Tyler Breen

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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Breaking into the VideoGame Industry in 2015

It’s almost frighteningly common to meet someone now who plays enough videogames to the point that they’ve worked it into their head that they want to make games. But there’s a very strong difference between playing games and making games, and the pleasure gained from player experience does not directly mirror that of game creation experience. Hours of coding, of 3D animating, or time spent smashing fists against the keyboard in the periods of "crunch time" where designers, programmers, and artists push themselves through hunger, exhaustion, and and frustration to complete a game on time is not in any sense similar to smashing and bashing heads in Skyrim or smashing into cars in Forza.

But, if one disagrees, highlights the pleasure and satisfaction that comes with the completion of a game, of a creation of work(art), then it becomes in our time period very important to understand just how you’re going to make a living making games.

Step 1: If you’re not making games, start making games.
What does this imply? Do painters, writers, musicians, singers, and athletes perform at their best if they aren’t doing the thing it is that they do? Making the claim of being a writer means nothing if you don’t consistently write. The same goes for making games.

Step 2: Connections & Networking
You may not know it, but so much of the production and design of games relies on cooperation between a very large team. The artists and animators do not live in a separate building and do as they please; they communicate with the designers, to make sure they’re following the design document, they communicate with the programmers, to make sure they are creating within the realms of possibility, and they are communicating with each other, so that they’re all creating the same thing, with the same feeling, and the same soul. If you don’t have communicative skills, you need to acquire some. Can you go introduce yourself to a stranger without your hands shaking? If not, my strongest recommendation is to go get a serving job, or something in the service industry, where you are interacting with customers on a daily people. The way to get good at communicating with people is, shockingly similar to the philosophy behind getting good at games, communicating with people. Investigate local video game communities near you. The IGDA (International Game Design Association) is a national organization within the United States with branches in nearly all major cities.

  • I don't think this topic needs such a long description to explain it's intent or areas of discussion. Something half as long should be able to get the point across. Besides which, I'm sure their must be more than two Steps to making a game and having the right tools at your disposal to do so, whether those be physical, digital, or social tools. And the points you bring up are extremely similar to the production of an animated film or a live-action film, be they a short, a series, or a feature. Also, a discussion like this should include the struggles that a lone programmer will go through to produce a game by themselves with only mild additional help from a few extra artists (who are likely communicating with the lead developer long distance), a composer or sound effects editor, a producer possibly, marketing professionals, so on and so forth: but basically involving only one key creator and programmer who's building the game from the ground up in their own house. FEZ was like this, Undertale was like this. Minecraft was like this I believe. And so was Five Nights At Freddy's 1 through 4. A lot of the same rules apply, but there's far less collaboration going on simply because of each developers particular circumstances. Though whatever the case may be, they all should be capable of collaborating if the opportunity presents itself. – Jonathan Leiter 5 years ago
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  • There are a lot of articles and documentaries floating around the internet about this topic, most of which say the same things you are already saying. Firstly, I think you need to make a distinction between indie developing and developing for companies like Naughty Dog or Ubisoft. Both, I believe, ascribe most to your first point, actually making games. Whether you wish to be a programmer or an artist, I think you should highlight the importance of portfolio and practice. One may have to gain experience working on other projects before developing one's own idea. Another large aspect of getting a game traction is to create an interested team and fan base, both of which require inspiring leadership and practical means of accomplishing the end project. – CHRISagi 5 years ago
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Latest Comments

Smart to start from the beginning and work your way forward, rather than start at the beginning of the millennium, as some writers here do. Was expecting mention of SWG, EVE Online, or some MMO’s based entirely on crafting. A Tale in the Desert comes to mind. This was really very well organized. I think you have an insightful understanding of games that you should do something with if you’re not already – more so than just writing articles.

Crafting Systems: Why Players Have Fallen for the Forge

The thought running through my mind the entirety of your article was that you were giving so much justice and respect to a narrative that ends so distastefully. I see ^ that my friend Paul beat me too it. The ending of the Mass Effect trilogy takes all of your choices, throughout the entirety of three games (imagine them as a soft clay that you can create a masterpiece out of) and essentially throws them into three different molds that take the beauty of all of your unique choices and manufactures them into three separate endings that include the same setting, more or less the same characters, and the same disposition of your protagonist. In fact, it’s arguable to say that the greatest difference in the three conclusions were the different gradients of color each had. I remember it was a very popular thing to mockingly say to one another “Did you chose the blue, green, or red ending?” The context of the choices the player chose were in it of themselves different, but the reality of the result of those choices in what you were rewarded with as a player was wholly and depressingly unsatisfying. I think your article might need to acknowledge that, so that it isn’t overshadowed by it.

The Role of Choice in the Mass Effect Universe

This is extremely well written. With that said, It seems that your origin of choice within games seems to start from the rise of the console, which I think is an oversight Since you use Fallout 3 within your argument, I think it may be helpful to use the original Fallout to explain what I mean. The cRPG’s of the late 90s like Fallout, Fallout 2, and Baldur’s Gate included choice in the same respect that Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness had. In fact, those older cRPG’s included far more choice, and story, altogether. I think that if you were to go back and reconsider this argument using PC games made in the 90s, during the dark-ages of CD-ROM cRPGs, where you navigated through an endless amount of pixels and text boxes, your overall argument would be stronger. After all, Fallout 3 was inspired by Fallout, which was inspired by the Wasteland, made in 1988. So to start in 2003 without specifically referencing the specificity of console games seems to me to be a mistake.

Bioshock and the Illusion of Choice in Gaming