Seeking Some Advice

Two days ago I received an e-mail from Justin Cheng, a singaporean developer willing to get into the gaming industry seeking for some advice. At first I felt that I should said to him that I couldn’t be of no use to him, since I’m not part of the gaming industry, but after a second thought I realized that I could give him some tips, based on the information I’ve been in touch for the last months.

While writing the final part of my reply e-mail, I felt that I might as well publish it here on the blog, so it would help another people that stumble upon this humble journal, seeking for some advice. So, here it goes.

So, you want some advice on how to get into the gaming industry? Well, if you had a look on the ABOUT session of my blog you might remember that I’m not currently working on the industry, but I really want to. Despite this fact, I do have some tips on how to get into the industry, that I have taken from a lot of sites.

The first one is to keep yourself up to date with the industry. Subscribe to Gamasutra.com (this is a must), GameCareerGuide.com and TheEscapist.com. These are some of the best gaming industry sites, and their content is really relevant. Also, take a look on my blog’s blogroll, every time I find an interesting site/blog I put it down there so I could check it out again.

The second one, that maybe should be the first – or even the zero, is to develop games. You have to feed your resume with experience, and that’s where it comes from, game projects. But here I would say that depending on the role you’re aiming at you should consider what is the kind of projects you should participate. For instance, if you want to be a game developer, you have to develop games (duh!), but the point is, you don’t have to worry in designing one. You may join a game project designed by someone else, for instance. Remember to specify the proper role you played on the team, like: level scripting, combat system, etc. And also remember to provide a short description of the tasks you performed, not only their titles.

The third one should be part of the one above, but only if you plan to take a design role, and it would be to create board games! That’s right, board games. Actually, any kind of non-digital games. By doing so, you’ll have contact with new mechanics and new game assets that will eventually help you when creating digital games. But if you don’t plan on taking a design role, at least go play some board games, if you don’t care about creating the rules, plot and mechanics, you might get interested on trying to find out how you would implement them on a digital game. It’s an win-win situation. Board games, card games, text adventures, etc. Pick one and go for it!

Lastly I would advise you to create a blog and start feeding it with career-related content, such as game design study cases (remember, reviews go “this game sucks” while study cases go “its level design fails in these points”), non-digital game designs, game development techniques, etc. And don’t forget to include its URL in your CV.

Oh, and of course, subscribe to some job sites and keep your eye on the job descriptions and required skills. That would be your best guide. If you can’t find many jobs that require your current skills, check if you would like to learn the most required skills. If you do, go learn them! If you don’t, well, continue to look for jobs that would fit your skills, but don’t stay too far away from industry standards.

If you have any other tips, please share them. 🙂

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