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Jon Hare of Sensible Software gives Game Careers a games designer masterclass.

Jon Hare – founder of Sensible Software, one of the most successful European games development companies of the late 1980s and 1990s spoke to David Smith of Interactive Selection and Game Careers in Lyon. His advice on working in the games industry as a games designer: “You need to understand what the industry is, and a lot of people make the mistake when they come in – they have a fantasy about what being a games developer or designer is. As a games designer, it is not about having a great idea and then just going and sitting down and having a can of coke in an office and waiting until someone does it. As a designer your job is to communicate every single aspect of that game to every other person on the development team.  If anyone has a question you need to have the answer, if you don’t have the answer no-one else will, so you need to take the responsibility of leading something.  If you want to come into a games company as an artist, you need to understand what part of the discipline of art you are going to be doing – animation, modelling, texturing etc. A lot of people come in with a very general view or a too-specific view.  Making games is like being part of a football team. You have a goalkeeper, defenders, midfield, attackers, a manager and a chairman. Its the same in games, you need to know your position, who you must respect (who will give you work). Equally, if you have people below you, you must know how to delegate to them properly, how to manage them, how to communicate, and understand that making games is about teamwork, about compromise, its about hard hard graft. Its not about getting 75% of the way and quitting, its about getting over the finishing line – a 100% finished thing, whether in a box or online, which is where most people fall flat because until someone has gone through 2 cycles of completing games, they are actually not much use in the industry – you are still earning your spurs and unfortunately that process can take you 3 or 4 years, but its the truth. Once you’ve gone through those phases, if you’re prepared to do that kind of apprenticeship, then maybe you might get the chance of doing your own game, or more likely, a bit of an idea of a game you want to do. There is a big difference between having an idea and saying you want to turn it into Call of Duty and get it backed by a publisher, and the reality of you coming into a team of 30 people all above you in the pecking order, and only 1 or 2 are getting to do the concepts they want. Having that reality and wanting to be part of a team, and enjoying that is essential.” See the full interview in the clip below:


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