We’re back with another edition of A Conversation with… This time we had a chat with Mark Barazzuol from our 5th graduating class.
- Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games Industry
I’m teaching game design at Guru Digital Arts in Edmonton. I’m also working on mobile games on the side, and I do game design consulting for others as well.
- How has this changed since you graduated?
After graduating VFS I started working at BioWare, and did so for nearly 5 years working on Dragon Age 1 & 2. After that I worked on smaller games like mobile titles. Since I’ve graduated things have shifted tremendously to mobile game development and smaller indy games. Although I’ve been happy doing both, I think it’s a great time for a designer who wants to do either.
- Can you describe a typical day in your office?
I’m still waiting to have a typical day. Most days I teach the majority of the day, guiding students to create their game projects. I try to keep lecturing to a minimum. Many days I’ll go meet with developers from other studios, and when I get home I spend a fair chunk of time planning, organizing, designing, and communicating with freelancers.
- What’s the most fun thing you get to do? What’s the most stressful/challenging?
Most fun thing? Making dreams real. Students come to school to make an idea into reality. Together we do that. People play games with experiences I’ve make that excite their imagination. I’ll never stop loving to watch that.
Most stressful? Project management, marketing and budgeting. Super must haves. Still very stressful.
- What games are you playing right now, and what elements have impressed you?
Dark Souls 2 and DLC. While the level design isn’t as good as the first, the atmosphere and story are amazing but the monsters, encounters and traps are to die for.
- What are some trends you see in upcoming games?
In the next year they’ll be a slight bump with console games as more solid titles come out. I think mobile will take a bit of a dip, and steam will continue to be strong. It’s seems like a perfect time for something big, unexpected and awesome to upset the market.
- What do you feel was the most valuable skill that you learned in the Game Design program at VFS?
Communication. No matter how good you are, you have to work with other people in some form or fashion. And the better you can communicate, the better you WILL do.
- If you could give a current student in Game Design some advice, what would it be?
Your final test isn’t your final project. It’s your job search. And it is by far the hardest. The irony is that it’s much easier to do than your final project, but it’s also wrecks havoc with morale. Those who keep trying and don’t care about the results make it. So my advice for a game design student? Persistence beats luck any day of the week.
Dave Warfield is the Head of Game Design at VFS