When I scheduled an interview with a professional in the media arts field, I decided to ask a long time friend to participate with me in this endeavor. I knew he was a programmer and video game designer, so why not ask him some questions about the industry, get some pointers, and avoid the formalities. After all, I thought I knew his backstory and this would make for an easy interview. What really happened was that I got some of the most honest feedback I could have received about preparing myself for a career in media arts. He shared his stories about the business and I got a glimpse into the hard work, passion, and dedication he displayed to become successful in his field.
As a young teenager, Trevor pieced together a working desktop computer, saved a few dollars and immersed himself into the world of computer gaming. His interest soon shifted from playing the games to learning about how they function. He realized that he could pursue a job in this field and eventually contribute his own ideas. At age 20, he was offered a job in the Quality Assurance department (game tester) at Dynamix, a Eugene, Oregon based game company. His passion for testing, breaking, fixing, and debugging the games caught the eye of one of the senior programmers who decided to mentor Trevor for the next 3 years. He told me this was the single most important step in building his skill set for the future.
As Trevor’s confidence in programming advanced, so did his collaboration with his mentors design team. When his mentor parted ways with Dynamix to move to Multitude, a San Mateo, California based game company, Trevor was recruited to join him as a junior programmer for the company. He would be working with former employees of Electronic Arts and 3DO games. This is where he emphasized the importance of being able to adapt to a much bigger role and work as a team member. He also mentioned that this is where he learned humility in this business. He wasn’t there to add his 2 cents. He was hired to help fulfill the creative ideas of the people funding the projects.
As Multitude began to lose funding for gaming, it found a new path in pioneering how the internet would progress. The same voice engine that they were using to connect players to each other in one of their most successful games, Fire-Team, became a focus for internet voice chat. And so Fire-Chat was established. Keep in mind that this was before Skype and may have even paved the way for this type of communication. Who’s to say. This is when he segued to his aforementioned ability to adapt as being an important skill in this ever-changing business. Nonetheless, after working with this company until it’s demise, he had come to realize what he was passionate about, what he was good at, and what made him want to continue in this field, and this was creating games. He would never have put his all into something else.
During his run in this career, he found it was crucial to keep a solid network of professionals with whom he could brainstorm with, seek advise, and eventually assemble, who had similar ideas to his own. He Co-founded an upstart game company in 2016 which is still in it’s building stages. While work is still being done to assure the success of his own company, Trevor is currently working in Eugene, Oregon at Game Closure which is the creator of Facebook’s Everwing among others.
In closing, Trevor added his requirements for a potential hire and these are the standards he holds highest. A person must be passionate about creating and designing games inside and outside of the workplace. They must have the ability to work with others in a team as well as a solo project. They must possess the desire to learn from people in the industry and not settle for the basic requirements. They should be ready to contribute ideas when asked, and they must be problem solvers.