My conversation with Asi Burak of Games for Change

So I just finished pitching my game to Asi Burak of Games for Change last week. It was such a great experience to talk with and get feedback from one of the forerunners of Serious Games, and I really hope that it is just one of many. I was quite nervous while pitching my game, and I feel that I wasn’t really able to communicate my ideas very well. I guess that one of the realizations I got after the pitch is that I’m not very good with phone conversations( guess I need to work on this as well). Anyways, if you have not seen the rules for my game In the Court of the Spider King you can find the complete rules in my humble games section. Feel free to modify it as well for your own purposes if ever you decide to use it.

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My first step into the gaming industry and how I’m turning my career into a game

The journey so far…

 They say that a journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step, and if that is so, then I’ve made my first step into the game industry. Its been a long time since my last post so here is my update. I’ve just gotten into Anino games, one of the first game development companies here in the Philippines. Its a company that I’ve been wanting to be a part of ever since I got out of university. I still did not get a designer position but I guess quality analyst would do for now. Its still a very long way from my ultimate goal of making serious games but it’s a start.

I watched a video of game designer Brenda Bratwaithe’s talk during the Game Developer’s Conference 2010. The talk inspired me and made me re-evaluate what I wanted to do as a game designer( well a hobbyist game designer at least). The game was a board game called ‘Train’ and it was about the holocaust and from what I’ve heard the game moved people to tears. I thought to myself, “these are the kinds of games I want to make someday”. I want to make games that can actually move people, and make them ask questions. I want to push the boundaries of games as a medium for telling people’s stories.

I’ve also come back to my roots which are non digital games(board games and card games). I figured that it would be easier for me to create games for my portfolio if I make non-digital games also.

My Quest

I’ve been reading a lot of research and articles lately regarding the game industry, and its intimidating how competitive the games industry is. Sometimes I question myself if I have have what it takes to get into those big companies. Questions like ‘am I creative enough’ and ‘Should I stop this now and get a law degree’ always pops to mind. But then I’ve also read ‘Reality is Broken’ by Jane Mcgonigal and about those all those games that have actually moved people into action and I tell myself that I can take this journey a little bit further into the next hill or crossing. In order to motivate myself into accomplishing everything that I need to accomplish within the next two years I made a game for myself. The game is called My Quest.

The game is not really a game but more of a series of tasks that I need to accomplish before the end of the year. I’ve pinpointed some larger tasks which I needed to do in order to achieve competence and up my chances into getting into serious games or a AAA game company and they are:

  • Know the market and the latest trends( demographics, what is popular)
  • Know and learn the technology(learn a game engine, read about the latest research in game design)
  • Know people( make contacts around the world and meet people who have the same goals as I do so that I can learn from them and them from me)
  • Gain exposure( I need increase my online presence, by writing about games and be involved in forums)
  • Be the best game designer I can be( by playing games, making them and studying

I broke these tasks into smaller goals. Every time I do one of these smaller tasks I earn points towards a goal. For example:

To complete the Foresight achievement I need to get a total of 1000 points. Everytime I read a news article regarding the latest games I earn 1 point towards that goal.

Another achievement is the Designer achievement. This is a bit harder to get since in order to complete it I need to make a minimum of three complete and play tested games which are to be used for my portfolio.

There are also unlockable achievements that have pre-requisites like: Make a compelling resume, Make an online portfolio, and create a demo reel.

Finally there a NPC ( people that are not me) given tasks which are tasks given by other people to help me improve as a game designer. I’m going to post this in a forum to see if I can actually get people to help me improve by giving me tasks.

By the way, the game is inspired by Assassin’s Creed. So I’m calling the missions contracts. So yeah, I’m ‘assassinating’ these challenges one at a time. Someday I’ll be a full fledged Assassin and make games that will help humanity or something like that.