Q&A with Hakan
What is the best part about your current position?
Because it's a small team, I have a lot of creative freedom. If I have a cool idea and want to try something, I can prototype it and show everyone, and sometimes it grows into a part of the game with full art and engineering support. It's great to look at a project you're working on and be able to see the impact you've had on it.
How did you first become interested in a career in gaming?
I think I was always interested in making games. When I was 8 years old, I had notebooks full of levels of games I had made up. I took it seriously as an adult when I was working in an office job for several years and realized I didn't want to be promoted, and in fact I didn't want to be there anymore. I wanted to challenge myself creatively and intellectually, and shortly afterward I realized my calling was in game development.
Why did you choose to get your education from the Guildhall?
I did some research, and the Guildhall was recommended to me by a few friends. I contacted some people in the industry, ones that previously went to the Guildhall and some that hadn't, and everyone held the Guildhall in high esteem.
How did the Guildhall prepare you for your career in gaming?
The Guildhall created a real game development environment, which was the best preparation you could ask for. Working under tight deadlines, having to make revisions and sacrifices, and solving problems in a stressful environment are all experiences relevant to the industry. Having gone through those things let me jump right in when I got my first job. It gave me all the skills I needed to become a designer.
What is your favorite Guildhall memory?
My favorite memory was watching a movie during one of the after-school events. I think it was around Halloween because we were watching Army of the Darkness. It was a particularly stressful mod, but I had turned it around and ended up doing well in my classes, and it was like that event was my reward... seeing everyone enjoying and quoting the movie, eating pizza, and relaxing after a milestone.
What is the greatest piece of advice you've ever been given?
A creative director at game studio spoke to our class one day and said something along the lines of, "It's great to be highly talented, but it's better to be talented and nice to work with." I think of that a lot. There can be a lot of time and energy wasted dealing with a difficult person, and the best environments are ones where everyone feels they can share any idea they have, good or bad. Just one excessively negative person can reduce the flow of ideas and collaboration dramatically, and your project will suffer for it. The extra talent you might've had would be wasted. Personally, my biggest advice to prospective students would be something along those lines as well. People might not remember that one super-tricky thing you figured out, but they'll remember if they liked working with you or not. Being dedicated, taking feedback well, and being encouraging while providing useful insight are all great qualities to have. Games are made by a team, and the best way to find out if it's something you want to do is by being part of one. Your attitude should be, 'How can I help everyone succeed?' rather than, 'How can I make myself look good during this project?'