Feels like the time to give Mastodon another try. I'm Rebecca a Writer/Narrative designer with almost 15 years dev experience. First in QA then Narrative.
Blog at http://www.gameswriting.coffee
Double Fine is hiring a Contract Concept Artist (6+ months)! Position is in SF, but being in the Bay Area is just a plus, not req'd. Unconventional art styles a Big Plus! https://jobs.workable.com/view/vxcVTNggHfGTYY153CnA38/environment-%26-character-concept-artist-(contract)-in-san-francisco-at-double-fine-productions
Currently reading "Writing for games theory and practice" by Hannah Ricklin. It's really good. It doesn't just dive into plot but talks about the realities of game writing and processes. Recommended to non narrative devs too as I think it explains the job wonderfully. So much of the job can be explaining what it is.
There's even a section recommending what functionality your tools need.
Honestly this talk changed my entire approach to narrative.
Just seen one of my favourite narrative design talks is now on medium.
A free game making tool and helpful community does way more to get people into games than a glitzy award show. Its great to nominate and celebrate people but the real heroes are the people who work on tools, tutorials and community management.
Tbh I did both. I had a long career in QA but hit a wall. Learned a lot from friendly devs but also took more crap than I needed.
Attending indie events, chatting with hobby, part time and full time devs taught me so much more. Just because someone's work isn't commercial doesn't mean they don't have insight to share.
The whole zine/micro indie/ itch scene has done so much to provide entry ways into gaming.
When we talk about getting started in gamedev, we often miss out "learning to talk dev". Understanding the way we look at and talk about games from a dev perspective. QA is the classicly route that often led to it being looked at as a stepping stone rather than its own discipline. You're also going to get more experience at a well run dev than a temp publisher job where you'll never see a dev.
Now if you attend indie game events, engage in dev communities you're just as likely to pick it up.