An open letter to the people we admire in the industry;

First part of a series about being a teacher or a mentor for up and coming game designers, talking about if you should be a teacher or a mentor.

  Please send more teachers and mentors. We, your students and future workers, need more then someone who is well-known in the industry. Those are awesome mentors and great inspiration, but they are not necessarily good teachers.

  I get it, I really do – it's hard to teach us everything we'll need in order to survive and thrive in this business, especially when so many things that are word and law today, could be changed tomorrow. There are general ideas to follow, and since the list is fairly long and descriptive, I'll post what me and some of my peers have to say for the next few posts.

  In this installment – are you a Mentor, or a Teacher? It's possible to be both, and we really need both, but good mentors, and good leaders, doesn't mean good teachers.

  Mentors are needed to provide someone to look up to and emulate, to take us under wing. At the same time, mentors are generally held in a soft, fuzzy light of wisdom, full of guidance and encouragement, but rarely extremely harsh criticisms.

  Teachers, on the other hand, are a velvet glove over an iron fist. Encouragement, discipline (not punishment) and criticism are domains of a teacher. Assignments are given, tasks to follow, deadlines and marks to hit. Being someone who avoids confrontation isn't a virtue here. You'll need to be firm but fair. Students notice when you center one out for good or bad reasons, whether you are an expert who can't relay the how or why of a topic or skill, whether you are being fair or not. We respect you, look up to you, and genuinely want to hear everything you will tell us and teach us, but if you are unable to pass on your wisdom due to whatever reason, a mentoring position may be a better fit.

  Most of all though, regardless of where you see yourself in this equation, be active with the credible schools, within your area and time. Students have it tough before we even make it to school, with families and friends looking at us like we are crazy for attending schools for careers in game making, never mind all the fake schools out there that like to scam potential students and not teach them anything. If you graduated from any schools, volunteer time there, go for tours around, be available within reason to the students. If you are self-taught, great! Pass it on down the line also, and get involved with any legitimate schools in your area. We want to be a part of the industry, and continue to be a part of its growth. But we do need a step-up to get there.

Latest Jobs

Double Fine Productions

Hybrid, San Francisco CA, USA
Senior Systems Programmer

Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN, USA
Clinical Assistant Professor in Game Development

Digital Extremes

Lead AI Programmer
More Jobs   


Explore the
Advertise with
Follow us

Game Developer Job Board

Game Developer


Explore the

Game Developer Job Board

Browse open positions across the game industry or recruit new talent for your studio

Advertise with

Game Developer

Engage game professionals and drive sales using an array of Game Developer media solutions to meet your objectives.

Learn More
Follow us


Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more