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Educational Feature: ‘Without A Specialty’

Educational Feature: ‘Without A Specialty’

January 24, 2008 | By Jill Duffy

Many aspiring game developers know they're not natural artists, engineers, or musicians, and they often don't know how else they might get a start in the industry. In a new interview on sister web site, Eduardo Baraf, who has held a number of titles from marketing intern to studio head, shares his story about how he got into the game industry without having a specific talent to show.

Baraf got his initial start at the University of Michigan, where he amassed enough friends and other video game aficionados to start a game development club. He later came to realize that his experience at college illustrated his strengths as a producer or project manager. But in the meanwhile, he took other jobs -- a marketing internship at a game publisher and distributor, a QA testing position -- experiences he sees as adding to his overall understanding of the business of game development.

In this excerpt, he explains how the interplay of all those experiences added up to something more:

"Working QA at a large publisher teaches you a lot. I had always played games, but testing them builds your eye for polish and defects, and develops your understanding of games as a product.

Testing a game that isn't complete taught me about the development process and how a title comes together. I saw engineering issues, art issues, design issues, and how they were resolved and integrated into the build. At a large publisher, I also got the opportunity to play games from countless developers and different genres, many of which I will never touch again. I believe this gave me a much wider breadth of game design and development understanding.

While working at Atari, I also had the chance to work on site with Epic in North Carolina on
Unreal Tournament 2004 and with Firaxis Games in Maryland on Sid Meier's Pirates. Both of these experiences gave me an opportunity to see the big boys at work.

Aside from all the test and game playing experience I gained, I also learned about the bureaucracy and process of a publisher, wrote countless emails to producers and creative services, worked with management, ran large teams of testers, and supervised the department. All these tasks built my skills as a producer, a communicator, and a manager."

To read the complete interview, visit, Gamasutra's sister web site dedicated to helping aspiring developers learn more about, and hopefully break into, the game industry.

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