Being Healthy – A MUST



– Premise –

Not so long ago, I wrote about teaching (or not) level design. In that post I said that I was going to give a workshop in Ireland. A really awesome trip for sure. But I had to cancel it.

I sadly canceled (read reported) it for the sake of my health.

I’m starting to get older it seems.

You know, there are stuff that I can’t do anymore like getting shitfaced one day and being perfectly fine the day after for example. I can’t eat a whole pound of poutine before going to sleep either. I’ll throw up for sure.

I almost passed out when I was at PAX in Boston. Probably a mix of not enough sleep, ending of a cold and the fact that adrenaline and redbull went out at the same time. Well at least, this is what I was thinking back then.

I canceled my trip to Ireland because I had A LOT of vertigo/dizziness for a couple of weeks. I didn’t felt great about it and I went to pass a lot of tests. Blood samples, electrocardiogram, ears, you name it. What I realized is that everything was A1. Heart is good, ears are good, blood is good, etc.

So? You guessed it. It was all due to stress and mostly anxiety. I had a hard time believing this, as a really down to earth guy myself but after thinking a lot about it I realized that it was probably true.

– Anxiety – The Cancer of the Century –

Funny enough (it isn’t really) I realized that a bunch of close friends of mine are all having anxiety to a certain degree. All of them consulted related to this. Lots of ex-colleagues also have the same problem.

I’m writing about this because this is probably the crap that affect most game developer. Anxiety is a nasty stress related problem and stress, you know it, leads to nothing good at all. Stress is the most evil thing these days and depression is more than often caused by it.

I know 5 people working in the industry who are not working right now because of this and know probably as much who had to stop working for a long period of time in the past for the same reason.

Luckily enough, I was able to figure that out before it was too late. Seeing how broken my friends are, I didn’t really wanted to end up like them.

The thing about a problem in the mind compared to a problem on your body is that it takes so much time to fix and that there’s no magical formula. When you break a leg, there is a specific solution to that and it works. When you are chemically unbalanced in your head only time and proper behavior will fix that. For some people it takes a month, for other it takes years.

– The Three Eights –

This is how I called them. The Three Eights. You have 24 hours in a day separated in three parts.

In a perfect world, your days should look like this:

  • 8 hours of sleep
  • 8 hours of work
  • 8 hours of something else (and it should be FUN)

Most humans, like myself, can’t really cut the working part. Some people work 7 hours a day but most people work 8.

Since you have to go to work and come back to work. Most of the time, you can easily add one more hour to that. You either cut on the sleep part or the fun part. I myself, for years, was cutting on the sleep part.

Getting back on the part that I’m getting older means that I need sleep to be able to work properly. We all know that not enough sleeps leads also to a lot of bad things and mostly to stress.

The thing that I realized when I was talking to my doc’ is that she really emphasized on the 8 hours of something else fun. I also discovered that my vertigo/dizziness was never happening when I was doing activities that I liked.

When I was coming back from work, I was thinking about work. I was reading stuff about work on the internet, going on forums and such. It was still strongly related to work. A big chunk of my something else was still work.

I had to cut that out and that’s what I made. I’m really trying hard to make sure that the 8 hours of fun I have each day is really 8 hours of fun and enjoyable activities.

You should do the same for sure.

– Don’t Wait Before it’s to Late –

So, to be short here. Listen to your body.

Your body is talking to you every day so is your brain.

As the saying,

“Being in a depression is not being weak, it’s because one was strong for too long”

People I know that are mind sick all told me that their body were sending them messages but they were not listening. We all know that in the industry, we’ll do, at some point, crunches. Seriously, don’t kill yourself for someone who doesn’t even know your name so he/she can make millions of bucks. Even if that person know your name.

Do overtime when it’s needed and that’s it. And even if it’s needed, you should not stick to it. I’ve had weeks of 70-80 hours of work in the past. I was young. I was fool and passionate. I’m still passionate but I don’t do this anymore. No one should do this. It’s plain bad.

Don’t push your body and especially your mind to a state you won’t be able to recover.

– Ending Notes –

The video game industry is one of a kind. It’s a competitive industry no doubt about it and what I mean by this is that you are always needed to push yourself to the limit. If also happen a lot of time that the limit needed is over your personal limits. Short deadlines, under-staffing, crazy mandate, etc, lead to bad planning and overtime, crazy overtime.

It saddens me to see so many cool people around me being mentally sick right now. All because some crazy producers pushed them way over their limits but they were too kind and said yes every single time without listening to their body.

Remember, work 8 hours, sleep well and enjoy the rest of your day with a happy mindset. Killing yourself at work gives you nothing.

“Oh it gives me bonuses” you may say.

Well, sorry to tell you that a few thousands buck won’t do any good if you can’t even go out without crying for no reason.



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– Premise –

PAX East 2016 was the first time I was able to go to a game convention as a exhibitor and that was also the first time I was going to a game convention at all.

I must say that this was some really awesome and exhausting experience. Probably the most exhausting weekend I had in my life by far. It took me a few days to get back from that (mostly because I got sick but still).

So, why not write a blog about the experience I got and, once again, the pleasure I had to interact with Larian community.

– I’ve Never Talked that Much –

Seriously, I think that my throat is still not back at its full potential. This is just crazy the amount of talking I’ve done in these three days, saying the same thing over and over again.

We were presenting the brand new combat system we’ve made for Divinity Original Sin 2 or, well, the improvement we’ve made from the 1st game. That was still a lot of stuff to explain to people. Half (random statement) of the people hadn’t played the 1st one yet.

People had 15 minutes to try the game. That was pretty short but we had SO MANY people at our booth all day that it was the maximum that we could give. So I had to explain the whole combat system and the improvements we’ve made in like, 3-4 minutes to make sure the people who waited for like, one hour, had still 10ish minutes to play and that they knew what to do.

My speech was so tweaked by the end of the 2nd day, it was crazy. My mouth just became a machine expulsing words in a perfect way to make everyone understand in the least amount of time. On the 3rd day though, I was starting every one of my speech apologizing to people that my voice was complete crap. People laughed every single time, at least. Talking during 8-9 hours every day, three days in a row, is something.

Game conventions like this are a serious throat killing experience.

I talk a lot in general. I’m like that. My friends know about this. But I seriously never talked that much in a short period of time. When I was not explaining the game to people I was still talking to fans about DoS2 in general or with my colleagues.

I came home on Monday and took off on Tuesday. I haven’t said a single word during that day. It felt really great.

Seriously. Even for me.

– The People –

Wow, SO, MANY, people. And I’ve heard that PAX East is “small” compared to PAX Prime. I’m having a hard time thinking about how crazy Prime is about. I mean, at Larian, we are obviously not Blizzard or Wargamming or whatever other companies who attracts thousands of people. But still, the booth was full ALL the time.

Gates were opening at 10:00am and 5 minutes after, the booth was full and the line was already starting to be filled with people.

Amazing people.

Every single person who came to our booth really wanted to play the game and were amazed by what they saw. Even if that was just a small PvP demo to showcase the combat system.

On the 2nd day, I started to recognize people. I had at least a dozen of them coming back a 2nd time end even a 3rd time to play the game! They liked it so much that they were happy to wait like another hour during their day to replay that small demo for 15 minutes. For me it was just amazing. Amazing to see the support we have from our fans.

Even if we had a few hiccups, like game crashing for example, people were still having a lot of fun and they were all really comprehensive.

We had some pretty well known people coming also, Brittney Bombacher, AngryJoe, Jesse Cox, Bikeman, Tom Marks (from PC Gamer) and so on. I’ve also heard (and I was really sad because I missed him) that Total Biscuit came to our booth. He was really undercover though. It was really cool to see all these awesome people stopping by to play the game with Swen (Larian CEO).

I also had the best bro hug from Bikeman.

And I got a lot of other bro hugs from fans.

Good times.

– Lady Killer –

Lady Killer is a small transmedia/marketing/management/production group of awesome and beautiful geek women. They were working with us at the booth, helping us doing a lot of stuff, managing the cosplayers and ensuring that everything was going smoothly for us.

They are seriously killing it.

I had SO MUCH fun working with them and hanging out after each night.

Super professional and on point on everything.

I seriously wish two things now:

That I’ll be able to go to another game convention and that I’ll be able to work with Lady Killer crew again.

Seriously, go follow them @LadyKillerRocks

– Ain’t Nobody Got Time for This –

Yeah, the sad note for me at PAX was that, well, I was not there “to have fun”. I was there to work. Which is an awesome thing (if you don’t think about that fact that I haven’t had any weekend!). On the other hand, I would have really liked to be able to try some of the games there.

There was this one big Monster Hunter booth that I was just going crazy about. Was not able to play.

There was also that HUGE part of the convention only dedicated to board games. I was like, OMGOMGOMGOMG. But yeah, was barely able to speak to a guy from Cool Mini or Not on Saturday morning and that was it.

You basically just don’t have time to go around. If you have time, I would say that you are not doing your job OR because you’re over staffed for the event.

Our goal was to meet with the fan and talk to them about the game. Since the booth was always full, well, I was always having something to do!

But still, wouldn’t have been sad to have time to get around stuff, hehe.

– Ending Notes –

All in all, like I said above, it was THE most exhausting week end of my life but I had a serious blast there. I thanked Swen a few times for allowing me to be there. I know that I’ve made a good job there at least.

I will never get enough of Larian fans telling us how much they love what we’re doing.

So, like I said, I really hope that I’ll be able to go to other game conventions like this. Even if I’m sure that I’ll die younger because of that! haha.

But yeah, the expectations are starting to get pretty big. We’ll need to ship that big of a game at some point right?

Team Building

Team Building


– Premise –

Allright, that’s been a pretty long time since I blogged anything. Obviously, my goal is not to force myself to write anything anyway but when you don’t have any idea… I was in a three weeks trip to Belgium, in Gent actually, to work closer with my colleagues at Larian.

I’m leaving Belgium and then it just reminded me all the different trips I had in my career to meet the people I was working with from a distance. Every time was a super great experience and even if that was never really the goal, it all came to the same thing for me: Team Building.

– The Importance of Chemistry –

Like I said in my article about how Ubisoft was great, I traveled a few in my career. I’ve travelled for a lot of different reasons like having a training, a workshop, a course, getting involved in the tech creation, teaching people something and other things. Every time though, I really felt like it was more than that.

It was more than that because I was building stronger bonds with the people I used to write to on different chat software or people I used to call during work without knowing them.

Like I use to say a lot, “You never know someone until you get drunk with him/her”.

Every time I travelled I built chemistry with people. Not all of them, obviously. I didn’t had the opportunity to have a drink or go out with everyone I met but still, I have met and had fun with a lot of people around the world.

I find strong bonds or chemistry between people really important because, when you know someone, when you’ve speak with that person a lot, it helps a lot regarding communication. Speaking to someone you don’t know at all, someone you never saw in your life can be awkward at first. You don’t know how a person will react or whatever. It’s even worse when you have to write to them, there’s no emotion in a text. It’s totally different when you’ve met that person in real life. It’s even better if you were able to meet that person outside of work!

We all judge people of first impression. But you never know if you wrote to a person during he/she had a bad day. Maybe a person wrote to you when you had a bad day and you acted like an idiot because you were not feeling well.

I met a lot of people in my career that I was sure were complete retards at first but then, after meeting them in real life I realized that it was the total opposite!

– Do Something –


Do something! Go out with people. Have a drink with them. Go eat somewhere. Do whatever that can fit your and their tastes.

When I was a lead at Ubisoft, I really loved planning activities with my team. I knew it would help a lot during those crazy crunch days at some point. I knew that since people had fun with each other, that they became friends, that they shared stories and what not that it would help to do and say things right when the time would come.

You will always have these people who don’t want to get along. These people who will never go out. Maybe they can’t because they have kids for example, or maybe they just don’t want to. That’s ok. You may be able to get them out once and they’ll have a great time. But still, the important thing here is to create strong bonds with your team. Create stories that you’ll be able to share a few years later.

“You remember that time we got shitfaced at that bar and you were so drunk you got woke up by the janitor at 4 am in the toilet?”

That kind of story.

You’ll laugh. You’ll remember the good times you had with the people you’re spending SO much hours with.

You spend 8 hours a day with the same people every day during years. You should probably know them a bit more than just their name right?

– Ending Notes –

I’m an extrovert person. I like to go out a lot and meet people. It’s not for everyone I know that. But I also met a lot of introvert people in my career that are super awesome and even if that took them every single drop of energy they had to come out, I was able to know more about them and I was able to communicate with them better after.

Like I said, there are also the people who just don’t want to make friends. They just want to work 8 hours a day and go home. That’s ok. Do what you can with the people who wants to.

When you can put a face and memories on a name it’s always better. When you have a problem at work and you have to poke that guy on the other side of the world you had a pretty nice party with the other day I can assure you everything will get along really faster.

You can’t teach Level Design

You can’t teach Level Design

Image by peetcooper

You can’t teach Level Design

– Premise –

I wanted to write something about this after an interesting talk I had with Larian CEO, Swen, last week. We were talking about the value of a Level Design course in school and we figured out it was almost none. As a lot of you probably know, this is the job I’m doing for the last 10 years. I’ve learned a lot of things during that time and I systematically refused all requests asking me to teach level design in school here in Québec.

The twist though is that I’m working hard to build something so I’ll be able to do a level design seminar in a near future.

Isn’t it contradictory? Yes, it is!

The difference here is that I want to teach the basic. The obvious stuff that some people told me during my career and/or the stuff I found by myself that is perfectly related to level design. The stuff that would have helped me moving forward faster.

Still, you can teach people how to use editors or how to script. You can teach them how to create rational level design documents, how to communicate between department in a video game company or how to do mission/quest documentation. The thing, for me, is that it’s not level design.

Level design is creating FUN, creating challenging situation or creating beautiful moments that people will talk years after they’ve played your level. But fun is something that is hardly measurable and that is also really different for everyone on this planet


– Teaching Editor A or B –

The obvious thing that you learn, as I figured out, in school when you do level design is how to use an editor. The most common right now is Unity. This is probably the most used editor around the world in indie/small companies. You can do a lot of stuff with this, like, everything in fact. The other one is probably Unreal. There are still a lot of companies using this editor I think.

They are both really simple to use so that’s great I guess.

The problem for me is that except if you are lucky to work for a company using Unreal or you go Indie and use Unity, this will be pretty much useless. Except for basic stuff like moving with a 3D view?

On all the project I’ve worked in my career I always used in house editors.

At Ubisoft I’ve worked on Jade, Blacksmith, Snowdrop, Anvil, Mosaic, Onyx, call them. These are all different editors that people won’t be able to learn ever outside. Now at Larian, this is the same thing, Divinity Editor is an in house one. At least this editor is up for people on Steam. Still, this is not the kind of editor you’ll learn at school. It’s too specific. As specific as any Ubisoft editors in fact.

– Level Design Port-Folio –

Every video game schools (I think) have a course to teach people how to create a port-folio. This is useful, seriously. You want to show the right thing to the right people in a good way. People pass something like 2 minutes looking at a port-folio. Better have the right stuff there.

It’s good for artists.

I’ve seen a lot of level design port-folio in my life, especially when I was hiring people to work on AC Syndicate and seriously, judging level design, especially if it’s static (like, not a video) is really hard.

Judging art is easy. It’s easy to see if something is good/beautiful/well made or not.

How am I supposed to see if what the person has done is good level design wise?

Is it fun? How can I see if it’s fun in the context of a game? Is that map too hard? Was it to easy? Is it a tutorial map? An end-game challenge? Is the flow good from where the player is in the game? Whatever… This all need context. You almost never get context on a port-folio.

Don’t ask why companies hire, normally, only level designer with experience. You can show stuff you’ve made in a production context. You can compare maps/level/missions in that game. You can see if that was well balanced and so on. Without this, it’s really hard to judge.

The only moment I was impressed when I was looking at port-folio was when people were showing me unusual stuff like a Starcraft 2 multiplayer map for example. But that was not impressing me for the right reason.

You always see the same things ! I’ve talked about it in my tips to enter post. This is also linked to the “Editor” part above. People learn to use Unreal, so they do shooter maps! This is what they learn. I can’t blame them…

– Trial and Error –


THIS is level design.

Yep… This is how we ALL have learned. Ask any veteran level designer out there how they have learn to create fun, gameplay, challenge, etc. I bet they will all answer that they have tried.

They also have failed.

Way more often than they have succeed I’m sure about it. There’s a saying about learning more when you fail. Well, this is true for sure.

You can’t teach people how to try stuff. You just do it.

You create something depending on all the hundreds of constrains you have and after that you ask people to play it. Then you delete 95% of your jobs related to their feedback and you start over. You ask them to play again and again. You tweak your stuff again and again. Keeping the good, deleting/changing the bad until you see that people are enjoying what you’ve created. Then you move to another challenge/map/whatever and you rinse and repeat the step above.

Yes there are ways to teach the basics of flow, difficulty curve, composition, guiding by lights and other basic level design tools. It’s still something that you’ll need to try by yourself in order to really understand what it means.

– Ending Notes –

So, aspiring level designer, how are you suppose to get a job? This is probably a question you are asking.

There’s no easy way.

Well, you need to ship something somewhere somehow. Do a mod with a few friends. Do a multiplayer map that people will be able to play on any games workshop on Steam. I guess that would be a good thing to do.

I’m still building that level design seminar where I’ll talk about the basic points I wrote above. Still, the goal of that seminar will be to make people understand that you become a level designer by trying stuff and failing.

I want to do a seminar because that’ll be short. I don’t see how people can sit in a classroom learning level design for weeks. It takes a few hours to teach the basics. After that, go try stuff by yourself, this is the only way that you’ll be able to really learn.

Level design is ALL about trial and error.


EDIT: (02/03/2016) After a few discussions I decided to add something. My posts are normally straight to the point. This one is not different than the others. I know that a lot of people will probably disagree with me and that’s cool! There are a lot of level design teachers out there who would probably strongly disagree with me. Still, I think that their jobs are not really justified concerning pure level design. Anyway…

One thing that I forgot to write is if level design is different than any other art form/job? Maybe yes but probably no. Any kind of art will take years to master there’s no doubt with that and will also be achieved by a lot of trial and errors. I think, like beautiful stuff, it’s all relative to the person looking at it. I find things beautiful and some people obviously find the same things ugly.

Where I draw the line is strictly between jobs inside the industry. If someone ask a modeler to create a wooden door for, example, a “next-gen” realistic console title. You know how a door should be. Yes they can be whatever color you want but everybody know how a door is in the real world. Same thing for, I don’t know, a police officer. You ask a character artist to do a police officer. You know how a police officer should look like. You know how much detail you have to put on his mesh to feel realistic enough for that “next-gen” realistic console game you are doing. You know how much you can push that mesh to fit for the console. Yes, if you ask 10 top notch character artists to do a police officer, they will all look different. But still, they will look exactly how they should with the artistic direction you got. I’m not saying that it’s easy to be a modeler or a character artists, FAR from that. I’m just saying that it’s easier from an art point of view to know if it’s beautiful enough or not. Technology is moving forward and people know how to use tech to it’s maximum to create the most beautiful things art-wise. How you create a door won’t change if your target audience is 7 years old girls or fully grown men.

I wouldn’t say the same for gameplay and especially fun. Whatever the game you are doing, whatever the tech you are using, how you attack fun/challenge/gameplay will always be different; especially depending on the target audience. That’s why I say that teaching all of this is not like anything else, again, in video games.


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Ubisoft is GREAT

Ubisoft is GREAT

maxresdefault – Premise –

With my last blog post concerning my opinions on what is AAA game production I talked with a lot of my friends, coworkers, ex-coworkers and people around the Internet about the impact on these kind of posts and other things.

I have also read a lot of replies on my friend’s first post and it always come to the same thing, Ubisoft Bashing. It’s a trend right now, and I hate it. It’s probably better now than what it was when Unity came out for example. Ubisoft bashing was all over the place like it was the only bad thing that ever happened in the industry. That was pissing me off at the time and even now, I’m not even at Ubisoft anymore and that pisses me off.

I was not the first to talk about my passed experience and my friend Max was not either. In the last 10 years I saw a lot of posts here and there about people who left Ubisoft (or other companies). Sometimes anonymously, sometimes saying who they were. Some were just plain trash talking, other, like Max’s posted was really professional. The thing I haven’t seen at all (correct me if I’m wrong) is saying how great, as an employee, Ubisoft is/was. So here, I’ll write about my last 10 years at Ubisoft. I’ve stayed here for 10 years because it was GREAT.

– So what is Ubisoft (for me)? –

– The differences between studios –

First of all, I’ve worked at Ubisoft Québec (if you don’t already know). I started my career a little bit more than 10 years ago, on the 7th of November 2005 as a video game tester. Ten months later I became a Level Designer and I moved forward with that and that’s still what I’m doing professionally.

Ubisoft is a really big company. I don’t remember the number of different studios Ubisoft own but they have a lot all around the world. You can also add studios that got bough like Red Storm, Massive Entertainment, Bluebyte and so on.

Because of this, because of the mentality of every countries, habits and all other things, all Ubisoft studios are different. It’s a multicultural company and that’s really nice. I went to Ubisoft Montreal a few times, I worked at Massive for a few months but I mainly worked at Ubisoft Québec. I met a lot of Ubisoft of employees from all around the world in my career and I’ve learn stuff from every one of them.

You can have totally different experiences depending on the studio you work on but still, the same “base” is there for all the studios and I must say, Ubisoft base is great.

– Flexible Hours –

This is a common thing I think in most of the video game companies now but still, it’s part of what define Ubisoft. You can go to work almost between a certain period of time and leave after a certain amount of time (depending on the country you are working). So if you get a pretty big hangover because you were partying the day before, well, instead of going to work at 7 in the morning, just go at 10! There’s no problem with that.

Also, you are not “punching” your time. You know, nobody gave a single damn if I was working 7 hours on one day because I had to go to the dentist for example or that I needed to do whatever else. Your job is done? Sure, take that free hour. Go spend time with your family. Go do whatever you have to do that is important. If your job is done, what is the problem anyway?

– The Environment –

You know, age of people working in the video game industry is low. People are still pretty young. The industry is also pretty young so that’s probably linked I guess. People are getting older that what it was 10 years ago obviously but it’s still the case. The majority of people are under 40.

Young people means FUN.

You know, drinking beer on the job, throwing football between the desks to other people, Nerf gun fights, babyfoot/ping pong/pool table, lounge with all the consoles, arcade, gym, etc. This is what defines the environment.

One other cool thing is the open area. Well, for me it is. I know it’s not for everyone, but it’s really nice to be all in the same space without any little walls blocking us. It’s easier for communication. It’s cool to see people around, hearing a joke here and there, screaming nonsence stuff at other… Having fun!

– No “Clients” –

This is not true for everyone but most of the dev teams don’t have “clients”. What I mean by that is that you never deal with the outside world outside of the job. Why is that a cool thing?

Well, you put the cloths you want at the office. Nobody will give a damn about what you are wearing.

You have a mohawk? Nobody gives a damn about it.

That mohawk is pink, blue and purple? Nobody gives a damn about it.

You have 12 piercings? Nobody gives a damn about it.

You have tattoos all over the body? (I worked with a guy like this and he’s awesome) Yet nobody gives a damn about it.

No clients means casual as f**k!

– Free Foods and Drinks! –

Every morning we had fresh fruits for everyone. On Friday, we had super tasty fresh bagels. The fridges were always open so you could have any kind of juice, water and/or soft drink if you wanted.

At Massive, it was even better! Every morning, we had breakfasts. Sandwiches, cheeses, delis, etc.

We also had a lot of cool events related to foods were we were able to tastes awesome stuff like teas, chocolates, wines and so on.

– Parties/Happy Hours! –

Obviously, since we are “young” in the industry, we like to party a lot. At the beginning of Ubisoft Québec we had happy hours every 2 weeks or so. Free beers and foods for everyone. On AC Syndicate, it became a habit. We had happy hours every week with free beers and stuff.

Parties is also a big thing at Ubisoft. Parties are BIG and awesome. Obviously, with open bar… We had all kind of crazy things at our parties. I was there for 10 years! So that’s a lot of parties to go. Every Christmas, every shipped projects and other reason where all good to throw a party somewhere. About the crazy stuff, I can remember parties with inflatable fighting ring, flame spitters (?), jugglers, dancers, fit man in kilts, Tyrolean traverse, pirates, music bands, sugar shacks, bus trips, and so on.

That was something.

I’m missing that for sure!

– Traveling –

This is one big thing at Ubisoft. You can travel a lot if you want to. I haven’t travel that much for personal reason but I still when to Paris for two weeks and in Sweden three times and one of them I lived in Sweden for four months. All that being paid!

I’ve a lot of ex-coworkers who traveled a lot more than me. Going all around the world.

Like I said above, Ubisoft is big and has studios all around the globe. More than often you will be sent on a mission for a few weeks/months in another country for various reasons like mentoring, learning new tools, teaching stuff, helping starting up a projects and so on. And remember, ALL PAID.

– Resources Sharing –

Again, because Ubisoft is SO big, there are a lot of resources sharing between studios. You know, when you want a crate in your game for example, you don’t ask a modeler to create another crate that was created on another projects in the last year. You take a crate in the shared asset bank and you pimp it a bit for your project.

There is also a pretty big intranet site that looks like any other social media but more focused on sharing information. There are a lot of people sharing how they work, their tips and tricks and other things like this. Lot to learn there.

There is also countless training videos around there where you can learn a lot of stuff. I know a guy, who was a level artist and became a level designer just because he learned a lot by himself using these training videos.

– Talents –

There are a lot of people at Ubisoft, a few thousands. One thing that is pretty amazing is the number of persons there who are SO talented. You can learn a lot in your department and even in other departments just by speaking with other employees around the globe. It’s good for the company, it’s good for the juniors, it’s also good for the seniors and it’s good for the point above (resources sharing).

– And so on… –

I could probably continue talking a lot about cool things. Some of them are probably also available in other video game companies. There are probably also a lot of other companies who gives even more stuff than this! I could talk about insurance plan at Ubisoft (that is really super duper awesome) for example or the classic bonuses after you ship a project (and when you are on a project). That big money you get and say “Well, cool, thanks! I was not expecting that”, etc…

– Ending notes –

So, all in all, I wouldn’t have spent a third of my life in a company if it was not that great. I seriously think that more people should also write/talk out loud what were the awesome things they experienced in they career after leaving a company or even when they are still working for a company.

I’ve no idea if this post will get a lot of attention because it’s always better for the big lines to say that something is BAD or why someone LEFT. Because of the blog I posted to follow what my friend Max has said I never got that much people ending here. That would be great that double this amount would see this one instead.

I still hope that a lot of people will read it and realize that there are grey zones everywhere. For me, there were way more “white” zones than “dark” zones at Ubisoft for sure.

Seriously. If you read this, I’m not asking that normally but SHARE this post everywhere that you can. I want to know that people will also be aware that most of the time (by far) it’s AWESOME to work for Ubisoft.

EDIT (29/01/16): Thanks to everyone who shared this blog post. I’m really happy to see that a lot of people also like to read about the good stuff of the industry, not just the bad.❤

EDIT#2: To whoever shared that in Romania, you guys just made that blog post explode. Thanks for passing by!


Leave a comment if you have any opinions on this or have any questions!
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Inside vs Outside AAA

Inside vs Outside AAA

– Premise –

One of my ex-coworker, Maxime, wrote an article on his new-indie-company blog that got a lot more views that he was expecting. If you haven’t read it already (because it was on all the big sites), have a look right there : Why I quit my Dream Job at Ubisoft. It’s pretty good.

I wanted to write about this because of the “storm” that article created.

I must say that it really surprised me how much attention it got because for me this is “obvious” things. Day to day business and nothing more. Well, used to…

But then, I realized that these kind of things are not “going out” a lot. People, gamers, have no clue for the most part how it’s done in the inside. The typical stuff we hear from non gamer is, “You play games all day.” Then the stuff we hear from gamers is normally, “That company sucks hard, all their games are shit, etc, etc”.

So, let’s talk about this.

– The Outside –

From a developer with more than ten years on my belt, it’s hard now to put myself in the place of someone who has never worked in the industry. Like I said above, all the stuff that seems to be so “incredible” for people outside is just day to day business that I lived for the last ten years. Like many others.

There are so many people talking about so many different subjects on so many different website related to the gaming industry but a few of them dare to talk about “the real stuff”.

I can understand why, I mean, the industry is pretty small. Really small in fact. Everyone knows everyone to some extent. You don’t want to trash a company just for trashing it. You’ll be flagged for sure.

People knows about the basics, the stuff that gets out like crunches, unpaid overtime and so on but people don’t know how it is on a daily basis. Long crunches leads to burnouts. I’ve a few friends who had to leave for a long time because they were totally burned down.

Some people say that we play games all day. Other people say that “we’re just making games”. Well, a job is a job. Yes, creating games is awesome but that’s still a job. There are good stuff and bad stuff in every job. Video game development is no different.

I’m glad though that Maxime dared to talk about his past job at Ubisoft in a really professional way because all the points he said are valid and really true. Because of that, more people know about the inside. The part of the industry that is pretty well hidden. Some day it’s really bright, some day it’s not.

So, let’s talk about it.

– The Inside –

I won’t repeat what Max said in his article because I don’t have the same parkour nor the same background. On the other hand, we have worked on a lot of project “together” during our 10 years at Ubisoft.

He left a few weeks after me if I remember correctly.

All in all, I think we have left Ubisoft mostly for the same reason.

I also tasted “the forbidden fruit” of small team awesome development on Duel of Champions. Luckily for me though, the game I co-created (I was Game Designer on the project) got released compared to both his two small games Maxime worked on.

My dream was never to work on AAA games or anything like him though. I just wanted to make games. Games that I would be proud to say that I’ve worked on like Prince of Persia Forgotten Sand Wii, Duel of Champions and AC Syndicate.

Maxime wrote that he left because he had no motivation anymore because he didn’t had really any impact on the game as an architect on Syndicate. I’ve no idea about his job back then but I can understand why. It was really different as a Senior Level Designer and also Lead Level Designer though. I had a lot of impact on the game. I built the whole skeleton of London from scratch with the World Director. It was a really big challenge to fit London in a 2×6 km map without losing any key locations. London is what it is right now mostly because of what we’ve done back then at the start of the project. I’ve also worked on all the districts to some extent and was in charge of one. I also worked on a lot of milestone demo and other stuff.

All in all, my impact on the game was really big on my point of view.

But I still left Ubisoft and I’m also not interested in the job interview I get from big companies anymore.

Why did I left then?

Well, like Maxime wrote, in big teams people get super specialized in one way of working. I really realized that when I was doing the test for Larian before I got hired. Basically, I didn’t knew how to do “anything” anymore. I’ve worked on six Assassin’s Creed games. That was what I was doing since Brotherhood. AC, AC, AC and AC games… I had a small break with Duel of Champions and The Division. But they were small breaks. I really knew how to do AC games but that was it! When you are doing the same thing over and over for years. You forget everything else. There’s a joke we were saying back then about “a dude” who was in charge of placing bird shit on roofs. You know, it sounds funny but that was not far from the truth.

The first half of Syndicate I was a lead Level Designer. I was in charge of a small team of six Level Designers. That was my goal at Ubisoft for a long time. I wanted to be a mentor, someone in charge. I became Lead LD on The Division. I was also lead on Black Flag but both of these project were nothing compared to Syndicate. It was fun the first year, when the team was still relatively small. Under 100 persons or something like this. When production really started though, that’s when shit started to hit the fan. Being a lead was not exactly how I was seeing it anymore.

I’m a Level Designer, I need to work and create stuff in the editor. That’s my trick! But yeah, as a lead, I was doing task management, planning, bug assignments and other stuff like this. That was when I was not in meetings, because, on a project THAT big, you are always in meetings. If fact, I was doing overtime just to do some Level Design… One day, I decided to take a step back and asked to be a “normal” Level Designer again. It was the best move for me and the project (LD-wise).

Another thing that is “shocking” on big projects like Syndicate is the layer of managers. From a “floor employee” to the Creative Director you have layers and layers of management, leads, project managers, associate producer, producers, coordinators, production managers, etc. There were also managers to manage managers because they were so many. That was seriously crazy. We had people who were only tracking information between studios. That’s what they were doing eight hours a day. Forwarding info from a studio to another. Too many chiefs I must say…

Also, probably like any big companies, not only in the game industry, when you are that big, there are a lot of political games all around the place. It’s even “worst” when you are a manager. It’s incredible how you need to make sure what you say, write and do is politically correct every time. You can’t do any mistakes or you’ll get burn really hard. You need to be friend with the right people and walk straight. I got a lot of friends who got burned just because they said legit stuff to “harshly” or because they were “saying the truth”. In my mind, making games were all about fun no?

Over the years, all these “smalls” things became bigger and bigger and at some point I decided to leave. I wanted to know something else. To learn new things. To see how other people were doing games.

All in all, I’m really proud of what AC Syndicate became even if I was not there at the end. It’s a really great game. But like Maxime and all the other seniors who left, I guess that was just too much for us. I’m sure some people say that we are leavers or anything like this. That we could not handle that big machine. Maybe it’s true but I don’t take it that way.


– Ending notes –

Compared to Maxime, I didn’t went Indie. Well, in some kind of way yes maybe. I work for an  indie company now. It’s so different on many level. It’s cool to not feel like a number anymore. It’s also awesome to know that the CEO of the company knows you really well. Life at Larian is not perfect but it’s really great. For me, it’s better that way. Smaller, more human approach on projects. What Ubisoft Québec used to be back in the days in fact. A place where you knew everyone.

PS: Agree/disagree, questions? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment🙂
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EDIT (27/01/16): One important thing to note there though is, probably compared to Maxime, that I would have stayed at Ubi if it would not have been for Larian opening a studio in Quebec. I will also write another post to talk about my life at Ubi in detail because it was a great 10 years for sure. I just found out that AAA production is probably not for me so I left to work on “smaller” projects but more importantly, to see “something else”.



World of Simulator Simulators?

World of Simulator Simulators?

Or Who’s Doing the Dumbest Game


I can’t remember these days because I was not alive but back in the 80s, video game had a pretty big crash. There were a ton of shitty consoles on the market and game companies where making games like mad men. All gamers probably know what happened back then with the pinnacle of all, E.T. on Atari 2600. People where like “Fuck that industry and their shitty products!”.

I don’t want to say that we’re going into a crash because a lot of people already talked, wrote and screamed about it. I don’t really think that’ll happen. But, why, seriously why, are all these people doing shitty games?

I was about to go to sleep but I saw a popular new release on steam. It’s called… nah, I don’t even want to write the name. People could get interested! I’ll write a few lines instead.

AAA Money Sucker Simulator


This is how I categorize games now a day.

Am I just an old fart who can’t enjoy anything anymore? I don’t think so. I look at game differently for sure since creating games is my job. Like a movie maker probably has a hard time “not complaining” when he watch a movie.

But  seriously. This is how it is right now.

On this post, I just want to talk about the green part.


For me, it all started with Goat Simulator.

I thought it was funny and “new”. I mean, an open sand box where you do whatever you want with a set of mechanics. You character is a goat. Cool I guess, goat where trendy at that time.

I wonder why it was not a cat simulator that came first though…


I don’t understand people. All these shitty stupid games are doing so well. People enjoy them SO MUCH. But I’m wondering if people really like them or just buy those games because it’s even more stupid than the last one they bought.

I Am Bread for fuck sake! Yes there is gameplay and all but, seriously? You play a fukin’ bread slice. At least, gameplay is decent I guess.

But more recently you have crazy stupid games beyond comprehension.

Who’s Your Daddy… One guy play the dad and one other play the baby. If you are the baby you have to kill yourself. If you are the dad you need to do whatever possible so the baby don’t die. Why the?

Shower with your dad… Beyond shitty pixel art (Realm of the Mad God has its charm at last!) where you play a naked kid seeking for his naked dad taking a shower. Don’t hit the wrong dad though! If you see what they did there…

I could give more example but I don’t want too, people could go buy these games.

On a more serious note. Why are people buying these games seriously? I can understand people who wants to create them, people out there put their green thumbs up on all of these games on steam whenever there’s a new one. It’s even better for them it’s is dumber than the last one I think.


It may sound like a bland rank post. But that’s not exactly my purpose. Venting air was not the purpose either. I would seriously want to know why people are supporting devs who are doing these piles of dump.

I also seriously hope that it’s a trend and that it’ll die soon. Like clickers game for example. It lasted a few and that was perfect.

PS: I really like clickers. I love numbers. Numbers are cool.



Passion, that state of mind

Passion, that state of mind

– Passion –

It has been a long time since my last blog post. I must say that I didn’t had anything interesting enough to write about. For this one post, I’ll change the format I usually do with the premise and all and I’ll just write stuff. It may be a bit chaotic.

My friend Robin was telling me that he got hooked by my blog and started his own. I must say that it’s pretty nice and I’m glad someone started to write about stuff “because of me”. He also told me that he was waiting for my next post! But still, I had nothing worth a text. Then we talked a bit about random stuff and one thing came out of this, we were talking about the great time we had when we worked on Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands and how passionate we were.

So why not writing about this?


But, Passion, related to, obviously, video games. Even more, related to working in the industry.

During the last ten years, I worked on a lot of different projects. I also worked on personal projects “on the side” (they never saw the light of days though). Some of them were awesome and some of them were boring as shit.

One thing that was obvious on all the projects I worked on was, when I was passionate about them, I was working 200%. On the opposite, when I was not, my work was not that good. I’m this kind of person. When I’m passionate about something I’ll work/spend time so much and so hard without even thinking about it. Sadly, when I’m not, I’ll need to kick myself just to do the bare minimum. That sucks, seriously. I know people who can motivate themselves even when they hate what they are doing. Sadly, I just can’t.

I remember back on PoP. Some of my colleagues and myself spent a lot of time, overtime in fact, working on bonus maps. Stuff that was not planed in the game. Maps that were not even part of the story. We were doing that because we were passionate so much about the game and we wanted that game to be the best PoP ever. I even worked, at some point, 14 days straights on that project and I was not forced too. I just wanted to do it. Just for the sake of doing bonus stuff. This is what passion can do to someone. Maybe it’s because I was younger. Who knows?

Obviously, companies, in my honest opinion, should try to focus on stuff related to what drive their employees. Is it easy to do? Hell no. I know it. Especially when you work on a AAA studio. Projects come from head management and you work on that. It’s also pretty rare that you can choose to work on something. More than often managers put you on a project and that’s it.

I had the chance to choose in the past and I must say that I had the opportunity to work on projects that were awesome. Like Might & Magic : Duel of Champions. Another project where we were able to see what a passionate team can do. The whole team was playing the game every day, people were tweaking their decks and all. Everyone on that project was playing every time. That was really awesome to see and the energy people had on the project was contagious.

Sadly, I worked on less projects I was passionate about than the opposite. As a gamer, it helps when you work on projects that you would play. For me, that was not really the case at Ubisoft. I’m proud of every single project I worked on but as a gamer, Ubisoft games are not the kind of games that I like.

So coming back on the point I was talking about earlier, it would be more of a dream to “ask” companies to create games related to the likings of their employees. I guess a few can do it, like Valve for example. I’ve heard that people work on what they like and want. But well, that’s probably why they release one game every 1000 years. But that’s another story.

So I guess the “solution” for me was to find the companies who make the games I liked and work for them. I’m now at Larian. They make RPGs. That’s a style of game that I like a lot. It’s not my perfect type of game as a gamer, I’m an RTS guy. But still, as a gamer, I play RPGs, so that’s pretty awesome!

Maybe the most obvious but also hardest solution for someone who seek passion work would be to start his own company. That’s a bold move though and also pretty risky.

On the other hand, even when you work in the “perfect” environment, sometimes, you have your days/weeks of “meh”. This damn thing when you need to kick yourself to go to work even if everything is awesome. I have this kind of “problem” every few months and I must say that it’s pretty hard for me to get back on track. I don’t know why because, this mood arrives and leaves as fast. One day it’s going “meh” and then the other day it’s going well.

Being passionate about your work is a weird state of mind isn’t it? But one thing for sure is, when you’re “in the flow”. Get the shit done!

Board Games Review #1

– Jeff’s Board Games – Eclipse –

– Premise –

One of my friend gave me the idea to blog about board games after a discussion we had together. I don’t have any idea about the format I’ll use for that since all my blogs are wrote on the fly but I know one thing though. I’ll write about the board games I have in my small collection. I’ve around 55.

For my first blog I’ll will write about the best game I’ve ever played, Eclipse – New Dawn for The Galaxy.

The design of this game, the mechanics and how everything interact with everything else is so perfect that this game is easily on the top spot for me. I’m a hardcore player though. So it may not fit to everyone. If your kind of game is Blokus or Bang, it may not be for you though.

TL;DR at the end with PROs/CONs

Let’s do this.

– Game Details –

Designer: Touko Tahkokallio
Number of Players: 2-6
Playing Time: ~30 minutes/players
Age: 12+

Theme: Science fiction
Type: Strategy
Win Condition: Be the one with the most victory points
Board: Hexes
Difficulty: Medium/Hard

– The Basics –

After the initial setup, each player choose a color/race and everything related to it, ships, race board, tokens, etc.

Then, turn by turn, each players decide what to do with their own colony.

They can:

– Explore another spot in the galaxy;
– Influence a planet to “own” it;
– Research new technologies;
– Upgrade their ships;
– Build ships or structures;
– Move ships for hexes to hexes (this is also used to attack)

The more the player do actions, the more resources it will cost. Obviously, the more you do, the more the colony will need.

After the player thinks he has done enough on a turn, he then decides to pass and the next player starts his turn.

The game always end after 9 rounds. Which is great. No never ending games.

After the set of 9 rounds, the player who has the most victory points (VP) win the game.

– The Kick –

The basics sounds really like any other games right? Pretty much. But I’ll explain some mechanics in details here to give a bigger picture.

Let’s start with the bread of the game, the hexes.

They look like this:

– The Worm Holes –

On the outer part of each hexes, there are worm holes (the white half circles). When you explore and draw a hex, you need to place at least one worm hole connected to another worm hole of another hex on the table. This is needed for traveling. Placing how the hexes connect with each other is a great part of the strategy to decide who will be able to navigate where. You can close the access to your galaxy with another player or open it so you can access that player planets!

– Planets –

All planets give you resources if you populate them. Each planet has a resource color that matches the one on the race board (see below) for you to exploit.

Also, each hex gives a number of victory point if the player control that area at the end of the game. The more area you conquer and keep, the more VP you’ll have at the end of the game.

Hexes can also have enemy neutral ships that you need to defeat in order to get access to that area and secret tiles containing ancient technologies (pretty powerful) or even lots of resources. You can also decide to use these tiles as VP at the end of the game. Yay for other way of gaining VP than combats!

Now let’s go with the race board.

This is how it looks in game:

This looks intimidating at first but this is pretty straight forward in fact. There are just a lot of place to put stuff that you buy and build. Also, all your resources are placed there.

– The Fleet –
The top part is your fleet. You have 4 types of ships.

– Small interceptors;
– Cruiser;
– Mighty Dreadnoughts;
– Planetary Defences

They are fully customisable! You can choose to have super high hull defence ships to tank in battle, choose to have Dreadnoughts with mega cannons that destroys everything or even have suicidal interceptors with missile launchers that they can only use on turn one of combats.

You can also build orbital stations to help you gather more resources and Monoliths that gives lots of VP for a big amount of resources at the end of the game. But beware, if you build one on a planet and another player conquer that planet and own it at the end of the game, that player will gain the VP! This is an option to gain VP without fighting. High risk, high reward.

Full customisation is really awesome. Every game you can try different strategies.

– The Tech –
The center part is the technology section. This is where you put the technology you research. This can go from better guns to better resources gathering from your planets.

There is three different sort of technology

– Military;
– Grid;
– Nano

They are all focused on something like weaponry, ship upgrades, resource gathering and such.

The cool thing is that the more of the same technology you have, the more VP you get. This is another option to get VP without attacking other players.

– The Colony –

This part is where you manage the resources of your colony and your colony itself.

There is 3 resources in this game

– Orange is Money;
– Pink is Science;
– Brown is Materials

It costs money to be able to feed and use your colony. The more you use it, the more it cost money as said above.

You need to spend Science in order to research Technology.

You need to spend Materials in order to build.

As you can see the cubes (blue) in the image above, the more cubes you remove from the race board and put on the hexes, the more resources it generates each turn. Numbers are going up.

The other part is the action sections and the cylinders are there for that. As I said, the more you ask your colony each turn the more it costs. You can see the number going down from 0 to -30. This is what it’ll cost the player at the end of a turn. At least, you get them back from the action part every turn. But beware, the more planets you own, the more it also cost (obviously) since you need to put a cylinder on each hex you own. The bigger your colony, the bigger the cost!

– Resources Tracking and Combat VP –

All the way around from right  to bottom, there is a counter. This is where you put your resources counter so you can keep track of each of them.

After a combat, you get 1 or more VP token. On them there’s a number. You need to put that token on the left of the resources section face down so other players don’t see it. The more you destroy in a fight the more you will pick from the bag so the better your chance to have a big number on it. You can only take 1 per fight.

This is an Eclipse board after a few turns. Beautiful isn’t it?

–  SO? –

All in all, I like everything (almost) about this game.

It’s not that complicated to understand if you already have played real board games before. The setup time for that game is pretty short also, which is cool. Games pieces are great and easy to spot when you play.

But what I really like is all the resources spending in the game all linked to each other and the fact that there are a few different path you can take to acquire VP and win the game. Also, the ship customisation is really great. After a few games, you can also choose to play alien races instead of the humans to have another way of playing. All races have different starting tech and powers.

On a personal side, I hate luck. For me the best games are luckless, 100% strategy, where, if you win, it’s because you are better that the other, nothing else. This game though, as some part of luck. The combats are made with dices. The hexes you draw when you explore are random so are the VP tokens you get after combats. But, you can manipulate luck on some. The more you kill stuff in a fight, the more token you can draw so better chances to get a big number for example. You can also customize your fleet to hit more easily (lower dice number needed).

To any strategy board game fans, if you haven’t played this game, you need to.

Jeff’s rating of Eclipse, 9/10


– Great game mechanics
– Fleet customization
– Lots of way to win
– Cool theme
– Different races

– Lots of choices
– Pretty hardcore
– Takes a lot of place (need a big table)
– Games can be long even if it’s always 9 rounds

Entry “Cost” of the Video Game Industry

– My tips to Video Game Industry –

– Premise –

The video game industry is one of the most lucrative industry in the world (55.05 Billions US dollars in 2015). It’s no wonder why people want to join this new industry. It seems there is a lot of money to make. Well, it’s partially true but still. The fact is, compared to ten or even fifteen years ago, there are so many more people who want to enter and there are a few places available.

You have two options. Either you apply to a job at any company in the world or you start your own. Here, I will cover the first option.

My goal here is to give my five personal tips to people who wants to join the industry so you can be a little bit more prepared. Some of them will probably sound obvious and/or stupid but what I’m writing here is still what I think will give you a better chance to step inside. I can assure you that I’ve done a lot of interviews with people applying to a job in my career and saw even more port-folios. It was not always great.

Here we go.

(Now with a TL;DR at the end!)

– TIP 1 – Be the Best –

Yeah, I start with that. Why the f**k you may ask? Well…

There are thousands of people, in all of the video game job departments, who come from school and want a job. There are not thousands of job opening. Simple formula, demand versus offer. There are some jobs that are probably easier to get into. Let’s say programmer. Not that it’s easy to be a programmer, far from that. It’s more that we need tons of them. It’s still goes back to that first point, there are a big amount of programmers every years who come from school too because people know that we need a lot of them.

So, you need to be the best or, close to it.

I’m not saying that you need to be the best in the world but, from all the people out there you need to make an impression for sure. Aim high, you’ll get great results.

Here in Quebec, you can get a diploma in Game Design. There are around 100 people every year who come from that particular discipline in Quebec City. How many inexperienced Game Designer do you think the companies here hire? My guess is probably one or two. Most probably one in fact.

You need to be the best.

– TIP 2 – Work your a** off –

When you are done from school you normally have a port-folio. Especially if you are an artist of any sort. Programming port-folio is a different story I guess so is game design.

Most of the time, what you have done is school is the bare minimum of what you want to show to anyone in the industry to try to get a job. Sometimes it’s even bellow that.

There are a few people who can get a job straight after the school with only what they have done there. What they show really need to kick a** though.

You need to keep working on your stuff when you are done with school. It’s so important to be able to show something else because like I’ve said with TIP 1, there are thousands of people who come out from school at the same time and probably a few hundred in the city that you live. This means that the people who were in the same class as you will show exactly the same thing as you and vice versa. The same gun, the same low poly character and the same scene with some lighting.

You really need to have more than that to show.

Also, most of the time now, the first job you will probably get will be a contract of a couple of months. There is, sadly, a big chance that the employee will lay you off after. A lot of companies hire people for the incoming crunch and then they lay them off after because they don’t have any job for them when the project is done. I know a lot of people who has experience that.

You need to keep your port-folio up to date at all time because of this.

At least, if that happens, you’ll probably have something to show from the game you worked on.

So, never stop working on your stuff.

– TIP 3 – Create Stuff that Matters –

This is really simple but it seems that it’s not always that obvious. If you want to work for a company you need to show stuff that matters to them.

If your dream job is to work on a 3rd person shooter for company X, create stuff that will be related to a 3rd person shooter that company X has done or is doing. Same thing if you want to work on that RTS franchise of company Y. Create RTS stuff!

It’s that simple. You need to change what you are doing in order to have more chances to step into company X or Y door.

I’ve seen a lot of port-folio with totally unrelated stuff that we were doing at the company I was working for.

Also, create and show stuff that is related to the job position that you dream of.

If you apply to be a Level Artist. Show scenes that you have done. If you want to be a modeler, show assets that you have created.

The person who will watch your port-folio has a small chance to be interested with stuff that is not related to what he/she is looking for.

That gun belongs to the modeler.

– TIP 4 – Be ready to move –

The cool thing is that there are a ton of game companies in the world.

The sad thing is that they seems to be all located in the same spots.

Obviously, where there is already a pool of people, companies what to go there to exploit that pool of talent. Sometimes, companies will also open a studio in a country where the cost of workers is pretty cheap but I’ve no idea if you want to work there. Maybe? Anyway.

Still, if you want to have better chances to get into the industry, be prepare to move. There is probably a small chance that the city you live in, if it’s not a pole like Los Angeles or Montréal, will have tons of video game companies.

If you are inexperience there is small chances that you will be brought by a company on the other side of the world. It can happen though! But it’s pretty rare. At least, you can probably move in the country that you live in. I’m pretty sure all the developed country in the world have a few video game companies.

Don’t be afraid to leave the cozy city you always lived.

Keep the faith and apply everywhere.

– TIP 5 – Be a Professional –

Even if in fact, you are not one still, you need to behave like one.

A professional will show polished stuff. He will show an awesome looking port-folio. He won’t do any mistakes when he write stuff. (I’m pretty sure there are some mistakes here, haha, anyway.) And so on…

If you send a motivation letter to a recruiter with mistakes for example, you’re done.

It’s over.

They haven’t even saw your port-folio! Maybe that was the best one but they will never know. They receive hundred of resume every day, they don’t have time to waste.

We see a lot of crazy stuff you know. At least you are sending an email, it’s not like you would spilled coffee on your motivation letter.

Even if all the point here are 100% important, I could concede that having an awesome port-folio is more important than this. But still, remember that if you show errors, mistakes, unfinished work, buggy levels, you’re done.

Everyone makes errors, yes but…

…A job application needs to be perfect.

– End notes –

I know, it all looks pretty dark right? It’s not that it’s all dark though. The important thing to remember is that there are so many people applying for jobs in the industry that you really need to make an impression.

If you have the will power and the talent, I’m sure that you can get a job somewhere!

TL;DR. There are thousands of people applying for jobs every years so you really need to be in the top to be able to get one. If the stuff that you show is just “meh” you won’t get a job 99.9% of the time. Work hard play hard. Be a professional and show awesome stuff. Everything will go well.