Friday, March 31, 2006

Reviews time!

Two horror movies I've seen this week:

I got Wolf Creek on DVD. Greg McLean's debut as a director. Looked like the sort of movie I would enjoy and it was. There was nothing particularly original here, but it is still enjoyable. Some gore, some suspence and a lot of horror. The build up at the beginning is a bit too long and slow, especially since it doesn't really manage to flesh out the characters enough before the horror begins. Worth watching if you are a horror fan.


Hostel is by Eli Roth, the guy who did Cabin Fever. I enjoyed Cabin Fever, but didn't love it. Hostel on the other hand is great. Like Wolf Creek it also suffers from a slow pace at the beginning and to make things worse it makes you dislike the main characters a little too much and wish they were already dead whithin the first five minutes of the movie. A lot of sex and obnoxious sexually obssessed guys make it feel like American Pie minus the funny gags. But then when it finally picks up and the horror begins, it's absolutely ruthless. A guy in front of us walked out, which is a rarity with today's tame post-Scream horror movies. The movie actually has a plot with a mystery ("What the hell is going on?") that gets a very satisfying and original payoff. It gets a bit over the top towards the end, but it doesn't stop being fun for a second after the gorror starts. I will most certainly get it when it comes out on DVD and will eagerly await Eli Roth next movies.



Thursday, March 30, 2006

The more they stay the same

Well, I decided to hold off on writing about my comics industry adventures. I'm now in touch with a few editors and I just rather wait until it's behind me before discussing it all publicly. There is a very good chance nothing will come out of it (probably more likely than not) and I am just setting myself for yet another disappointment. Yet, I also have a good feeling about it at the same time (which will no doubt contribute to the eventual devestating disappointment).

So I'll shelf it all for now, but not for too long. I might get the bad/good news sooner than I think and then I might be able to share it.

For now I'll just go back to writing about other things.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The more things change

Trying to put together all the details of my attempts to break into the comics industry was a bit emotional. I went through tons of old e-mails and relived lots of little moments from the last seven years. But it also made me want to give it another go. The last couple of years all my energies have been focused on becoming a game designer, but now I can finally redirect some efforts back towards writing. Yesterday I went on a new round of contacting comics editors. I won't jinx myself by telling publically which editors I contacted and what they had to say so far, but I'm sure soon I'll be able to tell you if it worked out or not.

I still intend to cover my previous attempts, but that will have to wait for the weekend as we have a fairly busy week at work. It's my last week on my current project so I need to wrap up all my duties. It probably will carry on to next week, but I'll be away most of the week doing a special first aid course (exciting!). More about that later as well.


Monday, March 27, 2006

Not gonna bother

I've decided recently that I'm not going to bother trying to finish games. If a game is good enough, I will be compelled to keep playing until it is finished, even if it's quite hard. I didn't have to try to finish Resident Evil 4, Metroid Prime or Mario Sunshine. The games were just so much fun I couldn't stop, even if it meant trying really hard to pass certain challenges.

I have a growing collection of games with many games I didn't get to play yet and some I started and didn't finish. Being a good boy I try to finish most games before moving on to the next ones, but with some games it felt like a chore. Like having to finish your vegetables if you want to get desert.

The question, why? Why should I pay for the game and then also have to shove it down my throat? If the game doesn't compel me to finish it, why bother?

So there. I'm not feeling guilty anymore. Yay.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Coming Soon

Tonight I'll start compiling all the details for my next big thread of posts, one that is bound to end up being much much longer than path to design. It will be a chronological telling of my attempts to break into the comics industry. I didn't make it yet, but I got quite close and collected interesting stories along the way. There was a lot of heartbreak involved, but it was still a very exciting and unique ride. Juxtaposed with my past efforts will be my new upcoming attempts.

It'll be fun.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Path to Design Part 5

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

Being a Lead Tester involved a little more money, a little more responsibility and a little more respect, but it was still Quality Assurance. I was a little jealous when I longingly stared at the designers in the comapny (OK, a LOT JEALOUS) and wished I was part of their world. A bit like the Little Mermaid then, only a bit less gay. Well, differently gay. Regardless, that was how things were. I did enjoy my job, but I kept my eyes peels for the first opportunity for me to pounce on. Carpe diem and so on.

Luckily I landed in a small company that was just on the verge of making it big. Ideaworks3d! already made its mark in the games idustry with their advanced mobile technology, porting Playstation games such as Tomb Raider and Tony Hawk to mobile phones and just started creating original games for both existing and new franchises. After a successful E3 showing in 2005 the company garnered more attention and really start blossoming. The time seemed right, even though I spent only a few months working as a lead tester and felt a little guilty abandoning the position so soon for the next best thing. But not that guilty.

I put my name forward through one of the producers and created a PDF porfolio listing all of my relevant previous experience: Time Commanders, Neverwinter Nights module even older flash games, comics and interviews I conducted. A nice variety of work which is ideal for game design as the designer needs to know how to do a little bit of everything. I even sent in a couple of game pitches.

Eventually I was told by the Development Director that they're trying to place me in a junior design position. By January this year I finally got my hands dirty working on my first project as a designer and a couple of months later I got the contract that sealed the deal. I'm a designer.

I still need to remind myself that I'm a game designer. I wanted to be one for so long that it didn't really sink in yet. A bit like those crazy dreams you have when you end up on the Buffy or Friends shows as a regular cast member only to wake up and realize Lisa Kudrow isn't your new best friend in real life. You never had one of those dreams? Oh well, it must be me then. Still, I do have the feeling that I'll be waking up soon and realize I'm still a tester.

So that's it. That's how I became a designer. Does that mean that my journy is over? No. There are other paths to follow. I have more dreams to pursue, in game development and outside of it.

With that said, I consider myself very lucky to make at least one of my dreams come true. Stick around to read this blog to witness me chasing a few more dreams.


This is a nice little photochop an on-line friend made for me to celebrate my move from QA to design.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Finally, pictures of my dogs as promised.

First, a picture of Kato at 3 months. We were still leaving in a flat at the time and Kato had his bed under the kitchen table. He was utterly and totally edible. Then again, I never saw a Great Dane puppy that wasn't.

And this is Leo at 2 1/2 months. His first night with us.

A more recent picture of Kato, at almost four years. What a sexy son of a bitch!

And a picture of the two of them together.

These aren't very recent and Leo has grown a lot since, so I'll be sure to had some new pictures soon. Heck those dogs are so handsome they deserve their own blog!

The dog in this video isn't mine. Thank God!

And I thought Leo was crazy!


Monday, March 20, 2006

The Walk of Warcraft

I just had the best idea ever. If anyone who can do something about it is reading this, feel free to do something about it, but if it makes lots of money please send me a token of your appreciation.

Here it is: a treadmill that connects to the PC. In order to make your character move in the game you have to walk. If you want to run or ride an animal or vehicle, you have to run! So all those long distances covered in The World of Warcraft and other games will actually translate to real exercise! And it will also make sure you don't play the game too much as you will eventually get really tired.


Unless of course you get into a crazy battle when you're try to jump around like crazy and you end up being thrown off the machine and breaking your neck. If that happens, don't sue me- sue the idiots who made the machine. I have absolutely nothing to do with it!


Saturday, March 18, 2006


Over the last year I've been studying Japanese.

It started last year when I suddenly had the urge to learn something new. I had a fairly stable job and I thought it will be great if I can get an MA degree attending a part-time evening class. My first choice was writing and I found quite a few places that first perfectly with my busy schedule. But it was already too late and all the spaces were filled including a lenghty waiting list. So that had to wait for next year (actually I should probably be applying over the next few weeks).

But I still wanted to learn something new.

At that time our company started establishing ties with Square-Enix, one of the world's most famous Japanese game developers. I was always fascinated by Japanese culture: movies, comics, animation and the language in general and I also always wanted to learn a new language from scratch. So all the arrows pointed in the same direction: Japanese.

I found a great course in King's College and joined it with my partner. We always look for things to do together (sadly I can't get him on World of Warcraft) and this guaranteed us one evening a week of quality time. While he liked it, he didn't like it enough and dropped out near the end of the first term. The Japanese language is extremely complex and you can only go for it if you're really enthusiastic about it. One lesson away from the end of the second term, I'm still motivated and excited about the whole thing. There's even a good chance I'll continue into the second year, though I don't know if I can do both Japanese and Writing while working full time (and overtime often).

I don't want to just learn how to speak the language, but also how to read and write at the same level as native Japanese people, Otherwise what's the point? Like many other things, this is the sort of thing I started because I was just too stupid to know how complicated and intimidating it was going to be.

Hopefully in a few years I'll be controlling four languages very well: English, Hebrew, Russian and Japanese. It's nice to know stuff.

The whole thing makes me wanna cry sometimes. I bought a few comics and other easy reading material and I can't even read simple Pokemon stories at this stage! Though I can say this: Keko o tabemasen ka*?


* Wouldn't you like to eat cake?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Path to Design Part 4

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

So there I was, a tester.

Testers don't have the greatest reputation in the inudstry. It's like only half a level above the cleaners in the company's hierarchy. QA (quality Assurance) is a very important aspect of game development and you learn a lot from it regardless of your coveted position. So it's still worth going for a testing gig if you struggle getting the job you believe you deserve.

At first I told myself to lower my expectations. That I could be doing this supposedly lowly job for a long time, or maybe even let go at one stage altogether. Yet a couple of days into the job I started eyeing the next step: a lead tester. There were three lead testers at the time and I knew that it was only a matter of time before one of them will move on. Especially since two of them had a long and tedious commute from Brighton. So how do you prepare yourself for a lead tester position? Especially since you've been testing for only a couple of weeks by that point? You just do. I requested to learn how to do all the fancy bug database management and other little bits and pieces related to lead testing. My reasoning was that I would like to help if one of the leads will be unavailable, and indeed that was the case. I pitched in and worked as fill-in lead whenever one of the other leads was on vacation or sick.

We were based in Bayswater outside the main building in a small rented room nearby. On the day we finally moved into the main building, the only two girls in QA left(which were half of the girls in the entire company), including one of the lead testers. I was right, she didn't want to bother with the commute anymore (and today happened to be the last day for the other lead tester from Brighton). I approached my QA manager and requested to be considered for the position even though I was only a tester for three and a half months at the time at my very first testing job. He said he'll think about it and two days later I got the good news. It might've been the fact that I was really hard working and taking the initiative in learning new stuff, or the fact that I was playing World of Warcraft with my boss. Either way, things kept working my way much faster than I could imagine.

Partly because as soon as I got the Lead Tester position I already set my eyes on the next step: to become a designer. It wasn't greed, it was ambition. I enjoyed every step of the way, but I wasn't cutting myself any slack. If you don't move forward, you move backwards because others will be moving forward and leave you behind.

I was willing to be a lead tester for a couple of years if necessary, but because I was lucky enough to be working for a successful growing company at just the right time, I had to strike the iron while it was still hot. Besides, I was willing to be a lead for a couple of years, but I didn't really want to. At the age of 27 I felt that I had to make up for lost time, and I did. But even now my current lead designer has just turned 24 and he has years and years of experience and many games under the belt.

So how did I become a designer? Well, all will be revealed in the last part of Path to Design.

To be concluded!


Part 5

The Official Reply

Just as I posted my last post, I found this official statement from Matt Stone and Trey Parker:

So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun! Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies. Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!

Nice, but not still not enough. I expect there'll be more soon...


Trapped in the closet

The one day I decide to write about Tom Cruise and just before going to bed I happen to read about this story:
Sources from inside Paramount and South Park Studios report that parent company Viacom pulled last night's scheduled repeat of the high-rated "Trapped in the Closet" episode after the humorless Scientologist movie star Tom Cruise threatened to cancel all publicity for Mission Impossible:3 if Comedy Central aired the episode that satirizes Scientology and mocks his sexuality again.

Not only is this the first time that the South Park creators have been officially censored in their ten hit seasons with Comedy Central, Viacom officials also reportedly ordered Matt Stone and Trey Parker not to discuss the reason why their episode was cancelled.

The South Park boys are said to be angry, but will probably get revenge with the manner in which they deal with Scientologist Isaac Hayes' departure from the show.

Here is the South Park episode Tom Cruise doesn't want you to see. Spread the word around and make sure every single person on the planet watches it. In your face Tommy!

It's just like when Tom Cruise sued the gay porn actor who claimed they had an affair. By over reacting like an idiot, rather than make a rumor or a joke just fade away, he makes sure to kick a fuss and not let anyone forget. What a douchebag*.

And of course don't get me started with Isaac Hayes. He's no just a hypocrite for leaving South Park over the Scientology jokes, he's also a bigot. That's what you are when you laugh at the believes of others, but not at your own. I hope Trey and Matt are going to tear that asshole apart in one their future episodes. They must be very angry and plotting their revenge right at this moment. Sweet!

What's wrong with me? Two days in a row I'm posting about Tom Cruise! I should be writing Path to Design part 4! Sorry, not more Tom Cruise** for a while (unless he does something else that is amazingly embarassing/stupid/annoying which is very likely).


* What does douchebag actually mean? Couldn't find it on Wikipedia. Regardless, I'm pretty Sure Tom Cruise is one of those. [edit: Check the comments for the answer]
** If you're reading this blog, Mr. Cruise, please don't sue me.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Scary Cruise

Just saw the trailer for Scary Movie 4. It seems to be more of the same which isn't bad: around 90 minutes of gags making fun of recent movies. They also make fun of the Tom Cruise interview on Oprah's. I never actually saw it before, I just knew that he jumped on the sofa. This made me want to see the original.

Managed to find it on-line here. Ooh, cringe factor 8.7 out 10. And then there was this parody which is also funny, but nothing can beat the original perfomance. "Hey, look! I'm so in love with this girl I can't possibly be gay!" Could it be that he rather have rumours that he's crazy rather than gay? Possible.

I blame it on scientology.


Yawn, stretch, repeat

Yeah, no posting yesterday. I actually did write a little, starting a draft for a post about me learning Japanese that I will hopefully finish before the end of year. And there's of course the last part of the Path to Design series of posts (I think it's the last one, who knows? I assumed it would last only three posts initially). So all of that will be posted by the end of the week. Also, my lovley doggies will make their blog debut in some glorious pictures. So the blog is nowhere near dead, but I really really didn't feel like writing yesterday.

And I don't really feel like writing today, to be honest. The whole idea of this blog is to force me to write even when I don't feel like it. So here I am writing about not really feeling like writing. This is great stuff, I love it!


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Path to Design Part 3

Part 1 Part 2

At long last, the saga continues. Yay.

I sent several applications for tester positions through company websites. The only one that got back to me was Lionhead which was quite exciting. I enjoyed the first Black & White and was looking for an excuse to buy Fable. Also, an IGDA committee member (the same one who recommended I'll make a Neverwinter Nights module) forwarded my CV to the QA manager at his current company, Ideaworks3D.

Lionhead set me an interview for Monday. I left for a lovely vacation in Finland for a few days full of snow, dog sledding and Reindeers. It was there that the QA manager called me and asked me if I want to come and do work for them for two weeks starting Monday. I explained that I was busy on Monday and that I can start on Tuesday. After being unemployed for so long, even just two weeks of work seemed like a great triumph. Back then I didn't realize how special Ideaworks3D was. I only knew it was a company making mobile phone games and I had little respect to the platform at the time, basing my prejudice on the crappy games that came with my own phones. On the other hand there was Lionhead! Where Peter Molyneux works! So I pretty much already decided that if Lionhead accepted me, I would take them over Ideaworks3D even though I3D was in London while Lionhead were in Guildford and required a commute similar to the nightmarish one I did to Creative Assembly in Horsham and swore to never do again. Fortunately I screwed up the Lionhead interview and had yet another blessing in disguise.

I got enough notice about the interview to buy Fable and play it for quite a bit. I went there by train and the commute was indeed long, but mostly because I had to walk for more than thirty minutes from the train station. I got a little lost, but eventually found the place. I waited a little and then went into a room with two very nice guys whose names I forgot by now and their faces are nothing but a blur. They explained the position to me: it wasn't a regular testing job. We weren't meant to find bugs in the game, we were solely meant to comment about the fun factor. To see if the game is fun and balanced, if the User Interface makes sense and so on. I loved the idea very much as it sounded like something that could organically lead into design, something with a lot of creative input.

After chatting to me for a while they left me alone with an X-Box devkit running Fable and asked me to play a certain level of the game and write down comments and suggestions. They said that there are several things that are obvious and they expect me to notice. Oh well. I played and I wrote. And then they came back to the room and I said goodbye, aching to be called back. On the way back to the train I stopped and cringed. I suddenly realized that I wrote something stupid: brining up a problem, but not offering a solution to it- something they mentioned in the interview as a big no no. When I got the rejection letter after a few days I assumed it was either that or the fact that I was based in London and wasn't planning to relocate. Or maybe they found someone who was even cuter than me? Who knows, who cares? I'm just so glad things worked out that way.

On Tuesday I started working as a tester for Ideaworks3D! and it was great fun. Got to test System Rush on the N-Gage as my first game and it was the first time I actually played the machine. It turned out I wasn't needed for just two weeks, but for a permanent position. My QA manager only said two weeks so he can safely try me out before promising anything. I was a pretty good tester, if I say so myself, and got to keep my place.

I broke into the game industry. I got my foot in the door. Now I just had to make sure nobody would slam it shut and chop it off.

To be continued,


Part 4 Part 5

Monday, March 13, 2006

Be a Game Designer

Writing my Path to Design series of posts (it will be continued soon, hopefully in the next two days) reminded me of this fantastic TV advert. The less I say about it the better.

Hint: it's not really like that in real life.


Now, this is cool

Check out these pavement paintings here and here. This guy is amazing.

A workmate on mine insists that these are photoshoped, but you can see from some of the photos, taken at other angles, how the incredible illusion is achieved.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Worst of Warcraft

Taking a little break from Path to Design, but part 3 is coming soon. Promise!

I've been playing this game for almost a year now. I'm afraid to total the time spent playing with all the characters I created and I know I'm not the worst time spender. Others spend more time playing with even more characters. At least now as a game designer I have the added excuse that I'm "doing research".

World of Warcraft is a Massively Multiplayer On-line Role Playing Game. Those games aren't meant to be finished in a week or even a few months. They are built to last for years. They are meant to be played socially with other people and drain a huge chunk of your free time.

I just wonder what better things I could've done during the hundreds of hours I spent playing the game: Written books, scripts, drawn comics, volunteered for worthy causes, develop my skills by creating game demos and so much more. Heck, even cleaning my study a bit would've been great.

But then again I'm enjoying WoW. It's not that different essentially than going out regularly to play Golf for the day or going on frequent fishing and camping trips. It is a fairly social activity. Even when you're not actively in a group of people and do things solo, you're still chatting to your guild buddies. Not only about the actual game, but also socially in general. When I tried to get my brother playing the game he claimed he didn't have the time or money for something like that. My selling point, which turned out to be true, was that if he was playing the game on my server we would spend much more time doing something together. Now if I can only get my partner playing the game it'll be great, but alas he won't touch anything other than Zuma - the only game he's better at than me. If I'll get him hooked as well I could get away with playing it so much. He is already tired of the "I can't help now because I can't pause this game, it's played on-line with other people" excuse. To avoid a world war I had to make my dedicated friends wait for me for ten minutes in the Stockades dungeon while I quickly helped unload shopping from the car and unpacking it. They were very nice and understanding, thankfully.

Another question is: am I really enjoying the game? Or am I just hooked to several of its addictive mechanics? On the surface, many of the gameplay mechanics are tedious. The game is so huge it involves mini-commuting to get from one place to another. Most of the quests are pretty much the same: deliver something, kill something, create something, protect something and so on. The battle system itself is simplified and unsatisfying compared to first person shooter and fighting games. But it is still very addictive to level up the character, learn new abilities, buy new equipment and gradually open up the massive World of Warcraft.

I can certainly find some very obvious signs of addiction, such as neglecting playing any other games. I pretty much didn't touch my consoles since We Love Katamari (a wonderful original game). I only play my DS on the way to work or in bed. This hopefully will change soon as now I'm busy catching up and levelling up my character. I used to have a level 45 Dwarf Hunter on another server, a character I pretty much abandoned to go play on a new server with my friends. That's OK, since with my Hunter I played the game alone 99% of the time which was quite painful, but now I feel like I have to work hard to quickly go back to that high level.

Oh well!


Saturday, March 11, 2006

Path to Design Part 2

Part 1

I bought two books to start with: Game Design: The Art & Business of Creating Games by Bob Bates and Break into the Game Industry by Ernest Adams.

Bates' book was very interesting and unveiled many aspects of the game making process that the average gamer doesn't stop to think about. It is a recommended read, but I didn't find it too helpful in getting me a job. With that said, at that point of the search I was kinda looking for a book that will reveal the simple trick to get into the industry right away. Some kind of secret password that will get me hired on the spot.

While I never found that book, Break into the Game Industry was the closest thing to it. Ernest Adams discusses pretty much all the jobs in the industry and practical ways to get there. All those ways include a lot of hard work without any real shortcuts, which is fair enough. A year or so later I got to tell Ernest at an IGDA meeting, to his satisfaction, that his book worked for me.

Speaking of the IGDA, The International Game Developers Association, the best advice I did get from the book was to join it. I checked out the website and after talking to a few people on the message boards I decided to pay $100 for the membership (the price has dropped significantly since), somewhat feeling as if I was buying myself a position in the games industry.

The London Chapter has been practically dead at the time, but after a few people shown interest in it on the London message board, we had a meeting that relaunched the chapter with a new committee of which I was a part of. It was quite exciting. We were, and still are, a combination of seasoned industry profesionals and eager wannabes. We meet every two weeks and plan various events for London based game developers. I learnt a lot from those people and started networking, while having fun on the way. I got to meet people who worked on games I played as a kid. That alone was mind blowing and took getting used to.

Meanwhile, I did a day game focus testing for Climax in their Portsmouth office. It was fun, but didn't lead to anything. I then got the job on Time Commanders and for two and a half weeks I was an "industry profesional". It didn't lead to a permanent position at Creative Assembly and that's probably was for the best as the commute was a nightmarish 2 1/2 hours trip in each direction using two tubes, two trains and a taxi.

An IGDA committee member gave me the valuable advice to do a Neverwinter Nights module and I did. It took me three-four months of full time hard work. I recorded 1,500 files of dialogue with friends, 500 of them which were used. The module itself was fairly long and lasted between eight to twenty hours. It was a huge headache and I needed constant help and support from the excellent NWN community, but I pulled it off and learnt a lot about game design and scripting on the way. I even had my own deadline and crunch time. The scale was massive and had I known what I was walking into, I might have thought twice. I was just so lucky I was so stupid and innocent.

I also fiddled with the Unreal Tournament 2004 level editor and took part of an IGDA London Chapter group project doing a Half-Life 2 mod that never really took off the ground. Well, took off for a second and then crashed magnificently.

But even with a growing game design portfolio I didn't get any invitations for interviews. I was quite depressed and started looking for jobs anywhere else. A small part of me gave up on getting a job at the games industry. I was 26 which in the games industry is almost middle life. Obviously I wasn't very convincing in my attempts to apply for work at various shops and supermarkets as they also ended up rejecting me as well. It did not feel good.

At first I was looking for work as a Designer/animator. That was a mistake as I didn't want to be an animator anyway and such an application just confused people, but applying only as a designer didn't yield any results either. It was only when I decided to simply bite the bullet and apply only as a tester when things started looking up.

To be continued,


Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

Friday, March 10, 2006

Path to Design Part 1

So how did I become a designer? It's a good question, one that I would've loved to know the answer for a couple of years ago when I was working freelance (which was a nicer way to say I was unemployed). I had no design experience or portfolio and any cheeky attempts to apply to companies as a designer resulted in building my impressive collection of rejection letters.

And all I wanted to be all along was an actor. Nothing too fancy. I didn't want to be a Tom Cruise or a Jack Nicholson. Just win a little Oscar for a surprise underdog hit, follow it up with a few flops including a Batman movie and die young of drugs overdose. So I did a foundation course in LAMDA in London, but after not being accepted to either of the two three year courses I applied to (a blessing in disguise if there ever was one), I had to find a different direction.

At the time I was busy making little animated GIF series called "Claris the Stick Girl"(still available on the Cheese Comics website) which garnered a dedicated fan following including an entire unit of Marines! So Animation was the most sensible thing to fall on, so it seemed.

After doing a foundation course in 3D animation and then a BA degree in The Surrey Institute of Art and Design I started looking for work as an animator. I sent letters to more than a hundred companies. Only a handful asked me to send them my showreel. None called me for an interview.

There's nothing like being unwillingly unemployed to make you feel utterly and totally worthless. Over the next couple of years I did get some work. I worked on a book and video project aimed at children with Down Syndrome, a couple of educational DVDs for The Dental Channel and also a very enjoyable stint on Time Commanders, a TV gameshow based on the game Rome: Total War. But that wasn't good enough. There were too many gaps of nothing in between those jobs.

That's when it started dawning on me slowly: I just didn't love animation. I liked it, but I didn't love it. That's why my showreel, while been colourful and professional, missed the edge it needed to shine above the intensely tight competition. I still looked for animation jobs, but I also started actively looking for design jobs, having little idea of what it really means to be a game designer at the time.

So I needed to do research. I started scouring the internet vigorously and bought a few books. That's when things started coming together slowly, not that I noticed it back then.

To be continued,


Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Sorry I didn't write for so long.

Ha. A few weeks. Months more like it. In those month I've became an actual Game Designer in the company I was previously working at as a tester. So I also updated the blurb of the blog from "aspiring Game Designer" to "Game Designer".

Yes, I design games for a living. Can think of worst fates.

So what else is new? Not much. I suppose in my next few posts I'll discuss my path to design and hopefully I'll be able to offer some useful tips to those interested in becoming Game Designers themselves one day. But not today as it's too late. With that said, I could've probably played a little less World of Warcraft, but oh well.