Tommy went from working in the oil industry, to being project lead on his own game: – I had to make it happen somehow, he says.

Tommy Røkkum (31) from Haugesund made a great professional shift. The now second year student is clear about why he wanted to study Bachelor in Interactive Media - Games:

– I wanted to learn more about the process of making games. I am, like most students, a gamer, Tommy says. – It's a growing medium in almost every sense, so if I was ever going to learn, now was the time. 

– You are project lead on The Whaler - a 17th century trade simulator game. Can you tell us about the project?

The Whaler is set in the 17th century. You as the player will control a fully explorable ship where you can do crafting and create items, fish, customize your captains cabin, and interact with the crew on your way from port to port. Your objective is make money. You can also enjoy an action packed hunt for whale oil.

I quickly learned there was a market for it.Tommy Røkkum

– What made you initiate this project?

– I got the idea last year and spent some time doing research on budget, scope, other games and so on. I quickly learned there was a market for it, and I just realized I had to make it happen somehow.

– Who is working with you on this production?  

– I have several people working on the project. Half of them have industry experience from Hollywood and AAA games, Tommy says.

– Michel Mony, who is a professional consultant and programmer with over a decade of experience. He also worked on League of Legends. I have Fabritzio Bortolussi who has worked on many Hollywood movies and games, such as Agony, Star Citizen, Conjuring House, Silent Hill, Underworld: Evolution, Narnia 3, to name a few. 

– Linus Scheffel and Juras Rodionovas are some of the 3D modelers who also works on Days of War.

The Whaler 

Concept art: The Whaler

– Lucky to get a publisher this early

– How did you get in touch with them and initiate collaboration?

– I did a lot of research and found Mike on gamedev.net, and it went on from there.

– You also got a publisher that helps with both funding and marketing?

– Yes, I was very lucky to get a publisher this early in development. It happend because @indiedb featured the game on Twitter, so I was lucky to have two publishers contact me instead of the other way around. 

Think about the Intellectual Property, and protect is as much as you can.Tommy Røkkum

– Do you have any tips for game designers on how to get funding?

– My tip is to make a prototype with the core features of your game, or a Vertical slice, which is a full game without ninety percent of the content, and send it out to publishers asking what they think. If they don't like it, ask for a general feedback. There is a publisher list on reddit that gets updated frequently.

– I would advice game designers to spend some money on a professional to read trough the deals they send your way. Its very easy to be overexcited and go for anything just to get a deal. Think about the Intellectual Property, and protect it as much as you can.

– You previously worked with logistics in the oil industry. What was it like to make this shift?

– That was very hard. My previous job was very well paid, and it was considered safe until the oil sector took a hit two-three years ago. But then again, that actually made it easier to make a decision to do what I wanted. 

The Whaler 

Concept art: The Whaler

Teachers continue to challenge

– You also do some mod work on Beyond Skyrim: Morrowind. What is that like? 

– A big learning experience! It's amazing to work with so many great and experienced artists, and just learn from them. I would encourage anyone to join a modding group. You will learn more then you think! 

The professors and teachers really know what they are doing.Tommy Røkkum

– What plans do you have for the future?

– To present the game at Gamescom and continue to work on the game until release. I also have to work on my studies.

– How do you like the bachelor program?

– The one thing I really love about the bachelor program is the studio project. Project management is extremely valuable, and I use what I learned there every day. The narrative course was also very good. It helps me put a story behind every asset and character in the game.

– What do you think of the teachers at Noroff University College?

– The professors and teachers really know what they are doing, and they will always continue to challenge you, and research the theory behind game design. 


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