Patrick Manhatton is one of the minds behind Corvallis Game Devs, a local group of game developers that have come together to make games, share their talents with one another, and help teach those interested in the world of game development. Manhatton has, with the assistance of his co-organizer Ted Carter, set up a number of events for the group and has made an effort to involve the community in as many ways as possible.
In the early going, Manhatton had a pretty clear idea of what he wanted to do with his life.
“Deciding to make game development my career goal was kind of like giving into something I knew I should do,” Manhatton said.
“Designing games was something I could picture myself never wanting to stop, something I thought I had a knack for, and something I was really passionate about. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do something that I didn’t love and eventually I stopped trying to talk myself into other things.”
But even with all the passion in the world, Manhatton recognized the troubling and difficult aspects of his chosen career path.
“It’s a very tough industry and it has a pretty bad reputation with work-life balance and burnout,” Manhatton relented. “I can’t really speak to those topics because my experiences have been mostly related to the uncertainty and difficulty of breaking into it. There aren’t many game-related jobs in Corvallis, indie development can be a long shot, and contract work can be hard to find or very low-paying. I’m lucky to have the support of my friends, community, and family. I won’t act like it hasn’t been a struggle. Making game development a full-time career is probably not for everyone. Personally I can’t imagine anything making me feel more alive and like I’m doing what I’m best at.”
Manhatton didn’t let a weak market and the difficulty of success get in his way, though, and he planned, organized, and held the Summer Game Jam, which was a big success.
“‘Game jam’ seems to be a magic phrase in this community,” Manhatton gushed. “[Game jams] are a little different depending on the community, but the gist is usually the same: make a game, from scratch, in a predetermined amount of time. Our last game jam lasted 48 hours. There are people whose only interest in game development is jamming. Our other events might be productive, informative, fun, but jams really excite people in a way that’s really motivating for me as an organizer.”
For those interested in game development, Manhatton’s advice is simple. Get involved.
“Any advice I’d give would depend a lot on your specific interests, whether it’s design, programming, or art,” said Manhatton. “To everyone I would say jump in, start learning skills that interest you. Talk to people who do what you want to do. See if what they like about it is what you think you’ll like about it. Don’t worry about being ready, I don’t know what ready is and I don’t think it’s a real thing, just get your hands dirty.”
Manhatton and the Corvallis Game Devs look to continue to grow the game development scene in Corvallis and invite anyone interested to their next “game jam” taking place during Startup Weekend from Nov. 13 to Nov. 15.
Visit Corvallis Game Devs at http://corvallisgamedevs.com or https://www.facebook.com/
By Nathan Hermanson