loseranthems asked: Oh man, oh man, hopping on the 'answer questions about the industry' bandwagon :-) My one question is, how is the transition from graduating to finding your way into the industry? I've been told connections are a major thing, but for someone who's just out, what happens? (Also I love your work and everything you stand for and thank you for Gone Home. Really. So much. <3)
Thank you kindly for saying so, not to mention playing the game! I really appreciate it, anthems! <3
This is a multifacted, milage may vary question in a lot of respects, but I’m just going to hop right in.
Transitioning from a grad to a developer (in the mainstream sense) seems to depend on what you’ve studied, where you live, what kind of job you’d like to do (art/programming/design/admin,etc), your student debts, whether you’re looking for AAA, social, mobile, or deciding to forego all that (and The Industry at large) and create your own game.* I’ve only ever worked in social/mobile/independent games, so I’m coming from it from that perspective.
When I graduated (with no degree, but a diploma in 3D art and illustration) I was hired a week or so later by an art director in social games (I know) who’d seen some fan art I’d done online. I had no friends working in or on games at the time, so I feel like that kind of experience - of being cold called immediately after graduating - is something of an outlier.
Do do doo, let’s see.
Connections are undoubtedly handy, but at the same time, “networking” and mixers and LinkedIn culture were difficult. I felt weird about schmoozing and every time I was placed in that kind of situation, that Kids In The Hall skit was looping in my head:
When I did meet cool people, it was almost exclusively through Twitter, and it was because I genuinely liked them and the work they were doing. Emily (my wife), making dumb goofs with Steve G was how we ended meeting him in person, and a large part of why we’re going to GDC this year is to say hi to friends we met through tweets.
Long story short, making things and posting them online and listening to people on Twitter has been wonderfully helpful for me (and others, I’m sure).
I hope that’s helpful, at least in part!
*’Games as personal expression’ as compared to ‘games as traditional career’ (though that’s a false dichotomy, really) but I’m going to be answering about the ‘as career’ aspect, since I think that’s what you’re after.
When I was 17 I wrote a letter (an actual paper letter) to Ubisoft Montreal asking if they were looking for an intern. I didn’t get a response back, which I now understand was likely because every painfully earnest, videogame loving teenager in Canada was probably doing the very same thing. My thought process at the time went something like this: if they’d just give me a chance - just an unpaid internship!- I knew I could help create something really cool. (And learn to speak better French.)
These days, with sites like Tumblr and Twitter it’s way, way easier to reply to people with questions about games, and while I’m still learning software and modeling and game making in general, and can only approach it from my limited experience, I’m happy to try and answer questions for those in the same position I was at 17.
Because I haven’t mentioned this before, if you feel like using the ask for game related questions, you’re more than welcome to, and I’ll get to them as soon as I’m able, in private or public, whatever you’d prefer.
I’ve been working on a Polycount art post for Gone Home later in the month, and experimenting with Marmoset’s new toolbag for renders. I’m still very new to it, but it’s a lot of fun. What a great piece of software!
Also, I’ve been making gross little mushrooms in Zbrush. Those… those weren’t in the game. Those are Just Because assets.
Katie’s bag has an English flag patch on the other side, from when she took the CHUNNEL.
I’ve got some other work in the mix, but while I’m finishing it up, here’s a couple of boardgame textures from the game. They were tweaked a little in game by Karla to add additional grit and type, but I made them during off hours to make me laugh, and they still kinda do!
…haha, laughing at your own dumb jokes.
Emily and I both worked on games that have been nominated for IGF or Game Developer’s Choice awards this year, and I couldn’t be prouder of Emily and Damian, who made an amazing game that’s both dark and charming at the same time. With any luck, Emily and I will be at Lost Levels and GDC together, which I can’t wait for. :)
See you in March, San Francisco!
Extremely happy to announce our fourth issue for 2014… Frontier #6: Emily Carroll!
Emily Carroll is a talented cartoonist — one of my all time favorites! We adore her unnerving and masterful webcomics, like “His Face All Red,” “The 3 Snake Leaves,” and “Out of Skin.”
For Frontier #6, Emily is creating a brand new horror story, inspired by children’s games like Bloody Mary, Southern Ontario Gothic literature, and Japanese urban legends.
You can get a subscription now for a flat $35 and get all four issues (featuring Sascha Hommer, Ping Zhu, Sam Alden, and Emily) mailed to your house! ($42 for Canadians, $50 for international folks)