Italian native Otavio Pliger makes a name for himself in the British games industry
We all have dreams that we want to pursue, but we don’t always get the opportunity to do so. Otavio Pliger’s dream as a young man was to make video games for a living but, after completing his studies in his native Italy, he found himself working as a cinema projectionist for a decade. His dream, it seemed, had passed him by. Otavio, however, had other ideas.
Following my dreams
“I already knew how to code, but wanted a course that was based on game design,” says Otavio. “Unfortunately, there were none in Italy so I knew I would have to move to the UK if I was to follow my dreams.”
Otavio secured places at four universities, but once he had an offer from Game Design and Development at LSBU, his mind was made up. “The location is just fantastic,” he says. “Being in London, I knew it would give me access to many events in the games industry, and the course was just what I was looking for.”
Making a name
It’s through immersing himself in the gaming (and game-making) community that Otavio has already begun to make a name for himself and has been noticed by some of the biggest names in that industry.
Support and help
“Last year, King – the company behind Candy Crush Saga – released their game engine, Defold, to the public for free,” explains Otavio. “I joined the forums and began to be part of the Defold community. Over time, I wanted to offer them support and help, so I made an extension that helps developers to use Defold. It opens some of the documentation inside the editor, rather than having to navigate through the website.”
King were impressed, and emailed Otavio to thank him for his efforts – even placing his extension on their homepage to help others in the community.
Inspired by his success, Otavio turned his attention to working on a component for the Unity3D game engine that rewinds, pauses and replays game objects. “It means people don’t need to code it by themselves, but can just drag and drop my component on their game project,” he says. “I sent it on to sell on the Unity Asset Store, and was featured on their home page and Facebook page.”
Most recently, Otavio worked on the Italian translation for the Cosmic Star Heroine store page. “The game made it into the top 25 on Steam,” he says proudly. “It was only a little bit of work, and I did it for free, but I enjoyed contributing to such a successful project.”
As well as working on projects based on the technology of others, Otavio is also developing ideals of his own. “I’ve been working on a personal project called Moving Company Ltd,” he says. “It’s inspired by the famous Crazy Taxi game, where you deliver wobbly stacks of goods. It caught the attention of industry professionals, including Sven Andersson, Engine Developer at King, Niall McGuinness, National Account Manager at Nintendo, and Chris White, International PR and Events Manager at 2K Games.”
Unsurprisingly, for such a motivated student, Otavio hopes to open his own game studio in the future, and feels that LSBU has given him all the skills he needs to make it a reality. “The lecturers are really passionate and involved, and the course has taught me how the industry works and what it needs,” he says. “I’m always getting advice on how to make connections in the industry, and it is bringing out the best in me. The facilities are superb, and having a game studio to work from has been an immense help.”