In the Loop
General News : Oct 4, 2016

Video-game entrepreneur speaks to UF Digital Worlds students

By Ansley Pentz

Mirko Topalski has been playing video games since he was 5 years old.

On Sept. 27, he shared his long-time passions for gaming and entrepreneurship with UF students during a guest lecture in Digital Worlds’ Polymodal Immersive Classroom Theater (PICT) — a high-tech, five-screen digital media facility.  The talk was also streamed on Facebook Live.

Topalski, the 34-year-old who co-founded Eipix Entertainment, walked students through the video-game development process, starting with deciding what they want to produce and concluding with what students should do when the game is made.

Throughout the lecture, he told students to keep working.  Even if they don’t have a job yet, Topalski said students should practice their skills on their own projects and build their portfolios.

“Just work,” he repeated.

To make it easy to market themselves, Topalski advised students to be ninjas and keep their minds sharp.

"Ninjas are the people who can do whatever,” he said.

Showcasing one’s work creatively can also help students get ahead, Topalski said.  For example, a job candidate who brings a hard-copy portfolio, rather than just an online version, to an interview may make a memorable impression.

Topalski said that as students move through the production process, they should know when to stop working on a project.  At some point, an artist has to decide that their work is ready.

“I do consider games an art form,” he said.

After the presentation, Topalski fielded student questions.  This was his first lecture in America, and he said he was happy students were eager to ask a lot of questions. Topalski, who is from Serbia, came to Gainesville to give the talk while he was traveling and doing business in the States.

Looking forward, Topalski said it’s hard to predict what new technologies will become popular.  If someone were to present today’s technologies a couple decades ago, he said they’d seem like magic.

"Whatever we think the future is going to be, it's going to be crazier,” Topalski said.

Helpful tips from Mirko Topalski:

  • Always conduct research for your video-game idea.
  • Connect with investors you can trust.
  • Train yourself to be creative.
  • Discipline can help you overcome a creativity block.
  • Good game writers are rare. When you’re meeting a potential employer, bring readable concepts and go for it.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but don’t keep repeating them.