Jack of all trades or master of none?

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Kicking off the 2017/18 programme of talks, Frazer Merrick of Teaboy Games spoke to our new starters about his experience of coming to The Games Hub with a non-gaming background, and about the unusual places that knowledge of games design can take you.

Read on for an overview of his talk on the many twists and turns that working in the creative industries can involve.

Life Before the Games Hub

Frazer’s background is in music, which he studied at university. Many of our participants at the hub are students at the University of Essex, and Frazer was keen to emphasise that university can be an amazing time to play and experiment. It’s a great time to figure out what you like, what you’re good at, and what you want to pursue further.

While at university, Frazer completed a placement year assisting a composer who was working on the BBC Hidden Planet score; then after graduating, he continued gigging with his band while also working for Apple, looking at phones.

He credits both of these experiences as hugely important for learning communications skills – and particularly for learning how to give and receive feedback, which is hugely important in the creative industries where projects can be very personal to people.

Music and Arts Projects

After moving to Colchester in 2014, Frazer continued to work on music in any way that he could – on covers, with small film makers, and then through getting involved with Firstsite, a local art gallery, where worked on a couple of installations.

While at Firstsite, Frazer put together a sound and light installation in which visitors could affect their environment; a project called Midi Chimes, a generative music sculpture involving a set of interactive wind chimes; and an interactive banana keyboard which was part of an exhibition on Andy Warhol.

But why talk about these music projects here?

Crucially, Frazer says, is that all of this work involved elements of game design.

After meeting Scott and Aidan through The Games Hub and founding Teaboy Games, he was able to take the knowledge of game design, artwork and programming that he learnt at the hub, and applied it to what he loved working on – music.

Fallen and Teaboy Games

Fallen was the first game that Teaboy Games worked on at The Games Hub. After being featured by Apple in the App Store (the holy grail for app developers), they had an impressive number of downloads – over 50k in their second week.

While they retrospectively would have handled the monetisation side of this project differently, Frazer says that their primary goal with this first release was to received a lot of coverage, which they succeeded in securing.

This led to lots of enquiries about contract work, which has taken Teaboy Games to where they are now, working on a number of collaborative projects.

The best things to take away from The Games Hub

Frazer concluded his talk with the three key opportunities that he sees as available to those participating in The Games Hub:

  • Learning how to work collaboratively – with the other members of your team, but with everyone else working at The Games Hub, too
  • That you need to set achievable goals
  • And his take-home message? That you can apply the skills you learn in gaming to all sorts of areas. Working in the creative industries means your career path might not take you where you expected to end up.

Want to know more about Frazer’s work with Teaboy Games? Take a look at the blog post he wrote for us earlier in the year, where he gave us his five top tips for marketing your game on a budget.