Speaking at the opening session of today's ExPlay festival, Alex Trowers, designer at Boss Alien, has revealed a number of insights into making games, targeting much of his talk at the conference's student and start-up contingentgent.
His key piece of advice was a simple one, given in response to a question from the audience on securing a job in the industry.
"Make a game," Trowers said. "If you've made a game, you're in the games industry. And if, by your question, you're talking about looking for a job at an existing games company, then make a game. It doesn't need to be polished, but it shows you have what it takes."
"If you can't make game, make a mod for a game by the company you're looking at, and if you can't make a mod, make a level, and if you can't make that, leave me alone. If you make something, it shows you have the drive, and that's all I want from you."
He also suggested developers should not fear making their titles challenging, and suggested young games makers look to the indie scene.
"If you're looking for inspiration, look no further than the indie games scene," Trowers stated. "There's one obvious reason to do that; it's inspiration. They're a lot more agile, creative and risk averse than the games made by the big boys."
Trowers went on to suggest that indies could do more to deliver quality UI, and insisted anybody with the drive could ape Markus 'Notch' Persson's success, though he did admit luck was a big part of a games industry career.
Trowers also devoted some of his talk to highlighting the continuing problems with crunch.
"I've had dark moments in my career," he said. "Sometimes you have to work ridiculous hours, and we like to blame that on bad planning. We call it crunch, and it's horrible. It will ruin your relationships, and make you loose weight and make your hair fall out. It's really horrible."