We had the good fortune of connecting with Carys Gooi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carys, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I’ve always loved art. As a kid, I was creating art all the time – whether that be sketching in the back of classrooms, writing short fiction to read to my aunt, or freely composing on the piano. I find it amazing that you can create literally anything under the sun with just your imagination, bring it into the physical world, and share bits of yourself and your own story with everyone. And not just that – those creations can also bring people closer, through shared interest and passion.
As a kid who grew up playing video games with her friends and family, the hours spent with the Wii and the XBOX and the laughter we shared have been irreplaceable in creating some of the strongest friendships and familial ties that I’ve had. I’ve met many people, from all over the world, just through playing video games. The main reason I went into game development is to create games that touch people’s hearts – whether through joy at beating a level, or poignant emotion at a heartwarming story. I want to create games that bring people together through the shared emotion, love and interest they can have for the same game – even if they live miles apart. Also as a proud Malaysian, I also want to help introduce my culture, background and country to the world through this wonderful medium that brings the world closer together.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a 3D Artist, with a background in Game Design. I chose to pursue game development not only because of my love and passion for playing video games, but also because I love how the medium can help tell stories with wondrous worlds and characters that everyone can and should be represented in. Most specifically as a 3D Artist, I help to translate these worlds – be they fictional or borrowed from real life – and make them as immersive as can be, to truly insert the player into the experience. As a Malaysian, a big part of what I want to do is to introduce my small country’s beautiful landscapes, unique culture and traditions to the world. In my work, I strive to create art that represents my background and where I come from.
As a child, I grew up in a very academically vigorous environment, with a lot of focus placed on STEM subjects. I love science, and have always done well in school, but I also really wanted to pursue an artistic career because I wanted to put a piece of myself out there into the world. I had a little pushback when choosing this path, because of the uncertainty and potential instability from an artistic career as compared to a traditional professional job, but I was lucky enough to get into college in the US for game design. There, I delved into all aspects of game development – level design, programming, audio design, animation – before falling in love with the world of 3D and its endless possibilities. There were a lot of setbacks, most of which led to overthinking: I feared that because I only started 3D halfway through my college journey that I wouldn’t be able to succeed. But I took some Maya classes, taught myself ZBrush and Substance, and started making art that pertained to my own life: a model of my pet bunny, a traditional Malaysian house, comfort food dishes etc.
Some lessons I’ve learnt are that: there are always going to be people who doubt you, and people who believe in you. What’s the most important is to discern who has your best interests at heart, and ultimately listen to your gut. Hard work takes you a lot farther than “talent”, and anyone can pick up any skill at any age – it does not define your journey.
I am always learning, taking it one step at a time. 🙂
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The first place I would bring anyone is Griffith Observatory. The views are gorgeous, and it almost feels magical being high above the lights of LA, where it almost feels too quiet. I would also take them to either the Getty or LACMA, and spend an afternoon looking at art.
As a coffee and food addict, I would take them around some cafés. I frequent Koreatown a lot for places, so some I like are Yellow House Café, Awesome Coffee and Café Mak. I also love boba, so I would take them to The Alley, Tea Maru and Heuk Hwa Dang.
I also really like theme parks, so I would take them on a Disneyland/DCA adventure, Universal Studios, Knott’s and Six Flags. Last but not least, if an artist they like is playing in LA, I’d take them to a wonderful Hollywood Bowl concert.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate this to my family – my parents, who have been unwavering in their support since day one, allowing me to pursue my greatest passions and travel abroad; my sister, who has been my biggest cheerleader; my grandparents, who have helped raise me into the adult I am today. I also want to thank my friends – my girls from high school, and my college friends at USC Games that have always been there for me through the good and the bad. Last but not least I’d like to thank my partner, who has been my best friend and shoulder to cry on, for all the support and reassurance through my journey.