Looking to make your first steps into the games industry? Siobhan Reddy from Media Molecule (LittleBigPlanet) explains what she’s looking for, what it takes to get your CV noticed, and why a showreel can be so crucial for your work. Find out more about gaming on BAFTA Guru
Game Careers was thrilled to chat with game designer and producer Robin Hunicke, perhaps best known for her role as executive producer on blockbuster PSN game Journey. Her game titles include family-friendly franchises like The Sims2, MySims, whimsical online game Glitch and Steven Spielberg’s Boom Blox for Nintendo Wii. She is currently co-founder of the independent game studio, Funomena. There, alongside fellow Journey developer Martin Middleton, she is building a team to work on experimental gameplay projects and games for social good. An artist and computer scientist by training, Robin’s goal is to bring positive, new and unexpected gaming experiences to the public. A passionate advocate of Experimental Gameplay, she organizes the Experimental Gameplay Workshop, and has acted as chair of LA’s annual IndieCade festival. Through her public speaking, volunteer work and academic studies, she evangelizes fresh, broadly-accessible ideas, sustainable work practices and increased diversity in our industry.
Robin offers this suggestion to the Game Careers audience who are considering a career in games: “My best and most important piece of advice to someone who is seeking work in the games industry is to live a full and genuine life…to follow your heart, to have passions, to be curious, to travel. When I look at a resume, I just don’t just look at where they have worked. I look at where they have travelled to, the kinds of things they have built. I want to have a community of peers that isn’t just all about video games. Although those are important, I want to hear about the life you want to live and the world you want to live in.” Watch the full interview in the video that follows:
Game Careers recently had the chance to speak with Susan Gold, professor of game design at Full Sail University and president of the Global Game Jam. Susan joined the faculty of Full Sail University’s Graduate in 2009, after founding the annual Global Game Jam, an experiment in creativity and innovation in game development. With more than 16,000 game developers participating in 2013, Susan is the developer of the world’s largest collaborative interactive video game development event. Susan’s frequent conference talks and consistent outreach efforts has extended the Global Game Jam to over 58 countries, effectively changing the course of game development around the world.
Susan served as the chairperson of the IGDA Education SIG from 2006-2010, and continues to develop tools and resources for educator professional development. Susan orchestrated the Education Summit at GDC from 2006-2010, the Anigames Expo in Bogota, Colombia from 2010-2012, the Federal Games Working Group Summit at Games for Change in 2012, and is helping to organize the 2013 DigiWorld Conference in France. Susan has been consulting with the U.S. Office of Science &Technology Policy with projects like Apps for Healthy Kids, the STEM education initiative and now, the Federal Working Group in Games. Susan got her start and organizational skills as a community activist in Chicago.
In Susan’s exclusive interview with David Smith of Game Careers, she talks about how game developers can benefit from the innovative collaboration at the Global Games Jam: “Being part of your community is so important. Knowing the people that you want to work with in the future, or just having an opportunity to learn from those people. You have a bigger mentorship happening at that time, at the game jam. But more importantly, it’s the relationships you make, the network you create for yourself, as well as the ability to take that game and show other people what you have done. Without a game, you can’t get a job.” Watch the full interview with Susan that follows:
Mitu Khandaker is a videogames PhD researcher and an independent game developer, running her own company, The Tiniest Shark. Most recently, she’s been working on her game, Redshirt, a comedy sci-fi social networking simulator. Mitu was named one of Develop magazine’s “30 Under 30” most promising game developers in the U.K. in 2012, and provides freelance journalism for Gamasutra, Continue Magazine and other game industry publications. Mitu has been involved in “women in games” initiatives via her web site, “DearAda.com,” and talks at game industry conference on topics of gender issues in games.
Mitu offers this suggestion to women who are considering a career in games: “Definitely be vocal about your passion as much as possible. I’ve used social media for years to talk about my views on games. Doing that type of thing is important both in terms of building visibility, and building a sense of community for other people. Talk about your passion in games.”
Watch the full interview by David Smith at GDC that follows:
Game Careers was excited to chat with game designer and long-time game developer Don Daglow, president and creative director of Daglow Entertainment, LLC, an online game development studio founded in 2011. Don’s career in game design began on mainframe computers in 1971 (before Pong), and he has been designing successful online titles since 1987 (before the Internet). He is the only executive in the history of the industry to lead development teams on every generation of game consoles, from the Intellivision to the PS3/360/Wii.
In 2008, his work was selected for an Emmy(R) Award in Technology and Engineering for his creation of Neverwinter Nights, the first graphical MMORPG. He serves as the president of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Foundation (which supports industry scholarships), has served on the Advisory Board for GDC Europe, and advises the International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG).
Don’s recommendation for someone coming into the industry: no matter your area of skill or craft, continue to grow it and keep learning. Speaking from the perspective of someone who has been in the industry since its earliest days, Don also recommends developing persistence. He points out that many people in the industry have had to learn to overcome small delays or setbacks and that it is important to not give up. Watch the full interview that follows:
David Smith with Game Careers recently sat down with Noah Falstein, recently announced as Chief Game Designer at Google, to talk about how to breaking into the biz as a game designer. Noah entered the game industry in 1980 as one of the first ten employees at Lucasfilm Games (later LucasArts Entertainment), then went on to the 3DO Company, and Dreamworks Interactive. Since 1996, he has been president of The Inspiracy, providing game design and project management expertise to a wide variety of companies. He has been an early leader in areas including interactive narrative and story games, flight simulators, modern console development, serious games, and virtual worlds. Noah was the first elected chairman of the IGDA, wrote the design column for Game Developer magazine for six years, and has won numerous awards for his designs, including the CGDC Spotlight Award for Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.
Game Careers pulled this sage advice for fledgling game designers from Noah: “It is difficult to start as a designer. A lot of people use some other skill. Programming is actually the easiest way to break into the industry. A lot of programmers and game designers overlap, though it could also be artwork, it may be being producer, or even game testing. Being a designer right at first is very tough. If you can find a company that is willing to let people move around, let you start in some other area where they have a greater need, that is often a good way to get started.”
Game Careers was lucky to talk with Wright Bagwell, Director of Design at Zynga, shortly before his presentation on Farmville 2 at GDC in San Francisco. Wright joined Zynga in 2011, and is currently a director of design. In 1996, his obsession with making Quake mods compelled him to abandon his doctorate work in neuroscience, and pursue game design as a career. Since then, Wright has worked at Marvel, Cavedog Entertainment, Valve and Electronic Arts. Prior to Zynga, he was the creative director for the critically acclaimed Dead Space franchise. Wright has also worked on several other notable games including 007: From Russia With Love, 007: Everything or Nothing, 007: Nightfire, 007: Agent Under Fire and XMen: Ravages of Apocalypse.
In his exclusive interview with David Smith of Game Careers, Wright chats about how game designers can get ahead of the curve: “It’s actually important to realize it is incredibly difficult to make games. I think it’s a great piece advice for game designers to learn, that when you come in early on, it’s really important to be able to communicate, and be able to work with the group. That’s the most difficult part of game design, having the experience of working with a group to bring something to life.” Watch the full interview in the video that follows:
Game Careers recently spoke with Ubisoft’s Alex Hutchinson at GDC in San Francisco, where he spoke on an Assassin’s Creed III panel, covering project collaboration. Alex is currently the creative director on Assassin’s Creed III at Ubisoft Montreal. Previously, he was creative director at EA Montreal on Army of Two: The 40th Day. Alex was also at Maxis in California, where he was the lead designer on Spore (PC), The Sims 2 (PS2, GC, XB), and co-lead designer on The Urbz: Sims in the City (PS2, GC, XB). He has written on games for magazines such as Edge, Games(tm), PC Zone, PlayNation, and The Official PS2 Magazine, among others. Alex has spoken on games at DICE in Las Vegas, GDC in San Francisco, E3 in Los Angeles and the Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany.
In Alex’s exclusive interview with Game Careers, he recommends Montreal as a place to work in games, plus offers this career advice: “If you’re just starting out, I could not overestimate the boon of having an understanding of engineering. If you can code as a designer, this is a huge plus, something that is getting more and important, especially if you’re interested in both the AAA, large development studios and more independent, smaller-scale studios. The more things you can do, the better!”