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Old 10-03-2011, 03:21 PM   #1
HAL
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Default New Game Director - Advice Welcome

Hello!
I'm HAL, and I've been working in MUD Administration for the past two years on various projects, and am currently the Game Director for AtonementRPI (www.atonementrpi.com). We are a role-play intensive MUD based on a highly customized DIKU engine, have 10 active staffers, and a daily average of about 30 players online at any given time. In open beta, Atonement has kept a spot in the Top Mud Sites top 20 MUDs for the past 8 months.

I'm a full-time student, and am currently finishing up a liberal arts degree. I'm hoping to, after graduation, to get a job in the game industry. However, I'm not sure what I might do to strengthen my resume outside of my current experience.

Through the course of my work on Atonement and previous projects, I've had direct experience with:
- Basic Linux & mysql systems administration
- Setting up, configuring, and using bug tracking software such as Jira and Bugzilla
- Website and forum administration
- Hiring and training of a full staff (Senior staffers, role-play administrators, builders and crafters, etc)
- Setting goals for multiple ongoing projects and keeping track of development progress
- Setting rules and guides for staffer behavior, and disciplining or firing when the need arises
- Using Microsoft Excel to analyze and audit large numbers of unique in-game objects (3000+ objects over the course of 6 months on a previous project)
- Working in a Beta environment, taking player feedback and modifying IG mechanics when the need arises
- Developing and implementing an engaging storyline with multiple plot-arcs


As I mentioned before, I'm not sure what might be useful to focus on at this point, and how I might make myself a more ideal candidate for an open position, even if that's starting off at the bottom in testing. Any advice or critique would be appreciated, as well as directions to other development forums of interest.
Best,
HAL
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Old 10-03-2011, 09:41 PM   #2
tsloper
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Hi Hal, you said,

Quote:
1. I'm hoping to, after graduation, to get a job in the game industry... I'm not sure what I might do to strengthen my resume outside of my current experience.
2. I'm not sure what might be useful to focus on at this point, and how I might make myself a more ideal candidate for an open position
1. I can't advise you because you have not said which kind of game job interests you the most.
2. Your first focus should be to look at the various types of jobs in the game industry, and examine yourself -- what interests you, what you're good at -- and pick one. Then you'll know what to do.
Read these:
http://www.skillset.org/games/careers/profiles/
http://archives.igda.org/breakingin/career_paths.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson7.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson34.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/m70.htm
http://gamecareerguide.com/getting_started/
3. As for other forums, there are igda.org and gamedev.net
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Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done. www.sloperama.com

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Old 10-04-2011, 05:32 AM   #3
HAL
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Thank you for the quick reply!

This is the game design forum, and ideally that would be the area that I would like to pursue. Specifically, pre-production work building a world's setting, history, and canon, as well as the story of the final game. It's the job that I've been doing for AtonementRPI, and it is absolutely fascinating.

As a kid, I remember going through and examining things such as the ecological relationships between the species in the Gears of War universe, or looking at the meaning of the symbols on the backs of the different Elites in Halo, and comparing them to the symbols on the forerunner consoles. I've taken that passion on in my current work, where I was given a skeletal story and a half-done world and had to flesh it out into something that not only was fun, but made sense.

For example, we had a large area devoted to a ruined city that players could scavenge and explore. The original developers had put a large robot in there that would occasionally go on a rampage, and so the first question I asked was, "Why? Where did he come from, what are his motivations, and what were your intentions with him?" There were none, so I worked him smoothly into the setting (linking him to our alpha setting), and now this random bit of gameplay they designed is an integral part to the current story-arc we have going.

As for the links, thank you! Interesting reads, but I've actually spent some time researching the different paths into the game industry, and have a fairly good idea of what the different positions are, as well as their responsibilities and the skills that would qualify one to get a job. That's why I'm posting here, I've got experience at the highest level of an actively running multiplayer game, with actual staffers and actual people playing. I'm wondering what I can do to expand that experience, or bring it into the interview setting. Or is that experience good enough to get a job?
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:26 AM   #4
tsloper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HAL View Post
1. This is the game design forum, and ideally that would be the area that I would like to pursue.
2. Specifically, pre-production work building a world's setting, history, and canon, as well as the story of the final game.
3. I'm wondering what I can do to expand that experience, or bring it into the interview setting.
4. Or is that experience good enough to get a job?
1. That's good that you're getting a college/uni degree. You can also read books.
Check:
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson8.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/designprep.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson14.htm
2. That sounds like story writing. A creative writing degree would be very helpful. Read http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson32.htm
3. Keep doing it. Create a résumé and portfolio. Read http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson12.htm
4. It's an excellent start, but nothing is ever enough.
Read:
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson49.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson27.htm
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson24.htm
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Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done. www.sloperama.com

PLEASE do not use this website's PM feature to contact me.
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Old 10-04-2011, 08:41 AM   #5
HAL
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Thank you very much for the additional information, those articles are quite informative. One thing I hadn't considered is location; being a college student, obviously I'm looking at companies that are non-local, yet applications are often filtered by proximity. This might prove a unique challenge, as studios are spread out over the US.

Blizzard in California.
Bethesda in Maryland.
Bungie in Washington.

That will be an interesting challenge!
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