Today, I want to talk to Kevin Gokana because I know he’s wanted to work in the video game industry for a long time and succeeded. I think her background can inspire children, teenagers and students who aspire to join the industry.
Marc: Hello Kevin! Could you please tell us what your current profession is?
Kevin: Hello, currently I am a developer in immersive experiences at Illogika!
Concretely, I develop interactive applications and systems using technologies used in the world of video games.
Marc: And is this your first job in the video game?
Kevin: This is indeed my first job in video games, although in the past I have had the opportunity to develop educational web games as part of an internship (in the finance sector).
Marc: What studies did you do?
Kevin: First of all I lived in France from my birth until high school, so I followed a fairly classic French school curriculum. Afterwards, for family reasons, I went to live in the Congo. I finalized my high school years in a private French school where I ended up obtaining a Scientific Baccalaureate. I then had the opportunity to travel to Canada where I was able to enrol at Polytechnique Montréal and pursue a Canadian school course until I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering.
What was your background to working in the video game industry?
Kevin: Basically I’ve always been attracted to video games and I started playing quite early.
From the age of 3 I had the opportunity to access an NES and take my first video game steps by playing Mario, and I have not really stopped playing since…
Later, with the arrival of the internet at home, I was able to acquire knowledge allowing me to start coding.
I was able to realize that designing a game on my own was something feasible and over time I went through different frameworks and game engines until I finally set my sights on Unity.
At the end of my studies, the game prototypes that I was able to develop on Unity served as a portfolio and allowed me to get a first job.
This consisted mainly of developing graphical interfaces via Unity in support of a communication system.
This expertise allowed me to expand my skills and subsequently get a job in the video game industry. Since then I work on different types of projects mainly based on Unity.
M: What does a typical day as a developer of immersive experiences look like?
K: A typical day as a programmer is mainly about spending a lot of time in front of your screen in order to solve different types of problems through programming.
As for me, I usually start the day with a meeting that serves as a summary of the day before and that allows to flatten the objectives of the day.
Afterwards, I enter the task execution phase where I try to validate as many objectives as possible.
And finally, I enter a phase of conclusion where I take stock of my day, backup and archive, so that everything is ready to be able to resume work the next morning.
From an external point of view this may seem routine and unattractive, but if the project you are working on is close to your heart and/or if you are interested in the tasks assigned to you, you will be surprised to see how quickly these days pass!
What are the points you enjoy most when working in the industry?
Not everyone has the opportunity to work in an industry or in an environment that they are passionate about.
To the extent that I like video game design, having the chance to be paid to practice this activity is in my eyes an undeniable privilege.
I would also add that working in this industry allows me to discover and experiment with many different technologies that I find fascinating.
What are the negatives when working in the industry?
In my opinion, the negative points relate above all to working conditions on certain projects.
It is not uncommon in the industry to find themselves on projects with deadlines that are difficult to reach and to be pushed to work overtime.
One can also find oneself assigned to perform tasks that are said to be necessary but not necessarily exciting, which can make the days particularly long and monotonous.