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Pierre Fontaine: how to learn Game Design

Pierre Fontaine: how to learn Game Design
Pierre Fontaine, 2nd year Bachelor’s student in Game Design

Interview with Pierre Fontaine, a 2nd year BDes student in Game Design, on career choices and his impressions of his training.

Was game design a childhood dream?

From a really young age, when I played my first video games, I remember imagining new rules and new gameplay elements. Then, as I got older and became interested in the world of fantasy and epic tales, spending hours reading Tolkien and exploring the world of World Of Warcraft, I began thinking seriously about the possibility of creating these universes which I was so passionate about. However, when it came to discussing my professional orientation, I was guided towards more conventional courses like architecture or product design. It was only recently that I realized that working in this environment was a real possibility. So yes, it’s a kind of childhood dream coming true.

What made you choose game design for your BDes degree? Had you thought about doing game design before arriving at the school?

Firstly, I appreciate and believe in the future of this medium – for me, video games are the next step in the development of art. After looking at works of art, and listening to them, we can now invite the spectator to become part of them. It’s an idea which I find really pleasing, as there is a very strong element of sharing. What’s more, it’s a sector which opens doors to rapidly developing technologies, such as virtual reality or innovations in the field of UX.

What do you like about the Game Design course?

Unlike the majority of training programs on offer in other schools, the teachers don’t try and get us to specialize in a particular field. We are expected to develop our skills in various sectors like 3D modelling, coding, sound design, digital painting, monitoring work, etc. This gives us an overview of everything you need to create a video game. The training at L’École de design helps us become more independent when we do our individual projects for which we get some help from the teaching staff.

What do you expect to get out of the course?

What I expect to get out of this course is to gain the skills I need to allow me to work in a variety of professional environments, whether as a freelance designer or as part of a big company. I also expect the training to help me develop a professional network in this line of business.

Is there a studio you’re particularly fond of?

I think that the strength of designers often comes from the quality of the team they work in, so I would say all the members of Team Cherry, a young development studio in Australia.

What is your favorite game?

Portal 2, without any hesitation, a game developed by studio Valve in 2011. To sum it up: a perfect mix of puzzle, storytelling and humor, with impeccable artistic direction.

What kind of game do you dream of developing?

My dream game? An RPG (role playing game) in a huge, open and mainly calm world, with a graphic ambiance inspired by the game Journey where the story would be secondary to exploring, discovering new landscapes, new enigmas to solve, new treasures, etc. But in the end, it doesn’t really matter what kind of game I develop as long as the players enjoy themselves.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

I’d like to work in a studio which has managed to stay largely independent, preferably in a fairly big team so that I also have time to develop my own projects. I don’t really care about the location, but I’d prefer a country like England, Canada or France. If I had to choose a sector, it would be developing virtual or augmented reality. It’s a technology which has fascinated me from the first time I saw a VR headset. And if I had to choose my dream company, it would be CIG, the studio which is developing the Star Citizen project.


2018 Digital Design by L’École de design programs guide (in French)