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“How did you break into the game industry?” is a common question among those that are looking into move into the game industry or just starting their career journey. Generally speaking, this is a polite way to find your way in; finding what the industry needs or wants and trying to slot yourself into it. But then you have me, AJ Smith: fueled with a reckless impatience and a voracious appetite for ambition, I broke into the industry the only way I knew how: by breaking it across my knee.
Join me for a humorous and honest retelling of how Tropical Heat’s first game, Frankenfur!, came to life. Starting from my humble beginnings as a scorned STEM graduate, how I gathered the closest, most talented friends I knew, and went through the sloppy, un-glamorous, and risky process of making a lousy prototype into a shippable product, all during the pandemic.
AJ Smith is a three degree holder (AS in Engineering Science, BS in Molecular Biology, AS in Game Design) originally from Connecticut and moved to Austin in 2016. She is the owner of Tropical Heat, where she does everything from business development and game design. By day, she also works at Steel Wool Studios as an associate producer.