Prima was lucky enough to catch Chet Faliszek speak on gaining a job in the games industry while he was at London's Eurogamer Expo 2012 yesterday.
In Faliszek’s talk, titled “How to give yourself a job in the game industry”, the much-respected Valve writer had a very simple and clear message: “Create something”.
"There you go. And that's it. It's that easy," he added, almost concluding in his talk’s first two minutes.
"I'm being serious. There are no gatekeepers. There are no requirements. There is no prior experience that you need. Just make something."
Chet went on to discuss a question frequently thrown at Valve: how does one get experience when every job requires experience? "Here's the deal on that. Life isn't fair” he quite brutally stated. “It's not their job to give you experience. It's your job. The best resume you can do is make something. So do it."
"At Valve we've been thinking about this a lot. We get asked this all the time. Our simple answer used to be: just go make something. But really you want to do more than that. You want to create something, then you want to release it, you want feedback on it and you want to keep getting better."
Most of the talk was simply reiterating the simple, albeit useful, point that is simply to make something. Chet also touched on various ways developers, writers, artists and so on can gain exposure, highlighting Steam’s recent Greenlight system and the mod-sharing tool Steam Workshop.
"To be clear, we're not the only place you can do it. Look up other places as well. I mean we're working at it. We're iterating on it. We released Steam Workshop. We released Steam Greenlight. Coming up soon we'll release software on Steam. Let us know how we're doing. Let us know what you guys would like to see. What would help you guys.
"And then today, when you get home, take what ever ideas you have and whatever computer you have, whatever software you have, scope it down to something you can ship. Start working on it. Every day you come home from work, work on it some more. Show it to your friends. Talk about it. Get feedback on it. Play test it. And when it's ready, release it.
"There, you just gave yourself a job in the game industry."
A level of honesty and brutal truth you’d rarely see in a public presentation was what shone through from Faliszek. Not a shred of unnecessary waffle but a simple message. Towards the end of his talk Faliszek reinforced his point with a fact that, while it sounds harsh, can’t be argued with: If you’re applying for a job at a games company without having made anything then "you're coming from a point of weakness". "Nobody knows you. You're just a piece of paper. You're really easy to dismiss."
Chet dismissed the old ways of getting into the industry, like getting an irrelevant job and working your way to a dev team before going on to exclaim “with the indie games scene growing”…”there’s never been a time in the games industry that’s been this creative with this variety of people.”