Probably Dance

I can program and like games

Month: April, 2012

How to make successful student games

I’m almost done with DigiPen. Time to write down some learned lessons. I was only at DigiPen for two years, so others could probably write this better, but until they do there is this post. In both years I was in the most successful game team of the Master’s program, which is my claim to being qualified to write this post. So here are a couple rules, starting with

1. Gameplay first

This is the first point on Blizzard’s mission statement, and they mean “prioritize gameplay.” Do that. But for student games I consider it even more important to interpret that as “work on gameplay first.” The biggest mistake I have seen on student games is wasting time on features that don’t improve gameplay in the end. You do not have time for a student game.

Now how do you finish gameplay first?  Obviously you need tech to do your gameplay. If you want to make a physics-based puzzle platformer, someone has to implement your physics. But I would consider it a mistake to work on the physics until you know that it will result in good gameplay. Which is a problem.

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Job hunting in the Games Industry

I’m finishing my Master’s degree and applying to companies to work for. I had few pieces of data to know how difficult the job hunt would be: 1. Most of last year’s Master’s students didn’t get the job they wanted. 2. I know a lot of artists that graduated from DigiPen that ended up being unemployed, or who do game testing.

So I played it safe and applied to every company that I could see myself working at. Which wasn’t an incredibly long list, but it turned out that it was more than I should have applied to. Because every single company that I started talking to turned from “I could see myself working there” to “I would love to work there.”

And it surprised me that that happened so repeatedly. Maybe it shouldn’t have, because this is after all the industry that I wanted to work in. But it seems like a lot of people these days have figured out how to run a good studio and there is an impressive amount of likable personalities. And now my biggest problem is that I have to turn down companies that I would like to work at, because I have to make a decision…

But yeah, I just wanted to post something short expressing my delight at learning that this is not just a pretty cool industry in my imagination, but actually.