Alessandro Capriolo, Game Programmer on Art & Creative Writing

What I love the most about Art & Creative Writing is being able to arouse curiosity in those who watch or read – for me, there is no greater satisfaction. Also, I think that it is important to create emotions by experimenting with new ideas, images, and sounds.

My name is Alessandro Capriolo, I am Italian, and I currently live in Stockholm. I am a Game Programmer at a well-known video game company. In the evening, I devote myself to developing my personal projects, which are also video games.

I’ve been playing video games since I was little – my first contact with games was when I was 5-years-old and my father took me to his office. There, I played my first game: The Secret of Monkey Island. After that, games became one of my main hobbies. It wasn’t until I was 20-years-old that I asked myself: what if my hobby could also be my job? So, I started to realize that it could be a real profession.

At the moment, I live in Sweden, but I’ve moved around a bit: The Netherlands, England, and (of course) Italy, where I was born. I’m from Rome, but I moved to Milan for a while for work. I’ve always moved for my job, to be able to work in the video game industry.

Outside of work, I love Art and Creative Writing. When I have a free hour after work, I start programming my personal projects – these are prototypes of video games, small projects that take an average of 3 months to finish. I am usually inspired by the latest games and movies I’ve played and watched.

I first became interested in Art & Writing when I wanted to become a Game Director (which is basically the equivalent of the director in the movies). I am convinced that to be a great director, you need to also have a solid foundation in art and creativity in general, such as the basics of storytelling or music theory. So, I started to study these things.

I have a lot of favourite artists and writers: there are classic writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, Dickens, Tolstoy, Asimov, and H.P. Lovecraft (whom I dedicated a game based on one of his short stories, The Cats of Ulthar). Some contemporary writers that I really like are Murakami and the Italian writer Valerio Massimo Manfredi. For classic artists, my absolute favorite is Caravaggio, and I have to mention the genius of Leonardo da Vinci. Finally, my favourite film artist is Stanley Kubrick.

Speaking about my art, I like to do classic hand drawing, with paper and pencil. I still play guitar sometimes (I used to play the piano, but I left it at home in Italy!), and I also like to write short stories for practice.

Since I don’t have a lot of free time, I try to focus on writing short stories, such as small thriller introductions, getting to the first plot point in a few lines. For practice, I like to start with unlikely characters and a key object and try to make an interesting story out of it. I also enjoy writing little reviews about the latest video games I’ve played and movies I’ve seen, which I then share on social media (such as Twitter).

In the future, I’d love to create a video game that is critically acclaimed thanks to what I was able to put into it, from the art direction to the story I wrote. I think that’s my biggest goal.

I don’t think my pastimes have directly benefited my technological career yet – my day job is usually very specific and related to other things that aren’t artistic, per se (like refining gameplay or controls). Instead, I can say that my personal projects, always video games, have a strong influence on what I learn from my hobbies. At the moment, I’m studying photography – concepts like composition and exposure are very helpful in solving problems when I build the environments in my games.

My advice to anyone interested in Art or Creative Writing is to start slowly, especially if you want to start writing. Read lots of books and watch lots of movies. If you are visiting new cities, definitely check out the churches and historical monuments, take time to see even the smallest details, and then read a guidebook or the web to learn more about it. You can find many videos on YouTube and books about art history; I would definitely start by analyzing the art of the past, to understand why and how we arrived at contemporary art.

There is always more than tech. We should all try to post our passions often on social media and forums – there are many people ready to share the same passions, and it gives a lot of incentive to keep practicing your passions.

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