New Associate Lecturer for BA (Hons) Games Design Sam Chau is enjoying being back at LCC. Londoner Sam, graduated from the same course in 2009 and we caught up with him to find out what he’s been up to since and what advice he has for new students.
LCC: You studied BA (Hons) Games Design at LCC and now you’re teaching here. So what made you choose Games in the first place?
Sam: I love playing video games and I love creating things, so it made sense to combine the two. The great thing about the Games Design course is that it encompasses many aspects of actual game development. I was always more of a graphics, artsy guy and had never programmed prior to attending the course. After learning the basics, I found that programming was not only quite manageable, but enjoyable too.
LCC: What have you been up to since graduating?
SC: After graduating, I began my career as an intern developer at a digital media company called Believe Creative, and eventually worked my way to become a team lead. One of the projects I lead, called ‘Your Space’, had the user interact in a 3D world with the objective of populating it by completing games and activities. I was responsible for client-communication, project planning and managing the art and development teams.
LCC: And what are you working on at the moment?
SC: Well, it was always my goal to run my own games company and so in 2013, I made the decision to leave my job and become an indie games developer. I have done some contractual work and collaborations since, but my own debut game is still under development.
LCC: Brave decision to go it alone. If you could collaborate creatively with anybody in the world who would it be?
SC: I’m a big fan of a Japanese artist who goes by the name ‘Imperial Boy’ and would love the chance to work with him. His work usually depicts very detailed and lively scenes, which I believe would translate amazingly into game worlds.
LCC: How does it feel to be coming back to LCC?
SC: Working as an individual now, it can be tough, It is quite easy to lose motivation without people around, but when I’m at LCC the students definitely give me a boost in drive and enthusiasm. And on a personal level, it’s nostalgic it always brings back fond memories.
LCC: What piece of advice would you give to new students coming to LCC?
SC: I would recommend venturing to different parts of the building as it is quite easy to stumble across someone or something that will inspire you, even if it’s completely unrelated to your own course. LCC really is full of creativity and you’ll be a fool not to embrace it.
LCC: Great advice. Now back to games, what’s the best game you’ve played in the past year?
SC: The Last of Us. With the amount of awards and accolades this games has amassed, it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
LCC: What’s your favourite computer game of all time?
SC: I don’t have a favourite game (of all time), but there is one particular title that I always bring up when asked this question. The game, called Steel Battalion, is seemingly bland on paper: you pilot a robot and kill things. However, it came bundled with a 40-button controller, complete with twin sticks and foot pedals; learning to control the robot was like learning to drive for the first time again. I’ve not experienced anything quite like it since.
LCC: What one book does a prospective Games Design student need on their shelf?
SC: Game Development, Art & Design is a very informative and accessible book that covers the processes, tasks and jobs involved in game development.
LCC: And what blogs, online resources do they do need to bookmark?
SC: For game industry news, I tend to go to visit sites such as gamesindustry.biz, gamasutra.com and develop-online.net. As technology is constantly evolving, it’s best to try and stay up to date so I would also recommend keeping an eye on official channels (such as unity3d.com for Unity) as changes could effect your development. As for news on games themselves, I mostly frequent polygon.com, eurogamer.net and vg247.com.
LCC: And finally, what three words would you use to best describe LCC?
SC: Creative, energy and inspiring.
LCC: Thanks Sam, great to have you back at LCC!