Entertainment Spotlight : Technical Environment  Artist Adam Grayson

When did you know you wanted to get into game design?

I’ve been captivated by video games for as long as I can remember. When I was probably around 10 or so, I realized that making video games was something people actually did as a profession, and that was mind-boggling to me. There were people out there who went to work every day and made video games–these entertainment experiences that you immersed yourself in, interacted with, and spent hours upon hours enjoying. I didn’t quite have my mind set on it yet, but I knew it was definitely something I was interested in. I think I KNEW that I wanted to follow that career choice once I was in college, and I was learning the skills necessary to make that choice a real possibility. At that point, making video games for a living seemed very achievable, and of course, very desirable.

How has the industry evolved over the years?

The biggest evolution is the evolution in technology. The easiest way to see this change is purely through the graphics that video games have been able to achieve throughout the years, starting with simple, pixelated shapes, such as Pong and Pac-Man, to today’s hyper-realistic 3D models and visual effects, exemplified in games such as The Last of Us and inFAMOUS: Second Son. Of course, graphics aren’t the only way that the advancements in technology have changed the industry. With greater technology comes better tools for developers to use. With these better tools, developers are able to iterate faster and more efficiently. This can lead to development goals (artistic goals, gameplay goals, story-telling goals, etc.) being reached sooner, which in turn can lead to new and different ideas, that were previously unachievable with earlier technology, becoming reality. Now, even visually simple games can introduce something the industry has never seen before and perhaps was not even able to do with older technology.

What do you want visitors and locals to know about game design that they may not already know?

It can be rough. There are times when you’re working 12+ hours a day for several months in order to get your game finished and ready to go. During that time, it’s hard not to sacrifice other aspects of your life–social life, sleep, eating healthy, etc. Thought you’re working those crazy hours because you’re dedicated to the game, and you want it to be the best that it can be. At the end of the day, when your game is out the door, and people are going on and on about how much they’re enjoying it, it’s all worth it, hands down.

What is it like knowing your hard work is out there in the hands of gamers everywhere?

Incredible. Speaking specifically about Halo 5: Guardians, it’s still outrageous to me that I got to work on such a high-profile game, and one that I have personally been a huge fan of since before I was even ALLOWED to be playing Halo. Because of this, I’m not only one of the people who helped make the game, but I’m also one of the gamers who plays it pretty much all the time, despite playing it for literally hundreds of hours during development. Aside from that, it’s really very humbling when I have friends and even total strangers online contact me and thank me for my work on the game. With moments like that, I have both the personal satisfaction of working on the game as well as the immense satisfaction of knowing that others enjoy the results of my hard work as much as I do.

What would your dream project to work on be?

One of them was Halo! I was ecstatic to be able to work on Halo 5: Guardians. Working on Halo was one of my dream jobs, and I was so happy be to able to be a part of that game’s development. The other would be working on a Zelda game. I am an enormous Zelda fan and have been playing those games for as long as I can remember, so working on one of those games would be a dream come true!

Describe game design in 5 words or less

Creating universes, stories, and fun.

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