Back in 1997, on a hot sunny afternoon in school, me and my friend were talking about an awesome game called Diablo.
Alan: Dude, ang ganda ng Diablo!
Carl: Syempre, Blizzard yan eh.
Alan: Hmm. Tingin mo, possible tayong makagawa ng game in the future?
Carl: Sige, mangarap ka lang.
Alan: Aba, malay mo.
Nine years later, I became a game designer.
That’s the great thing about dreams; the ones that you want the most tend to become reality.
We all had our wishes when we were kids, what we wanted to be when we grow up. It’s a common question by adults, and year after year, my answer was different; I want to be a famous singer, a scientist, a story writer, heck at some point I even thought of becoming a priest (unlikely haha). But eventually, as I grew older, what I wanted to do in life became clearer.
It was after that sunny afternoon that I got into thinking about the possibilities of making video games in the future. But I was living in the Philippines, and there was no local game development industry in existence back then. Nonetheless, I never faltered. My mind was set, I want to make video games, eventually.
I graduated from high school and took up Civil Engineering at the Mapua Institute of Technology, only because my father and grandfather wanted me to. But it was not for me. I don’t want to make buildings, I want to make games. So my rebellious nature took over after a year and a half of frustration, and I dropped out of school without my parents knowing about it, until the end of the semester (wicked); it was a decision I was glad I had made, even if I made my parents really angry.
So I enrolled at the AUF and took up Computer Science; I thought that knowing programming would bring me closer to my goals. Funny though, I never took programming to heart. Instead, multimedia subjects were what I craved for. Every year was a different obsession: Photoshop at first, Flash the next, then Maya and 3DS Max. I was a good programmer, but not nearly good enough. I was a jack of all trades but master of none.
2003 was an epiphanic year for me; it was when I found out about the first locally established game development company: Anino Entertainment. They just released their first game Anito: Defend a Land Enraged. Suddenly, there was hope. I then set my eyes on the prize – I’m going to work for this company after I graduate.
I didn’t, at least not immediately. I realized that even if I had the enthusiasm, I still lacked the skill and the knowledge to set foot in such a company without proof that I was worthy. So I decided to create my own portfolio. I started making 3D images, poorly if I recall. I studied game design and production by myself, using resources available on the net, and wrote my first game design document in the process. I was like this for about a year, just absorbing what I can and waiting for the right moment to apply for my dream job.
Yes, I was a bum for a year. My father and I would sometimes get into heated arguments. “Get your lazy ass up and get a job!” Okay he didn’t say it that way, but that was the idea. He wanted me to work either in TIPCO where my grandfather used to work, or in San Miguel where he worked. I did apply for work at those companies, and nearly got hired. But I refused to yield (I know I’m stubborn). It wasn’t what I wanted. I was focused, and my mind was set. I was never a man of practicality, I was – and still am – a man of principle. Nothing was ever going to change that, not even the fury of my dad.
Then came March of 2006, finally there was an opening at Anino Entertainment. I printed out a copy of my resume which I created eons ago (updating it as I learned new things), I also took out the portfolio I’ve been preparing since after graduating. I went to the company’s office in Alabang to personally apply for a job. I was lucky enough to be scheduled for an interview and exam a month later. One month came and went, I passed the interview, and passed the exam. By the first week of May, I was a game designer.
And that was how a dream came true – through sheer stubbornness and perseverance.
Note: Images used are linked to their respective sources.