This time A Conversation with… bumped into Jordan Tame at Bestie’s, so we asked him a few questions, Jordan is from our 29th graduating class.
- Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games Industry
I am a Game Design generalist at East Side Games Studio, a Vancouver based independent studio. My focus is on mobile, “free to play” game design for a few different projects. this includes writing up and owning communication for features.
- How has this changed since you graduated?
When I first graduated I worked on my own projects for a couple months before starting at East Side Games Studio as a Community Champion. Community Champions talk daily to players of live games, solving disputes and making sure those players have the best experience possible in our games. This also involved work on facebook fan pages, and planning fun events to engage the community.
- Can you describe a typical day in your office?
The office is fast paced and energetic. Projects change and pivot daily and we’re constantly iterating on our process and project pipelines. How our game goes from idea to playable live product in the store is a process that changes often. I’m involved on more than one project at a time so this means there are frequent meetings and lots of communication between departments to keep features and games moving along from pre-production to production and through to post production or live ops. It’s busy but being busy making games is super fun.
- What’s the most fun thing you get to do? What’s the most stressful/challenging?
The most fun for me is feature creeping the s#!t out of an idea. I love thinking “blue sky” style about all the awesome things we want in a game or feature. Hearing other people’s ideas and collaborating on them and getting hyped about a project is the best! The most challenging aspect of the workday is when a project I’m personally very excited about gets put on the back burner or bogged down in a design spiral where we’re missing that perfect piece of a puzzle, like writers block. Sometimes delays of this kind can cause projects to whither away or be put permanently on the back burner.
- What games are you playing right now, and what elements have impressed you?
I try to always have a mobile game, pc game and console game on the go at all times, usually there’s a few on each platform but life can get pretty busy. On mobile right now I’m playing Best Fiends, an awesome game. Best Fiends is a matching game and I’m paying specially close attention to the level design, enemy and obstacle behaviors and monetization loop. On PC I’m playing War Thunder, a WW2 fighter pilot game. War Thunder is free to play and has an incredibly deep progression system. I especially enjoy the flight combat and flying mechanics. On console I’m playing Super Mario 3D World, this has all the classic elements enjoyed in previous Mario games each level has a series of hidden objects and secret areas and I’m enjoying collecting them all.
- What are some trends you see in upcoming games?
Trends are hard to predict this industry changes everyday and sometimes the most unexpected games catch on and become super mega hits, flappy bird comes to mind. A shift in monetization design is underfoot, the use of video ads being integrated directly into gameplay loops isn’t new but it’s catching on and some developers are doing some really cool things with features of this kind. Look out for new innovations in matching games like King’s recent Diamond Diggers and keep an eye on micro gaming; games that are played on wearable tech like the apple watch.
- What do you feel was the most valuable skill that you learned in the Game Design program at VFS?
Learning how to design a game for an intended audience and not for myself haha unless I fit into the intended audience. But before VFS my ideas were all post apocalyptic 3rd person explorations games with innovative coop mechanics. I would love to play those games but there’s lot’s of game audiences out there that don’t even know they’re a game audience. Designing for someone other than myself is challenging, fun and can be very rewarding. Think outside the box!
- If you could give a current student in Game Design some advice, what would it be?
Start right now and do whatever you can with what you have. Design games on paper, draw art for games, or teach yourself to code with internet resources. When you arrive for your first day at VFS you’ll be that much further into your games career. Games are like drawing and painting there’s no limit to what you can learn, the learning never ends.
Thanks Jordan, and best of luck with your next East Side games project!