Make things. More importantly, finish what you make.
Finishing one game will teach you more about game development than starting ten games. It also looks really good on a resume, it’ll easily put you on most hiring shortlists compared to most submissions. It doesn’t even matter if it sucks, just that you finished it. My first thing I finished was a Quake mod that was a terrible amalgamation of akimbo guns, new scoreboards, and an uberweapon. Finishing and shipping that was enough to get me over the line for my first job.
(I am really glad that mod doesn’t exist on the internet anymore)
I may be too late with this advice, but instead of paying for college or a “game design school”, use that money to support yourself while you make small games and build a portfolio. Make a schedule, then double that time estimate to get your real time to complete. Set a deadline for 3 months before you run out of money, then apply like crazy to companies - or if you want to go indie, start selling your game.
If you can make it work, go to GDC and attend as many lectures as possible. Avoid the roundtables, they’re usually useless echo chambers. Go to parties, but don’t ask people for a job - just have Actual Human Conversations, and at most give them your card when you’re done chatting. We’re at parties to meet friends, drink, and chat with other people, not to recruit.
I’ve interviewed way too many design candidates to remember, but the ones that had playable games are the ones I still remember years later. I’ve never bothered to see if they have a degree or not - I left university in my first semester to make games, and the design teams I’ve worked on have had more non-degree people than degree people (and the people with degrees usually didn’t have them in games, partially because those degrees didn’t exist yet). All that matters is that you can make things, and that you have some sense of what our industry.
Also, play the games of the company you’re interviewing. You will be asked if you’ve played any of our games. Replying “nah, I don’t have any consoles” isn’t good. You will also be asked what you’re playing right now. Saying that you’ve been busy for the last few months and haven’t played anything isn’t good. You’d be surprised at the amount of game design candidates who tell me that they haven’t been playing any games for the last year.
But yeah, I could ramble on forever. Making and finishing games is the best way to prove you should be paid to make games.
No joke, the logistics of the “delivery” part of this have also ballooned out alongside the Kickstarter. We’re hitting the volume limits of what places like Costco allow you to buy, and even before then we have transport issues of how to get that volume of Diet Coke to the man in question.
Rest assured though, there are Top Men sending Dumb Emails to Serious People about this as I type. Come hell or high water, Drake will get his Diet Cokes.
Yes. Privateer Online and Mirrors Edge 2: No Guns Allowed are my first announcements.
So, yeah, this is one of my personal side projects. I’m going to be blowing out the Drake Tracker from PAX East and releasing it on iOS and Android for free. It has an awesome feature where you can press a button to launch an in-app purchase that pays for a Diet Coke for John Drake. It’s stupid and incredibly niche in a way that’s only possible with today’s technology.
The Kickstarter money pays for the Unity licenses we need to ship ($4,500 as of this post, since we hit the Pro and Android stretch goals), any test hardware, pays for backer rewards, shipping, and such. The rewards are awesome by themselves, including a “Men of Game Development” calendar.
To answer the most common questions: Yes, this is a real thing that will ship. No, it’s not officially affiliated with Giant Bomb, or my employer, or anything like that - it’s something so stupid that only my personal self is associated with it. The money all goes to paying for things, nobody is making a profit except for Kickstarter and Amazon Payments. Yes, this really will get made. Yes, you really will get those rewards if you back those tiers. Yes, it is possibly the best stupid thing ever.
Did I say holy crap yet? Thank you for enabling my want to create incredibly dumb things.
Kim Jong Un doesn’t actually hate Austin at all, was just trying to help clear out Mopac traffic.
Tony brought back his photos from the PAX East Twisted Pixel booth. I’m both sad I missed PAX East and completely shocked that Tony is still at 100% energy afterwards.
I did some hot data gathering action to find out where layoffs were happening, and how much of an impact they had on the industry as a whole. Big thanks to Ben Kuchera for putting it up on PAR.
Like NASA, I have squandered all of my progress immediately after setting foot on the moon. I tried making my own Spacelab with the new docking pieces, but my docking skills are terrible and many Kerbals now orbit Kerbin forever.
0.19 just came out though, so now may be the time for me to jump back in.