A Day in the LIfe of a Video Game Design Student, Daniel Antonelli @ KU Pembroke Pines

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Daniel Antonelli and I’m attending my first year here at KU Pembroke Pines as a student in the Video Game Design Program. I’m 22 years of age and I might as well be a nerd by trade. I work part-time as a produce clerk for Publix and intern for a local company. I don’t have many qualifications or outstanding work on paper but I can’t help but feel that I’ve been there and done that! (As crazy as that sounds) I love a broad range of all sorts of games you might expect to see- the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s easy to say I’ve spent more time locked up playing games but I’d say I’ve experienced probably the best instances of life and met some of the coolest people through the magic of video games! I absolutely love world history and culture as a close second to games. OH and math- I don’t like math. *sigh* I’m really a child at heart as unavoidable as it is.

What made you decide to enter the field of Video Game Design?

Simply put, it really is all that I know. I joined the field with aspirations to get involved with an artistic medium I’ve enjoyed ever since I was little. I’ve had the pleasure of familiarizing and playing many fascinating games (as well as some less interesting ones) that shaped what I believe makes for great video game design. One of my true pleasures about this field is actually being able to dissect “game play” and “narrative”, much like a technician to a radio, and seeing how all the pieces fit to create a work of both mechanical and unique fiction that can be appreciated for many years to come!

Which classes have been your favorites thus far? Your least favorite?

Ironically, one of my favorite classes is actually my least favorite! Our animation classes are quite possibly  one of the most challenging yet! Among all the “frame by frame” animation that needs to be done and an eye for detail to really bring life into an otherwise inanimate object really does wear you down at the end of the day. Despite all that said, I’ve never felt more accomplished with myself having to portray personality and liveliness into a teapot! And quite frankly there is no other industry in this world where I’ll be able to say that and feel incredibly satisfied with the results.

What types of video games do you like playing?

Wow, this question is always the hardest one isn’t it? I know, the obvious answer would be to say “to blow stuff up!” which is totally a legit answer 9 out of 10 times! But I feel there is a more merit to be found playing games with really strong mechanics and dynamic narrative. As long as I can remember, I’ve always been an avid fan of strategy and management games. Early in my PC gaming life, I’ve always played games that have you build sprawling cities, forge empires with little more than dust, and participate in autonomous systems most people find really boring. But, much like my animation class, it’s really gratifying to hook up utilities, connect transit systems, engage in diplomacy, manage theme parks, and just sitting back and watch all your work basically work for you once all is said and done!

What would you say has been the hardest part about being a college student? How have you overcome it?

I guess the one thing me and most of my peers can agree on is managing time and money as, regrettably, most things are. I can’t speak for everyone on this and I can’t claim to have overcome these challenges as I still work long hours and lose lots of sleep jumping between the two. But I can say someone once told me- “We must learn to make mistakes and seize opportunity for the sake of ourselves.” As selfish as that may sound at first, I think it’s important to consider we control our destinies and, of course, we have the power to share our finest moments, as well as keep them to ourselves. Stay strong.

What are your plans after graduation?

I take it back, this is actually the hardest question! Honestly, I can’t say for sure. I would love to maybe take time and work on some projects and concepts with the knowledge from my program but I’m only one man. I’ll most likely have to find a small indie studio to work with and just work my way up from there! Foresight is good but predicting fate has never been my specialty.

Do you have any advice for students thinking about joining or are currently in the Video Game Design program?

Hmm! Other than the bits and pieces I may have mentioned before, I’d say pick up any game (even a board game!) and play to death. Then, really get cynical about it! Figure out what you love and hate about it and then ask yourself why you do! It’s such a simple thing but definitely is a powerful way to really get invested in developing video games! If you didn’t like that- you probably enjoy playing video games than actually making them which is a huge consideration for this field! Other than that – Be excellent to each other and party on, dudes!


If You’re Interested in Video Game Design make sure to check out our Video Game, AS Degree!

STUDENTS: Please email your submissions/questions/comments to the ELSE Student Editor, Kayla Bianchi at: [email protected]