I am a Senior Designer, currently working on Fallout: New Vegas.
What’s your favorite part of your job? Least favorite part?
Favorite part…okay, there’s this scene in the movie Inception (no spoilers, promise) where they bring in a character to be a “dream architect” and they give the character a taste of what it’s like to shape dreams, but then the character leaves abruptly. The line was something like, “Don’t worry, they’ll be back. Once you get a taste of shaping a world nothing else can compare.” That’s my favorite part of designing games.
The first time you put together a level and get the creatures and characters running around the way you want in a game – it’s more than just rewarding on an intellectual level – it’s exciting in a visceral, child-like-wonder sort of way. I haven’t worked on a single project where one designer or another doesn’t call a bunch of people into their office to show them this “cool thing” they just did. And there isn’t a drop of arrogance in the sharing of the thing, just child-like excitement. Grown men and women showing off this amazing or funny or just plain weird thing that is going on in the game-world like children in a playground seeing a lizard for the first time. Favorite part.Least favorite – Staring at hundreds of lines of script code trying to figure out why the creature you scripted to walk from point A to point B is just standing there mocking you with its total immobility. This may be the very same creature that just yesterday performed to the wonder and cheers of the group who stood in your office to see the “cool thing,” but today it just absolutely refuses to do your bidding. Now it’s hours later and you’ve tried every trick you know – and a few you’ve made up on the spot – to get your creature to move – nothing is working. Finally you give up and go home defeated. The next day, after a good night’s rest you look over the same piece of script you almost literally broke your brain staring at the day before and notice in a few seconds that the creature’s name is Bobzilla014two, not Bobzilla014three as you wrote (incorrectly) in the script. You change the “3” to a “2” and, well lookie there, it’s walking from point A to point B just like you wanted. (Pro-tip: If you find yourself baffled like this, swallow your pride and have a fellow designer look over your shoulder as you walk them through your script. You’ll find the answer in about 10 to 30 seconds, promise.)”