Tell us about yourself.
My name is Jeff Kapochus, I’m an Intermediate level software engineer and aspiring games developer. I’m also an amateur musician, writer, singer, voice actor, and dog walker. I have a lot of hobbies… but at least I’m never bored!
What is your philosophy towards your work?
I think I have two major philosophies when it comes to my work. The first is: love what you do. Whatever it is that I’m working on, it’s the love for it that’s going to keep me motivated. It’s the love that’s going to drive me to do better; to push harder, to move faster. When you love what you do, the work doesn’t feel very much like work. “Love keeps her in the air when she ought to fall down.”
The second philosophy is: always be learning something. I don’t mean new technologies or new languages, but something. Learn a new paradigm, a new point of view, a new function, a new structure. I’m a serial student, and I always try to be squeezing new information into my brain sponge.
If you could live in a video game world, which would you choose and why?
My mind immediately races toward Mass Effect. I was obsessed with Star Trek and Star Wars as a kid, and the concept of living on a starship in space surrounded by beautiful, wonderful, and terrible aliens is the most exciting thing I can think of. Maybe there are more fantastical worlds to envision living in, but with an entire galaxy to explore and so many interesting and beautiful species to meet … I feel like there’s a message in here about the role video-games play in escapism.
Where do you see yourself in three years?
I desperately want to be working full-time in the video-games industry. Whether that means joining a studio or starting one, I want 100% of my income to come from games development, and I want to make enough to pay my rent every month. Honestly, that’s the dream I’ve had since I was 9 years old, sitting on my living room floor in my underpants playing Final Fantasy IX.
What has been your favorite moment volunteering for Games For Love?
I think the best moment for me so far was jumping into our first team meeting. It was a wonderful moment of being surrounded by people who were only there for the love of what they were doing and for the cause they were supporting. Every time someone was asked to give an update or talk about something, you could hear the excitement in their voices. People tended to ramble a little bit, but not in that sort of dry management way, but in that excited kid in a toy store kind of way. It was really endearing.
What tips or advice would you give to a game developer starting out?
The two biggest pieces of advice I’d have for a fledgling Game Developer would be to never let anyone tell you what you can’t do, and to be realistic about what you can achieve. Games development is a competitive market, and 99 studios out of 100 are going to reject you for one reason or another, but don’t let them tell you that you can’t make games. We live in an era where you can download engines for free and start creating. Make your own games, join hobby project teams with other people like you, get experience, make a portfolio, and then try to find the 100th studio. But be realistic about what you can make – a single-person team isn’t going to create the next big JRPG by themselves. A portfolio filled with half-finished and abandoned projects isn’t going to get the kind of attention you want. Keep learning, keep creating, and finish what you start.