How do I break into the business?

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    • #25170 Reply

      Hi Ken,
      Nobody has inspired me more in this industry than Sierra, and I feel that you and your old company has been partly responsible for keeping me in check in high school and in university when deciding which programs/courses to take. Since I was six years old I’ve wanted to program games, starting out on my Commodore 64, and right now I’m finishing my Computer Science degree in British Columbia with an emphasis on computer programming. I pored over all the Space Quest games and still play them to this day.
      I see you’re familiar with Jeff Tunnel’s GarageGames site, and I’d like to know what you think of the Torque game engine he has for sale. It’s the technology behind Tribes 2 and I’ve recently purchased it for myself. Most people are designing first person shooters on the engine, but I’m taking it a step further and slowly creating a deep story-driven adventure game with little or no brainless action. I have to adapt the engine for my ideas but I love the challenge.
      Do you have any tips for a guy like me with no money but a dream to revive the lacking adventure gaming industry?
      Thanks for everything and please say hi to your son for me. I used to read his column in InterAction because he was around my age and I thought he was cool and down to earth for being the son of a couple who basically pioneered many if not most aspects of computer games.
      – Jake Jensen from Vancouver, Canada

    • #25171 Reply

      (re: Breaking into the business) I think it’s very possible for someone with no money to break into the business, if they are willing to work hard.

      Build your own game. You don’t really need a publisher. Buying the development kit from Jeff Tunnel’s company, was a good first step (assuming you are a talented programmer). Jeff is awesome. I have to believe his garagegames engine is good enough to build a professional quality game.

      Being broke means that you have to work evenings and weekends, while supporting yourself in some other way. Obviously, it would be best if a game company would hire you, but if not – then you have to find a way to build a game without their help.

      You can fake the art yourself, or find a friend that is an artist. My guess is that there are artists and musicians everywhere to be found on the net, that also want to break into the business. The website has a want ads section for people looking for team members to do games. Form a small team, and start working on a game.

      If you get something fun to play – you should be able to sell it. I just met up with a couple of ex-Sierra guys who are making a fortune selling games from their website ( Online distribution is happening.

      -Ken W

      PS Good luck!

    • #25172 Reply

      (re: How do I break into the business?) Wow thanks for the quick response, Ken!
      Like you said I do have to support myself somehow, and right now I’m working in the QA department at Electronic Arts in Vancouver 😀 I know this is one of the best ways to get into the industry and I’m excited to work with new technology. I suck at art (seriously) and I have a friend who is designing textures and models for me. Since I’ve been composing music myself for almost 10 years, that shouldn’t be a problem either. Anyways, thanks again for your input.
      If anyone’s interested in hearing some of my music, it’s here:
      If there’s one song I’d recommend, it’s Isolation.
      – Jake Jensen

    • #25173 Reply

      (re: How do I break into the business?) Aha …. my son Chris interviewed there (for QA) and couldn’t get hired. Oh well…
      It turned out OK though. He got hired at EA in Seattle, but then laid off when they shut down most of the office. After 4 months of starving he got the worlds greatest job for a company (Dwango) programming cell phone games. It’s perfect for him because he is fluent in Japanese and is a gifted programmer.
      A old friend of mine is at EA now (as a hauncho), Jerry Bowerman – if you see him, tell him I said Hi. I’m not sure which office he works out of.
      -Ken W

    • #25174 Reply

      (re: How do I break into the business?)

      Jake, if you’re interested in FPS games (or simular) id software GIVES away their old game engines FOR FREE. Just goto their FTP site: People have modified their engines in lots of engenous ways (infact, quake 1 not looks as good as quake 3!). The catch is you need to give away your source code with your game, but you can also pay a 1 time fee to aleavite that.

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