Meet our CIITzen, Sophia!

Since she was a child, Sophia Mercado knew she was going to be a game developer. There was just one problem: while she was an experienced artist, she knew little about programming. Good thing she found CIIT and our Bachelor of Science in Entertainment and Multimedia Computing (BSEMC)! 

In just her second year as a BSMEC major, Sophia has already won one of the school’s game jams with her friends, worked on video game designs, and been commissioned for her art. Find out more about Sofia’s ongoing growth as a game designer and developer in CIIT in our interview with her below:

How did your passion for game design start?

I’ve always had an affinity for games and the creative aspects behind it even as a child, particularly in games like Castlevania, Monster Hunter, and Final Fantasy, which emphasize lore or grand story-telling as well as their art and visuals.

These titles, not to mention the influence of Anime and other media, were channeled into the creative drive I have now. If it weren’t these, I probably would never have thought to get into drawing, designing, or analyzing games in the first place!

Why is it worth it to be a game designer?

I won’t pretend that games are an outright necessity, especially in our country. But I do believe that games and technology on a broader scale have become integrated into our daily lives and because of that, they give us a new, vital communication method we should leverage.

For example, regarding video games, this interactive medium opens up fresh ways for people to tell meaningful narratives and convey messages that leave a lasting impression on those who play games. So, much like books, we can use games to inform others while also entertaining them.

Why did you choose CIIT’s BSMEC major?

Truthfully, I had little to no experience in programming when I first enrolled, nor did I know how to go about self-learning in this field. I truly wanted to combine my background in art with my plan to become a game developer and designer, however, so I decided to challenge myself and enrolled in the BSMEC program.

Additionally, CIIT’s BSMEC stood out against other schools in the country. Unlike most local institutions, CIIT doesn’t offer a general tech-related course, but has technology courses with specializations—like BSMEC’s specialization in Game Development—that enable me to focus my efforts on achieving my target career.

How has CIIT helped you grow as a game designer?

In CIIT, I’ve been taught the value of my work. In this school, I haven’t only been praised for my work, but I’ve even been presented with opportunities to go beyond the assignment. Lots of chances like this have come my way since enrolling in CIIT and I couldn’t be more glad that other people find worth in my outputs. In fact, I’ve even had some experience working as a game designer and have also done paid art commissions.

Plus, CIIT’s environment and programs are fun. They are definitely less stuffy and a lot more open to different kinds of people and ways of learning.

Can you tell us about your team’s recent win in the game jam?

By some miracle, my team actually ended up winning first place! The name of our entry in the Tech Dev Game Jam held within the campus is “Less Blorbo, More Human”. Our simple game had players manage an alien who was assigned to study human culture, but kept getting distracted and procrastinating. It’s a silly, light-hearted and colorful title that won thanks to our solid presentation and core loop.

I also like to think that a big part of our win was because of our teamwork. My friend, Josef Escarcha, served as one of the designers of the game’s mechanics, while my partner, Coby Allauigan, took on the role of the lead programmer. I was in charge of the art and assets, but I worked on the core design and mechanics with Josef too. The three of us had fun making this title and I believe our enthusiasm reflected onto the design and overall presentation.

To view the whole infographic, click here.

What advice would you give to your peers?

You may encounter challenges that will really make you question your capabilities. I certainly did. But amidst all that, I found comfort in the thought that I gave enough time and effort to something I am passionate about. Hopefully you will too!

Are you a fledgling game designer like Sofia bursting with ideas for your own games? Then join us at CIIT, where you can gain the skills and competencies to turn your concepts into actual, playable titles!

Check out our BSMEC course here or apply here.

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