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:
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!”
Game Careers was fortunate to catch up with Richard Rouse III at GDC in San Francisco, where he was presenting his latest session on game design. Richard is a game designer and writer at Microsoft Game Studios, working on unannounced projects. Previously, he was narrative director on the Rainbow 6 franchise at Ubisoft Montreal. During a stint as Director of Game Design at Midway, he consulted on a wide range of titles, including Stranglehold and Wheelman.
Richard was studio creative director at Surreal Software and served as project lead, lead designer, and writer on the hit action/horror title, The Suffering, and its sequel, The Suffering: Ties That Bind. He has also contributed to Homefront and Drakan: The Ancients’ Gates. Known for his writing and lectures about game design and interactive storytelling, Richard wrote the book, “Game Design: Theory & Practice,” one of the most popular books on the subject.
In Richard’s exclusive interview with Game Careers, he provides insight on breaking into the world of Microsoft Game Studios: “Microsoft has a culture of wanting to get new talent in, straight out of college when possible. We also value experienced people who have worked in a number of different places and can really work with our partners, bringing lot of their own experience to the table to make games great.” Watch the full interview that follows:
Richard Wilson, Chief Executive of TIGA talked to David Smith of Interactive Selection and Game Careers at Develop in Brighton. His advice for people thinking of getting in to the games industry:
” I have two main pieces of advice for people wanting to get into the games industry, the first being get yourself a good set of qualifications — the UK games industry is highly skilled and fully of highly trained, creative people so start by getting a good education behind you. The lovely thing about the games industry is that it combines art and design on one hand and the scientific, mathematical side on the other and bringing those two sets of skills together is really the essence of games development. Anyone wanting to get into the games industry would need to be an expert in one of these two fields. The other key part of getting into the industry is having an absolute passion for the sector — You not only have to have the skill set but you also need commitment, passion and enthusiasm to get into a games company. To get into the industry you really need to identify the company or more so the genre you want to work in, do the background research and then demonstrate your passion and your skills.”
Watch the full interview in the video that follows:
Will you be at Game Developer Conference in San Francisco this year? It is not long now. Can Game Careers interview you in San Francisco for this leading career site? Join the likes of David Helgasson (CEO, Unity), Dan Pinchbeck (Creative Director, thechineseroom), Dave Ranyard (Studio Director, SCEE), Nils Holger-Henning (CCO, Bigpoint), Ana Kronschnabl (CEO, Fluffylogic), James Brooksby (CEO, doublesix), and 100 other senior game pros over the last 3 years who have already spoken about their career and how to get a job either at their companies or in the industry generally.
GameCareers.BIZ is a popular news site that has 30,000 visitors a month looking for information about careers in the games industry. The interview is on camera and should take no longer than 10 minutes of your time. This is PR opportunity and a chance to give back to those that have still to join our industry in the future. Please say that you are available for an interview? Contact David Smith or Fiona Cherbak from Interactive Selection if you are interested. We have a conference room at the Hotel Bijou, about 4 blocks from the Moscone.
We met up with Dan Pinchbeck, creative designer for thechineseroom game studios back at the Develop conference. Dan joined Portsmouth University in 2003. He has a background in Drama, but he has worked in media, digital and technological arts practice using emergent technologies. His research is the significance of narrative within Computer Games, and on the effective archiving of computer games. He is also the Creative Director within thechineseroom independent development team.
Dan’s advice for getting a job at an indie studio: “There are three things that can help you get a job with an indie games studio, the first is being your portfolio. Your portfolio is hugely important, more than anything else and shouldn’t just include assets and the things you have built but also games you have been involved with. If you have been involved in any project that has gone through to completion that is worth twice of anything else in your portfolio. I always suggest that people try and get involved as much as they can, even if it is a free project, anything that is completed and released will look really good on your portfolio. The next thing is cold calling – don’t be afraid to cold call! – many of the staff we have employed we have done so because they emailed us telling us how good they are. If you are the kind of person to push yourself and put yourself out there then you are the type of person we want because you are going to apply that attitude to our company and in turn you are going to help us make better games.
The Indie games community is great because everybody is very approachable and will give you good advice, however if you really struggle to find work with a studio – start your own, get some people together and make a game!”
Watch the full interview in the video that follows:
Following on from last months Eurogamer Expo, our coverage continues with regards to careers in games advice. Today, GamesIndustry have posted a video shot from the expo in which they discuss the alternative routes to getting video game projects funded and the best way to pitch projects to potential supporters. Introduced by GamesIndustry International‘s very own Matt Martin, the panel features John Vaskis from IndieGoGo, PLA Studio’s Tom Page, Tom Zeissen of The Wellcome Trust and Games Invest’s Jamie Sefton.
Outside Xbox recently went straight to the source and asked games industry professionals for specific, practical pointers on landing a job in games. Networking is always key but a strong portfolio goes a long way to showcasing your abilities.
Watch on for wise words from Valve’s Chet Faliszek, Total War lead artist Kevin McDowell and Deus Ex: Human Revolution writer James Swallow.
The annual Eurogamer Expo which takes place around the back end of September is a chance for the gaming public and media alike to get their hands on the latest blockbuster titles coming out over the next few months. The event, which was held from the 27th – 30th September at Earls Court in London also showcased it’s customary careers fair to promote and encourage individuals wanting to break into the video game industry.
Studios such as Creative Assembly and GREE both had a stand at the fair to attract upcoming talent that were keen to be a part of making games of the future. Representatives from studios and specialist agencies were more than happy to sit down with individuals and go through step by step the best way to market oneself in order to be attractive to video game studios and publishers.
University’s had a major presence at the careers fair with Kingston University in particular setting up demos on the latest iPad 3 that some of their current video game programming students had developed. A number of lecturers were present to talk to keen gamers about graduate programs that would aid them in securing a role in the future – This certainly seems to be the trend that is being set for young people wanting to break into the industry. Studios, particularly here in the UK, are always keen to take on impressive graduates who have also combined their course knowledge with projects of their own or high profile internships at recognised AAA studios. With video games naturally being an extremely competitive industry to get your foot in the door, the days of doing stints in QA and simply moving up the ladder have unfortunately fallen by the wayside. Now, companies are looking at what sets candidates apart from the rest and usually it is determined by a strong portfolio and impressive freeware products developed or designed in their own time.
The event was also an opportunity to learn from experienced individuals in the industry who weren’t necessarily situated in the careers section of the expo. Frequent developer sessions were held throughout each of the four days which covered not only game development, but career building and how starting as the little guy often can lead to unexpected and heralded achievements. One such session was that given by Hideo Kojima, the world renowned and revered creator of Metal Gear Solid who stated that he never expected to even make a sequel to MGS1. When talking about the games main protagonist, Solid Snake, Kojima was quick to point out that he himself has aged and matured along with the characters development throughout the series. This is a key example of why the industry appeals to so many; because it is rare to have such a deep and emotional connection in any job to that which you get in video game development and seeing an idea grow from conception to a global franchise.
So, for anyone who is keen to work in video games the answer is simple, if you have relevant experience that can be transferred, fantastic, if not then taking a course in video game production management or programming will only benefit you in the long term. Specialist agencies are always on hand and willing to work with those who show the right aptitude and commitment to work in games. Keep in mind that it is always important to showcase your skills, be it through personal projects or online portfolios – think about what sets you apart from everyone else and tailor your work to that of the products the studios you are interested in applying to may be working on.
Dr. Jo Twist, CEO of games trade body UKIE, met David Smith from Game Careers during the Develop conference in Brighton. A former journalist and content commissioner with the BBC and Channel 4, she was headhunted for this role. She tells Game Careers about the importance of UKIE for all in the games sector. Her advice for those that are starting out in the games industry is clear: “If you are really passionate about what you are doing – that’s the most important thing – make something, get it out there! The platforms, the technology, the ability to self publish and put your game on the internet, on android or ios is phenomenal. And the opportunity, once you start to get feedback, to hone your ideas is fantastic. Build your relationships, build your own cult personality through twitter and through different social media places. Get in contact, build a relationship, say something interesting to journalists and with journalists and people who write about games so that you get noticed. Because it is all about you at the end of the day!” See the full in depth interview below: