Being a Game Dev at a game studio, one year into it

Oct 19, 2022 • 8 minutes to read

so! 😊😍
Today marks 1 year since I started my career as a professional gameplay engineer!


  • 12 year old Tiago would be proud! ❤️
  • 32 year old Tiago is loving the change and still learning every day.

Who did I write this for?


  • I am not spending a lot of energy on making sure other people will be able to understand what I wrote.
  • This is a reflection and celebration that I want to record for future Tiago.

However, if you do end up reading through and you have any comments, thoughts, questions, etc - feel free to reach out to me!

For comparison, this is how I felt a few days prior to starting as a full timeg game dev:s

  • link to post

note: as I finish writing this… I have realized how massive it became… 😵

Fuck Yeahs!

in other words, celebratory highlights 😊

  • 😎 I am working on a game for one of the biggest brands and studios in the world!
  • 😍 The people I work with now are as awesome as the people I used to work with before!
  • 💯 I work with people in many different roles and backgrounds. I really enjoy this! So many kick ass gameplay engineers, producers, technical artists, vfx artists, writers and the list goes on …
  • 🤯 If somone told me that I would learn as much I have in this one year… I would not believe it. The amount I technical knowledge I gained in this one year has been mind blowing to me. So many talented people to learn from and get feedback from! So many cool challenges to tackle. I learn something new-almost-every-day!
  • 😎 I am now a lead for one of the coolest components in the project!
  • 💪 I got promoted to senior gameplay engineer!
  • 🥰 I got the title role of “Everything Everywhere All At Once” in a game jam hosted by Red Storm along with NCSU students (to be honest, I think this is the highlight of the year. I feel very honoured. I love this movie.)

Looking back at my time at Microsoft

I am really grateful for my time there.
The time I spent there really shaped the growth mindset that I have today.
That is largely due to the amazing managers, peers, leaders, mentors that I had.
Making the decision to leave was the hardest career decision I ever did.

Looking back at making the transition

I knew I had to make a switch and work on making games as a full time job.
It is something I wanted to do since I was 12. Life took me to other paths and I wouldn’t change a thing. Still, that was something itching in my mind…
… but it was hard to act on it. I was getting paid really well, working with a kickass team on a kickass project.
I was in a very confortable zone.

Being in a confortable zone is also why I wanted to make a change.
I was too confortable and not expanding my skill set into the areas that I deeply wanted to.


They really helped me ask myself questions that I wasn’t thinking about.
Talking to them about it helped me understand the reasons why I wanted to make a change.


The HomeTeamGameDev group helped me solidify that I really enjoyed making games.
This is actually a super fun group. Hopefully my personal life will get into a more stable routine soon and I will be able to join the group again.

Gain confidence to even apply for jobs

The main person to call out was Chris DeLeon (one of the perks of HomeTeamGameDev is that you get to have some mentorship sessions with people that are/were in the game industry) I scheduled one with Chris and he was able (maybe without knowing) give me the confidence to actually apply for a job.
I remember him saying something to the effect that he saw I had the skills and what I needed was to figure out a way of getting my foot in the door.

Support from my wife

My wife was extremely supportive. Emotionally and financially.
She knows me like no one else and she knew I had to make the switch.
She was also onboard with making any changes in our life to account for the pay cut I would be getting.

Looking back at my first year at Ubisoft’s Red Storm studio

This is the part that I revist what I wrote one year ago.

First few days, weeks, months…

This period was emotionally tough.

As a recap…
Prior to joining, I was feeling anxious and insecure:

  • “How fast can I start making an impact?”
  • “Will people judge me if I don’t know how to do ‘X’?”
  • “Am I doing the best decision here?”

Once I joined, I felt overwhelmed:

  • “wow… I have never used Jira and Confluence before… this looks wildly confusing”
  • “so many custom tools and processes…”
  • “how do I wrap my head around this game’s code?”
  • “what are all these acronyms?”
  • “What do people mean when they say X, Y, Z… ? it sounds like this word has more meaning that it seems…”
  • the list goes on…

As weeks and months went by, I started to understand and to become more familiar with the tools, processes, roles, and structures.
Like I said, the people I work with are amazing!

to be specific, here are the key people/areas that I think were very important to me in that period.

My onboarding buddy, Nick

Nick checked in with me pretty much every day and almost always finished our conversations with a version of “anything else on your mind? Anything confusing or that needs clarification?”.
That was extremely helpful, I am super grateful for his help.

My manager, Bobby

Bobby was super helpful in so many different ways. He still is - almost every day.
So when I joined, he made me feel part of the team from day one.
Bobby has, what it seems to me, a very natural way of making people feel included and with connecting with people. I learned a lot from just observing his communication style.

From a technical stand point,
Bobby helped me - a lot - in ramping up on the various systems in our team, in the project and the structure of the project at a code and organizational level. What I appreciated the most is how he was able to make time to guide me through all that.

My immediate team!!

This is the best team in the project! no bias…
One of my biggest fears about moving to a whole new company/team was…
“what if I end up working with a bunch of assholes?”
My immediate team put those worries away in no time, everyone was so welcoming and friendly! ❤️

I am trying to find words to describe how they went about it…
… and as I try to put into words, all I can do is smile from remembering how I felt xD (too emotional?)
So I guess… it was all the little things? Like daily off topic chats, jokes and so on.

The IT, Tech team, content management!

These are “the heroes we need… not the ones we deserve…”
I don’t think we thank them enough. They keep project alive in so many ways. I had little to no downtime during my onboarding, all issues I had were quickly resolved and most of my onboarding was done on day one. This keeps being true every week.

Making an impact and gaining confidence (5~8 months in?)

One of the best advice I heard about making an impact on a team was actually really simple…

  • “Be helpful… Listen to what people are saying and help them.”

In more specific terms,
what are they trying to achieve? what issues are they having? what help are they asking for? what is the issue that keeps getting discussed?
Once you know what these things are, go and help solve it.

Once you have done that for a while and it is your turn to bring up problems that you need help with, people will likely listen to you and maybe even help. (don’t count on getting help, but you will likely get help from people you helped before).

So it is clear how that helps in making an impact.
How about gaining confidence?
Solving problems that other people are having, allows you to get gain confidence that you belong in this group because you are solvig problems that they have.

I have used this approach in different settings/situations.
It has worked really well and I will likely continue to use it.

Present time

I am now a lead on one the coolest components in our project.
I am super happy and proud to be doing that.

Around the same time, I go promoted to a senior level!

There is a lot non-programming work that comes with it, and a lot of work and people management. This isn’t new to me. It is not my favorite type of work, but I do know that I can do it well, so I am more than happy to setup up to the role.


This year has been a blast!
Read that fuck yeah list again!


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