Success Story -  Digital Arts and Entertainment student Marcus Jonsson

Success Story - Digital Arts and Entertainment student Marcus Jonsson

Marcus Jonsson is a 36-year-old swede living and working in Brussels, Belgium. At 32 he decided to change his life and switch careers to game design & development. He knuckled down and completed 3 years of intense training at DAE - Digital Arts and Entertainment, and landed a job working on Ary and the secret of Seasons at eXiin after graduation.

The Journey

When did you first realize you wanted to work in this industry?

This dream started early for me with the Amiga 500 and the NES. Making games was always a dream on the horizon. Something I have been striving towards over my entire life.

What's your current role and what does it involve?

I am officially a game designer / environment artist. But because it’s a smaller company I do a bit of everything. 3d modeling and textures, level design, quest design and progression, dialogue and environment art. Right now, my focus is main and side-quest progression triggers and NPC interactions.

Where do you work, and what type of projects are you involved with?

I work at eXiin in Brussels, Belgium, working fulltime on Ary and the Secret of seasons.

How did you get your first big break?

I did my internship at eXiin as part of my three year bachelor at Digital Arts and Entertainment. I guess they liked what I did because I was hired right after graduation.

How did you learn the skills needed to get your job?

I’ve always been a gamer and I started playing video games with my older brothers already on the commodore 64. So, the extensive exposure of playing games has helped me greatly. But it was DAE that really gave me the tools to apply this knowledge practically.

What was the interview process like and what advice would you give others?

The interview process for me was very informal since they communicated early on that they were satisfied with my work and wanted to hire me.My advice, as always, try to listen to others and always be open to critique, don’t let your pride get in the way. Work hard and you will eventually get acknowledged for it.

Day in the life

Describe a typical day for you and your team?

Everyone post their daily task on discord to sync up in the team. If I’m in the middle of a milestone I start work directly. Other times if we are just starting something new or wrapping something up, I might need to meet with the others involved to hash out the details.

What third-party and proprietary tools do you use on a daily basis?

The game is being developed in Unity and we use Houdini for everything related to modeling and animation. Substance painter / designer for anything texture related and Z-brush for sculpting.

Which departments and key people do you work closely with?

I work closely with everyone due to our size of our team. It could be that I need a special asset made by our 3d artist, or I need to discuss story or lore with our senior animator. I need help from our developers to solve bugs and general feedback from our QA.

One thing you’d never change about your job?

I love creating interesting and beautiful environments and bringing the world alive using NPC’s, and dialogue. It has been a great experience and opportunity to grow in this direction at eXiin.

But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing changed is?

I’ve also been heavily involved with optimization and the more tedious side of game development. This is a great learning experience, but I wish I could spend more time creating content and less time discovering bugs and optimizing 3d assets.

Career Advice

Why would you recommend your school to others?

DAE has very high graduation standards, the school and teachers are great, but they also expect a lot from its students in return. Because of the broad curriculum you learn a lot about everything making it easy to later specialize. This also makes it easy to work in a team since you have a better understanding what everyone is doing.

What do you wish you knew about the industry before you started?

I’ve followed the industry for many years and I’m very happy to see that industry is maturing, with better working conditions and less crunch time.

If you could give one piece of advice to artist’s trying to get a job, what would it be?

Work hard on your portfolio and networking, try to find a niche where you have a competitive advantage but never turn down a chance to learn something new. Focus on getting a foot in the industry.

Biography: Hi I’m Marcus Jonsson, 36-year-old swede living and working in Brussels, Belgium. At 32 I decided to change my life and switch career. Following 3 intense years at DAE I graduated and am now working on Ary and the secret of Seasons at eXiin.

You can find more work from Marcus here.