The Train2Game blog was recently lucky enough to grab a chat with Volition’s Jameson Durall, Lead Level Designer of the upcoming Red Faction: Armageddon. In a wide ranging interview that’ll be of interest to anyone on a Train2Game course, Durall discussed the impressive Geo-Mod engine, how it impacts on Game Design, what goes on behind the scenes during game development at Volition, and revealed to us his tips for getting into the games industry.
In the final part of our interview, Durall talks about how he got into the games industry, gives advice to those who want get into the industry, and discusses the importance of modding as a learning tool. Part one is already available on the Train2Game blog. Part two can also be read here.
Train2Game blog: You mentioned you’ve got ten years experience in the games industry; first of all what made you want to get into the games industry and how did you get involved in it?
Jameson Durall: When I was a kid, the moment for me where I started dreaming of making games was when I played the original Zelda on the NES. Just getting into a world that was so alive and in depth, it was amazing for me. I never thought I could actually do it though! I assumed I’d end up doing I.T. work or something because I love computers. Then about 11 years ago I head about Full Sail, which is an entertainment college in Orlando, Florida; and they were starting up a Game Design degree programme. I went and took a look and I was sold, the thing I’ve dreamed of doing, a place that was going to give me the knowledge to do it, I was sold. After that I went through there, graduated and got my first gig in the industry and just kept going from there.
Train2Game blog: What advice would you give to people, students, who want a career as a Game Designer?
Jameson Durall: There’s a couple of things; I really feel that first of all a gaming degree is almost necessary these days. There are so many good schools out there that can provide one, and when an employer’s looking at one they’re going to want…an option of having an employee that has an education, they’re going to want to choose that person knowing that they come in with a really good foundation of knowledge.
The other thing I would say is for people who are even interested in it is to start modding. Find your favourite game, download their tools and start learning what it is to actually create content for this. That gives you real practical knowledge of how making games works, even if it’s just in a small capacity.
Train2Game blog: Are there any modding tools you’d recommend in particular?
Jameson Durall: UDK is something that’s really nice and free, and Unity, these are things that people can grab, start making some content. But the thing I suggest for people first of all is grab one of the LEGO games, like LEGO Indiana Jones, it has a full level building system built right into it. And LittleBigPlanet, those are things you can get in there, learn to play and just recreate something you experienced to see what goes into that.
Train2Game blog: Thanks for your time Jameson.
Red Faction: Armageddon is released June 10th.