|Take the power into your own hands,|
just take those stupid gloves off first.
I didn't fit in at that study and I was thinking of switching, but there was this one time I spoke to a professor about the absence of video games in research at the faculty of arts. She told me I should give it a shot. Long story short: my BA paper for Japanese studies was about "The narratology and character relations in Japanese video games".
|Why Japanese and computer sciences?|
In the meantime I started chatting with the professors at computer sciences. This time I would do something very serious! I would go into the field of artificial intelligence! My BSc paper: Calculating and predicting the game Five or More. I guess it was games again... queue silent celebration.
Since most of my study career was about games, I wanted to do my Master thesis on something serious this time. I learned during my internship that I really enjoyed software development, so I wanted to research something in that field. The conversation with my professor went like this:
"That's alright, you can go in these directions," he said calmly whilst he put some print-outs on his desk.
"Great! I'll take that one!" I said, pointing eagerly at the paper about risk assessment.
The professor hesitated. "You know... You could do that, but I've also got this subject for you..."
As it turns out, I'm now researching how to teach people software development through playing a video game. I'm developing the game. It's a research about games... again.
IT. IS. AWESOME!
It might look like I'm bragging (and maybe I am), but I want to share a lesson I learned from all this: keep talking to people. The phrase "it's not who you are, it's who you know" is often used in a negative context, but I learned that it can be put to your advantage with little effort. With most of my professors I only chatted a couple of minutes total over the years, but they all knew I had a passion that had a lot of research capabilities: video games. I became a go-to guy for video games and the only thing I had to do for it is casually talk about what interested me.
If you want to do something in video games and you're even just remotely passionate about it, talk about it with everyone, especially your superiors. This goes for superiors in work AND education, but also isn't limited to the subject of video games. If you're a office worker at a bank and you have a passion for flowers, if your superior knows about it, you'll probably be helping the next florist set up shop with a loan.
|Networking, now with blue noise gradient!|
Having said that, don't attract attention if the situation draws on your shortcomings. A lot of politicians are guilty of this. You don't look pretty when you stand up and start shouting something along the lines of "We don't need water! It doesn't even have a taste!"
Having also said that, don't hesitate to ask for explanations. Asking questions shows your interest and stance on a subject. The answer to the question can also show that a person might be capturing the audience's attention with a bag of hot air.
If you are already into gaming (or something else) and you are still left out for any reason, there are always specializations. You can specialize in AI or physics when programming, or sprites and 3D models when you're an artist. Make sure you are the go-to person in whatever comes to you naturally.
|Competition improves prestige, but hampers|
If any beginning concept artists are reading this, here's a little advise: Concept art is part of pre-production of a game, which is a very uncertain stage. Make sure you do something alongside of it which is also needed later in the production cycle. If you stick with a game longer, it will look better on your portfolio for recruiters and you'll meet more people in different fields which in turn will give you more job security.
Getting the subject back to my latest project: keep an eye on this blog. I am going to share stories about the development of my own educational game that, to the contrary of similar products, should be fun AND educational. I hope this post will give readers some advice on their career.
Also: thank you, all you new readers. I got over 1300 page views last month for no apparent reason. I haven't really had a lot of comments (1 in total on all posts), but thank you all for visiting.