Dreaming of designing great games
Andy Siu, a software engineer at Outblaze, is a hardcore gamer. Having spent many hours of his childhood happily pounding on game controllers, he always dreamt of having a career in the industry.
Despite his family's initial misgivings about such a career, Siu set his sights on the job of game developer when he was in secondary school. As a passionate gamer, he started creating games as a part-time occupation when studying at university and got a job at Outblaze right after graduating. Having seen his dream of a games-related career come true, Siu has big plans both for his future and for the industry.
Where did you acquire the knowledge to be a game developer?
I decided that I wanted to be in the games industry when I was finishing my secondary school education. There was no university programme in Hong Kong dedicated to games, but I thought it would be important to have programming skills, so I majored in computer science to build up my foundation in IT.
What is your career goal?
Many people in Hong Kong do not think game developing is a serious career. I hope I can change the way they think about game developers. The role deserves more respect and recognition. I want to promote the industry as a bright and respectable career.
Another of my goals is to promote games that are developed locally. I hope that local games will have a significant role in the history of gaming.
What are the challenges?
I am now entering my second year as a game developer and the biggest difference between school and work is the pace. At work, the pace is much quicker. I have to be able to produce things in a much shorter time. I think many newcomers have a similar experience.
However, that is not the most challenging aspect of the job. Connecting with gamers is the major problem for every game developer. Making a game is like shooting a movie. The director wants to send a message to the audience, and so does a game developer. To successfully convey messages to gamers takes years of hard work and experience. I take feedback from gamers seriously in order to help myself improve.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
One of my goals in creating games is to bring joy to others. I hope I can develop a game that has impact, one that will make Hong Kong people proud.
To achieve that, I have to give my best effort. Creating a great game is about having the passion for it. A developer can easily create an adequate game and put it on an app store. But I don't want to create games that are just adequate. I want to create games that are great. This requires passion and a lot of effort.
In ten years I also hope to have moved up to a management post.
What advice do you have young people who want to enter the industry?
Try to get working experience at school. It need not necessarily be games-related. I worked part-time IT jobs at university.
It also helps if you can write game apps in your free time and present them to employers during job interviews.