Dylan, what was the first video game that you fell in love with?
I spent a lot of time as a kid with my dad and uncle in LAN parties essentially in our garage or somewhere in the house. We were either playing Quake or Doom. I started really early! But the game that changed everything was Kingdom Hearts. I played all the PS1 games but this was the game that truly made me fall in love with the industry.
Discuss what it is like to be a Game Programming student.
If you expect to just sit all day and play games and learn about them, then you’re a bit far off. Students will play games and study them, but you are really learning is how to make them. You’re learning code, you might think since it’s a gaming class and that it is it’s going to be easy, but it’s not. But the difficulty is so worth it. Every assignment and every test you do, you come out with something that is workable and fun. Progress comes slowly because there is so much to learn but it is constant and satisfying. We are still encouraged to play games and keep up with the industry but you do lose a lot of free time in the most rewarding way.
What kind of skills would you say are important for new students coming out of high school?
They do start from the ground up, so you will be learning but if you have an understanding ahead of time it will help you excel. If you are a programmer coming into it with some exposure to code and fairly decent math skills is very important. Just a little bit of code experience will help you pick up the basic stuff they teach in the first trimester.
What are your predictions for the gaming industry in the next 5 to 10 years?
We are slowly moving into a trend where nostalgia is a huge thing. We have touched on it a lot this year, but remakes are going to take over the current game market and it will mimic the gaming market of 10-15 years ago. This year we have seen some titles such as Crash Bandicoot, Quake, Wolfenstein, and Doom. These old titles that are making new appearances. The market looks so similar to that of the early 2000’s and I’m expecting a lot more of it. I’m also expecting a huge shift into story driven games. Every year there is a new COD or a new battlefield that is exceptionally fun and gets millions of players, but the games you really hear about are always story driven. Everyone has heard of the Last of Us and Beyond Two Souls. These intense story games allow you to develop emotion towards the characters. They always get huge reviews and become timeless classics.
What are your goals after graduation?
I have two really big goals. I would love to work with Square Enix., specifically the Japan office where the games are made. The US offices work on a lot of translations and western appeal, but I want to be where it all begins. I also want to work deep on VR development. I love it! It is slowly becoming such an interactive experience and with the prices lowering it will be a feasible option for a broad audience. Imagine, I could be working on the next Kingdom Hearts title on VR. I could die happy after that!
What is one game everyone has to play, gamers and non-gamers included?
Beyond Two Souls. It’s less of a video game and more an interactive story. It’s a powerful story- driven game. I love it!