The gaming industry isn't just fueled by highly caffeinated drinks. It takes individuals who love to both create and play games, Shane Smit told a crowd of aspiring designers, artists and animators Friday at the GEEX Show.

"If you are going to create games, you have to love games," said Smit, a designer for Disney Interactive Studios. "A lot of people get into the gaming industry who don't, and they don't stay long."

Smit told the audience of about 50 conferencegoers that people often assume that creating video games is a "dream job," only to discover it takes coding skill as well as a passion for gaming. Game creation requires patience, team work and countless hours of work before a title is ready for release, he said.

Smit said the most successful way to break into the industry is to establish and maintain connections with people already there. He recommended that people find internships, attend expos and visit studios in order to find those contacts.

Other speakers at the GEEX show said people who want to become game developers should first understand how games are created.

Roger Altizer Jr., an adjunct professor in the division of film at the University of Utah, said that game creation is often more difficult than people first expect, and learning to see a project through is the key to success. Colleges and trade schools can teach the technical skill needed to create the games, he said.

"I would tell people interested in gaming as a career to hold onto their creativity," Altizer said. "We haven't seen the Citizen Kane of gaming just yet."


E-mail: cnorlen@desnews.com