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I recently came across this really good video by outsidebox.com where the crew interviewed some top engineers, artists and writers from the gaming industry. The purpose was to understand how to get into the gaming industry.
The workforce of the gaming industry is segregated into developers, artists and writers. The writers come up with the concept and storyline of a game, the artists give these concepts shapes and size through imagery and the developer codes the concept and the art into reality (figuratively speaking).
Like so many other young engineers, writers and artists, if your interest lies in the gaming industry, the following tips might be of great use to you -
Chet Faliszek from Valve's single mantra to get a job as a developer in a gaming company is to "make something". It could either be a mod to a popular game or a full fledged game itself, but it is essential to build something to get noticed in the industry.
He shared that Valve wants to encourage the culture of people building games as a hobby and it commits through launching SDKs and game development tools which are accessible for free by the community.
Chet further revealed that while people come to Valve with a game portfolio, Valve also reaches out to people who're building cool things.
Kevin McDowell, from Creative Assembly, the label behind the Total War series, lays great emphasis on the artist's portfolio to land a job as a game artist. He further emphasises that it is not important to know the right people in the industry to get this job. An interesting insight that he shared was that the portfolio should also reflect what kind of games you're interested in doing art for.
For example, a mobile game artist should have a few more skills apart from art and illustrations as mobile game development teams are small. If it is a desktop/console game you're interested in building, you should be a super specialist. Like as an artist, you can only do animation, or only do environment design and so on.
Furthermore, he also shared that the safest route for a fresher artist in the game industry is as an environment designer, as concept art is done by more experienced artists. It is also very hard to do.
James Swallow from Edios interactive believes that to be a good game writer, one must play a lot of games so as to understand the story across games. He also recommends reading a lot and to write outside of games too. As far as getting a job goes, James elucidated the process of onboarding a writer in games.
He says that for larger game projects, a writer is brought on board on a much later stage after initial concept development. Smaller game studios bring a writer on board very early on and he also suggested that these smaller game studios are a good entry point for game writing aspirants.
An interesting thing to notice was that no one actually suggested any kind of academic degree to get into the Gaming industry. This is because the tools to pick up game development are easily accessible and the resources to learn to use them are openly available. Furthermore, the game development community is growing and is helpful.
Watch the full video here -