-Thomas Wills

While playing video games, I often wonder about the people behind them. Clearly a lot of work was put into most of the games we play. So that got me thinking; Why not clear up some of the mystery and ask a few people who work in game development what it’s like to make games?

The first person who came to mind was Jordan (who prefers only his first name here), a young aspiring indie developer who I happen to be friends with. So I journeyed to the sulfur pits of Facebook messenger to begin my quest. I began with an obvious question:

I: “What are some of the challenges you face while working on a game?”

J: “The biggest challenges for me are bugs and motivation. When trying to make a game, I might have trouble trying to get one of the main mechanics right. Maybe it's me, maybe it's the program I'm using. This demotivates me, and I shelf the project indefinitely and have a hard time starting a new one.”

I:”What are some of the rewarding parts of working on a game.”

J: “Definitely the end result. I find it fascinating just looking at what all my hard work culminated in. It really puts me in the mood for working on more ideas to see how they turn out.”

I: “Where might you get your inspiration?”

J: “One of my main inspirations is other games. When I play a game and something is missing, or a mechanic that I like isn't used too much, I find myself coming up with ways the mechanic could be improved or even stand on it's own. I also get inspiration from pop culture, and even the people around me.”

I: “What are you working on currently?”

J: “I'm working on a twin-stick shooter I guess, but who knows if I'll stick to it. It's in a concept stage right now, I'm still thinking how it'll work in my head.”

I: “Anything extra you want to tell the readers concerning game development?”

J: “Don't let bugs stop you. If you run into a brick wall during development, just power through it. Don't be like me and give up a project. Reversed engineer your own code and find out where the stumbling block is, then fix it. After all, us young people are the future of the game industry, we need to bring our talents to keep it up and running. Good luck!”

After interviewing Jordan, I asked about for somebody who might know someone who worked on video games; only to discover that Laggin out Entertainment’s big cheese Joe Zaffuto had experience working on games in the past so we set up an interview down by the old sulfur pits.

I: “What where some of the games you worked on and what did you do?”

JZ: “I worked as a zone lighting artist on the game Epic Mickey at Disney Interactive's Junction Point and was an Exterior Lighting Artist for EA's Madden' 12.”

I: “What are some of the challenges you faced while working on a game?”

JZ: “Time is always a factor. As they say, time is money and at times, you are under tough deadlines (aka crunch time) to complete your assignments. This can prove to be a challenge for even the most experienced game developer.”

I: “What are some of the rewarding parts of working on a game?”

JZ: “Being part of a team and creating with great people is the greatest reward. You learn more than your peers than you would ever learn in art school. It's an awesome atmosphere to work!”

I: “What made you want to be a game developer?”

JZ: “I worked in feature, television, webisodes and video games. the industries and the artists within them are always in competition with each other. Film artists think movies are better than gaming artist, etc... Me.... I jump from industry to the next without an issue. I do not like one over the other. I'm just in love with creating great quality stuff for people to enjoy.”

I: “Do you you have advice for young aspiring game developers?”

JZ: “Pick another profession. The market is saturated with artists and it's next to impossible to find work. (half kidding) My advice? practice, practice, practice. Ask industry professionals to look at your work. The more you do this, the better you will get.”

I: “Anything extra you want to tell the readers concerning game development?”

JZ: “Working hard and creating professional relationships help! Sometimes it's who you know as much as what you know.”

So there you have it, folks. A little brain food for the next time you play any video game.

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