Going pro: The evolution of a game dev student – 6/25/14

Published on Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Going pro: The evolution of a game dev student

By Andrew Krischer, sophomore, Northeastern University

College has the strange effect of making me feel like a really old kid. Going to classes and working with professors is like playing doctor was when I was younger. I go through the motions of acting like an independent adult: managing my sleep schedule (sort of), buying groceries (sometimes), and interacting with professors in a professional setting. Despite all these changes, I always caught my roommates and I acting like children: Sticking gummy bears all over our walls, building and then destroying our snowmen, ordering large pizzas at ungodly hours, and not going to bed until the sun rises.

This summer, I find myself in a similar position at MassDiGI’s SIP. This program is my first introduction to a professional, albeit creative work environment. My previous work experiences were all in the front end of the food service industry. Every day I’d meet lots of new customers and get to chat with them while working. And the thing is, as Tyler Durden puts it, many of those interactions were single-serving. Never before have I established professional working relationships with others in the sense I have since interning at SIP.

I’m working primarily with four other extremely talented team members to transform our concept, Limbs, in to a full-blown game. These are folks I see, chat and work with five days a week nine hours a day. All the while, I can’t but help feel as though we’re impostors just going through the motions of professionalism. We set our deadlines, hold our meetings, and charge our tasks. I’ve got to be honest, it’s strange telling a teammate who’s older than you to complete menial tasks. That being said, we do everything playfully and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Andrew KrischerI remember when one of our team members was feeling especially frustrated with a program we were all trying to coerce into working. At the time, we had no art or code 100% finalized, so we had an entire blank column on our Kanban whiteboard. She sauntered over, defeated, draws a skull and crossbones and writes in a speech bubble, “I’m DEAD.” Over the next few days, that doodle became a focal point of creativity. One of our artists drew an incredible doodle of a giant squid screaming “SO MANY LIMBS!”, as our game heavily focuses on the theme of body parts. The next day a dragon was born devouring the giant squid.

And the best part is that an entirely different team working on an entirely separate game did a similar thing on their board – turning it entirely into cat puns, rife with accompanying images.

We’re now in our fifth week at this program and I’ve made a really cool realization. These motions of professionalism and development aren’t just theatrical – it’s how our workspace works.

We all love fun, video games, and, begrudgingly, cat puns.

My prior knowledge of professionalism has come from popular culture and in many ways my family. It turns out I can develop my own style of professionalism that’s creative and productive at the same time.

Now, I can’t wait to see what kind of compelling video games we create after working in such a creative and fun environment.

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