Game player to game designer
July 25, 2013
By Elise Dismer ’13
As an 11-year-old boy, Matthew Vroman ’12 never imagined he could make videogames for a living.
Inspired by what he played on his Nintendo 64 and Game Boy consoles, Vroman would spend hours filling notebooks with sketches of characters and game ideas. Now Vroman is living out his dream working as a technical designer for F84 Games in Los Angeles.
“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “I’ve been wanting to make games for so long, so to finally do that and get paid for it is definitely a huge motivator.”
Vroman, who graduated from Bradley with a degree in Interactive Media: Gaming, credits Bradley for his success.
“Bradley’s played a huge role in where I am today,” he said. “The entire reason I’m out here now is because I did the semester in LA.”
The Hollywood Semester* (*http://www.bradley.edu/academic/colleges/cfa/hollywood/media/)
is an internship and live study program designed by Bradley to get students networking with professionals in the entertainment industry. Vroman’s internship at F84 Games during his Hollywood Semester led to the job he’s at now.
“They liked my work and work ethic so much that they decided to bring me on fulltime after I graduated,” said Vroman, who took the Hollywood Semester as a senior at Bradley.
As technical designer, Vroman’s daily responsibilities include designing videogame levels, writing game-play scripts and coding. His latest project was “Survival Run with Bear Grylls,” which he helped make available for smartphones using Google's Android operating system.
“I love seeing the game I helped work on go live, reading all the comments that people write about it and seeing the statistics on how many people play it,” he said. “It’s really rewarding to see people are enjoying what I worked on.”
Yet, the gaming industry is a challenging field, according to Vroman.
“You constantly have to be up-to-date with the latest technologies,” he said. “You can’t just take what you knew in school and have that apply your entire career: Every year there’s new stuff coming out that you have to adapt to and learn about and that’s pretty difficult.”
For students interested in working in game design, Vroman has some advice:
“Get an internship as early as possible, work your butt off at it and do independent projects,” he said. “Don’t just do stuff that’s assigned to you in class. Work on your own games, your own ideas and don’t be afraid to show them to other people because doing ‘just schoolwork’ sometimes isn’t enough when it comes to getting a job.”
For more information on Bradley’s Game Design program, click here*.