We're heading back into Broken In territory this week, chatting a bit with ten year gaming veteran, Dan Miller. If you fancy yourself a fan of Bungie's recent offerings, you've already spent some personal time with plenty of Miller's design work. And if you're just stopping by to score some inside tips on how you can survive the gaming industry's trench run and end up snagging a job at Bungie, Dan has designs that might work for you as well.
Q. Who are you and what do you do for Bungie?
A. My name is Dan Miller, AKA dmiller360, tree city, tree or dmiller depending on who you talk to here. I work for Bungie as a designer on campaign missions and I have some experience designing multiplayer maps.
Q. How long have you been making video games and what did you do before you broke in at Bungie and were bestowed with all those nicknames?
A. This is my tenth year in the industry. I started in Public Relations fresh out of college and later moved to design. I’d been playing video games far before that though.
Q. What makes working for Bungie a bit different from other places you've worked?
A. The level of community investment is basically unheard of. Whole in-game features are built solely for our community. Even our website, Bungie.net, has been built with the community in mind. It’s really pretty awesome how much we take our community and fanbase into account when it comes to how we work.
Q. When it comes to your own work with Bungie, is there a single moment that defines the overall experience for you?
A. We were crunching on Halo 3 and working pretty late nights. I was working on the Halo 3 ending, *SPOILER ALERT* The Warthog Trench Run *END SPOILER*. Anyways, it was pretty early on, but I started getting other people to playtest the level at my desk so I can see where they were getting hung up. Pretty soon all of the hooting and hollering brought everyone still working in the office over and it was an awesome moment. I think at that time I knew it would be something special.
Q. Ten years in the industry and there's still hooting and hollering at your desk? Sounds pretty fun. Do you take any special steps to make sure your work experience remains exciting and fresh after a decade in the biz?
A. I’m the type of person that finds it hard to temper my excitement. Drive and passion really aren’t a problem here at Bungie because we all have a similar passion; it’s easy to feed off of each other's excitement.
Q. If you could issue one ominous warning to upstarts looking to weasel their way into the industry and start feeding off of everyone's excitement, what would it be?
A. Bring it.
Q. Choose from experience, work ethic, or talent in some kind of bizarre, meaningless, hypothetical, alternate-time scenario. Which quality would you be most impressed with in a potential designer?
A. For design, in my so humble opinion it’s experience. Talent and work ethic are important, but it takes experience to know how to use your talent and when to use your work ethic. Of course in your bizarre, meaningless, hypothetical, alternate-time scenario, I’m the emperor of a vast army of radioactive seagulls that reign terror on all nations.
Q. Give us your top three things folks should do if they want to turn out quality design work, secure a role in the gaming industry, and command a flock of murderous seagulls.
- Work hard and gain experience in whatever you want to do. It doesn’t matter how small of a project it is, you can use your knowledge there to move up.
- Someone always knows more or is better than you. Don’t think you’ve learned everything.
- Learning to laugh at yourself is a good exercise in humility.
Dan's right, and I'm not just saying that because he's been threatening to send his gull army to invade and conquer our corner of the studio - he really does know his stuff. If you've read through his interview and think you're ready to use your own knowledge to secure a role at Bungie (and you're more than willing to laugh at yourself), check out our Jobs Page
...assuming you have the requisite experience, work ethic, and talent. Nobody
makes it though the trench run on the first go or without a talented and experienced driver and some steadfast dedication.