Aaron Nieboer is living the dream. He is creative director and co-owner of BrokenMyth Studios, a design firm that creates games for the purposes of e-learning and training. In other words, he helps make learning fun.
How did Aaron get where he is today? Let’s find out!
Q: What was your college major?
A: I received a BFA in time-based media design with an emphasis on 2D and 3D animation.
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) (www.ccad.edu)
Q: What made you get involved in video game design?
A: I have always had a real passion for playing video games, so the predisposition…was already there to make them. The only thing missing was the opportunity presenting itself. My education, while not specifically tailored to video game design, had a natural lean towards many of the inherent visual building blocks that games typically have (like storytelling, illustration and animation). At [the time I went to college], there was no real curriculum that specifically focused on game design, so it was up to the individual to find the path leading there. Some of my colleagues had introduced me to a development team needing help with concept art; from there it was an easy decision
Q: How do you use video game design in your everyday work?
A: There are so many applications to use games. We’ve been fortunate here to take some of the theory and technology behind video games and find unique niches to apply them to. Here at the studio, we use the Unity Engine to deliver 3D and 2D content to different platforms for clients and audiences. We also do a lot of play-testing to make sure the game or application achieves its objective for the user. Basically, we focus on making things fun and, most importantly, engaging.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about your job?
A: I am surrounded by a brilliant and creative team. Being a part of that and seeing that collaboration form into a solution for any given project is the best part of my job.
Q: What advice would you give to students hoping to major/work in video game design?
A: That’s a loaded question, but if I had to answer in a few words, it would be to hold to what you are passionate about and find ways to connect to other like-minded, driven individuals and organizations. That can be found almost anywhere — other students, professors, community networks (IGDA), professional forums (LinkedIn) and events like E3, PAX, GDC and IGF. There are so many ways to access great people that can help you step through the doors of the industry.
Katie Barry is the editor of NextStepU Magazine.
Careers in multimedia design and animation
Expected Pay: The average annual salary is $58,510
Education: A bachelor’s degree in the field is helpful, but employers will look at your portfolio above all else. Talent, creativity and computer skills are key.
Job Outlook: Employment is expected to grow by about 8% (roughly 5,500 new jobs) by 2020; increasing with demand for visuals in video games, movies and television, but slowed by companies hiring abroad.
Employment: 59% of workers are self-employed and 11% are employed by motion picture and video industries. Those remaining are largely involved with software publishers, computer systems, design-related companies and advertising and public relations services.
Career statistics and information per the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.