One to Watch: Games Design Michael Hooper

‘If it’s something you’re passionate about and want to pursue further, don’t hold back’.

Michael Hooper already has a qualification in Space Engineering but this still wasn’t enough. He is currently studying Games Design in Manchester where he is making his own game!

During high school Michael developed a strong interest in games design. He then started to develop his own game for fun. Once he started college he made friends who had similar interests and they began working on the project together.

When asked how he got into Games Design he said, ‘I really enjoyed developing ideas for this game project, but for some reason I never saw a career in games design as a viable option. It’s weird and I still don’t understand how I came to believe this, but I just saw it as a hobby and nothing else.’

‘With the strongest interest I had besides games design being computing and programming, I decided to start a computer science degree at Manchester University. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t find anything interesting and found difficulty in understanding the content of the course due to the change in teaching style and lack of enthusiasm, so I came to the conclusion that it would be best for me to leave the course and find something I could actually enjoy’.

This is when Michael came across Access. A friend sent him a link to an open day for games design in which he booked onto immediately. ‘ I was overjoyed by how insightful the open day was and everyone was very like minded, so the atmosphere was quite relaxed. It was perfect, so I applied for the course on the spot and haven’t looked back since’.

Michael is currently making his own came which he has called Denouement. It is a dungeon crawler with a combat style. Rather than making your own character, the player chooses from a list or character, each having their own unique roles, play styles and personalities. The player is also able to level up, find equipment and upgrade their characters, to personalise them and build them in a way they most enjoy. The world itself is set inside a character’s minds, so it’s surreal and dreamlike. How amazing does that sound? We want a copy!

He says, ‘I have always enjoyed games that have large focus on different classes – like mages, warriors and rogues in RPGs – and being able to upgrade and build your character to suit your playstyle. I’m also quite a casual player, so the idea of PVP (player vs player) combat doesn’t really appeal to me. I hope that in the future, I will be able to play this game with a small group of friends and be able to add our own silly ideas to it as we play’.

Here at Access Creative College, we like to set you up, ready for a career in the industry. Michael said, ‘Alongside Maya, a 3D modelling program used by professionals throughout the field, we have been learning how to do market research, properly write and reference in reports, Photoshop and general games design tips, which I find highly interesting. I have also been introduced to various websites and forums where I can post my work and keep in contact with like minded people.

Just recently, I also got the opportunity to attend a panel concerning apprenticeships in animation, giving me a chance to network with owners of big companies.

His advice to anyone wanting to pursue Games Design is, ‘Do it. If it’s something you’re passionate about and want to pursue further, don’t hold back. There are so many roles to choose from in the gaming industry, whether it be art, design or programming focused, so there’s something for everyone. The industry is growing everyday and different industries, like medicine and education, are even including games in their line of work’.