Simoroshka & games


Identity change

So, many things happened from the beginning of the year, and many more haven’t. If I want the story in this blog be more or less complete, I should probably write a longer post, explaining how come I am now focused on web development instead of pursuing gamedev jobs. There are many factors and reasons.

The first reason is that I already tried to apply and send open applications to local gaming companies. In most cases I didn’t get any answer, then I got an invitation to a video interview that I failed, and an invitation to another interview for a job that I also didn’t get (not enough experience, alas). These results are not a reason to give up, of course (how else would you get more experience?), but here comes the second reason.

The second reason is all about money. Unfortunately one needs it to pay for housing, food, coffee, and many other things, and if you don’t get it from somewhere, it will eventually run out. So I really cannot afford spending another year developing skills and hoping to get a job when I turn 29. As there is no guarantee that I will get a game job anyway, the most reasonable solution is finding something I am already reasonably good at and with more job openings. I happened to have both interest and experience in web development. I actually like it very much. It just doesn’t sound as cool. =)

The third reason is something I understood during all those job applications and interviews. I am not sure I want to make just any game. I want to do something special, something with a soul and deeper meaning, not an F2P mobile game the only purpose of which is encouraging procrastination and impulsive money spending in people. This probably means I should be an indie who makes games as a hobby and makes all decisions herself. Or, which is much less likely, I need to find a team with values aligned with my own.

So from there comes a slight change of identity. I am now a web developer (with a passion for modern web technologies) and a hobbyist game developer (with a passion for meaningful game design). By the way, I made a web portfolio.


Level up yourself already

If you want to get somewhere in life, if you want to reach your dreams, chances are you need to break out of your comfort zone. Again and again, making it wider as you grow above your fears. You need to try new things, you need to learn, you need to do something you have never even thought is possible for you.

I accidentally met current students of Intro to Game Programming at IGDA gathering. I can see my old self in them – they want to make games, they want one day to work in a gaming company, but they have no idea how they can start. Or they have a vague idea, but it is far from reality of life. The truth I learned is that you don’t need anything special to start making games. You can learn tons of things on your own. You don’t need to wait for a Game Project Course to be organized in your university where you will be on your own anyway, apart from the strict deadline for delivering your project (maybe that’s what most people need. I love deadlines too). But for many people it is just outside of their comfort zone. Making games is hard. I don’t know how. I am not experienced in programming. I am not enough just yet. That’s what the fears say.

Get out and do what you want to do. Don’t wait till you know it all. It will never happen if you stay where you are, if you don’t learn new and maybe scary things.
No idea how Unity works? Open a tutorial and follow through, then try to change things around and experiment.
No programming experience? Pick up a course or something.
Would like to design great games but have no idea where to start? How about a book?
Never had a team experience? Go to a game jam.
There is nothing to be afraid of. It’s fun.

P.S. Ludum Dare is in 2 days! I literally can’t wait!
P.P.S. Also I started re-learning C++. It’s been a long time.


I must do more

The time has come when I start actively looking for real job opportunities. As it goes, if you want a summer internship, you need to start looking for it in December. But this is not the only option I have. I can also send open applications to game companies that accept them and hope for the best.

So I did some research and created my spreadsheet of all game companies in Helsinki, excluding very small ones. About a dozen of those I found accept open applications and maybe will have a look at mine. Suddenly a dozen doesn’t look like a very big number. I start to question my learning path and the quality of my portfolio, because I am not sure, how impressive it is. Unfortunately, I have nobody to ask for a professional opinion.

However, I created an online portfolio, went through my CV and LinkedIn again, updated everything there was to update, wrote a cover letter, and posted an open application for Finnish gaming industry in general (fortunately, there is an option to do this on one of the major recruitment websites). Just in case.

But I have to make a change of plans if I want a better chance of succeeding. I need to become a better game developer and a better candidate.

  • I am starting a Game Physics course. It looks very interesting, advanced and like something that can be extremely useful in the future.
  • I will go to the IGDA gathering in December and try to network a bit and maybe ask for an informational interview.
  • I will learn more Unity3D things.
  • I will have a look at mobile game development, since most of the companies make games for mobile platforms.
  • I will think about refreshing my C++ knowledge and updating it to the current versions. But, unfortunately, it is not something that can be done in a month.