Junior Developer Nathan Wentworth knew from a young age that he had a deeper interest in games than simply playing them. From playing educational interactives on his dad’s computer and platformers on his PlayStation as a child to teaching himself code in college and designing digital media with his friends outside of classes, Nathan found a way to incorporate his interests into his personal and professional lives.
“I've been playing games since I was six—Zoombinis was one of my favorites when I was a kid, yet another reason I was drawn to FableVision—and I’ve wanted to make them since elementary school,” says Nathan. “So when the time came, I decided to go to college for Game Design. I ended up taking classes in everything from programming to 3D art to writing, which allowed me to really find my love of programming.”
Nathan developed his passion over time, transforming it first from a childhood pastime to his academic focus, and then to a rewarding career path, which brought him to FableVision! In his role as Junior Developer, Nathan serves as the developer on various studio projects, including games and websites. He works with artists, animators, writers, and producers to ensure a polished final product. Let’s jump in and find out more about how Nathan approaches game design, the differences between working full-time and freelancing at FableVision, and his fashion do’s and don’ts!
First off, welcome to FableVision! Tell us about your journey here.
I initially heard about FableVision from my friend Ethan Thibault, a former marketing intern here. He often spoke about how much he loved FableVision. So when one of my professors sent me a job listing for a freelance developer position at FableVision, I knew I had to apply. After a few interviews, I was put on a small two-week project, and I've been on projects ever since! After freelancing for a year and working on three pretty different projects, I was hired full-time as a junior developer.
You just graduated from Fitchburg State. Congrats! What did you study in school?
My college experience was a little unconventional! I originally planned to major in computer science and photography, but when I went on Fitchburg State's website, I saw an article about their new Game Design major, which I instantly knew I wanted to do. What I didn't entirely realize was how new this major was. My first day of class was the first day of the major even existing, so I saw it go through a lot of changes in those four years. The first year or so, I was heavily into 3D art, and I sort of fell into programming by circumstance. I spent a lot of time outside of classes working on my game projects, and I ended up teaching myself a lot about Unity and programming in my free time. This meant that for every group project I just so happened to know the most about programming, meaning I became the dedicated programmer. I certainly didn't mind this by the end, and I did everything I could to help encourage others in my major to code as well.
What is your favorite game, and how has it influenced your own approach to game design?
This is a very hard thing to choose! My favorite game would probably be Fez by Polytron. Fez embodies a lot of what I love about video games: it's a nice place to be in, full of mystery and puzzles, and has a wonderful, all-encompassing aesthetic. While I haven't made very many things like it, it's helped drive me to always make things with vibrant color palettes, no violence, and tight interactions. I'm often inspired by the Arcane Kids mantra of "the purpose of gameplay is to hide secrets," which Fez embodies. Other hugely influential games for me have been Katamari Damacy, Noby Noby Boy, and NieR.
You’ve had experience working with FableVision in the past—how does working in the studio compare to freelancing?
I've jokingly described my time freelancing for FableVision as "the world's longest programming test," since once I started freelancing here, I never stopped! Once one project ended, I was immediately given another, so it was essentially a full-time job to begin with. Working in the studio as a staff member is wonderful, though. Getting to work with so many incredible people every day is a joy. It's rare that someone gets to say that they love going into work every day, but I sure do. Getting to participate in events and feel more connected to the culture is wonderful too. While working as a freelancer, I worked from home every day, which was nice since there was no commute, but I missed interacting with people.
We heard you’re into fashion! Can you describe your style?
My personal style is ever-changing. These days, however, I’d say it lands closest to streetwear, though I certainly do enjoy a menswear outfit from time to time. A lot of my fashion interests are aspirational, simply due to how expensive a lot of the things I want are (I don’t see myself getting an Acronym jacket any time soon). Yet, part of this is also due to me caring a lot more about sustainability in fashion these days. I try to care about where/how things are made, who’s making them, etc. This can be tough as a lot of companies don’t make it transparent, but it’s still something I focus on. I also really want to get into making my own stuff, starting with a new bag (inspired by Jon Kyle’s Monopack). I am also forever inspired by my friend and style-icon John Hill, who consistently wears the best outfits I’ve ever seen.
You’re also into photography. What are your favorite types of scenes to capture, and what inspires you?
I was interested in photography when I was pretty young, but I started getting really into it in high school. I bought my own camera (first a compact Olympus DSLR, then a Canon T2i, and now a Fujifilm X100F) and would bring it with me everywhere, always trying to capture the little details that catch my eye. I love the intersection between creativity and documentary. I love shooting events and people (more candid than portraiture), and I'm also drawn to anything with strong lines, heavy contrast, and "geometry." I also enjoy the process of editing photos. I rarely do any heavy photo manipulation, but tweaking colors/levels/etc. to get the photo to look just right is very satisfying.
Tell us something we don’t know about you.
I absolutely love experimental/underground electronic dance music and nightcore! Internet labels like PC Music and SoundCloud DJs like Non Stop Pop have massively influenced my music taste and who I am as a person. They got me to stop caring about how others perceive my music taste, and they helped me to rid myself of the idea of “guilty pleasures.” Also, while some people need quiet or ambient music to work, I need high-energy. So whenever I have a lot of tasks to get done, I just put on a favorite mix and immerse myself in my work. I go to live shows and DJ sets as much as I can. I’ve even traveled to New York City to see Virtual Self and JACK NY, which was my favorite show I’ve ever been to. The energy of the music and crowd is one of my favorite things, and I can’t wait for whatever the next show is.
More about Nathan:
Favorite television show: Ping Pong: The Animation
Worst fashion choice you ever made: American Apparel v-necks
Go-to karaoke song: “Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance
Favorite cartoon character: Yuuko from Nichijou
Spring or Fall: Spring
Cats or dogs: Cats
Something you couldn’t go a day without: Twitter
Staple item for your closet: Black skinny jeans