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What’s the Inspiration Behind Game Developers?

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Tanya X. Short

Game Designer, Kitfox Games, SMU Guildhall

At what age did your love for gaming ignite?

Like many game devs, I was quite young when I became obsessed with games, five or six, with my own Gameboy. But I don’t think you need to play games from a young age to be a great game dev — all it takes is a love of our art form and its unique potential, which can start in adulthood.

When did you first become interested in pursuing an education/career in game design?

In college, I discovered actual humans were responsible for the stories and worlds of the games I loved, like the “Elder Scrolls” series (“Morrowind” was very big at the time). I decided that was what I would pursue by hook or by crook, even though I was a biology major.

How do you think your experience in this program varies from other more traditional programs? What’s it like being a female game designer in a traditionally male-dominated field?

SMU Guildhall, where I received my graduate degree for game development, remains uniquely focused on multi-disciplinary team game development taught by industry veterans in the same style and pace of today’s game studios, and the development of your professional portfolio – which is what you need more than anything. As for being a woman, I’m proud I co-founded Pixelles, a non-profit helping women make games. Join us!

What piece of advice would you give to young girls who are interested in pursuing an education/career similar to yours? What role do you see women in gaming in the future?

We don’t have enough good designers of any gender, so if you’re interested, just do it! When you play games, try to analyze exactly how and why they make certain experiences fun or interesting. And stay curious, about everything — it will keep your creations unique and personal.

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Miray Hepgular

Game Design MFA Candidate, Laguna College of Art and Design

At what age did your love for gaming ignite?

I’ve loved video games for as long as I can remember. Definitely since childhood. When I was a child, playing games was a solitary practice; but, today, more and more people are beginning to realize that, perhaps more than any other entertainment medium, games provide enriching experiences and make positive impacts in people’s lives. 

When did you first become interested in pursuing an education/career in game design?

After working a variety of jobs, I knew I wanted to continue my education so that I could apply and improve upon all of my previous academic knowledge and professional skills in a field as exciting and diverse as Game Design. Pursuing Laguna College of Art and Design’s (LCAD) MFA in Game Design proved to be the perfect choice for me.  

How do you think your experience in this program varies from other more traditional programs? What’s it like being a female game designer in a traditionally male-dominated field?

LCAD’s Game Design MFA is truly unique in that it offers a holistic, comprehensive, and multidisciplinary approach to game design. Students learn from industry professionals what a game development cycle really is: from management to marketing, from monetization to business, from game engine technologies to narrative and audio designs, and on and on. 

What piece of advice would you give to young girls who are interested in pursuing an education/career similar to yours? What role do you see women in gaming in the future?

First, I want to say I don’t see any gender-specific roles in gaming. If you have the talent, the drive, and the spirit for collaboration, you can do anything, regardless of your gender. My advice for young girls (and boys) is to find the thing that you do best and keep doing it, over and over, no matter how long it takes. 

Staff, [email protected]

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