Just finished the Lincoln book by Doris Kearns Goodwin and it was amazing, so in spare time I drew this up. I have grand plans of doing a bigger piece with all of his rivals and cabinet members, maybe doing a thing with Roosevelt and Taft from the Bully Pulpit book, but maybe thats too ambitious. For now here’s a Lincoln! 🙂



Video Game Education

The US government is suing the art institute for 11 billion dollars over fraud. While that seems like a sensationalist headline I think it shows the general state of art education in the US today. For profit schools getting kids into debt while giving them no additional opportunities for success in the real world.

Here’s my personal experience with education:

I went to college for 1 semester, after which I dropped out, worked on my portfolio and got my first game industry job just a few months later. I was 19. No one has ever asked me for a diploma, and no one has ever made me feel like I would have gotten the job if only I had completed college. It was always about the work, that and culture fit is all companies out there care about. Most people I worked with did not have degrees. Those that did spoke of it with regret, most said they wished they had gotten into the industry sooner, saved the money, didn’t carry crippling debt into their 30s, the list goes on.

We live in an age now where anyone can learn anything practically for free, or at least very cheaply, over the internet. John Carmack learned how to be a rocket scientist online. If he can do that, anyone can learn to be a game artist.

Education to me is not so much about what you learn, but how you learn. I remember when I was trying to break into the game industry I sent an email to one of the few people I knew that was working in the industry and was good at what he did at the time, Paul Steed. I asked him “How do you do this? How do you learn this? Should I go to school?” And his response was straight forward and rather harsh, but it got to the point. He told me “If you need someone to teach you this stuff you won’t make it in the game industry.”

That goes back to how you learn, it’s not about getting x knowledge and going out there and doing x job for the rest of your life, you constantly learn, always improve, and at some point when you are out in the world you have to learn new things on your own. No homework, no tests, no dissertations, just you and the rest of the world out there, you do what needs done. You put in the time, practice, research, try, get good at something, and once you do no one will care how you got there.

Why so casual?

So I’m sitting here reading Jeff Vogel’s blog about casual games and it kind of got me thinking about this whole casual business. If you are an indie or a AAA developer casual is probably something of a dirty word. People that play casual games are akin to quaint grandmothers passing the time while sipping on a cup of tea before they keel over and die of boredom. But I actually play a ton of these things, there was a phase where I was completely addicted to cell phone games, and Kings age (I don’t know is that even casual?)

Hearing the word casual makes me cringe, and when I think about a lot of the popular games out there right now they are not very casual at all, at least they don’t start out by being casual. I’m talking about the likes of LoL and Dota 2. Tons of people play these things and not all of them are good, but the pull there is people want to be like those pro guys, there is a seemingly attainable level of skill that can be achieved with enough work put into it and thats the drive. I remember back when I was really into wow pvp I looked at a ton of rogue pvp videos and the things people were doing there was blowing me away I wanted to do that, I wanted to be that good. If wow had allowed me to pay $10 and be that good I think that whole draw would have been gone. Reminds me of getting a trainer for one of those old Infinity engine RPGs where you could set your stats to be anything you wanted instead of spending hours adventuring in the world, leveling up and collecting powerful items. It seems like cheating, and I think in many ways it breaks the immersion and the fantasy of the game when an option like that is even available.

In the end I suppose the question is, does it matter? If the game sells like hot cakes who cares if the immersion is broken so people can pay to be successful and be winners. Isn’t that why a lot of people buy games in the first place? To feel a certain way, to experience a fantasy that they wouldn’t otherwise get in their every day lives?

I think it matters, I think you get a hollow less memorable experience if you don’t put in the work, and you’re much more likely to put the game down and forget about it rather than keep playing. Because in the end as a content creator I selfishly want someone to play the crap out of what I make, I want them to look and analyze all the things that I spent hours working on, to fill in the gaps and create their own stories and make that game part of their lives too.

Messing around with wordpress.

So wordpress is pretty sweet 🙂 I’m kind of digging it, takes some getting used to though. Should be much easier to keep current than my previous site, that was a nightmare, every page was custom html done by hand, every time I wanted to update it or write in the “blog” I had to grab the index page, hand format the text with css, ugh. This should be much better. Hopefully I can manage to get some kind of momentum going with this thing.