Hi, my name is Tanja and I am one of the three co-founders at NightinGames. I am also the game- and level designer. My job is to create new game ideas and design the basic features. I write and keep the game design documents up to date and organise the overall projects. As level designer, I create the world inside of the game engine. But – to be honest – in a tiny team, such as NightinGames, you are kinda doing a lot of different things at once and sometimes you are all over the place. I also try to keep up with social media content and I am desperately looking for more time to do the most important marketing tasks. Sometimes I work for other game studios or I do some freelancing tasks in the industry. I love writing the stories and dialogues in our games but I still have much to learn. In the end, I am doing this task because we are lacking a narrative designer, so I try to do the best I can.
I love horror and science fiction. As a kid, I really read lots of books. But after graduation and starting with university, I barely had time to read anymore. (There are still so many good books I’d like to read!) My favourite books remain Dune, The Expanse, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Bartimäus, Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow, The Hitchhiker’s Guide through the Galaxy, Call of Cthulhu and 11/22/63 – Sorry for the long list, I couldn’t resist. I watched Stargate SG1 as a kid and loved it. (I still do.) Samantha Carter was my idol as a child and I wanted to become a smart scientist and astronaut. I still can remember ‚my‘ first game. It was Indianer Jones and the Infernal Machine (1999). I watched my father play it on his computer and I absolutely loved coming up with crazy ideas how he could beat the villains. The first time I played myself was on the PS1. I remember playing hours and hours Rayman and Tomb Rider IV: The Last Revelation.
My parents soon realised my deep fascination for videogames and they weren’t happy about it and tried to keep me away from them. I remember begging for a new PS2 but I needed to go over to the places of my friends to play the newest games. When I grew older, I tried to fight against the rules at home as good as I could. The time I got my own PC, I remember my father cutting off the internet connection when they decided I need to go to bed. During that time, I was already at secondary school. They thought that they won the fight against that nasty and wicked medium called videogames but I just bought an internet stick and game’d on.
For a long time, I didn’t thought about my future. I hated the question: „What do you wanna become when you are older?“ I don’t know! Just let me play my videogames and don’t judge my dream about becoming a astronaut in space, please. In secondary school, I was in the theatre group. I am still proud of our play „8 femmes“ and I played the glamorous Gaby. Writing these lines, I remember that we won a price back then. The problem was that I had too many things I enjoyed. I loved acting, writing, dancing, playing videogames, drawing Mangas and writing fanfictions. I never focused on one thing and always tried to do everything.
After graduation, I started studying Biology. Don’t get me wrong – it was interesting and I learned so many things about natural science but it wasn’t my passion. While studying Biology, I played hours and hours Fallout 3. I think I should have looked a few times more often into a textbook. I always were only a good learner when I loved what I did. And I definitively didn’t love studying Biology. But the time was precious to me because I’ve met my current boyfriend and I learned diving. We made amazing field study trips to Egypt and Spain to learn about the marine ecology.
Someday in 2015, I decided to make games myself. I still can remember that day. It was in my old flat share and my boyfriend and I sat in front of the television and watched a let’s play of Soma. I looked at my boyfriend and said: „I also want to make these kind of games.“ And he just shrugged and said: „Well.. then go for it?“ It was the first time someone supported my dream without questioning my decision and tried to reason with me about it. It gave me an incredible amount of motivation and engagement.
The funny thing is I never wanted to become a game developer. Until that day in my flat, I just wanted to play games and enjoy them. Frictional Games‘ Soma inspired me deeply and I still love these incredible creative people for this inspiration with all my heart. Watching Soma that day with my boyfried marked a new chapter in my life. It was the first time, I really knew what I wanted with my future. It seemed the perfect match. Ever since I was a kid, I loved creative things. I never imagined doing someting creative since my parents always told me it’s too unprofitable. Well. They might be right but I am happy now. I can do all the things I enjoyed as kid – creating worlds, writing stories and doing art.
Studying Media Science in Bayreuth was one of my best decisions in life. It was an interesting experience for me. It is still difficult for me to accept their scientific methods because they differ so much from natural sciences. University provided me with inspirations and knowledge. It taught me about narrative concepts and design decisions. I still remember some important university teachers that helped me with some amazing methods I still use to design characters.
We were still in university as Antonia, Yasmin and I decided to found NightinGames. A lot of people still might think it was rushed but I learned so many things within the process. It’s funny. Someone told us that founding together is like marriage. I laughed about that. Then, I realised how important the right partners are because the team will stick together until the end. Yasmin, Antonia and Natalie were my friends. Now they are my teammates and I am blessed to fight, laugh and fall into despair together with such amazing people.
Thanks for reading! 🙂