Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why I don't want to be a computer engineer anymore

I know I promised more writing than I have delivered, and I still have plenty of stories to tell, so hopefully I'll get to it before it all becomes irrelevant and we're talking about E3 2012. However, for now I feel I should mention the most significant part of E3.

To be blunt, E3 made me rethink my entire life plan. Prior to this summer, I planned to drag my feet through 2 more semester, feverishly search for an internship with some big tech company, and make it through a third semester to complete my degree and go on to live a life of being a mediocre but high payed employee. Now, I'm not so sure.

One thing is clear. I want to work with video games. I'm 21, I don't think I'm going to grow out of them. The pay may not be quite as well, but it's certainly respectable. I have a long way to go, and I'm not really sure what I need to study and learn to make it there, but it's what I want to do with my life. For now, I'll probably stay in computer engineering at UMD but do a bit of searching and talking to some people smarter than I to see if I should finish out that degree or switch to some other major. I know very little about game design, but I have a strong programming background which should certainly come in handy.

Why video games though? Outside of the fact that they're fun.. I'm a subpar computer engineer. That is a fact. My grades are lower than average, and my grades are a pretty accurate representation of my understanding of the material. I was assured that it's just a matter of not giving up and studying harder, but I don't want to go into a field where I'm subpar. Even if I can make a living there and support a family, I don't want to be mediocre. I don't think I have a mediocre mind. It's taken years to admit it, but I'm rather convinced that my mind is capable of some amazing things. I feel like I have the ability to perceive certain things in a way most people can't, and that I can thrive in a certain field rather than drag my feet through it. I don't like the prestige and arrogance of the tech industry, but I'm in love with the playfulness and innovation of the gaming industry. I'm starting to think that's where I belong. That's the area in which I can hold a conversation, a debate, delving into details of the different elements that make up a game, and enjoy every second of the discussion.

I want to make games. If anyone reading this has any insight on how I can get from here to there, I'd be glad to hear it.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day 3 Pics

Now, for a much awaited rest. Hopefully I'll do a fair amount of writing over the next couple days to share my thoughts and experiences and all.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

E3: Day 2

I came to E3 expecting to be able to cross a dream off my list. I figured I'd have a good time, relax, get to see some super exciting stuff, and come back and resume normal life. I'm finding out now that I wasn't really ready for what E3 is, what it represents.

The thing about dreams is that it's very rare that you achieve one without it being replaced by a new one.

Yesterday I talked mostly about what I saw, so it's only fair that today I talk about what I felt. From the moment I saw the outside of the convention up to now, somethings been growing. I've become more and more sure where I want my life to go. I love this industry. I want to be a part of it.

Unfortunately, these thoughts come with a bit of anxiety and stress. I can't help but wonder how I'll make it into the field or what I should be doing. My grades aren't great, I'm still a bit socially awkward, and I didn't really come to E3 prepared to network and meet industry professionals. Beyond that, I'm not really sure what I'd excel at in the video game field. My interest is mostly in hardware, not game development. Tough as they may be to deal with, these thoughts don't make me any less sure that I want to be a part of this. I don't want this to be my last E3. I want this to be my last E3 as a spectator, though. I'd do anything to secure an internship at a game company next summer and come back to E3 as an exhibitor.

I want to be clear that this isn't just the hype talking. It's hard to explain, but there's an instinctual feeling that tells you that you're exactly where you belong and that feeling has never deceived me before. So here's to hoping there's a place out there for me in the gaming industry, and I can find it sooner rather than later. If I can make it across the country and see E3 with my own eyes, anything can happen.

Day 2 Pics

You know the drill!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

E3: Day 1

Yeah, I know I never did a post on the Nintendo conference. Hopefully I'll get to it. The hotel's internet is some garbage, and I have no way of..actually watching it. I saw the WiiU bit on my phone this morning though, so that'll work.

E3. I don't know where to begin. It is beyond words. Seeing what you see, talking to the people you talk to, taking everything in.. It's really something you have to experience to understand. My eyes watered up a bit when I first saw the convention center with those massive posters outside of it. It's that same picture you see every year, except I was looking at it with my own eyes.

We got to the convention center at 9 in case there was a line to pick up our badge holders (there wasn't), so we were able to do a bit of exploring before the expo opened at 12. Unfortunately there wasn't a whole lot to see since they kept the two main exhibit halls closed off. After an hour of looking around and 2 hours of anxiously sitting near the bottom of the escalator into the south hall, we entered. I can't really recall how long my jaw was dropped for. It might be a new record. What followed was a series of incredible experiences until we eventually decided to head over to the West hall for a second set of incredible experiences. The south hall contained most of the big game development companies like Ubisoft, EA, Square Enix, etc. Each of the main booths had a ton of games to play, as well as some amazing light and sound systems to give it an awesome feel all around. Lots of free stuff, a couple beta keys, and the overall excellence of being near so many game developers and famous people. I had a bagel for breakfast and ate nothing more until dinner at 7. The games sustained me.

I'm not even sure where to begin as far as describing the booths. EA had a big central area with a ton of small, 15ish people viewing rooms circling it. We sat in on a Sims 3 pets demonstration and got ourselves some lovely dog collars. Square Enix had a nice little light wall thing set up, along with a huuuuge viewing screen for trailers and several FFXIII-2 stations, along with other games (Dead Island looks fun). Activision had some sort of drop down 360 degree theater for showing off MW3. Nexon let us try out the new Vindictus character and some Dragons Nest gameplay, giving us tshirts for both and a beta invite for Dragons Nest. I could continue for hours.

The west hall had a few other major game companies (Konami, Capcom) and the maaaaaasive Sony and Nintendo booths. Nintendos was less of a booth, more of a gym-sized tent with WiiU demos, 3DS game demos, and easily the best booth babes to be found. Sony had an amazing amount of games to try out. Resistance 3 multiplayer is pretty freaking fun.

I'm pretty exhausted so I'll leave it at that for now. The pictures tell it better than I can. Hopefully I'll get a chance to try out the WiiU and the Vita tomorrow, so I'll post my thoughts.

Day 1 Pictures!