Meet Patience, a Ghanaian game designer and developer who works as a Level Designer at King in Stockholm, Sweden. Patience is currently working on Crash Bandicoot: On The Run! and other enjoyable games for all audiences. Learn more about her, and what drives her passion for games below.
Tell us a bit about yourself Patience
My name is Patience Ashiokai Ocquaye and I am a Ghanaian game designer from the UK. I am currently working on Crash Bandicoot on the Run, as a level designer at King.
I love anime, manga, science, and otherworldly things such as music, wildlife and food. In my free time, I like to be creative, or just annoy the crap out of my family and friends.
You have a really extensive career and education in game development related disciplines. When in your life did you decide you were going to have a career in games?
When I was growing up I wanted to be a scientist – a mad scientist that creates bionic armour and mechanical suits with plasma rays – however, I also had a deep passion for anime and games. This passion began with my brothers, who were told that I was going to be a boy, but when I came out a girl they both went “You will have to do”. And thus, they threw me into the world of anime and manga, which flipped my world upside down, then it became an activity I did with my brothers and my dad.
I was studying chemistry, maths, and physics but unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried, I flunked my exams, even though I did well during my mocks. I spoke with my father about pursuing my hobbies in digital art and editing 3D models, this is when he encouraged me to embark on a career in games, and I went ahead to study 3D animation in college, where the sparks in my creativity ignited my passion for games.
What was it like working on your first solo project, Runner Beats?
It was extremely hard as I worked independently. I had to become the Ui artist, animator, and developer to produce prototypes. It was extremely stressful but I was able to learn the importance of different disciplines in a short amount of time. Even though I was stressed, I was extremely proud of myself as I created a unique game idea that a lot of people enjoyed playing.
You’ve worked on many projects since then, including Mind The Gap, which was a finalist in the Indie Prize Asia 2018. What did you learn while working on this?
MindTheGap! was my first handwritten code and concept from scratch. I wanted to treat the development of the game the same way a company would, so I had set a deadline for the game to be released, as well as social features and I soon realised that time management is key to the success of this game.
What I learned from developing MindTheGap! was to comment out my code as clearly as possible to make it easier to fix bugs within the game. I also learned to exercise patience as problem-solving takes time and I ran into many roadblocks in code as well as design. Working by myself called for me to motivate myself often to solve problems, as well as to push my creativity further and make this simple idea more entertaining. Going to China to pitch my game gave me a boost in confidence and pushed me to clarify the key features of my game to draw in potential publishers.
What has your favourite career moment been so far?
The first highlight of my career so far is creating MindTheGap! and watching the project grow from being a concept and then turning into a full-fledged game published in China. Having the opportunity to pitch and display my idea to the Asian markets blew my mind.
The second highlight is working on the ‘Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!’ mobile game with such a highly talented team that motivates me to become a better designer. I have also appreciated having the opportunity to create levels for the world to enjoy, whilst being able to experience a new country, Sweden.
What does the future look like for Patience?
It looks amazing and full of promise. I aim to reach my goals of making Runner Beats successful, and to own a chain of VR arcade emporiums around the world. I want to inspire and build a team of creative geniuses along the way. I started my journey from my bedroom and I believe that my final destination will be out of this world.
How do you think Africans in the diaspora can contribute to the growth of the games industry in their home countries?
I believe passion and determination will contribute to the growth of the games industry in Africa. By using their passion and determination as fuel, Africans in the diaspora can create entertaining games that will inspire and spread awareness of African games within the industry. Furthermore, representation will motivate individuals from ethnic backgrounds to establish and excel in the profession as the industry is continuously evolving, and creatives need to continue to develop new skills and techniques to thrive in the industry.
They should also keep their social media platforms and contact details updated with relevant content and information.
What would you like to see more of in the games industry in Africa and in the world as a whole?
Seeing that the market is filled with similar games, I would like to see more innovation with complex or unique game mechanics in the commercial market.
Anything else you would like to tell us? A fun fact about yourself?
When I was in school I used to run around like Naruto and dress as a Gyaru girl.
Check out Patience’s website www.ashiokai.com for her portfolio and projects