words?

Passionate, talented and adorable.  

What exciting new updates should the community look forward to in terms of game development?

One thing I'm really looking forward to at the end of Q2 is the ability for players to play together in the same county. So, it wont be like you are one player, alone in your county, all town slots can be settled in a county. So, if you are a landlord, you can invite your friends and play along with them. You'll also be able to see their armies moving on the province map in real-time if you're both online at the same time. This will increase the activity on the world map and make the game more enjoyable.

Other than that, we have a lot of exciting updates coming up in the future in terms of game development that the community will have to stay tuned for! 😉