Having grown up as a gamer, Gabriel Rocero, 17, jumped at the chance to enroll in the video game program at his high school. “I’d always dreamed of making my own,” explains the Temple, Texas resident. When a teacher informed him about the 2015 National STEM Video Game Challenge, he decided to submit his game In Search of Purpose, a school assignment that quickly evolved into a personal passion. Gabriel’s game, which features a robot on a mission to discover the purpose of his life, exploring a temple and dodging angry souls along the way, won the High School Unity award.
Gabriel’s favorite games incorporate a variety of gameplay elements and a compelling storyline, and he strived to do the same with his own design. In his free time, he enjoys both music and literature, and his favorite classes—besides game design—are Spanish and band. After high school, he plans to pursue game design or architecture. One of his greatest inspirations is beloved developer Gabe Newell. “Not only is he a famous game designer who started independent,” says Gabriel, “but also the fanbase that surrounds him is always fun to interact with.”
He recommends new developers start small, and engage their friends in the development process. “Set a weekly or daily goal, and don’t forget to take breaks,” Gabriel suggests. “Working hard all the time, even on something you enjoy, is the quickest way to burn yourself out and get exhausted.” It’s easy to get caught up in a big project and neglect other responsibilities, he notes. “A balancing act must occur when doing something of this caliber.”