Conversation With Nels Anderson: A Designer’s Guide to Getting Started in Game Development

This article was featured in our first ever DZone Guide to Game Development. Get your free copy for more insightful articles, industry statistics, and more!  Nels Anderson has been developing games professionally for over eight years. His first job out of college was working with HotHead Games on Ron Gilbert’s (of Monkey Island fame) game DeathSpank. From there he became the lead designer of stealth 2D platformer Mark of the Ninja in 2012 from Klei Entertainment. He’s perhaps best known for his work on the 2016 indie hit Firewatch from Campo Santo, where his experiences growing up in Wyoming helped shape the environments of the game. He’s currently venturing on his own with Caledonia, working on a currently unknown debut project. With his technical background in computer science and experience in the industry, I spoke with Nels to learn about getting started in the industry, why technical experience is important for game design and focusing on players.