Gaming’s popularity is ever on the rise, with no sign of it stopping anytime soon. When an industry is generating billions of dollars annually, it always follows that people will try and capitalize on the market.
In a world where technology is at everyone’s fingertips, and the paths to exposure are more accessible than ever, the market is flooded with ideas, games, and creators.
A good way to improve your odds is to look at what the professionals have done before you, in a similar situation.
Industry professionals hold interviews and attend conferences and expos. These aren’t just opportunities for them to share their games, but also to share their best practices and latest findings.
What’s even better is that, even if you can’t attend a conference in person, you can watch a lot of these summits, panel discussions, and interviews with designers and developers online.
We’ve taken the liberty of compiling a list of 12 helpful interviews you can find right on YouTube.
1. The Realities of Life in Game Development
This first video is less of an interview, and more of a panel discussion. Panel discussions just mean more industry professionals with more advice to give you! It’s like a 4 for 1 deal.
This particular panel is full of Full Sail graduates. They discuss some great things, like the process of learning.
Kerry Allen, a software engineer at EA Tiburon, talks about how little of a difference there is between being a student and being a professional in terms of learning.
Learning just never stops! The setting changes, and the pay, but there’s always more to learn.
There’s also some great information from the panelists about the mutating roles at a game studio. You might find yourself shifting your position to fill a void, rather than staying specifically relegated to a concrete job.
2. Game Design Theory I Wish I Had Known When I Started
This is more of a presentation than an interview, but Dan Cook has some valuable game design advice. Dan is the founder of Spry Fox, and he’s a veteran game designer.
He’s spent thousands of hours designing hundreds of prototypes, and has a handful of great games to show for it: Road Not Taken, Alphabear, and Realm of the Mad God to name a few of the more recent ones.
He discusses the tools and practices he uses when designing games, and how failure is OK. As the title suggests, he talks about the things he wish he had known when he was starting out!!
3. Super Meat Boy Interview
This interview is with Edmund McMillen, he is the artist and game designer for Team Meat. Team Meat brought the highly popular Super Meat Boy to the world.
He says some cool things in this interview: “Steal from me. I want you to play my game. If you really like it, buy my next game.”
He talks about not being in it for the money, why it’s worth it to question old video game tropes and digs into some other game design topics.
4. Daniel Cook Talk
We see our friend Daniel Cook again (founder of Spry fox, remember?) with this talk. He talks about what goes into designing very original games.
What team size works best? Who should be on the team? How do you avoid making shallow games? What are pitfalls to avoid? He provides his answers to these questions in more in his talk.
5. Game Psychology
Another panel! You just gotta’ love the value of panels. This group discusses game psychology. The talk is called Your Brain on Games: The Hidden Psychology of Gaming, and that’s exactly what they cover.
They explore how “making a difference” can be a compelling, rewarding in-game experience (as opposed to things like in-game currency accumulation).
They also expand on the “four keys to fun,” which deals with different kinds levels of fun and how best to implement them. Panelists include speakers from Zynga, XEODesign, and Ayogo.
6. Creating Cohesive Combat
This talk from Mark Acero (senior combat designer on the Prototype 2 team) talks all about combat design. He has over 12 years of experience, in which he’s shipped 13 games through seven different studios.
He talks about the value this kind of varied experience brings. He’s worked with a bunch of different design philosophies and technologies through his time at different studios, and he speaks to how that contextual experience makes him more potent than ever.
7. Interview with Mossmouth
This interview with Mossmouth, also known as Derek Yu, talks about all things game development.
He is the creator of the indie hit Spelunky, and by listening to him talk about the indie game community and game development in general, viewers can pick up some great insights.
Mossmouth talks about everything from a standard day in his life (replete with waking up around 2pm) to the tools and software he uses to make a game.
8. Assassin’s Creed III Lead Designer Interview
Because of the character’s wilderness-driven origins, the level designs took a departure from the normal cityscapes. Then the new natural environment required changes to the stealth system. It’s interesting to see the new character’s backward-reaching effect on the game design.
9. Day in the Life Video
Ever wonder what it’s like to be a level designer? Not a lead level designer, not the best level designer in the world, just a level designer that’s good at her job and loves what she does.
That’s what this quick interview/day in the life video is all about! Level designer Kim talks about bonding with her boss, designing levels, and her education.
10. Job Interview
For a sneak peak into a game design interview, check out this video! It’s a quick 20-minute mock interview between a hiring executive and a sound designer.
The hiring executive is actually the vice president of product development at Turbine, Craig Alexander.
It offers an enlightening glance into what an interview could potentially entail. In such a competitive market, preparing wisely for job interviews could help give you the real leg-up that you need.
11. Game Design Mistakes
Want to avoid making some common early-career game design mistakes? Check out this video with Todd Kerpelmen. It’s a short five-minute video that highlights three prevalent mistakes.
If you fell into the trap of making these mistakes, you can correct your course! And if you haven’t been making these mistakes, you can rest a bit easier as you continue developing your game.
12. Blizzard Lecture
We’re going to end this list with a lecture from Blizzard. Blizzard is a developer famed for its patience in developing great games. They won’t release something until it is ready.
This presentation was by the then-CCO, Rob Pardo (he resigned in July, 2014). He discusses Blizzard’s design commitments.
They have some really well-thought-out tenets, to which every department involved in a game needs to adhere.
There’s also a post-presentation conversation between Rob Pardo and Joi Ito, the director at MIT Media Lab. You can watch that conversation here.
A quick YouTube search will show you that these twelve videos barely scratch the surface of the wealth of game design and game development content out there.
Search for specific topics and be pleasantly surprised by the amount of results your search returns. YouTube and the internet are beautiful things for helping you learn on your game developing journey!