It’s no secret that at Neumont University, we love celebrating our alumni’s successes. So when we had the chance to chat with Kevin Teynor, game programmer at React Games, we jumped at the opportunity. Kevin graduated in the first Bachelor of Science Game Development cohort in 2014 and recently served as an alumni judge at CPI (Capstone Project Invitational).
He has been at React Games for just over a year, and says one of the benefits of working for a small studio is that “all the programmers get a chance to work on various things.”
While a typical workday consists of coding, testing and reiterating, the development process at React is highly collaborative. He says, “Even though I'm an engineer, I still have some influence on the overall design which is really cool.”
Like a lot of locals, Kevin loves to ski. He also enjoys going to movies, and --no surprise here for a BSGD grad-- playing video games. Below are his answers to a few questions about his current work and where life has taken him since graduating from Neumont University.
NU: What’s your best Neumont University memory?
KT: I don't know that I could pick out a single memory that was the best. Just working on all the different game projects was a lot of fun. Winning project showcase with one of them, 3D Geometry Wars, was pretty cool.
NU: Now that you’re in the industry, what do you think the industry is lacking?
KT: In my (limited) experience, the biggest thing I see is a lack of diversity. Too many people with too similar views, backgrounds, and ideas is a huge limiter on what we can even think to make.
NU: How did Neumont prepare you for your current role?
KT: Outside of the actual education, Neumont's accelerated schedules and at times overwhelming workload was a great way to grow acclimated to how the actual industry is. Learning how to manage tough deadlines is as important as any of the technical skills.
NU: Any words of wisdom for current (or prospective) Neumont students?
KT: Stay motivated. It's a lot of work, but it's incredibly rewarding when it's something you're passionate about. Don't burn yourself out by not taking breaks or doing something fun. Also, if you're not so good at it already, learn how to ask for help. This goes for both technical and personal problems. If you're having trouble with anything the best thing you can do is get advice or at least another perspective.
NU: You are working in a field that is predominantly male. Any specific thoughts on women and STEM or what the industry can do to attract more talented women?
KT: I think it's a shame that there aren't more women in the game industry, and I think the biggest reason for it is the whole "boy's club" mentality that idealizes the exclusivity of the existing culture. It's the biggest thing that I think needs to change before more women will be attracted to the industry; and it's the responsibility of the entire gaming community--not just the developers--to make it happen.
NU: What’s a tech trend you’re interested in and why?
KT: All the new virtual and augmented reality tech looks really cool and interesting, and I can't wait to see what sort of games will be made around the hardware. The possibilities are virtually endless. I'm willing to bet entire new genres will emerge.
NU: With Salt Lake City deemed the world’s best Comic Con, if you had one super power what would you want it to be?
KT: I'm too indecisive to choose one; I imagine I could have fun with pretty much any super power. If I had to choose, it would probably be the ability to fly.
[This interview has been edited for clarity and content length.]