August 16, 2018

Wearing Many Game Development Hats

When Austin Shamp started playing and making video games, he never imagined his passion for game development would lead him to the world of professional bull riding. As the Head of Operations for 8 to Glory, the official game of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR), Austin oversees marketing, monetization, post-launch maintenance and all communications with PBR. “Essentially, I am a producer. Three Gates is a relatively small studio, so I wear many hats,” Austin said.

UAT Alumnus Austin Shamp

Austin earned his bachelor’s degree in game design and master’s degree in game production in management at the University of Advancing Technology, where he worked on multiple mobile and PC titles. He blogged. He presented at the Southwest Video Game Showcase. He networked. He interned a lot.

Video: 8 to Glory, PBR Investment LLC

“Nothing can prepare you for a career as a game developer than literally making games,” Austin said. UAT Game Studios gave Austin the opportunity to create awesome and not-so-awesome games. “The safety net to experiment, fail and learn from the failure over and over again is incredibly helpful,” he said. It usually costs real money to make video games, so the university setting provides a safe space for practice.

“Learning to hit that development speed bump, recover and move forward as a team without totally imploding is super valuable in the real world.”

Austin’s multiple internship experiences and commitment to growing his network while still in school set him up for success. He worked on diverse projects from IoT devices to enterprise applications, and he crushed the conference scene. “I was essentially a shoe-in at my first job as a producer for 8 to Glory mobile at the original publisher because my mentor was in charge of hiring.” When that publisher went under, Three Gates kept Austin on the team because of his knowledge and passion for the project. (He is also a really cool dude.)

Currently, most of Austin’s time goes into Three Gate’s first console game launch. (More info coming soon!) But he also makes time to give back to the Arizona indie dev community and grow his side hustle. As the Community Manager and Assistant Program Director of Game CoLab, Austin fosters a collaborative environment for game developers to create, learn, show off and change the world through games right here in Arizona. Austin founded BattleAxe Interactive in 2017 to help indie studios around the world monetize and market their games effectively.

Austin’s advice for aspiring game developers? Find your passion and do your homework. Austin encourages students to routinely read through job descriptions, identify their ideal role and then focus on improving the skills that they are missing. “For example, if you want to be a level designer, but most job postings require strong art skills that you don’t currently have, go practice your art,” he said.

“Structure your education plan and supplementary practice around the skills required for your target jobs. If you do that, your dream job will be obtainable.”

Want to harness your passion for game development and prepare for an exciting career making video games? Apply today!

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