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March, 2005

Some questions that I get a lot include, but are not limited to, the following*:

These questions all have one thing in common - they all contain the phrase "is it enough". Hence the subject of this month's article.

I noticed that whenever somebody asked an "is it enough" question I was giving them snotty answers. The way I noticed this is that somebody on an IGDA forum chided me for the lack of professionalism in my reply to an "is it enough" question from a wannabe.

And when I get snotty, that's a sure sign of a dumb question, which is a sure sign of excellent material for a new lesson/FAQ/article! (^_^)

(I hope it doesn't look like I'm padding this thing, by the way...) [ahem].

Let's take some possible "is it enough" questions, break them down, and, like, you know, answer them.

[Note: in these articles, it is my philosophy that general principles be taught. It is then up to the reader to apply the general principle to his or her own individual situation. As I wrote in Article 47. So if your particular individual situation isn't explained in as much detail as you'd like by these example questions, well, tough! Turn on brain. Read article again. Thimk!]

By now you should be getting the idea. Nothing is "enough." Even when you combine things.

The problem isn't the game industry. The problem is the naivete behind the question "is it enough."

If you have to ask "is it enough," you are lazy.

If you have to ask "is it enough," you are trying to find the fast route.

There is no fast route. If you want to get into the game industry as a career, you need to be you. And who "you" need to be is someone who:

And even that isn't enough! You also need:

Not fair, you say? Yeah, okay. The world isn't always fair. This is news to you??


You have to work hard at what you love. Then you have to continue working hard at it. Then when you get dealt a setback, you have to go right back to working hard at it some more. But if you love it, you'll do that anyway, without having to hear me telling you what to do. If you do that, then eventually, some day, some time, some place, you'll meet someone who'll see what's inside you and will give you the chance to show your stuff.

The game industry wants people who are not only passionate about games, but who are also educated about them, experienced in doing creative stuff (whatever type of creativity that might be), who work well in teams, who are in the right place at the right time and bring just what's needed to the project.

You should never ask "is it enough." You should already be giving it your all, because you love doing it. If you need me to tell you if it's enough or not, guess what. It isn't, and I'm worried that your having to ask means you're already doomed to fail. (As I wrote in Article 30.)

You should never ask "is my portfolio good enough." You should be constantly trying to improve your skills and build your portfolio better. If somebody says your portfolio is good enough to get you a job, it's still going to be hard to actually get that job - you can't just take a rest, and stop improving yourself. Besides... If you're not sure if your portfolio is good enough, guess what - it probably isn't. So don't even ask. Keep improving your portfolio until you yourself know in your heart of hearts that it IS good enough. And then you still have to keep working on the craft that you love. If you aren't doing the thing you love, then... (do you see what's wrong with this picture?)

*You may wonder why the weird wording of the first sentence in this article. "X includes, but is not limited to, the following..." is kinda typical game design phraseology. Game designs are both creative and yet anally detailed, and the game designer has to use this kind of wording to communicate a list of stuff sometimes.
Okay, so maybe not all game designers write like that. Sue me for being me! (^_^)

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© 2005 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved. May not be re-published without written permission of the author.