Train2Game student Gareth Brook talks to T2G radio about his time in the army and how it has affected him today.
You can listen to part one here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1056755-train2game-student-gareth-talks-to-mark-part-1
Part two here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1056750-train2game-student-gareth-talks-to-mark-part-2
or read the transcript below.
Hi I’m Gareth Brook and I’m on the games designer course and I live in Leeds, England.
What’s your story? What are the past experiences that have shaped your life and made you who you are now?
You could go back to my Army days, I joined the Army at the age of 16 after leaving school and that had a big role to play in who I am today. It turned me into the man I am, made me grow up very quickly. I spent five years working mostly over in Northern Ireland, that’s where my one and only posting was, for about three years. I worked as a telecommunications technician and working a lot in IT systems as well as that. After leaving it, it got me in to IT, not something I particularly wanted to spend the rest of my life in but it was paying the bills, it was OK money and I was good at it so for the time being I was still wondering what to do with my life and it’s only recently that I’ve actually come to a decision. It’s a decision that was easy to make and it’s one that I should of made years ago really.
You mentioned that you were in the Army, has that influenced your game designs at all?
I’m not to sure. The ones I am working on at the moment, I would probably say not too much. I’m not quite at the level where I’m putting out first person shooters and that kind of thing on a military scale. I think it will have some influence in the future because all though I have been a civilian for seven or eight years now I think, I don’t believe anyone that’s spent a fair amount of time in the forces will ever become 100% civilian. I am still a squaddy at heart and I think it is going to influence me in the future. Things like the discipline from the Army and things like that, it’s stuff that’s going to stick with me forever.
What made you decide to leave the Army in the end?
It was a family decision in the end, I decided to choose my family over my career in the Armed forces. It’s a single mans game is the army.
I know you’ve got a fiancé now and a couple of kids as well.
That’s right, yeah. I’ve got a step son and we have a daughter together that’s just turned one.
So how do you find your time to study and do all your games design and being a Father at the same time?
It was fine, it was OK, but in the last few months my daughter’s started crawling and she is getting in to everything and with my fiancé working, times have gone where I could crack on during the day whilst my daughter was just in a bouncer. Now she’s everywhere it’s pretty hard during the day to try and get anything done. I’m a bit of a night crawler though so I do quite a lot in the early hours of the morning.
After you left the Army then, what did you do after that did you say?
I worked as an IT contractor, short term contracts. I started off in a place in Cumbria, where I was working for a company called B.A.E which were developing the latest and last Hunter Killer class submarine at the time. Then it was back down to Leeds, where I was brought up, I worked all over Leeds, different contracts in Wakefield, York and then a lot of it was on the road visiting different clients, down the M64 corridor, that sort of thing. As far north as Middlesbrough, as far south as Leicester and Coventry.
So you’ve had quite the versatile life then?
I’d say so yeah! I’m turning thirty in April but most of the people that I know don’t seem to have had as many life experiences as I do. I feel a bit old before my time if you ask me!
Out of all the things you have done what do you consider the most dramatic or exciting thing you have done?
That’s a bit of a difficult question to answer considering everything I’ve done. I suppose the most exciting thing is beginning the path in the games industry. After twenty nine years on this planet it feels like a decision I should of come to a decade ago and it’s just such a perfect fit. Dramatic? Any number of things for the last year, my life is filled with drama. If you ask my best friend he’ll say “It’s just like watching a soap opera.”
What brought you to the idea of finally getting in to the gaming industry?
I think it was just on a whim really. I was bored in the current job that I was previously in. I wasn’t bored as such but I didn’t want to do it for the rest of my life, that much I know and I thought OK, what am I going to do? I would mill around with different ideas in my head thinking I could do this or I could do that but nothing really seemed to jump out at me and say right this is what I’m meant to be doing with the rest of my life. I looked around trying to find courses in Video Games industry and I came across Train2Game’s website and I thought, Oh this looks pretty good, so it went from there.
What is your big game plan for the future, what are you aspiring to be?
Well right now as I am still in the designer course, anything in a design capacity would be great to get me in the industry. Long term future I would say I’d be interest in the production sides of the games industry. That’s something I’m not involving myself in heavily at the moment but it’s something I’ve always got the corner of my eye on. Picking up knowledge where I can about the role.
After being in the Army, what do you think of games like Call Of Duty and Modern Warfare, games like that. How do you compare them?
It’s probably best comparing a game like Battlefield rather than Call Of Duty. Call Of Duty, I can’t really compare that, everyone really plays that for the multiplayer and it’s just not realistic at all. Battlefield, more so but I don’t think it’s ever going to be, or should be, as realistic as possible because it is quite different. A game still has to be a game and has to be fun. All though I was in an operational place, it wasn’t Afghanistan or Iraq and I’m sure people that I know will tell you that it’s not something they would like to sit down and live out for two hours a night in front of a computer.
Right, so thank you very much Gareth!