Ben Stoneman now at Unity talks to Train2Game about his time with T2G, Game Jams, One Game A Month, Unity and his ongoing games making journey
Ben is a favourite of Train2Game and studied with T2G for a number of years, taking part in game jams is a strong part of the wider community. It’s always great to speak with this young man who has a passion for games and is extremely well driven. Since finishing with Train2Game he’s gone on to a career in games and we caught up with him to hear how he’s getting on.
Ben enjoyed Train2Game and it was a catalyst in his gaming career. He found he learnt on the course but experience in making games and having good mentors are essential to developing as a games maker and therefore a career in the games industry. Taking part in Train2Game Game Jams taught him about the development process. He’s gone on to mentor at Game Jams and be part of the judging process. Ben still regularly attends game jams and sees it as essential to becoming a better game developer.
He now takes part in one game a month, a collective of games makers that share their projects in creating a title a month. Creating nice simple games and he encourages players to first make the first ever game: Pong. He sees it as a way to train yourself as a developer which highly recommends. Through the experience he’s learnt a great deal and made a huge variety of games. He’s not going to release any games as yet as he is still aware that he is growing as a developer.
Ben works in the support team at Unity providing answers to any enquiry from any Unity user. He’s enjoying it a great deal, providing assistance by day and making games by night. He’s found that his skills as a rounded developer have continued to grow.
Ben Stoneman, Unity Support Team: ‘Train2Game is a catalyst in your game development career. However, I do believe that if you are not honing your skills without T2G’s help (in your personal/free time) then you will not make it in the industry. You need to want to do it, like an alcoholic wants to go to the pub.’
‘In my first T2G game jam, I learnt about the development process. Most of what I know now, the skills that make me a good game developer come from mentors and personal projects (make an inventory system that looks cool). The learning material helps only a small amount but having mentors is very important in life.’
‘I did go on to judge at a game jam, only a small game jam at “Insomnia” Games Festival. It was okay, but the fun was not in judging but in helping people with their Unity and general game development questions.’
‘One Game a Month, well it is exactly as it sounds. Starting from now, you begin making a game and the deadline is the last day of the month. The game does not need to be “call of duty” it can be as simple as pong, in fact I recommend that you make pong to start.’
‘After a year you will find that you have made 12 games and you have experience in making different games. It is a good way to train yourself. A body builder goes to the gym every week to get bigger muscles, a game developer makes a game every week/month to become better.’
‘I’m keeping to it. I never really show off the games as they are for my own personal learning. It’s taught me a lot. Through it I’ve made boss battles, memory games, inventory systems, quest logs, networking/multiplayer systems, graphical shaders, dialogue systems and so much more!’
‘I’m not currently looking to develop the games further, there are game ideas that I love and hold in my mind, but I’m not really looking to make a game to sell yet. Rovio (makers of angry birds) made over 40 games before angry birds, I’m getting my first 40 games done now and out of the way I would encourage Train2Game to help its students to achieve it!’
‘I am attending plenty of Game Jams. Game jams are the staple diet of any game developer. If you are not making games, then you are doing it wrong. Game jams are a really good way to practice; they prompt you by giving your ideas (the theme) and a deadline (T -48hours). It is surprisingly hard to give yourself a deadline in the same way.’
‘I work in the Support team at Unity. I’m currently a support specialist; I deal with any question that anyone wants to ask. I help users that do not pay for premium support with technical questions or other general questions. It is going great, I’m the happiest I’ve been. I get to help game developers all day and make and play games in my spare time.’
‘I’m learning all the time. I went from someone who could only design games to someone who can make games all by myself. It is easy to stop learning and just settle but if games are your passion then even if you are a billionaire, you would still make games. I feel like I can make any game that is presented to me. The key to this is not in knowing all the answers already but in knowing how to find the answers by myself when I need them.’
‘In the future I plan to progress in Unity and ensure that Unity stays strong and helps anyone who wants to make games. I also like to mentor and teach others C#, blender3d and the Unity editor itself.’