So here it is. Part two of the Hero Interactive advice/ how they got into the gaming world. Today I hope you enjoy Lisa’s experience, and take a little knowledge from it.

…and yes, I am still here.

-Nick

When did you first get interested in Flash games?

It started with an interest in casual browser based games, rather than Flash specifically. I was into a lot of pet sites, kinda in the vein of Neopets and such, and those were what inspired me to get into game design. I started learning Flash immediately after I interviewed for an internship at Flash Game License. My interviewer was showing me some of the various games they had gotten sponsored, and brought up a dress up game. I was surprised that sponsors paid for those, but that just goes to show how unaware I was of demographics outside my own. My interviewer suggested I “Find a cheap artist and learn some code”, to which I replied “I am a cheap artist.” After a several hour drive back home, I immediately found some online tutorials and finally got serious about learning what I could about Flash. I even tweaked my class schedule to get into the Flash courses offered by MSU.

What programming language did you learn first? And then next? And so on.

I started working with HTML and CSS pretty early on. I learned a teeny bit of AS2 then decided it was probably best to skip it and go into AS3. More recently I’ve dabbled in PHP.

What degree did you go after?

Digital Media Arts and Technology (With specialization in Game Design) at Michigan State University.

What did you learn during school that you felt was important?

Talk to your professors! If there’s something you want to know, don’t sit and wait for it to appear in your curriculum. My flash professor gave me a lot of pointers after class for my personal projects, not just homework. At the very least, they can probably recommend some books or other resources that will teach you whatever you want to learn about.

What did you learn post-school that you felt was important?

Sometimes you have to scrap ideas you’ve worked hard on. Most of us have had to throw away a day or two of work in one go, just because the feature wasn’t working how we intended, or it wasn’t as good as we thought it would be. It sucks, and it can feel like you’ve wasted time, but the end result is a much more polished game. If you’re keeping a feature in the game because you worked hard on it, not because it’s a good feature, then you should probably rethink things.

What would you recommend learning/doing to those hoping to get into Flash games?

Don’t be afraid to jump in and start with smaller titles. My first game was a dress up game, but I DID actually make money from it. Not a ton, as I said, but being able to say that someone (outside your family) has paid you for your work looks pretty good on a resume. The thing is, there’s way more than just the Armor Games market out there. There are games aimed at younger kids that are much simpler but still get some sponsorship money.

Build a portfolio, too. Have something you can show to employers and say “I did this.” Even if they’re smaller, simpler games, it comes across much better than saying, “No really, I know AS3. Trust me on this.” Plus, there is something to be said for just the initiative it takes to get a game or portfolio out there. It shows a level of dedication that most employers appreciate.

- Lisa