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.
PocketGamer.biz: Can you tell us about your current role and what it entails?
Violetta Pallinder: My current role is as a game artist at MAG Interactive. We work in small self-sufficient teams where we share a lot of fun responsibilities, including the game vision, between us. In my role, I'm responsible for the look and feel of the game as well as the user experience.
I decided to pursue my passion and work on games, so I tailored my portfolio to better fit the games industry.Violetta Pallinder
I create visual assets for the game, wireframes for new features and overall make sure that our players want to immerse themselves in the game and can easily understand how to play it.
How did you first get into games and how did you progress into the role?
I have a background in both graphic design and UI design and have mostly worked on complex systems, mobile apps and corporate websites. I was always attracted to character design, environments and animation, because I enjoy playing games - especially mobile, on a daily basis.
When I moved to Sweden, I decided to pursue my passion and work on games, so I tailored my portfolio to better fit the games industry. Soon after that, I got my first role in a mobile games company!
Is it something you ever imagined yourself doing?
I've always imagined myself doing something creative but I had no idea that one day I would work on mobile games that millions of players are playing around the world daily.
What did you study (if anything) to get your role? What courses would you advise for aspiring professionals in the area?
I studied animation and post-production with a little touch of graphic design, as well as character and environment design. All my UI/UX knowledge I gained from hands-on experience and a lot of hard work on real projects. I think that any studies or courses in game design/characters and environments, arts, graphic design, UI or UX would work well for aspiring professionals.
The truth is that good user interface design will determine how easily players can interact with your gameVioletta Pallinder
Alternatively, learn on your own and work hard; practice drawing, create characters, create worlds, create UI elements, learn from other artists by observing and analysing their work - try to copy them until you develop your own style and preferences.
What part of your role do you find most fulfilling?
When players enjoy playing the games my team and I have created and then come back for more!
Do you think there are any misconceptions, public or professional, surrounding your area of expertise?
Sometimes good UI design is underrated. The truth is that good user interface design will determine how easily players can interact with your game and how intuitively they will navigate in it. Poor UI design that doesn't have clear navigation or good accessibility can confuse and frustrate the players to the degree that they stop playing.
Is there anything about the job/industry you wish you would have known when first joining?
It's important to know that if you join a small team, you'll likely have to perform tasks outside of your expertise, so it's good if you enjoy doing more than only drawing illustrations.
What other advice do you have for someone looking for a job in this profession?
Be curious, play a lot of different games and try to analyse them, follow inspiring artists and designers online, even if you don't have experience try to come up with imaginary games and create visuals for them, experiment and draw a lot.
Make sure to build a portfolio that is suitable for the job you want and that showcases your skills.
We recently spoke to MAG Interactive CEO Daniel Hasselberg about the firm's growth over the last decade.