Here’s a thing. The thing is that I love my job. I’ve loved most jobs I’ve had in the industry. I loved being a game designer, figuring out how a feature should work and balancing it against other features. I loved the progression design, balancing difficulties and challenging players.
The thing I loved the most was sitting with a level designer and working out how armies could move and engage in combat. I had so much fun setting up rules sets, you wouldn’t believe. Solving layering issues in the engine. Looking at how the player would engage not just the antagonist but the armies of the antagonist. Who wouldn’t get a kick out of that? All the joy that comes with a problem solved.
Figuring out combat styles for elemental combat. How does air combat work? Fire? Water? Earth? What’s the signature move of a water creature? Fire? Earth? Can we make air impressive enough to scare the player?
What are the basic skills of a fire army? How do they progress to become more or less an immovable wall of heat? How do I unlock that progression? Is it paced with the narrative?
How do I tell a story through gameplay?
Who wouldn’t love answering questions like that?
I loved being a producer – although I realized it wasn’t for me. I loved the planning aspects, making sure we had clear goals and a clear process in place to reach those goals. I loved encouraging and supporting my team. Even when we failed, maybe especially when we failed because it would teach us something about the process and our framework, something that we might be able to fix and improve. I loved the administrative aspect of checking off tasks and creating a burn down that I could share with my team to show them how much progress they had made. I loved the negotiation with leadership. How we could reach an understanding around urgency, importance, dependencies and the realities of the technology we were working with. I loved going back to my team and saying “we didn’t get this, but we got this, and this is what we agreed was more important”. I also loved planning with my team, giving them an understanding of what we were doing and conveying that elusive aspect of “process” what is it good for? But ultimately, my biggest love is design.
And in UX design I get to look at transitions, progression, unlock pace and resource distribution. I get to sink my teeth into how a game is played from start to finish. I get to look at tutorialization and onboarding. I get to solve a million different problems, a million different issues.
I get to do flowcharts and wireframes and prototypes. I get to push people for answers around their features, stuff they never even considered. I get to look at user research and turn it into practical solutions, driven not by opinion but by data.
I get to use my experience to inform developers of possible issues. Most of all, I get to understand our players and what motivates them. I am their champion in the game team.
Who wouldn’t love a job like that? I love my job. I love what I do.