By Sophie Sadler
If you met Tiago Guerra at the Repsol petrol station in Lagos, where he works, you might think he was just a regular guy. But Tiago is one of a growing number of gaming enthusiasts who work remotely throughout the world on video game development – hoping one day to change their passion into a lucrative career.
Tiago was 15 when he started looking at ‘mods’ (modifications to existing games). He started to work as a voice actor, recording the soundtrack for these projects. In the process, he began to learn more about how these projects work and his passion was ignited.
He started to develop ‘mods’ and took a two-year professional course on Video Game Development at ETIC_Algarve. There are, however, very few avenues for pursuing this career in Portugal, so Tiago drives from Parchal in Lagoa to Lagos to work the petrol pumps, but in his spare time, he is pumping information to gamers as the community manager for a new game Chokepoint.
Tiago connects remotely with a number of gaming experts from around the world for Playnet. The US-based software company operates an internal software design and development studio called Cornered Rat Software. This studio is responsible for game project development which includes feature updates and support for existing titles, community management, marketing and customer support.
In June 2001, Playnet launched the industry’s first MMOG First Person Shooter, depicting the battles of World War II. Blitzkrieg broke new ground in terms of network code, physics and weapon modelling, offering players a 3D world of battle re-enactment which could all be played through the internet without a games console.
With more than 700,000 registered users over its 20-year history, the game maintains a steady subscriber base. Tiago’s job is to communicate with fans of the game about the new release in the WWII franchise. Called Chokepoint, it is already on a digital distribution channel.
The game is a microcosm of World War II and focuses on authentic combat in key battles with a quicker response time and Tiago’s job is to “keep the fans happy”. He tells me it is very difficult to get paid work in video game development until you have some work experience on a product but he hopes that working on the project might give him an opportunity to get into the industry in the future.
Online creation tools such as Unreal Engine and Unity have evolved dramatically in the last few years allowing amateurs to create their own games. “Game development is very accessible now due to online resources,” Tiago tells me. “If anyone reading this wants to get into video game development I would say just dive in headfirst and give it a go as the barrier to entry has never been lower.”
Let’s hope Tiago wins his very own battle to be accepted in this exciting industry.