Monday, October 7, 2013

Alumni Spotlight: Tom Sweo, Tech/Game Writer

Tom Sweo writes, "Since graduating in May of 2012, I've been working two jobs. The first is a full-time job with the 3E Company in Canton, Ohio, doing technical support and quality assurance. Recently I've been doing technical writing as part of a team overhauling the training manuals that we send out to clients around the world working to standardize Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for their specific needs and country regulations. These sheets cover important safety and environmental information that is often required by national and international government organizations, such as OSHA or the EPA in the United States.  My courses in grammar and usage and my work experience in tech support for Ashland University were good preparation for this position.

My second job involves tele-commuting with On the Lamb Games in Palm Coast, Florida. I connected with this game company while on vacation in Orlando last summer and have been writing rules (crunch) and fictional stories (fluff) for their games since September. "Crunch," or the game rules, gives the game substance. "Fluff" is the historical background to the game-- the game universe.  On the Lamb's first major release since I joined is coming up in two weeks, when we release a grid-based (like a chess board) tactical game called Endless: Fantasy Tactics. The other release we're working on is a historical parody game called Brushfire, which mimics Earth's history up until the late 19th century but features animals instead of humans (similar to the Redwall series by late author Brian Jacques).  The creative writing and literature classes I took at Ashland have helped me work with Matthew Whitehouse, our lead writer, to create short stories in the style of mid-nineteenth century authors.  Another part of my job with On the Lamb is traveling to nearby gaming trade shows and teaching people our games; my teaching and presentation experience from my ILA work comes in handy here."

While the language arts skills Tom got from his classes have been important to his success, he notes that his extracurriculars and outside interests at Ashland were helpful too.  In addition to his work experience with Ashland's IT support, he learned of the job at 3E through his brothers in the TKE fraternity.  His work with On the Lamb allows him to follow his long-held passion for creative writing and gaming.