Hi, I’m Iain Compton and I design games.

Here are some of the games I’ve worked on and my contributions to them.

I also consult on design, production, and training. Skip ahead to here if you want to know more about that.

Games Workshop

Tabletop miniatures games – Design and Publishing – 1996-2000

Warhammer 40k 3rd Ed cover

I worked at Games Workshop in various roles in the late 1990s. During my time I worked on many products including Warhammer 40,000 3rd Edition, White Dwarf Magazine, and numerous army books, codices, as well as other publications.

I contributed rules text, creative writing texts (colour text as we called it), and hobby articles for White Dwarf. As well as this I prototyped new armies and rules alongside the other members of the design team and, during my stint on White Dwarf, laid out magazine pages for prepress, and took product photos to accompany articles using the studio’s large format film equipment.

This environment was where I learned many of the design lessons that have stood me in good stead over the subsequent decades of my career. Writing rules for an end-user rather than for an implementation team teaches very strict discipline in brevity, clarity, and design elegance.

Key Contributions:

  • Prototyping
  • Creative writing
  • Technical writing
  • Pre-press production

GOA Games

PC MMORPGs – Publishing – 2004-2009

Dark Age of Camelot Logo

My time at GOA was split between two offices and two projects. I started in Paris working on Dark Age of Camelot, and ended up in Dublin on Warhammer: Age of Reckoning. Both games were developed by Mythic Entertainment in the US and GOA was the European publisher.

During my time I headed up server operations for English-language servers for DAoC, and ran the English beta program for W:AR. For DAoC I managed a small team dealing with all aspects of live-ops from customer service, community management, QA and deployment of new versions, scripting and running live events, as well as press and community outreach.

Working on the publishing side of the industry has given me a strong understanding of the requirements of live-ops and especially Games-As-A-Service. I’ve also used the experience of handing communities to inform my designs in terms of player behaviours, emergent gameplay, and possibilities for abuse.

Key Contributions:

  • Community Management
  • Live-ops management
  • Liaison with external partners
  • Scripting and testing
  • Team leadership

Acony GmbH

PC FPS – Development – 2009-2013

BulletRun Logo

Bullet Run was a fast-paced, arena-based FPS that was published on Sony’s Station platform in mid 2012. I was responsible for the core systems design as well as economy and progression. I led a small design team and worked with the art director and creative director to define the vision.

Originally the game was a standard modern military shooter in the same mould as Counterstrike but we re-imagined it after a few years of development and iterations. Eventually we launched it as a game where the player was a contestant on a gameshow, and the objective was to become famous. Progression was less about being mechanically good at shooters, and more about balancing risk vs reward to put on an entertaining show. As a F2P title we monetised via vanity items, and consumable boosters.

This game was a lot of fun to make, and I learned a lot from my time with this team.

Key Contributions:

  • Systems Design
  • Vision
  • Design leadership
  • Production

eRepublik Labs

iOS Strategy – Development – 2013-2014

Tactical Heroes Logo

Tactical Heroes was a turn based strategy game for Apple devices. The concept was to combine the core loop and base-building gameplay from (the then recently released) Clash of Clans, with the turn-based combat on a grid map from X-COM. The player would build a base as in Clash of Clans with broadly the same resource gathering systems, and develop a team of operatives as with X-COM. Battles were against an offline player’s base (again as in Clash of Clans), but the player resolved the battles by way of the X-COM turn-based system.

I designed all aspects of the game from pre-production to post-release updates and learned a great deal about designing UX for mobile devices.

Key Contributions:

  • Systems Design
  • Prototyping
  • Production leadership
  • Vision


PC/Console Action Games – Development – 2014-2015

World of Warplanes Logo

My time at Wargaming was a very strange experience. To begin with I was hired to design co-operative PvE raid content for World of Warplanes. So I headed up a multidisciplinary team to create some scenarios to fill that brief. Over time though, the brief changed and before very long we were no longer making new game modes for World of Warplanes, but an entirely new 2.5D MOBA that was IP agnostic – various potential IPs were discussed including Star Wars, Warhammer 40,000, and Eve Online but no licences were negotiated.

I worked both as a designer and as a project manager. Almost everyone at the studio was essentially a central resource. I’d work with the production team to identify the resources I’d need for the development stage we were at and I’d then work with discipline leads to task them effectively. Some sprints I’d be heading up a team of five people, some sprints I’d have 150. We took the game to a vertical slice and through a successful greenlight process before it was cancelled as part of company-wide cost-saving measures.

After that I worked on World of Warplanes directly. At the time it was the worst performing World of… title with very poor retention metrics. My brief was to pitch a solution and then develop it. Working with the analytics department, I identified the onboarding and new player experiences as being the major issue in the retention funnel and so I pitched and designed a completely new NPE to replace it.

Key Contributions:

  • Systems Design
  • Design leadership
  • Production leadership
  • Prototyping
  • Cross-discipline liaising


PC 4X/MMORPG/Sandbox – Development – 2016

The Mandate Logo

When I joined this project it was 4 years out from a very successful Kickstarter campaign which had raised a lot of money for an extremely ambitious game. Broadly it was Imperial Russia in space. the gameplay was somewhere between Mass Effect style crew-based development and content, Elite style sandboxy exploring, and an overarching story with VO by famous actors to guide the player through it all. As originally pitched, the player would be able to explore distant planets, engage in ship-to-ship combat actions (including first person boarding combat), and maybe even manage a fleet or a fiefdom within the game. Oh, and it was massively multiplayer too.

We did not make that game. I don’t believe that a team exists that could deliver on that game. Instead I sat with the EP over a few afternoons and between us we sketched out a much more limited game that we felt the team we had (which was very, very small) could actually deliver. I designed some new core systems and started prototyping them while trying to reach out and regain the trust of the Kickstarter comunity. We had some concerns about legal liabilities with regard to the Kickstarter pledges that had already been paid for and that the new game could not support, but funding issues closed the project and made those moot.

Key Contributions:

  • Prototyping
  • Design leadership
  • Production leadership
  • Risk management
  • Vision and high level design

Virtual Realms

Mobile MMORPG – Development – 2018-2019

Warhammer Odyssey Logo

I was self-employed in Slovakia, when I was asked by a studio in Bangkok to work on a mobile Warhammer MMORPG. Mobile, Warhammer, and MMORPG are all things that featured heavily in my CV at that time so I felt this would be a good fit for me. Off I went to Bangkok to work on Warhammer Odyssey. The studio already had a very successful live game called Celtic Heroes which was making enough money to fund the development of a new title and it all looked very rosy. I was the lead designer and ran a team of 5-6 other designers of various levels of experience as well as having oversight of a level design team who had their own lead.

The brief was to make a mobile MMO that used as much of the backend as possible from Celtic Heroes while feeling as dynamic and visually exciting as more modern mobile titles. Also as a licenced IP, we had to work closely with Games Workshop’s licencing liaison. Using the backend from Celtic Heroes was something of a mixed blessing, it reduced our tech risk significantly but also brought some hefty restrictions on how we could create content. Eventually the game was released after I had left, in a different state to the one that I worked to design.

Key Contributions:

  • Design leadership
  • Production leadership
  • Core systems design
  • Prototyping
  • Vision and high level design


PC/Mobile Simulation Games and Gamified Apps – Development – 2019-2020

RingZero Logo

I did a number of different things at RingZero. Nominally I worked as the designer on a holiday resort simulator game, but I also consulted and advised on several other smaller projects relating to gamified apps, as the studio also did work-for-hire. It was a challenging development environment where design was almost entirely dictated from the EP down to the rest of the teams. I found this frustrating and it was difficult to perform at my role to any significant degree. I didn’t feel that this was an environment where design was valued.

I took this as an opportunity to build on my consulting and troubleshooting skills, and spent a lot of time attempting to make the contributions of different team members more effective.

Key Contributions:

  • Design leadership
  • Production leadership
  • Client liaising
  • Vision and pitching


PC/Mobile/Console MMORPG – Development – 2020-2022

Jagex Logo

Towards the end of the time when I was at RingZero, I was asked by a former colleague to join them as the lead systems designer on a new MMORPG project at Jagex. Given my reservations about the environment I was in, I was happy to make the move. Jagex were developing a new MMORPG in Unreal 5 to sit alongside their existing live products. Our brief was to build a game that was authentically Runescape in feel, but that didnt cannibalise the playerbase from Runescape or Old-School Runescape. This was, obviously, a tricky needle to thread. We started by looking at what an MMORPG for a new generation of gamers would look like. We felt that it would be much less of a lifestyle choice than legacy MMORPGs (including Runescape), and would need to feel accessible to players who had never played the usual reference games, but who had instead come up on a diet of Twitch streams, and titles such as Animal Crossing, Destiny 2, and Roblox.

I worked on helping to define the vision for the game alongside the EP and Creative Director, and then with the tech team to prototype core systems. We had a year and a half of pre-production before the project closed.

Key Contributions:

  • Core systems design
  • Design leadership
  • Vision and high level design
  • Prototyping
  • Defining pre-production systems

Emergent Games

PC/Mobile/Console MMORPG – Development – 2022-2023

Resurgence Logo

Emergent games was born of a joint venture between a games company (Maze Theory) and a Web3 developer (Pluto Digital). The idea was to make a triple-A quality MMORPG with Web3 underpinnings. My main priority was to try to define how to integrate a blockchain element to the game in a way that created value for Web3 enthusiasts but without alienating the core gaming demographic who we felt would be the majority of our playerbase. We also had to understand the technical limitations of a Web3 environment and design ways to mitigate or avoid those. On top of that, we had broadly the same discussion as at Jagex about what a next generation MMORPG looked like.

Resurgence was set a thousand years in the future after a climate calamity has destroyed humanity, and the survivors are awakening from cryogenic sleep to a planet that has been almost completely reclaimed by nature. Originally we started working in UE5, but switched to Unity in order to consolidate our tech stack with other projects. As the principal designer (and only designer), I worked with the CCO and tech leads to define the vision for the game, plot out the design landscape and scope, and ended up as product owner managing the pre-production that we had bandwidth to execute on. We had a very small team with very limited code support and so we spent a lot of our time working on features that were more related to community building than to core game development.

Key Contributions:

  • Design leadership
  • Production leadership
  • Product ownership
  • Vision and high level design
  • Liaising with external partners


Mobile/console/PC – Development and Publishing – 2016-Present

Iain Compton

Oh! Hey! That dapper fellow on the left is me! Since 2016 I’ve been doing various consulting gigs for studios and small developers across the world.

I started after my stint at Perihelion, while I was still living in Slovakia. There were several local mobile studios who were making hypercasual mobile games that were developed specifically for mobile operators in developing economies. So they were building very simple games for very low powered devices (some of them were still doing J2ME work) and with no post-launch support. They wanted to transition from that model to one where they were developing their own original games and publishing themselves on the various app stores.

I helped them understand how to design games, how to use prototypes to filter for viable projects, how to pitch, how to set up metrics and how to read the post-launch KPIs to build on success.

Sometimes I was brought in towards the end of a development phase to troubleshoot a game that was broadly complete but wasn’t performing as well as required for launch. I looked at balancing, gameplay, engagement vectors, and advised how to build for maximum retention.

Bench of older mobile phones
The QA bench at one of the studios I was at

I have worked on AR projects in Russia, blockchain-powered games in California, and many midcore mobile offerings at studios across Europe.

I can help you with:

  • Design leadership – mentoring, workshops, and training
  • UX troubleshooting
  • Core systems troubleshooting
  • Original design
  • Pitching and working with publishers
  • Balancing and economy troubleshooting
  • Monetisation
  • Building for live-ops – support systems, KPIs and metrical analysis

I have dozens of recommendations on LinkedIn, which you can read here.

Feel free to drop me a message via the contact form below if you think I can help with your project.