Inside the Game Industry: Make Your Dreams Come True Part One
Eric “Dalmarus” Campbell has been a deliverer of
a U.S. Marine, a security guard, an
IT specialist, and a writer. He has also worked for a few game industry
may have heard of – Blizzard, BioWare, and ArenaNet. Tune in
week as he
tells his tale and provides numerous tips from an insider’s
perspective on what
it takes to make it in the game industry.
By the time 2001 rolled around, I had been playing EverQuest
for a couple of years and was completely obsessed with the game. As
would have it, my girlfriend at the time (now my wife) was going to
her Master’s degree so I had plenty of time to play to my
heart’s content and
was able to feed my obsession without guilt. During this time, I was
firmly embedded in the IT field (Internet Technology), working for some
biggest companies in the country as well as the government for a number
years. The hours weren't horrible and the money was incredible. There
was just one problem. I hated it. Badly.
While I was working late nights dealing with hardware,
software, and meatware issues day after day, I continually dreamed
working in the game industry. I kept dreaming until 2005 when I finally
realized just dreaming about it wasn’t going to make it
Instead, I got
off my ass and made a conscious decision to do whatever I needed to in
make it happen.
you want to get a job in the game
industry, you need to do more than just sit around and dream about it.
In 2005 I was still playing EverQuest but I had also started keeping
watch on different games in
development. For a while, I had been trying to figure out what type of
could get in the industry with my current set of skills (I
going back to school yet again after having just finished a number of
years in a
horrible IT school). It was at this time I came across the forums for
an upcoming Perpetual Entertainment title
called Gods & Heroes. The overarching idea of the game back
would take place in ancient Rome, just like a history book. The big
was that the mythology was going to be real, rather than just myth.
It was a cool concept and I fell head over heels about it, but
that’s not what really gave me a direction for my
Unbeknownst to him, that came in the form of the game’s
Assistant Community Manager – a fellow that went by the
Deodatus, aka Deo. I knew
there was something special about the manner in which he interacted
game’s community, but it would be a number of years before I
able to fully appreciate the true level of mastery he handled the
community with. Deo was the
person that made me realize what I wanted to do in the game industry
– I wanted
to be a Community Manager.
got a direction (or at least a clue). Great!
Now do something with it!
I now finally had a clue what I wanted to do and for the
first time since my journey started, I genuinely realized that it was
actually possible to achieve my goals. A person could actually make a
living by being good with people, a great communicator, and it
having to rot to death in the IT field doing support for decades on
end. So the
good news at this point was that I had a direction and was moving
bad news is that Deo was so good, he made the job look far easier than it
actually was – by a long shot.
It was right around this time that a company called Stratics
was looking for someone to work on their Gods & Heroes site. It
volunteer gig, but I jumped at the chance. After talking with the
manager, she decided to give me a shot as their Gods & Heroes
Portal Manager. There was
just one catch – I had to have the G&H site built in
than two weeks because they
wanted it to go live before the game went to E3 that year.
the idea of hard work and insane hours
scares you, get the hell out now.
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I thank the Marine Corps for instilling their
“Mission accomplishment is the number one priority
everything else is
secondary” motto within me. With less than two weeks to build
scratch (and being only slightly comfortable coding in HTML back then),
to work with a fervor. I spent an ungodly amount of hours working to
site, gathering as much content as I could, and piecing it together in
what I hoped
was an acceptable fashion. For that entire stretch of time, if I
wasn’t at work
(remember, I still had a full time job), eating, or sleeping, I was
the site, getting it ready for launch. To say it was anything less than
unbelievably stressful, frustrating, and exhausting would be a complete
fabrication. It was all of those things multiplied by 100. It was also
the most thrilling and exhilarating things I had ever done in my life.
My fate was sealed at that moment - hook, line, and sinker.
The site went live in time and met with a fair amount of
success. I stayed with the Stratics team for a little less than a year
on to Ten Ton Hammer. I had answered an ad looking for an Assistant
Manager for their Vanguard: Saga of Heroes site.
Not only was it a part-time gig talking about my favorite game from
those days, but it was
also a paying one.
After some follow-up from a slight email mix-up and showing the Ten Ton
Hammer team what I had done in the past, I got the gig. It shocked me
then, and to this day I'm still amazed they let me onboard.
This was it! I’d made the big time! Or at least,
what I thought. Little did I know this was only one of many steps in
and grueling journey ahead. Tune in next week for more of this tale and
what it takes to make your way inside the industry. Can’t
that long to
hear more? Be sure to href="https://twitter.com/Dalmarus">follow me
Twitter – you never
know what I might say.