Q&A with Roy
What is the best part about your current position?
The best part of my position helping co-found Fugitive Games, and being independent in general, is how much of the game I have my hands on. While the responsibility is much greater, the reward of helping to shape the game from top to bottom is amazing. It sure is a lot of work but I wouldn’t have it any other way! In the past on larger teams, it was easy to feel like a cog in the machine, so being able to have a direct impact on nearly all aspects of the game is incredible. Even better than that is getting to work with such a small, tight knit and talented group of people at Fugitive Games and we’re off to a great start. Ben Jones and I were roommates during our time at the Guildhall. Back then, we talked about how great it would be to start our own company once we felt comfortable enough with our experience and shipped multiple titles. It’s been talked about for a long time between us and finally, the timing was right to begin this. It’s just the first step of my dream. I really want to be a part of starting a long lasting, successful company that fosters creativity and growth. We want to be known for putting out great games that people enjoy, retaining talent so that each game is better than the last. I feel really fortunate to be in this place.
How did you first become interested in a career in gaming?
I pretty much knew what I wanted to do in high school. The question was how to get into game development. In high school for career day, I requested to visit one of the game development studios in Austin. When they said Origin Studios would be willing to do it, I was ecstatic, as the Ultima games were some of my favorites. When I went there I was blown away, and I knew that this is what I wanted to do. In college, I saw an ad in PC gamer for The Guildhall, and I knew that this would be how I could get started.
What is the most interesting or enjoyable thing that you have gotten to do in your career?
I think the most interesting thing for me would have to be moving to Tokyo to work at Grasshopper Manufacture. It really broadened me as a person and as a creative. Working over there was an amazing experience and being able to soak up knowledge from some of the greats in game development really helped me.
Why did you choose to get your education from The Guildhall?
It was an obvious choice for me. Not only was I already in Dallas at the time, but looking at the other schools and available options, SMU Guildhall seemed to be head and shoulders above the rest. The staff experience in the industry, the success rate of placement for students graduating, the focus on working with a team to simulate game development environments and the commitment to really develop and focus my creativity. All of that combined made it such an obvious choice. I knew I had to do whatever it took to get in.
Who was your favorite professor?
Of the core staff from my time (Stringer, Oullette, McCoy, Skinner, and Brubaker) I can't think of anyone that didn't teach me something I still use today.
What is your favorite Guildhall memory?
My favorite memory was probably graduation. There were lots of little moments that were great, but the feeling of accomplishment when I graduated was awesome. I knew I had worked extremely hard to get there and that my journey was just beginning. I was so proud of all of our classmates for what everyone had done. You could see the growth in everyone from when we first sat in the classroom on the first day. It was really awesome.
How did The Guildhall prepare you for your career in gaming?
In every way possible. Putting students in an environment that was mimicking how studios worked really showed me how to work with a team of multiple disciplines. It was an experience I hadn’t gotten before. How to properly scope a level, or a project in general, was incredibly important. It prepared me for the inevitable crunch period that you see, but also how to best avoid the crunch. Outside factors come into play of course, but when I first started working, I found myself incredibly prepared and able to hit the ground running wherever I went. People have remarked over the years at how well prepared students are from The Guildhall. I’ve found that to be true. There are so many success stories about graduates in the industry and it’s really cool.
What impact has The Guildhall had on your life?
Huge impact. Huge. I would have likely had been working in another field had it not been for The Guildhall. It was a pivotal point in my life and I am so incredibly happy that this is the path I took. I feel fortunate to have gotten in with the 4th cohort to go through, as I’ve seen the progress The Guildhall has made since then and it’s truly awesome. I feel blessed to have been able to see it from so close to the beginning, and thankful that it has impacted my life in such a great way.
What is the greatest piece of advice you've ever been given?
Don’t be afraid to take a risk. It’s as simple as that. Fear can dampen your ability to do something amazing, whether it’s simple fear of breaking something while working on a level, or fear of failure when starting a company. You shouldn’t be scared to take a risk to try something. More often than not, the worst that can happen is usually not that bad.
What advice would you offer for current Guildhall students?
Don’t ever think an idea is too crazy. We work in such a creative field and people play games to enjoy themselves in one way or another. Push yourself to try new things. Learn how to execute and communicate your ideas. Most importantly, stay positive. It’s easy to get negative about so much when working incredibly hard, but if you stay positive, it spreads to colleagues. Working with people is incredibly important and if you keep a positive attitude, it’s going to make coming into work each day that much better. Smile, joke, enjoy the process and I think you’ll feel rewarded in the end, no matter the result.
What advice would you offer for prospective students looking to get into gaming?
Don’t be discouraged. If there’s a will, there’s a way. I didn’t get accepted into The Guildhall the first time I applied. I kept at it because I knew I wanted to do this. If this is really what you want to do, find a way. I’d personally recommend The Guildhall, but however you choose, don’t be discouraged by failure. Then once you’re in, that’s only the beginning. Always sharpen your talents, always work hard and stay positive. Look for opportunities to learn from people. Don’t be scared to ask questions. People are always willing to share their knowledge, because we’re all in this together. It’s a small industry, so people take notice.