Turning a Passion into a Career!
He may have gotten into the gaming industry by pure luck, but Egyptian-born Omar Gad has flourished as a game developer and tester in the eSports arena at Instinct Games. What started as a part-time hobby has turned in a professional career in eSports. Gad has created games for Xbox, P.C, tablet, and has high hopes for gaming in the Middle East region.
1. How did you become a game developer and tester?
It was totally by luck, my cousin was a 3D animator and knew a friend who was an artist in Timeline interactive, and they wanted game tester that can try the game from a gamer point of view in August 2008. I started working with a small testing team of 3 and became a tester, not developer. Then started doing game design tasks on the side, balancing, doing tweaks and creating small games, and became tester/designer.
2. Did you study this, or did it come with experience?
It was totally experience, gaming has been my hobby since childhood and my favorite escapism gate, and became my comfort zone in life and work. And, it comes to me naturally and I only had to learn the documentation work and know the system and language.
3. What is your advice for people who want to turn their gaming experience into a professional career in eSports?
Make YouTube videos showing their skills and helping other people, they don’t have to comment while playing but it’s better to have a nice commentary, still people come to see the videos for the skills not for the gags, they will see Pewdiepie if they want the gags!
Join any local tournaments in the neighborhood and travel to it if possible, no matter how small the prize, having the experience and contact will help you know the place in the field. And lastly practice as any other sport, focus on a genre and aim for high ranks in the game leaderboards.
There is different type of players, you got your casual players, who prefers playing one game or a very specific genre and that is usually the FIFA and racing games and those by aren’t gamers in the first the place but they are soccer or car fanatics and learnt the game skills to for that purpose and their real life skills helps them a lot to be more skilled in that game, good real life drivers are good racers in games. For this type to turn professional this type can easily turn professional, cause they are competitors by nature still they will need the motor skills to actually compete. They will enjoy the challenge though and watching other pros challenges each other who are actually hardcore gamers and fanatic in the same time. Professional gamers on the other hand are skilled players who practice way more and with practice I mean they do the thing they love the most, like playing a DOTA game or have a super adrenaline rush from a Street fighter game.
4. What games are your favourite to play?
Mobas(Dota and league of legends, but cause am old school so i play dota more :)
Street fighter, mortal kombat, Naruto UNS and other fighting games.
And the list goes on and on…
5. What part of your job is better testing or developing and why?
I will switch developing with design.
Developers can’t be testers you know, they only do something called unit testing which is just making sure that the main feature is doing its job and the tester make sure that all the features combined achieve the design goals.
I think testing is better cause it doesn’t consume my brains as design does, however it depends on the timing more, and which phase are we in the game, so like in late phases design becomes all about balancing the game elements and features which is very hard to predict specially with more complicated and open games, that’s why this days you get your early access version which is basically letting the game fans the community help designing and polishing the games. Short answer, I love the design part more but sometimes it’s so pressuring and consuming that’s make the testing a breathe of air.
6. What are your thoughts on gaming in the Middle East and North African region?
Gaming is really booming everywhere, the community and industry are also getting bigger and bigger with each year, yet it still a small fraction comparing to gaming in the US, South Korea, Japan and Europe, cause they are getting bigger also, still we are starting to have our impact to the gaming world, like now you have your middle eastern version of the game which is subbed or dubbed in Arabic. There are events held in Egypt for eSports and giving humble and in rare cases high prizes, so we started, 10 years ago there were no gaming studios in Egypt and people still get surprised when I tell them that we are located in Egypt and make AA games.
7. Which TV series or movie do you think would well as a game?
That’s a tricky question, Games have always failed to become movies and vice versa, it took so long to have an appropriate Batman game, and if you ask me nothing would sell more than super heroes from Marvel or Dc, and my pick would be The Flash.
8. What have you learnt about eSports being a game developer and tester?
Well, for making games always put in mind that the eSports is a big selling point these days, and also the lets play videos which are just YouTube videos of playing the games with the commentary, and that can have more effect in marketing the game more than anything else.
But we aren’t into eSports so much, still we keep up with the news and never stop from getting surprised by the huge numbers and massive prizes.
9. Where do you think the eSports industry is going?
I think one day the eSports will be treated the same way as sports, with huge crowds and known clubs, the industry will get bigger and bigger with more sponsors to it, and with the new era you won’t get surprised when you find someone in his 40s into video games so the audience will be from all ages and genders.
10. Lastly, what would be the next step in your career?
Make game design my main focus and focus less in testing, then enter the production world.