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  • Breaking Into Game Development: Ask the Pros [Video Feature]

    [05.08.12]
    - GameCareerGuide.com staff
  • [For the first time ever, GameCareerGuide has partnered with the GDC Vault archive to present a video feature of one of the notable Game Career Seminar videos from GDC 2012.]

    Every year, the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco offers numerous lectures, panels, and presentations for aspiring developers looking to break into the industry. Now, GameCareerGuide and the GDC Vault video archive present one of these notable lectures from GDC 2012.

    The free video session, dubbed "Breaking Into Game Development," features major game developers like 343 Industries' Frank O'Connor (Halo 4), Portal creator Kim Swift (now of Airtight Games), Loot Drop's Brenda Brathwaite, Riot Games' Travis George (League of Legends), Andy Schatz (Monaco), and Microsoft's Chris Charla. Throughout the panel, all of these talented developers share some key advice for getting started on your own career on game creation.

    The panelists touched on all sorts of questions for entry-level developers, spanning advice on interviews, how to network with other developers, and even tips for starting your own game studio. To check out the presentation for yourself, please check out the video on GDC Vault.


    From left to right: Charla, Schatz, George, Swift, Brathwaite, O'Connor

    Among the myriad topics covered in the session, Swift shared some key advice for getting the job you're looking for. Breaking into the industry isn't the only trick to getting the job you want. Once you're in, you need to work hard to find a place in your discipline of choice.

    "It doesn't matter how you get the foot in the door, but once you do, don't squander the opportunity. If you want to be a designer and make levels, then make a level and show it to people," Swift said.

    Later in the panel, Brathwaite says that if you want to get into game design, you need to get experience making games yourself. Many designers get their start as a quality assurance tester, but she believes there's a better path to becoming a game design master.


    Brenda Brathwaite outlines some key advice for becoming a real game designer

    "The only way to learn game design is not beating the hell out of a game in test, the only way to learn game design is to make a lot of bad games yourself," she said.

    Sharing some advice for job seekers, O'Connor encourages aspiring developers to ask questions when they're at a job interview. When you're the subject of an interview, it's not just about adequately answering the questions you're presented with. If you come up with some of your own, you can show confidence, and really make a lasting impression.

    "We find out more about candidates from the questions they ask than the ones we ask them...You should be trying to win the interview by taking control of it a little bit," O'Connor said.


    Travis George shares his thoughts on leveraging social game experience at a AAA studio

    The sessions covers a wide swath of other topics for those looking to start their career in the game industry, and to hear the advice straight from the developers themselves, check out the full free video on the GDC Vault.

    And be sure to keep an eye on GameCareerGuide for even more GDC 2012 videos in the weeks ahead. The show's student-focused Game Career Seminar featured numerous other insightful lectures on getting started with game development, and free video lectures of this content will appear on GameCareerGuide soon. We look forward to sharing this GDC 2012 content with you all!

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