This is basically a post all about my future, and how I hope to achieve and gain all the skills needed in order for me to be successful in the games industry (the scary stuff). I've picked a developer which I have been in awe and a huge fan of since I was a child, and I would go as far as to say they're probably the reason I want to be in this business. Of course, I'd love to work anywhere, but if I had to pick my dream job, it'd definitely be working for Naughty Dog, the developers of my favourite all time game Jak and Daxter, and, more recently, the critically acclaimed Last Of Us. Naughty Dog seem to encompass everything I find so enchanting about the idea of being a games artist. They produce big titles which receive adoration all over the world, they've developed games for the consoles I have grown up with, and I like their overall work ethic and how they have produced a diverse range of games throughout their success. I want to be in this business because I've been given so many memories playing games, and Naughty Dog happens to have produced the games I have the happiest memories with. I would like to share this same experience and smiles with other people some day, hence why I want to produce games for the next generation to play.
The next few years is in fact like a roadtrip with the final destination hopefully being my ideal career, and in order to keep driving in the right direction I need to develop a roadmap so I can work on the right skills I'll need to have mastered by the time I intend to start a job in the industry. This is where Naughty Dog come in, as I have looked at their careers page and decided to use a current job listing to identify the abilities needed in order to work for them, so that I know what is expected, and so I'm up to scratch when going to apply for jobs anywhere in the industry, not just developers like Naughty Dog.
I have to admit that as of now I'm not entirely sure what area I want to go into. I feel like I'm more comfortable with visual design, but I'm aware that I'm not as strong with it as others around me so whether I would be able to get a job focusing on just that element might not be realistic, and so I'm remaining open to whatever I find myself excelling at (with the hope that there will be at least ONE thing that I do excel at eventually). This has meant that I've just looked at a number of jobs advertised by Naughty Dog which should give me a nice overall sense of what is expected and will list skills that I would imagine most other careers in the industry would be looking for.
One of the things that stands out to me to begin with is the "deadline orientated" trait which I'd like to think I have acquired for the most part through my art A level deadlines and now furthermore with this course itself. I'm used to have time limits and such when it comes to my work, and I actually really enjoy the pressure and stress of trying to get things done in time, which sounds odd but I've learnt to embrace it I think. I nearly always meet deadlines, granted I could do better, but I'd like to think this is something on the list I'm pretty close to getting towards.
"Good communication skills" is another which I feel I might be a little closer to than some which are listed. Being completely honest, talking to people was never really my forte growing up. I panicked in situations where I had to speak to people and felt uncomfortable talking to anyone I wasn't used to. After suffering with it and possibly losing out on opportunities because of it, I made a point of trying to help myself and now I'd like to think I have grown out of it a bit. I'm still not the most confident, but after coming to uni I have found it much easier than I expected to talk to people and I get on well with all of my classmates and this reassures me to think that I'm definitely going in the right direction. Even my family have noticed a difference in me confidence wise, and so I believe if I keep trying hard that my communication skills could be as good as any career would need.
Now to talk about the things I don't feel so comfortable with... "strong artistic ability" and "an exceptional understanding of form, shape, structure and silhouette" are definitely skills I do not have as of yet. They are things I'm hoping to pick up with time. At the moment, I'm doing my all to try and learn the techniques which will make my designs and images much stronger. I've been told that my digital painting skills need a lot of work, as it's affecting my texture painting quite a lot. It's quite understandable though, as I had never used a graphics tablet before coming to this course, and admittedly have avoided it pretty much all of this year as well as I wanted to sharpen up my traditional skills before stepping into the unknown. However, now I realise I really need to just throw myself into all types of art, including digital, in order to develop all the skills I'll need for the future. At this moment, I don't have an exceptional understanding of any of the above, but I feel like I'm on my way as I already see a huge improvement after just after a couple of terms being here. I've made more of an improvement in this short amount of time than I did through the whole of my school and sixth form college life. Therefore, in terms of my road map, I need to continue improving at this rate and perhaps even moreso and really get to grips with texture painting in order to transfer my art skills onto my 3D models.
"Self-motivation" is another characteristic talked about, and this is something I believe I have but you can almost never have enough of either. I want to do as well as I can, I feel I have a lot to prove to myself and others who thought I wasn't good enough, and so my motivation to finish work to a high standard and do well on this course is extremely high. Motivation is something you can lose quite quickly though, and this has always worried me because in the past I have found myself not feeling particularly motivated, but at this particularly moment, and all throughout this course so far, I've kept my motivation and just hope I can for the future. To help with this though, I plan to do lots of work over Summer, including projects not necessarily linked to games, but things I enjoy so that I can still be helping my skills develop but exploring other types of art and hopefully maintaining my enthusiasm for when I begin again in year 2.
As a whole, my road map consists of just working hard and making the most of what this course has to offer me. I plan to continue to teach myself skills whilst being helped along by the tutors, and hopefully I'll work out the direction I want to take my career as I begin to develop further as a game artist. From now on, I'm throwing myself into everything to make sure I don't miss out on learning even one teeny bit of information or skill. Most of all, I just hope I can continue to keep surprising myself with how well I've adapted and learnt through this course.
A special thanks to Naughty Dog for inspiring me so much through my childhood.
Naughty Dog Careers (2014) Current Jobs [Online] Naughty Dog. Available from: http://www.naughtydog.com/site/careers/environment_model_layout_artist/