The before 20 project in review:

The before 20 project in review:

Well my friends. It's been a long and hard few months. I wouldn?t call it a slog and mostly it was a labor of love for me. But there where times I was almost pulling my hair out with problems concerning the map. But I eventually got around these things.

As those who read my posts here on Sumea, for one thank you. For two, you know as well I do how far I?ve come in just a few months. Through the support of others I have been able to learn many things to help me become a better game designer. I?ve learned.

? How to use the UnrealED program efficiently.
? How to use Maya to make static meshes and import them into unreal.
? How to texture in Photoshop and the many different types of textures there are.
? Using the many dynamic elements of a level editor like scripting complex single player sequences, particle emitters and physics.

I have documented all this and posted it on the Sumea website. I have gotten good replies to some posts. And not a lot for others. I have the support of many inside and outside the industry and have even had my work posted on the Sumea news page, A rare event in itself that I?m quite grateful for.

My aim was to land any kind of industry related job by the age of 20. The big cheese being a junior game designer position. That was the goal, the dream and the passionate desire. I believed that with consistent passion and hard work I could get this job. I could start my career earlier then most.

Now then. This is what reality had to say to that:

It is now the 11th of August, My birthday and the deadline will be on the 27th of August. I have already sent out folios a few weeks ago with demos of my work. Game design documents and game design theory. Even little scribbles I considered to be concept art [disclaimer: I?m nowhere near the quality of a real concept artist. Don?t worry guys I?m only after one job. And it's not yours.]

8 folios in total. All sent to large-scale game development studios. Let me sum up the results from best to worst.

? 1 folio got me a job interview ? I failed to get the job for whatever reason. Yet I?m still to this day unsure for what kind of job they wanted me to do.
? 1 folio was sent due to initial interest in hiring a junior position ? However they later opted to spend the money to get someone overseas with experience to mold into the project faster.
? 1 folio got me an e-mail response saying while they could not give me a job. They liked my work a lot and it was highly regarded by the HR staff. [co-dos to this studio as they have always been responsive]
? 5 folios have gotten no reply. Considered to be discarded, lost in transit or simply laughed at and ignored.

For this poor result I could take this three ways:

One would to be become bitter about my predicament and grow agitated. It has crossed my mind. I think for anyone who has put so much passion into something to get also totally ignored by the industry is an insult to not just you but also your hard work.

But ultimately. This is the wrong way to look at things.

The second way to take this isn?t much better then the first. I could start to make excuses about why I haven?t as yet got a job. Designers are under valued. Passion is under valued. If I were living in Queensland I?d have a job. If they stopped looking at why not to hire me and instead why to hire me my job would be a lot easer?etc etc.

Some of these might be true to some small extent. But they don?t help the fact that they have a job and I don?t. So why seeth about something like this.

Here is the right way to look at my situation:

I have given it my all. I have worked with passion and with heart. But yet. It is still not enough. These companies are simply not going to hire me at my current level and I have to face the truth of that reality. The only thing I can do to get that job and to be respected is to keep working hard and re-evaluate my objectives and tasks. Be retooling my mindset for Before 21 and do the best I can. And with continued passion and maybe a little bit of luck. I will get that job.

So then. Here's the question I pose to you. What do you think a man like me must focus my efforts on? I have some small ideas. But as always I want your input.

My ideas include:

? A small multiplayer map in UnrealED using unreal Assets and more focused solid and balanced gameplay. ? 1 to 3 month commitment
? Learning a scripting engine like Lau ? 6-month commitment minimum.
? Designing some simple board games ? 1 month commitment
? Drawing up some Storyboards. ? 2 week commitment
? Writing up some new sample design documents. ? 1 to 2 month commitment

What do you guys think? What are your ideas? And what's your advice for me to become a great junior designer?

rezn0r's picture

Design (and possibly prototype) some new game mechanics or systems. You might be in an interview detailing the design for a game with your own storyline when they'll say "Stop... now imagine that this game has to be built to incorporate SpongeBobCrazy FrogCharacter X". Make sure that the scenario and setting can be decoupled from your core game design without being detrimental to it. The worst mistake I've seen potential designers make in interviews is to come in and rattle off a game idea as though they're pitching a movie script.

If you're technically able, make something completely small, painfully simple, but really cool and fun. One of the guys in our office had half of us begging to get him in because we liked one of his demos so much (it was a zelda type game which was limited to a single static screen with a town in each corner and an ever increasing hoarde of monsters coming from the centre of the screen). Stylish, slick and simple.

Work out exactly what kind of designer you want to be and focus your abilities towards that area... own the trade, be the best at that particular area. You may find it unrewarding to work on Japanesey handheld games if you want to work on "shoot you in the face" AAA titles... or visa versa.

You have great literacy and you're able to get your ideas across well. You've got an impressively good attitude and I'm sure you're coming up on people's radars now merely from your work on Sumea and your pure drive to succeed at this.

Hopefully some designers can offer you further advice?



skunx's picture

My 2 cents,

I've seen and know of quite a few designers looking in the Au industry, both from here and even abroad, and I can honestly say that most of them did not show the excitement, commitment and perseverance you have so far. I would agree with reznor that writing down design documents is the best way to impress someone, at least thats what i think. Too many designers rely on simply showing off a level on unreal/halflife2/whatever and none up till now has had any sort of design document to show.

I think that a designer needs to cover both sides, needs to show that they can use a level designing tool if they are going for such a position. But most importantly, at least the way I see it, is the ability to show that they can create a detailed and polished game design document. It doesnt have to be huge, just a few dozen pages, as long as its high quality, well thought out, and with the least amount of spelling errors (yes seems trivial but shows that you put in the extra effort plus spellcheckers are a must) then I think thats enough to impress. I've been taught that being able to document that great idea that everyone has, allows you to stand out from the crowd. Besides, in many companies, a design role includes endless hours writing documents as well as the other nice stuff.

I haven't read all ur stuff so i cant say whats wrong and whats right but keep it up and u'll get there (i know you've heard this thousands of times but its true [:)] )

Makk's picture

That sucks to hear, I know you've worked long and hard on this project.
Try to keep at it though, you've worked too hard too come this far and stop.

Anyway, if I were you it my be an idea to ring up some of those companies that didnt bother repyling to you. Just explain to them your situation and say that youre looking for some constructive feedback on your folio.

nexx's picture

I definitely agree with making something small, polished, and well presented...building on what you've already learned. A single player map allows you to better show off scripting & triggering (if you're interested in starting in level design). However you've already done that, so a multiplayer map could be a good idea.

If you're aiming at a position in VIC, it might be worth investigating what specific work (engine, platforms, workflow) level designers & designers do at the local studios and tailoring your portfolio to that. Just an idea.

Keep at it...I'm sure you will. And if you need any Unreal help let me know.