By Brian Hahn (GART ’17)
This semester, we went to visit the game company illogika, a small indie company working on the game Subaeria, which is a rogue-like puzzle game. This company visit wound up being very different from the rest, since they gave us all the opportunity to sit down and talk with people in the industry, and to playtest and give feedback on their game. I actually had the opportunity to play the game prior to visiting the company, at one of the IGDA open house nights. At that time I played a slightly less finished version of the game, but it still made me excited to see what Illogika had in store for us.
After a city bus ride through Montreal, we took a short walk and found ourselves at Illogika offices. The office was very open-concept; a nice large room with clusters of tables set up as computer desks, and groups of people working on their tasks for the day. We were quickly greeted by one of the producers at Illogika, Vincent Roy. After a brief discussion about the company, we all split up into our respective disciplines to go meet various people within the company. As a game art student, my compatriots and I got to sit down with the Art Director for the studio, and one of the animators/riggers in the company.
I have to say that that was an incredible opportunity and learning experience, since we all had a fair chunk of time to discuss various portfolio questions, and get opinions on what’s it like working in the industry. We had a long discussion of the pros and cons about going into a triple-A company right after graduation versus a smaller company. They were even nice enough to go through everyone’s portfolio and give some constructive feedback. While that part was fairly nerve wracking from my standpoint, it was incredibly helpful since I got to see all of their reactions to what I had.
After we wrapped up our discussion, the artists swapped places with the programmers, designers, and producers, who went off to play the game. I got to sit down with the QA tester for the studio for my playtest session. The playtest was allot of fun, and it felt like there had been some fairly nice improvements in the game since I had last played it. I found that I enjoyed the game quite a bit, It’s still a little rickety in some spots, but that’s exactly what playtesting is for! It was also really cool to have the chance to sit down and play the game with someone at the studio who had been working on it for so long. We had a fairly enjoyable conversation while playing, which gave me the opportunity to give feedback on what I thought about the game. When the playtest ended I answered a couple questions to finish off my feedback and then reconvened with the rest of the group that came for the trip. Once we wrapped everything up and said our farewells we shipped out, taking the knowledge from our discussions with us, and making a quick stop for bagels.