Game Developers

Game_Career_Guide_August2014

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102 m M A K I N G G A M E S _ S h a w n A l e x a n d e r A l l e n EVERYONE CAN AND SHOULD MAKE GAMES INCLUDING ME, INCLUDING YOU E VERYONE IS MAKING VIDEO GAMES THESE DAYS. OR AT LEAST IT SEEMS LIKE IT. Video games are one of the newest cultural art forms, and there is still so much promise for the young medium, especially as more and more creators enter the space. Programs that aim to ease the creation of video games, such as Game Maker, Construct 2 and Twine are widely available so that anyone, even those who don't know how to code, can build a game from scratch. Digital platforms that allow people to distribute and sell their games have grown and enabled far more people to get their games out and into the world. Everyone who wants to make video games can do so, just like one would write a story, paint a picture, or embark on some other form of creative endeavor. Lone creators, married couples, groups of friends, video game industry veterans, small pockets of marginalized voices, and more, are all creating their own games. This push of personal game creation is a movement that has led to changing the landscape of what we call video games as a whole. Amid the hype of "indie games," though, there is still a long list of relevant voices who we have not heard from yet, especially those of minorities. This is true for a number of reasons, such as not seeing themselves as creators, not feeling like they could do what other people can do at their level, or just the fact that the notion of diving in and starting game creation can be very intimidating. "Where do I start?" is still a big barrier to entry. How I got started Five years ago I was working at Rockstar Games in New York City. I was working on video game trailers, the kinds that would play during prime time TV, and would be seen by millions. It was a job of creation and game developer magazine S h a w n A l e x a n d e r A l l e n game developer magazine storytelling, much like the video games we used to create the trailers with, but in a more detached form. I had bought an Xbox 360 because I wanted the shiny next generation game system. For all of the glitzy graphical thrills I would get, the Xbox Live Arcade service, delivering smaller downloadable games, is where I found the joy of independent games that I still love to this day, like Braid and Super Meat Boy. I had a dream of making my own games but it had been deferred for most of my life because I had no idea how I would go about turning my existing skills of art and writing into a game in any realistic way; I didn't know how to write code, and I for sure had no way to get a large group of people together to make a console game. At a basic level, many of the games that were released on game consoles and PC were expensive, three dimensional big team affairs. The smaller scope of independent games that still maintained such a high quality level showed me that there was a shift happening in the world of video games. The fact these games were being written about in droves, and some would manage to go on to sell hundreds of thousands up to millions of copies was just an affirmation of that. That was my first lesson: Think small in scale but not in creative ambition. So what have I done? Since then I went on to work on a couple of games with two different teams. I worked with a team of four other people on "the universe within…" which won a "best overall" award at the game jam it was created at. It was also written about on Kotaku. A couple of months later I worked with a friend on "Glorious Ending Cinematic" for the first Molyjam. After attending the Game Developers Conference for the first time, I came home energized by the talks and by meeting so many developers. I began working 102

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