A strong community can promote new ideas and ensure accountability. It can also act as motivation, support, and even provide a little friendly competition. The power of community is undeniable and the Okanagan tech community is no exception.
Our community is strong and growing with record speed and maintaining a connection through a period of growth like this can be a challenge. Nobody panic, we’ve got a plan.
Introducing, We are #OKGNtech. A showcase of Okanagan tech entrepreneurs, partners, supporters, and cheerleaders designed to fuel more connection, more growth, and more excitement. Follow along on the blog and on Instagram @OKGNtech to learn more about our growing community and what makes them awesome.
Meet Simon. Simon Hason is the owner of SHD Games. When he isn’t building the newest first-person mobile shooter game, you’ll find Simon doing some serious “market research” playing the newest Modern Warfare.
Where do you work in the Okanagan?
I work for SHD games as an indie mobile game developer, mostly FPS games (first-person shooter). Those are my favourite games to play—I enjoy shooting guns in real life, so I apply that passion in my game design. Two of our big past releases were LONEWOLF and SIERRA 7. Right now, the cycle is just too long—SIERRA 7 took 3 ½ years to make. You learn so much during that time that you need to upgrade earlier work to your current skill level.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The thing I like most about my job is that it feels authentic. No one is telling me what to do, or what games to make. I see myself as more of an artist than a business. Instead of a company with a bunch of hands in the pie, it’s just me thinking “what kind of game would I want to play?” Then I just make it.
What advice would you give to someone interested in a job like yours?
If you’re interested in game design, research what other game developers are talking about. It’s a brutally tough industry, competition is crazy. Understand that game development is going to be hard, it’s going to take a long time—you need to have a real passion for it. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I know that I would still be making games.
What do you enjoy about the OKGNtech community?
I really enjoy talking with other app developers, Jason Bernhardt (Levity) is a good friend of mine. To have someone that’s in that same kind of world helps. You end up having conversations with other companies and developers and getting these golden nuggets of advice. People are really open, they want you to succeed. It feels like a community.
Do you think there is anything missing from the community here?
More game developers. They’re probably out there, I just haven’t found them yet. There are more indie developers in Vancouver, but it can be expensive and difficult to get help. I hope that they see the Okanagan as an alternative where they can escape that.
How do you like to give back or add value to the community?
I really admire people who give advice and help out, I’d really like to do that. If a brand new developer started here, I’d say “let’s go sit down for hours and I’ll tell you everything.” I want to be in a position where I can help the community and the community is helping me. A rising tide lifts all boats, I think is the saying.
The best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“Always be authentic,” I think is the best piece of advice I can share. When you’re being authentic, you never question whether it’s the right or wrong decision—your instincts guide you. There can be a lot of noise in the world, sometimes you just need to calm yourself and listen.
Who inspires you?
Hideo Kojima, he created the Metal Gear Solid series. He was working for a huge publisher and was fired for sticking to his vision. He didn’t care about being this big celebrity, he just stayed true to his vision and got the right people working on with him.