KRISTOPHER HOWLSENIOR LEVEL DESIGNER AT BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT
I have been working in the games industry for five years now, all over the world. In Sydney, Adelaide, Montreal and even Helsinki. Working on titles such as Rainbow Six: Vegas and Far Cry 2, primarily as a Level Designer – I also contribute to gaming communities such as Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2 and design my own games in spare time.
What course did you study at SAE and why did you choose it?
I studied Multimedia Producing back in 2000. I chose it as at the time I was pursuing a career in web and graphic design. My favourite part of the course would have been receiving a kick start in such a multitude of programs which I could then go home and delve even deeper into.
What have you been up to since leaving SAE?
Through SAE I made some contacts for work both during the course and after the course. I pursued web design as intended, up until 2003 when I joined the video games industry as a level designer, at Micro Forte in Sydney.
How would you say that your time at SAE helped to prepare you for this?
The multimedia course had an added benefit of further developing my presentation skills and finishing a large variety of projects, seeing them through from start to finish. Passion and presentation are everything, if you aren’t putting your utmost best into presenting your work and personality, coupled with lacking the passion to see anything through to the end then it’ll be tough achieving your goals.
The projects we were tasked with during my certification offered the freedom and creativity needed to explore your passion for the industry, rather than stifling both and making it feel like school work.
What advice would you give to future SAE students?
You have to make it work for you…
There is so much free content out there from industry professionals, talks and tutorials, opinion pieces and some great podcasts – absorb everything you can, form your own opinions, let people see how passionate you are.
Also don’t be deterred from exploring overseas. Be aware of what countries are easy to obtain working permits/VISA’s within. For example, the USA has an Australian specific VISA that is easily obtainable with a bachelor’s and no work experience. All you have to have is an offer from a company over there. So build up your portfolio, work on your presentation and start approaching them!