A Chat With Game Design Grad Kay Chan

Kay Chan from East Side Games

When asked about her experience as a student of VFS, Kay Chan describes it as, “Intensely fun!” Kay Chan was part of the 22nd graduating class of VFS Game Design and is currently working as an Associate Producer at East Side Games, Vancouver, Canada.

Originating from Sydney, Australia, Kay was working in marketing and web development when she realised, “Hey! Someone has to make games.” She decided the switch to video games and looked at game design schools all over the world. She felt that VFS had a pretty good resume and portfolio of student games. “In a way, it was a really quick program: a 1-year intensive, as opposed to a 2-year master’s program,” she said. Talking to other students helped her make her decision to join VFS Game Design.

When she was applying, she learned about the VFS 25th Anniversary Scholarships. “I got a partial scholarship, so that really helped.”

Kay said that the range of subjects covered during her time at VFS, such as doing art, programming, level design and game design was a great learning experience. “It touched upon every aspect of what’s needed to make a game, and that’s really what I was looking for,” she said, adding that in traditional IT projects it’s all systems design, make a project and test it. Game design is different. “With games, you have to work with artists, and with artists and programmers it’s like left brain right brain. They don’t talk the same language. So VFS was a good experience to see how the two fields work together.”

Kay describes her class as a good mix of people. Some had degrees, some were changing careers, and some had just come right out of high school. She said, “Most of us have jobs now, especially a lot of the high school graduates. The ones who got the job are really fun to get along with, they are really enthusiastic and that’s like another thing companies look for…they are fresh eyes for the industry and their enthusiasm inspires the more experienced industry people.”

Getting a job right out of school can happen. “It’s all about networking and keeping in touch with the people you meet.” Through the instructors at school, meetings at first Fridays and going to meetups, she networked with a lot of people. She admits her prior experience in marketing and web development helped her secure a job, but experience isn’t enough. “It’s really about the attitude, how you get along with other people. If you fit into the culture…it’s more about how they don’t want any heads clashing in there.”

Kay Chan worked with fellow GD22 students Robert Forehand, Kim Kuthbertson and Omar Chapa on the development of their final game project The Mask of Qi, which you can download from here on Arcade