by Anvit Srivastav
Anvit, a Computer Science Masters student at UTD (Class of 2015), was primarily focused on studying network security. He already had web development skills and thought that a concentration in network security would be beneficial for his future plans. Surprisingly, the way Anvit ended up working in the lab and meeting Roger wasn’t directly related to his studies at all.
During the spring 2014 semester, [I decided to take up] a sound design course that was being taught by Professor Scot Gresham-Lancaster… After the course ended, Scot informed me about a position that was opening up in the ArtSci Lab for a computer science student. The lab… was developing a web based sonification platform for fMRI data, and since I was familiar with web development and sound design, he thought I might be a good fit for it. I … [applied] and started working in the lab… [after I was hired]. Very soon after I’d joined the lab, Roger told me about Creative Disturbance and I ended up deciding to work on both of the projects in parallel.
The idea to create a video game resume dawned on Anvit sometime after he had finally succeeded securing a summer internship. It was a difficult and time consuming process, and during the process, he realized that it’s difficult to stand out in the tech world among other students who all have similar credentials and skills.
Anvit is a video game fanatic and has developed a few video games (mostly during the annual Game Jams in ATEC, which is a competition to successfully build a video game over a weekend) and it turns out that his interest in developing games wasn’t very common in UTD. There weren’t many CS students who were interested in learning game development and fewer who would spend time learning tools and languages used for these on their own time on top of all the assignments given for regular classwork.
Because of his love for developing video games and his desire to stand out in the tech world, Anvit concluded that a CV as a video game would allow him to stand out to potential employers by showing his creative side and his ability to pick up new languages and skills on his own.
He started searching on the web if there were other people who had developed video game resumes/CVs but only found a couple of results, and even those only resembled video game in the art style but they didn’t offer the level of interactivity expected from a game. Furthermore, Anvit couldn’t find a single resume/CV that resembled an RPG (He soon realized that this was because RPGs are inherently more complex compared to simple side scrollers). Since he had grown up playing games from the Final Fantasy series, Chrono Trigger, the Mana series, and Pokemon, Anvit wanted to create something that resembled the games from that era. He saw the development of his CV as a video game as a personal challenge and started working on it.
It was a challenging process because Anvit had to build a lot of basic systems from scratch (things like a conversation engine, and a menu system). He had made it a little harder on himself by deciding to work on art assets, the sound effects, and a background music theme himself. It took him about two months of hard work and dedication to complete it.
I started including it in my resume and [mentioning]… it in my cover letter hoping that my future employers would see it. Initially I was worried that people might overlook it and never visit the site, but I started getting a few calls where [employers] would tell me that they were really impressed by it and wanted to call me for an interview. Eventually, I ended up getting my first offer from The MathWorks, and during one of my interview rounds there, one of my interviewers discussed my video game CV and how it works as a part of the interview. So overall, I felt that all that work finally did pay off.