Saturday, April 07, 2007

Diary of an Aspiring Game Designer - 4/7/07

Not sure if that is the actual title I am going to go with for this series of blog entries, but after talking about my adventures trying to break into the game industry with a few of the VP writers, Incognito thought this might for some good blog fodder, so here I am.

Since most of you have no idea what I am talking about I'll do my best to catch you all up on the key points. Some time around my final year of college I realized I had little to no interest in the actual profession I was studying, mechanical engineering. Sure I liked the classes and I was quite good at them, but my experiences in the real world, had left me largely unfulfilled, and faced with that fact I began to look at my options.

One of those options was to start my own game company. I've loved games ever since I was a kid and I had been training to be a mechanical designer for the past five years, so game design seemed like an easy choice, except for the obvious problem of having no training or experience of any kind in the field. Since that didn't really qualify as an option, I decided to explore other career opportunities, which is what landed me here in Richmond working for Capital One as an operations analyst.

Now don't get me wrong, I have a good job, a really good job in fact. The people are nice, the work is at least mildly interesting, and the pay is great. I really have nothing to complain about, but that whole concept of game design has been stewing in my head since I began thinking about it realistically a year ago, and in more nebulous terms long before that. I think I can safely say it's been my dream for a long time.

So in pursuit of that dream I decided to attend this year's Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, and I must say it completely surpassed any of my expectations. For as hard as I still believe the game industry is to get into, it really made me feel like I could do it. I had the opportunity to attend a two-day workshop on game design that was just outstanding. It really got to the core of what it is that makes games great and allowed multiple small teams to rapidly prototype games that were actually fun to play. Not to mention I got to network with some incredibly interesting people, a remarkable number of which who were in my same exact position. In fact, one of my best friends at the conference was a Biochemistry student who is graduating this Spring.

GDC was an awesome experience and it really showed me that if this is what you want to do you can do it. I even had the chance to interview at two places while I was at the conference, one of which was on-site at their studio, and mind you I have no background or training whatsoever. Add to that all the professional contacts I made and follow-ups inquiries I've been conducting since then, I feel a lot closer to my dream than I ever have before.

Now, I am sure your thinking to yourself, "well, then why does it say 'aspiring' in the title?" and on that point you are correct. No one has seen wise enough to hire me just yet, however, I am pursuing this endeavor with all the resources I have at my disposal. Suffice it to say I still have many lines in the water and while I'm sure you'd love to hear about all of them, I think this blog post is plenty long enough already.

Just to whet your appetite a little tough, I will tell you that I spent the better part of my day today taking a design test for a possible employer and I've been developing a card game for another such possibility. If you're interested in hearing more about my adventures, you'll just have to keep checking in ;-). Thanks for reading!

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