We had the good fortune of connecting with Dan Qiao and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dan, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I am from a small industrial town in the northern part of China. I didn’t get a chance to leave there until I was probably 12. There wasn’t a lot of things going on in our town and when I was a kid, I was very adventurous and always craved for excitement out of the mundane life. I have visited every building in our town and one time, I even walked almost 1 mile on foot to my mom’s workplace ( My mom drove me there once and I memorized the route. And it really scared my parents at that time).
My parents sent me to a art institution to learn still life drawing when I was about 10. They were expecting me to learn about serenity and patience there. And the time spent attending art classes did tame down my adventurous nature. It also opens a world of new possibility for me. I started to get interested in art, media and storytelling. The influence from different forms of art, the tranquil mindset, and my own curiosity all together shaped my perspective as an artist. Till this day, I am still thankful for my parents’ choice.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a game designer and my specialty is on level design. For me, coming up with ideas is the most exciting part of the whole game development. I usually learn the most from this process because I am getting a lot of useful feedback and new perspectives from the idea brainstorming sessions.
It definitely wasn’t easy to land a job as a game designer. There are many brilliant people competing for the same job title and skills are the least thing that is needed to get into this industry. I have been investing a lot of time building my connection and portfolio when I was in school outside of learning the design skills. And that, in my mind, did help my job hunting process a lot: I am more confident when I am trying to present myself and my idea in front of others.
Growing up, I wasn’t the always an outgoing kid. I tend to indulge in my own little world. I feel like a lot of the times, drawing and doing game design are my ways to connect with other people and the world. It helps me to express myself and make friends and it makes a happier person.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
It might be a weird choice but I would love to bring my friend to visit Pierce College. There is a huge farm center in their campus and you can see the little red ranch building and miles of field from a distance. It is a peaceful and beautiful sight to look at and it calms my mind. I always like to take a walk at night near the campus. Some days they have farmer’s market at night and you can even purchase some fresh products.
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 am really grateful that I have met my mentor William Bordonaro at my last company. I was not quite familiar with the genre of the game that we were working on, and also I am struggling to get used to the new WFH environment. It was a difficult time for me and without Will’s help, I could never had the courage to take on challenges. Will has been sharing his expertise generously with me and has helped me through some of the most complicated design challenges both at work and for my thesis.