Ep 007 Game development and gamification to make awesome education with Tony Chan

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Tony Chan is the host and creator of GameDev Loadout. He’s interviewed over 70 game industry professionals to empower his listeners with the motivation and tactics for a successful game development career. He led a team of three to create and publish a mobile game called Finding Leo. He has a wife, a 6-month baby girl, and a hyperactive 2-year old dog named Leo.

He’s really productive and starts his day writing down his objectives and things he’s grateful for in his journal, followed by replenishing his energy with breakfast! He then gets to work on his podcast GameDev Loadout, graciously interrupted by his baby girl for a while. He’s been reading blood, sweat and pixels to her. The day finishes once again with his journal to see how far he’s reached and get once again connected to thankfulness.

Tony always wanted to be a Game Developer, but sucked at programming! He didn’t do well in arts either, so the dream was gone for a while, but after reading the 4-hour working learned of outsourcing. He immediately hired some people in the Middle East to develop a game, even though he didn’t know anything about how to create a game! He had no plan, he spent a lot of money so it became also a problem for his household, he really didn’t know what he was doing. He was falling asleep during his regular day of work. It was tough. The good thing is that the game, in the end, got published! A key thing to have is a game design document everyone involved could refer back to, so that was a key learning. Also, communication is key, something like Trello or Slack. Something he would also have improved on was to make prototypes, to get more feedback in the process.

Even though it might not have been a hit or a financial success, Finding Leo is still something Tony feels is a great success currently for his life. Initially, he didn’t even think he would be able to create a game, he led a team of three and made it! He’s now becoming a lot more productive, he’s made a lot of changes (he’s even started playing video games less!). He’s been investing in himself, building meaningful relationships and this has helped him advance towards becoming a game developer as he’s always wanted.

Tony’s process to create games is now starting to think of a small idea and turn that into a small game. Then create a game design document (GDD) and get feedback from mentors and other people, show it early on without any developments, to see what they know and enjoy. Once this has been polished he would spend time on finding the right team to get started. He would continue the process to get a lot of feedback, and very importantly, not forget about marketing so people really find your product.

Easter egg over here! Final Fantasy VII got Tony into actually reading! It’s an RPG and it has A LOT of dialogs, so to play it successfully he had to learn how to do some effective reading.

A best practice that Tony would like to point out to in game development is user feedback, this is also something crucial for gamification in education.

His current favorite game is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. He would definitely like to have Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo in Professor Game!

The book he would recommend to us, The Engagers, is The One Thing of Gary Keller and Jay Papasan because it helps us focus and be more productive. Many of us could use a lot more on productivity!

The Superpower of Tony Chan would be spreading the message of the game industry, of course including gamification! The question by Betty, a language teacher… Well, you’ll need to listen to the episode for that!

His final advice is to get people involved, get your product tested especially with strangers. Also, whenever possible make it social.

Tony’s own podcast is GameDev Loadout, you can find him at www.gamedevloadout.com, email him at tony@gamedevloadout.com or through his Twitter: @gamedevloadout.

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