Why I Love Mondays
Michael Piercy is one of two Co-Founders of Pixel Wolf Studios which was only established in November 2011 with his colleague Alan Grace.
Company: Pixel Wolf Studios an independent game development studio based in Dublin, currently focusing on game developments for release on the iOS and Android mobile marketplaces. You can find out more information at www.pixelwolfstudios.com.
Job description: As the company is so fresh and the team is so small, our roles are very much intertwined. At the moment everyone does a fair share of everything whether it’s working on new game ideas, puzzle designs, programming or graphic design.
Likes: The atmosphere in the office right now is buzzing. No two days are the same. There’s always something to be done. I really enjoy the problem solving aspects of my work. When programming games from scratch you have to think of what you want the game to do and then figure out a way to do it within the restraints of whatever programming language you’re using at the time. There’s a lot of thinking outside the box with this job. Other times I’m working on graphic design or keeping up with the Irish dev community.
Career ladder: I always knew I wanted to work in the game design industry. When I finished school I took a look at what courses were available here in Ireland that would open game development opportunities for me; at that time a lot of the courses were focusing on computer science, and that can lead down a very technical and specific road in the gaming industry. I wanted to have more of creative input into the games I would be creating; so I moved to London to study Computer Game Design (Story Development) and after that I returned to Ireland. By then the industry had flourished a little here and I decided to do a masters in Digital Games. As the masters was coming to an end, it was obvious that the gaming industry in Ireland was really starting to blossom. The timing was perfect to establish a studio. I’d recommend others who are considering the same to be more pro-active about it now rather than later. It takes two minutes to contact other studios that are out there. You’d be surprised at how supportive everyone in the community is. Speak to as many people as you can to get a strong idea of what would be involved and if you still really feel like you want to do it then just go for it
Qualifications: I received a BA (hons) in Computer Game Design (Story Development) from the University of East London and have just finished studying a Masters of Science in Digital Games at Dublin Institute of Technology.
Working hours: The atmosphere in the studio is so relaxed so there’s no exact start time precisely. Usually we start between 9am and 10am and work until around 6pm. Or if there’s a deadline looming we might stay back later than that to make sure that everything is polished.
Breaktime: Where the studio is located there’s a lot of choice for lunch. The Guinness Enterprise Centre has a café on site and Thomas Street is just a minutes walking distance too. Generally lunch time is a chance to chat with others about what you’re working on currently and get a fresh point of view. We usually go over the tasks for the rest of the day to keep us on track too.
Social media credentials: Keeping up appearances is an important part of such a digital company. It allows your clients and target audience to keep up to speed with how your company is growing. And it really helps that the rest of the community here in Ireland is so welcoming. We try to keep our social media channels open and up to date as often as we can. You can follow us on twitter and like us on Facebook.
News sources: Considering the size of the industry there’s a lot to keep up with. My first stops usually include The Gaming Liberty, Edge Magazine’s online forum and GameDevelopers.ie to keep up to date with the Irish developer scene.
Onsite or offsite: When we’re working on a project we’re generally in the studio however we do travel to client’s offices and studios for regular meetings to keep everyone up to date on our progress.
Digital strategy/vision: Since all of our projects are digital and the digital industry is so dynamic and ever changing, it’s important that we keep up to date with new digital technologies and trends. Keeping up to speed with gadgets and their specs helps us to decide which devices to develop for and which channels will be opening up.
I love Mondays because: When you’re in the middle of a development cycle your day can become filled with programming issues and graphic asset refinements and you can easily get tied up and lost within all the work. So over the weekend I always try to make some time to play, whether it’s new games on the scene, golden oldies or whatever demo I can get my hands on. So when Monday comes I’m always bursting with inspiration and enthusiasm to create something new. I have pages filled with sketches and notes from ideas I’ve had over the weekend and I like to discuss them and build little sample games to see what might be the next big Pixel Wolf Studios project.