I recently got an email from a student that went something like this:
I recently took your CGT 116 course as part of my Game Development and Design major. I am considering my future employment opportunities for this major. Knowing how competitive it is to enter the gaming industry, I am seeking advice about alternative career paths...'
I think many students, especially those going into Games, Animation or VFX have these feelings. I wanted to share my response, I thought it might help someone else going through a similar issue:
"Yeah, it is a tough, competitive field. Having doubts is not uncommon, even when you are highly talented, it is just human to doubt. I think the best answer I can give you is: What does your aptitude point you towards? Where do you find you are naturally skilled? If that area is does not fall within one of the disciplines in the game development field, it might be best to realign your focus. I happened to be very capable in art and tech savvy, so naturally game art was within my reach. But not everyone's desires/interests aligns with their abilities. But really that is okay; it is like we all are special in different areas, we just got to figure those areas out and utilize them. If you are getting a gut feeling that there might be something else for you out there, that feeling is probably right. Sometimes people don't get to find work in any exact field they have an interest, in fact, I would say for many people this is true, but that doesn't mean you can't be excellent in whatever you do and have a happy life. Ultimately it is all about serving people, whether that is as a game developer or a cashier at Kroger or whatever. If you take any job or school and do it to the best of your abilities you are probably going to find out a few things: 1. "I suck at this job" or 2. "I am pretty good at this" - If 2 happens, then great, stick with it until you move up the chain or find something better you want to try. If 1 happens, then stick with it, but actively look for work elsewhere (this is maybe where you are at). I have a close high school friend who is extremely talented in art and music, but instead of doing either as a career, he got a job at a grocery store just after HS stocking shelves and has moved up the chain to a store management position working in the same stores for over the last 24 years! Even with his talent, his path was not the "glamorous" one of going into art or music. But he serves customers well and raises a family with his paycheck. This is absolutely okay! Okay the so that is my spiel to try to persuade you that all is going to be okay, but the important thing now is to consider where you shine. If you don't know, then it is time to look for it. So what else have you considered doing?"
I hope anyone reading this will see that your job does not equal your worth. You are an image bearer of the Almighty, and living, loving, and contributing positively to helping others is enough!
Daniel Triplett, is an artist that worked in game development for over 6 years, and now teaches in the Computer Graphics Technology department (CGT) at Purdue University.