Train2Game News: Sleeping Dogs art director on getting into the industry

http://www.sleepingdogs.net/news/Meet-the-Team-Josh-Lee

Sleeping Dogs art director Josh Lee recently featured in a United Front Games ‘meet the team’ interview and offered his take on getting into the industry, revealing he started in fine art.

“I’m kind of old school. There are a lot of schools now that didn’t exist at the time that offer these opportunities… I was born and raised in Montreal, I studied painting and drawing at Concordia in Fine Arts.”  said Lee.

“From there, I was trying to figure out how to make a living, and I ended up moving into the Film Animation department. Subsequently, I worked in traditional animation for a number of years doing frame-by-frame animation. At the time, over 15 years ago, you could feel a shift in the industry.” he continued, adding that adding 3D skills was an important element in getting into games.

“Things were moving more digitally, so I started taking 3D courses to balance my traditional arts background with more CG tools. After a few years working in traditional animation, I ended up in a CG house in Montreal called 4-elements that was affiliated with Softimage.”

“We did trailers for games, special effects, CG for commercials, any number of things a small startup would do. That was my first exposure to the production side of games. When that company closed temporarily, I had an opportunity at EA.” Lee added.

It’s an interview that’s sure to be interesting to Train2Game students, as Lee discusses what his role as art director involves, life at United Front, and of course, Sleeping Dogs. Read it here.

Be sure to keep reading The Train2Game Blog for advice from professionals about getting into the industry, while we’ll also keep you up to date with the latest Sleeping Dogs news.

What are your thoughts on Lee’s route into the industry?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game News: “There’s never been a better time to run your own gig” – Ian Livingstone

Now is a better time than ever been before for an aspiring game developer to run their own business. That’s according to Eidos life president and games industry veteran Ian Livingstone who was speaking at BAFTA’s Games Question Time.

“There’s never been a better time to run your own gig” said Livingstone, after praising the introduction of games tax relief earlier this year. The Fighting Fantasy co-author added that the rise of digital downloads and trends such as monetisation through free-to-play have all contributed to making it easier than ever to set up an independent games studio.

Ian Livingstone was one of a number of industry figures who aided in mentoring Train2Game students taking part in Make Something Unreal Live last April. The Games Workshop co-founder said he was “delighted” to be part of the initiative.

There’s more from Ian Livingstone here on The Train2Game Blog.

Do you agree with Ian Livingstone in believing that now’s a better time than there’s ever been to do your own thing?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game News: Frozen Synapse dev blogs about ‘How to Be an Indie Game Developer’

Frozen Synapse by Mode 7 Games is published through Steam

‘How do I become an indie game developer?’ is a question that’s often asked to industry professionals, so Mode 7’s Paul Taylor has attempted to answer that very query in a in a lengthy, but very interesting blog post.

Mode 7 Games is the Oxford indie game development studio behind PC tactical strategy title Frozen Synapse.

The ‘How to be an indie game developer’ blog post should make fascinating reading for any Train2Game student, as it discusses almost all areas of development and marketing. Subjects covered by Taylor include game design, concept, code, art and animation, music and audio, writing, business and marketing, free-to-play vs. pay once and even using videos.  Be sure to give it a read.

Taylor has previously written about what he thinks made Frozen Synapse a success, and there’s more about the indie title here on The Train2Game Blog.

Be sure to keep reading for advice from games industry professionals on how you can break into development.

What are your thoughts on the blog post from Mode 7? Do you have aspirations to be an indie developer and if so, what steps have you made towards it?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game News: BioWare senior writer Jennifer Hepler on getting into the industry

Dragon Age 2 Train2Game

Aspiring game designers looking to break into the industry should work on tabletop roleplaying games in order to learn about writing. That’s according to BioWare senior writer Jennifer Hepler who wrote plots for Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

“If you don’t have a pressing need to make money, do a little time working for tabletop roleplaying games. It’s fairly easy to break in, because they pay peanuts, but you learn a ton about game design from working with dice systems.” she told the BioWare Blog, adding that it looks good when applying for jobs in the games industry.

“And since most videogame designers (certainly of RPGs) are huge tabletop game geeks, it’s a great credit to have when applying for jobs. Most people in the tabletop field end up drifting into videogames eventually, since you can live on what they pay you, so you’ll also make contacts who can end up being helpful down the line.” said the Dragon Age writer.

Hepler also described how she and her husband – Mass Effect writer Chris Hepler – broke into the games industry and even had a stint in Hollywood.

“My entry into games came in college when I met my now-husband and was introduced to Vampire and Shadowrun.” she said.

“Having spent my high school years writing and trying to sell short stories, I immediately thought about trying to do some professional writing for RPGs, and by the time we graduated college, Chris Hepler (now a writer on Mass Effect) and I had written several books for Shadowrun, Earthdawn and Paranoia.”

“We then took a detour in Hollywood for a few years, but it was a very natural gravitation back toward games which brought us to GDC to meet Bioware. After six years in Hollywood, when we were still calling “extras” “NPCs,” we figured maybe we were in the wrong field.” Hepler added.

Read the full interview with BioWare senior writer Jennifer Hepler here, in which she also details what her job involves.

There’s more advice from professionals on getting into the industry here on The Train2Game Blog, with more information on Train2Game courses here.

What are your thoughts on the idea of using tabletop RPGs as a base for getting into the games industry?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game News: BioWare product manager and former QA Tester on getting into the industry

Getting a foot in the door is the most important thing  for those looking to get into the games industry. That’s according to BioWare product manager Nick Clifford, who started with the Mass Effect and Dragon Age developer as a QA Tester before moving into his current role.

“I started in the industry as a QA tester. I spent about a year testing games before I made the jump to marketing. You have to get your foot in the door, whether it’s testing or by making connections with people.” Clifford told the BioWare Blog, before adding that no matter if you’re a game designer, a game artist or something else, having a portfolio is also key.

“If you have a trade such as writing, do some fan fiction, if you are an artist, draw! The way to get noticed is to show off your skills. We are always looking for talented people to join the BioWare family.” he said.

Of course, Train2Game offers a potential foot in the door for students with the work placement scheme.

There’s much more advice from games professionals on getting into the industry here on The Train2Game Blog.

What are your thoughts on the advice from BioWare’s Nick Clifford?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game News: Metro: Last Light brand manager on getting into the industry

Those looking to move forward into the games industry need play a lot of video games, but need to do more than playing the big box office hits; they need to play independent titles too. That’s according to Metro: Last Light global brand manager Mark Madsen.

“Play the Hell out of video games, continue to gather your own opinion.” he told The Train2Game Blog when we asked his advice on getting into the industry at a recent press event by THQ.

“And while the mass market games are a lot of fun, just understand that you need to take those with a grain of salt. They drew their inspiration from elsewhere, and from elsewhere is where you should really get your gaming base.” he added.

The advice is somewhat similar to that of Mass Effect 3 senior writer John Dombrow, who previously said “You should play games all the time.”

Find out more about Metro: Last Light from our interview with senior producer John Block in which he discusses developing the game and offers his own advice on getting into the industry.  Metro: Last Light is scheduled for release early next year.

There’s more advice from industry professionals on getting into the industry here on The Train2Game Blog.

As usual, leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game News: BioWare programmer offers advice on getting into the industry

Those looking to get into the games industry need to be aware that you need more than just a love video games. That’s according BioWare programmer Fernando Secco who argues you need to be aware of a wide variety of different areas.

“I think a good advice is always to say that playing games is very different than working with games. One can love and know a lot about games. But video games are not only about making games, it’s about working in team, building a vision, dealing with customer, studying, learning and finding out that your ideas may be not as good as you thought.” he told the BioWare Blog.

Secco added that whatever area of the games industry you’re aiming for, you need to practice your skills.

“I think the most important thing is make sure that is what you want. Not many people want to mix their hobby with their work. If you are sure what you want then pick an area you like, try to understand what a professional on that area does, which are his responsibilities, what he has to deliver, which tools he needs to know and start practicing.” he said.

Train2Game students can find out more about what it’s like to be a programmer at BioWare in the full interview with Fernando Secco.

There’s much more advice from games professionals on getting into the industry here on The Train2Game Blog.

As usual, leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game News: Darksiders II Creative Manager on getting into the industry

Train2Game News recently went to a Darksiders II preview event organised by THQ. While there we had a quick chat with Vigil Games Creative Manager Jeremy Greiner, who told us how he broke into the games industry and offered advice to those looking to get in.

“My gateway into the industry was through community.” He told The Train2Game Blog.

“I was very active on the Microsoft forums, in the shooter forums, and ended up on becoming community manager and from there moved forward on the path.”

“Once you get your foot in the door, it’s all about what you do with it, so just get that foot in the door and keep trying hard.” Greiner added.

Getting a foot in the door can be a very important step towards a career in the games industry, and it’s something that Train2Game can provide students with thanks to the work placement scheme.

There’s more advice from industry professionals about getting into the industry here on The Train2Game Blog.

Also, keep reading for the latest Darksiders II news. Vigil’s action adventure game is scheduled for release for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC in August. A Wii U version will arrive at a later date.

What are your thoughts on Greiner’s path into the industry and his advice?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game News: Mass Effect 3 producer praises benefits of modding for aspiring developers

Train2Game students looking to show that they have that little bit of extra dedication in attempting to break into the games industry should be building and finishing mods.

That’s according to BioWare producer Michael Gamble, who is currently focusing on Mass Effect 3 DLC.

Speaking to the BioWare Blog, he said building a fully working mod shows potential employers that you can finish something that you’ve started.

“Work on a lot of mods and finish them. This shows that you have the rigor to complete something you have started, and gets you working in a team environment.” said Gamble.

“Developing mods will also show you what it’s like to pour your heart into a creative work, and to expect nothing in return!” he added.

The BioWare producer’s advice is almost identical to what id Software creative director Tim Willits has previously told The Train2Game Blog.

“What I suggest to people who want to get in the industry is find their favourite engine – Unreal, Source, it doesn’t matter, id tech – find whatever engine they like, what games they like to play, get the mod tools and make a mod.” he said.

“And make sure they complete it! Lots of times we have people who send resumes’ in with 20 half completed mods; we don’t want that, we want a handful of one’s that are actually done, and that’s really important.” Willits added.

There’s more advice from industry professionals right here on The Train2Game Blog, while be sure to keep reading for the latest news from BioWare.

What are your thoughts on the advice from BioWare producer Michael Gamble? Are you already following it?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game News: Dragon Age Level Designer on getting into the industry

Dragon Age 2 Train2Game blog image

Train2Game students looking to make that first step into working full-time in the industry should need to practice making their own games. That’s according to BioWare level designer Kaelin Lavallee, who has worked on both Dragon Age games.

“Make your own games! With all the free tools out there these days (XNA, Unreal, Unity) it’s easy to get started creating them.” he told BioWare Blog.

“Hone your skills (I can’t believe I just said that). Just don’t be lazy! You can’t have an awesome job and be lazy.”

The interview also sees Lavallee discuss is role as a level designer, and how there’s no such thing as an “average day” in the office at BioWare.

The full BioWare interview with level designer Kaelin Lavalee is here.

There’s more advice from professional game developers on how to get into the industry, right here on the Train2Game Blog. Keep reading for the latest news from BioWare.

What are your thoughts on Lavellee’s advice?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.