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Kellee Santiago谈从业状态和Niantic的游戏开发

发布时间:2020-04-20 08:59:16 Tags:,

Kellee Santiago谈Niantic是如何让开发者社区自主研发新式游戏的

原作者:Matthew Forde 译者:Willow Wu

游戏行业为许多不同类型的人才提供了栖息之地,小到画师、程序员、叙事设计师,大到工作室负责人。

然而,胜任这些职位需要具备各种不同的的复杂技能,精通职业所在领域的专业知识。

为了让大家了解这些屏幕背后的杰出工作,并给那些有同样志向的人提供建议,PocketGamer.biz将会采访一些对游戏行业有重要贡献的人,收录在我们的Jobs in Games专栏。

这周我们邀请到的是Thatgamecompy前联合创始人、Niantic开发者关系负责人Kellee Santiago。

PocketGamer.biz: 能够谈谈你现在的职位吗?它的具体职责是什么?

Kellee Santiago: 作为Niantic开发者关系(developer relations)负责人,我就像是一个大使,衔接业务拓展、平台和开发者社区。我很喜欢跟不同团队工作的感觉,就比如技术工程团队、产品团队和市场团队,跟他们一同打造AR的未来,利用我们的产品在真实世界中留下难忘的体验。

Pokemon Go(from xzxyxx)

Pokemon Go(from xzxyxx)

-你是怎么进入游戏行业的?怎么走到这个位置的?

我在很小的时候就经常玩游戏。我的父亲是一名工程师,他有一台电脑,总是鼓励我去做各种尝试。

在南加利福尼亚大学完成互动媒体专业的硕士课程后,我跟别人合伙建立了自己的游戏工作室Thatgamecompany,我的理想是把电子游戏打造成一种能够推动交流的媒介。

那时我还跟其他人共同创立了一个名为Indie Fund的天使投资基金,成为了GDC独立游戏峰会的共同组织者,还担任了IndieCade的奖项评选委员会主席,并成为了Google Play Games的合作开发经理。

我开始热衷于帮助开发者们制作特立独行的优秀游戏。为游戏创造新式的VR、AR体验,我对这方面的挑战很感兴趣,加入Niantic无疑是很让我兴奋的一件事。这就像是兴趣和目标的完美结合——继续支持开发者创造能够真正改变我们体验现实方式的游戏。

-这种工作是你曾经设想过的吗?

当我还是孩子的时候,我从不会把游戏和开发者联系到一起,所以我并没有想到这是一个可以追寻的事业。我总是被艺术所吸引,我学习了戏剧、舞蹈和音乐,但仍然觉得缺少了什么。在攻读学位的时候,我接触了到了游戏开发领域——这就是我一直在寻找的缺失部分。制作电子游戏需要不同领域的知识,这一点我很喜欢。

-为了争取到这个职位,你还学了什么(如果有的话)?还有,对于那些有志向进入游戏行业的人,你建议要学习哪些课程?

我进入了纽约大学Tisch艺术学院学习,在那里我开始参与实验戏剧。当时我特别喜欢将互动元素和数字媒体融入到我的作品中,这也促使我后来攻读互动媒体艺术硕士学位。然而,在南加大的学习经历才是真正坚定了我的信念——即游戏具有强大的吸引力和娱乐效果。

在这,Jenova Chen和我找到了彼此,我们因为同样的热情走到了一起。我想把他的愿景引入到商业电子游戏市场。我的职业生涯开启时正好赶上了独立游戏运动,我遇到了许多非常厉害的游戏开发者,也看到了游戏商业发展对创作类型选择的影响。

于是我就跟其他人一起成立了Indie Fund,专门为独立开发者设立的天使投资基金。在Indie Fund和thatgamecompany之后,我进入了Ouya公司,开始参与发行和开发者关系,我从一次和几个开发者合作变成了和几百个合作。

对于那些有志向进入游戏行业的人,做游戏显然是要具备一些基础——比如编程、游戏策划、叙事、画面以及声效设计。但是,除此之外,我建议还要学习领导、合作和制作方面的知识。决定游戏成败的因素有很多,但总体上可以归结为两个领域——团队动态管理、在既定预算和时间内发挥出的创造力。这两大块的知识,你了解得越多,成功的规模就会越大。

-这个职位最让你有成就感的是哪一部分?

Field Trip(一款能够告诉用户附近有那些地标景点的应用,游戏邦注)发行的时候,也就是Niantic团队还在谷歌公司时我就是他们的粉丝了。Niantic一直擅于从不同的角度看世界,他们的使命就是在数字世界和现实世界之间建立动态的连接,这个使命确实引起了我的共鸣。我想利用技术发现新的方式,让世界变得更美好,Niantic的信念也是如此。

能够在一家致力于突破地理空间技术和现实世界游戏框架的公司工作,这本身就是一种极具成就感的体验,只会让我对未来更加期待。

-《精灵宝可梦GO》收获了史无前例的成功,在你的记忆中,有没有什么特别印象深刻的时刻?

如果你曾经观察过Pokemon GO Fest活动中的各个社区,你就会看到AR技术是如何改变我们与周围环境的互动方式。

得益于《精灵宝可梦GO》以及《哈利·波特:巫师联盟》所累积的经验,我们成立了孵化计划Niantic Creator Program,允许创作者在Niantic真实世界平台(Real World Platform)上开发新式AR体验。能与开发者社区合作是一件很让我开心的事,他们的创新点子在我们创造沉浸式AR体验的道路上能够起到很大的作用。

-你认为公众或专业人士对你的专业领域存在什么误解吗?

通过自己成立公司这种方式进入游戏行业,我必须身兼多职、学习游戏制作的所有环节。从设计到编程,从市场营销到分销。当时我并没有意识到这一点,但我也因此拥有了非常独特的知识基础,涉及到游戏开发的各个方面——此外,thatgamecompany专注于研发创新型游戏,这是我们独有的技能组合。还是很难确切描述我到底是做什么的。

我知道怎么让开发者自主创造之前从未见过的游戏。从第一次谈话开始,然后是签订合同、制作、开发,一直到发行、分销。为了让这个游戏成为现实,我必须每件事都参与,这也是我每天上班的动力所在。每个游戏都是独一无二的。

-关于工作/行业,有没有什么是你希望一开始就知道的?

做游戏一点都不容易!要开发一款你从未见过的游戏,迈出第一步时就需要很强大的信念和自信。光是确定从哪里开始入手就不太容易,开发过程更是充满着各种不确定性。

找一群危急时刻靠得住的伙伴一起合作,他们会在你跌入低潮时拉你一把,反之亦然。

-对于想寻找同类工作的人来说,你有什么其它的建议?

放下顾虑,勇往直前。这个世界上没有什么绝对的坏主意。虽然Niantic的产品在现实世界和虚拟世界之间架起了桥梁,创造出了引人入胜的新式体验,但是我们现在只触及到了表层,这些技术的应用还有很多值得挖掘的。

我们期待各位开发者能够分享你们的想法,你们想如何突破技术的界限,创造出能够改变人们探索世界、交流方式的全新体验?

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

The games industry plays host to a colourful cast of diverse individuals, from artists and coders to narrative designers and studio heads.

The skills to pull off these roles, however, are complex and differing, with each position requiring mastery in its field.

To highlight some of the brilliant work that goes on behind the screen, and help others who may be keen to dive in, PocketGamer.biz is reaching out to the individuals who make up the games industry with our Jobs in Games series.

This week we spoke with former Thatgamecompany co-founder and now Niantic head of developer relations Kellee Santiago.

PocketGamer.biz: Can you tell us about your current role and what it entails?

Kellee Santiago: As the head of developer relations at Niantic, I work as an ambassador between Niantic business development, platform and the developer community. I love being able to work with different teams such as engineering, product, and marketing to continue building the future of augmented reality and creating memorable real-world experiences through our products.

How did you first get into games and how did you progress into the role?

I’ve always played video games from a very young age. My father, who was a software engineer, had a computer in the house and always encouraged me to experiment with it.

After graduating with my Master’s degree in interactive media at the University of Southern California, I co-founded my own studio, Thatgamecompany, with the vision of pushing the communicative possibilities of video games as a medium.

Since then, I’ve co-founded an angel investment fund called Indie Fund, became a co-organiser of the Independent Games Summit at GDC, was Chair of the awards committee for IndieCade and became a partner development manager at Google Play Games.

I basically became obsessed with helping developers make incredible, unique games! I found myself intrigued by the challenges of creating new experiences for games in VR and AR and was so excited to join Niantic. It just felt like the perfect combination of all my interests and my goal to continue supporting developers create games that can truly augment and change the way we experience the world around us.

Is it something you ever imagined yourself doing?

As a kid, I never connected games and their developers so it didn’t strike me as something I could pursue as a career. I was always drawn to the arts so I studied theatre, dance and music but still felt like there was something missing. When I pursued my degree, I was introduced to game development and there it was – the missing piece I had been searching for all along. I love how making video games calls upon so many different disciplines.

What did you study (if anything) to get your role? What courses would you advise for aspiring professionals in the area?

I attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where I became involved in experimental theatre. I was particularly drawn towards incorporating interactive and digital media into my work at the time, which led me to pursue an MFA in Interactive Media. However, my experience at the University of Southern California is where I truly developed the belief that games can simultaneously be engaging and wildly entertaining.

Jenova Chen and I found each other there and bonded over this same passion. I wanted to bring his visions into the commercial video game market. My career in games then coincided with the birth of the independent games movement, where I met so many incredible game makers and also saw how the business of games can affect who gets to make what kinds of games.

This led me to co-found Indie Fund, and angel investment fund for independent developers. I built on both Indie Fund and thatgamecompany to move into publishing and developer relations at Ouya, which meant I went from working with a couple of developers at a time to hundreds.

For aspiring professionals, there are the obvious cornerstones of game making – programming, game design, storytelling, art and sound design. But, on top of these, I would recommend taking courses on leadership, collaboration and production. So much of what can make or break a game comes down to two areas – managing team dynamics and enabling creativity while on a budget and schedule. The more you understand these two things, the more successful you are going to be.

What part of your role do you find most fulfilling?

I’ve been a fan of Niantic since Field Trip (an app that told users about nearby landmarks) way back in their early Google Days. Niantic has always viewed the world differently and their continued mission to provide dynamic ways to connect the digital and physical world is a mission that really resonates with me. I want to use technology and discover new ways to make the world a better place and Niantic lives by this same ethos.

To be able to work at a company that pushes the boundaries of geospatial technology and real-world gaming, it has been an extremely fulfilling experience and only leaves me excited for the years to come.

With Pokemon GO being a humongous success, were there any particular moments that have stood out during your time?

If you have ever had the opportunity to observe the community at a Pokemon GO Fest, you’ll get a glimpse of how AR technology can transform the way we interact with the world around us. Through the Niantic Real World Platform, which is responsible for enabling hundreds of millions of players to experience the best of AR through Ingress.

Through Pokemon GO and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite we were able to build on the Niantic Creator Program that empowers creators to develop innovative AR experiences on the Niantic Real World Platform. I’m always excited to collaborate with the developer community to discover the innovative ideas they bring as we build the future of immersive augmented reality.

Do you think there are any misconceptions, public or professional, surrounding your area of expertise?

Starting out in games with my own company, I had to wear a lot of hats and learn about every facet of game making. From design and engineering, all the way through marketing and distribution. I didn’t realise it at the time, but it gave me a very unique knowledge base into every aspect of game development – plus, thatgamecompany specialised in innovative and new types of games, which is its own skillset. However, it can be hard to describe exactly what it is I do!

I know how to empower developers to make games no one has seen before. That starts with the first conversation you have with them, through contracts, production and development, all the way to publishing and distribution. In order to make it happen, I have to do a little bit of everything, which is what gets me excited to come to work every day. Every game is unique.

Is there anything about the job/industry you wish you would have known when first joining?

Making games isn’t easy! To take that first step in creating a video game unlike anything you’ve seen requires a lot of faith and confidence. It can be extremely challenging to know where to start, and the development process along the way is a tumultuous one.

You need to surround yourself with the kinds of people you would trust in an expedition, who will be there to lift you up when you feel down and vice versa.

What other advice do you have for someone looking for a job in this profession?

Be brave and just go for it. There is no such thing as a bad idea! While Niantic’s products have created engaging experiences that blend the real and digital worlds, we’re just barely scratching the surface of what these technologies are capable of.

We’re looking to you, the developers, to tell us how you want to push the technological boundaries and re-imagine the world to enable experiences that transform how people explore the world, connect with each other and move their bodies.

(source: pocket gamer


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