One of our game designers here at E-Line Media, Mike Wikan, had a unique opportunity recently. He visited a middle school class in St. Gabriel’s Catholic School in Austin, TX where he spent time with the students talking about what it means to be a professional game designer. Here’s Mike’s recap of his visit:
I got to spend some time with the wonderful Technology Class at St. Gabriel’s Catholic School in Austin the other day! They let me take up an hour regaling them with stories about game development, what skills I use, and my opinions on the importance of story in development, as well as answering their myriad questions! For example, one of the kids asked “When you are making a game, what is the process for getting Art into the game?”
I described the process of bringing a character into a game: First the designer describes the sort of creature he wants to make and creates a written design describing its properties! It’s important to give enough detail for the artists, but not so much detail that the artists don’t have room to add their own ideas. It then passes to the concept artist, who creates drawings to show what the creature might look like. After we get it looking right, it passes to the modeler, who then creates a 3D mesh of the character and adds all the texture maps that give it color and the right look.
Usually at this point the modeler adds a “skeleton” to the model so it can be made to move. It then passes to an animator who adds all the animations so it can be made to move around and perform in the ways the designer specified at the beginning. Lastly, it goes to the programmer, who adds all the computer code to make it move around in the world and perform its behavior. It takes a lot of talented people working together to make anything from scratch in a game. It’s important to leave enough room for everyone to add their own special creativity to everything they work on!
It was very enjoyable talking with them and their teacher followed up with a note that the talk seemed to have really inspired them and she has had a substantial increase in interest in the subject from her students. It was lots of fun and I highly encourage other game professionals to take the time to work little trips like this into their schedules!