Chris Miles is better known to the dot big bang Discord community as DMM or DigitalMonkeyMaster. He became an Associate Community Manager last year, and has been brightening up the dbb Discord ever since. We caught up with him to find out what the job entails, and what makes for a safe, happy and thriving online community.
Hi Chris! Could you describe what you do at dot big bang?
I’m an Associate Community Manager, which means acting as a bridge between the community and the rest of the development team. I read through all the comments and feedback we get, and make sure that people’s needs are heard by the rest of the dev team.
One of my main goals is to create as much fun as possible in the community, through organising activities and events, and striking up conversations on Discord. I also gather information to help people with any issues they’re having, and make sure that the community is a safe, healthy, welcoming and positive place to be. Working with the community is one of my favourite things in life!
What did you do before you worked on dot big bang?
Honestly not a lot. I struggled with physical and mental health issues for the better part of ten years, then thankfully discovered game development along the way and started to develop my skills. I created lots of cool characters, wonderful worlds and interesting stories, and it helped me through the toughest of times.
When I had worked through those problems, I went to university to learn from industry professionals, and was blown away by just how much I’d learned on my own. However, due to the pandemic, I didn’t feel safe travelling to university, so I had to stop going – which meant plenty of time to start making things and using what I’d learned!
How did you end up working on dot big bang?
I found dot big bang just after I’d left university, through the collaboration with Day9TV in 2020. I saw the huge potential in dbb and started working with the tools to make things, which was super fun. I had a great time chatting with the dev team and community members, and I felt like I’d found a set of like-minded people who valued my talents and efforts.
Joining the Discord and getting involved there made me so happy, and I knew that this was my community, and that I belonged here. I wanted to get more involved, so asked Bobbyd (dot big bang’s CEO – ed) if there was anything more I could do to help out, and he made me a community moderator.
I really wanted to create something memorable for the community, so I worked with the dev team to organise the first Live Creation Session, which went great! When the Community Manager position opened up, I knew I had to go for it – and I’ve enjoyed being a part of the dot big bang team ever since.
What’s something you’ve learned working here?
I’ve always been someone who works between 8-16 hours straight working on a project. Something very important I’ve learned whilst working here is how important self care is.
I’m constantly being told to take it easy by my boss and HR, “have a lay down for an hour if you’re not feeling too good”, and it’s a strange feeling taking care of yourself.
I’ve often preached self care to others, and recently I’ve been helping a community member with this, but it’s only been this last year where I’ve really understood the importance of it. You can’t help someone if you’re not in a good mental or physical place. You have to look after your own needs too.
What’s something interesting that you’re working on at the moment?
What do you enjoy about working with the dbb community?
There are so many personal highlights about working with the dbb community, it’s difficult to highlight just a few! Not many of you will know this but I live with aspergers, which affects everyone differently. For me it affects my social skills and the speed I’m able to understand and learn new skills. Having a community of like minded people to interact with has really helped develop my social skills and afforded me the opportunity to connect with people from all walks of life.
Being able to provide help and support to the community, at different stages in their game development journey, is truly a privilege. I get great enjoyment from challenging the community to make voxel objects in our weekly art challenge, and it’s amazing to see their creative skill grow and develop. I also have lots of fun with the community through the daily playtests.
What are some community-made games, environments or objects that caught your eye recently, and why?
I see all kinds of really cool games and voxel objects and so each week I do two main things. Every Monday I curate the featured section on the front of dot big bang, and on Fridays, I post a cool object or profile an up and coming creator. So I share the cool things I see with as many people as possible through those channels.
Do you have a piece of advice for someone looking to work in your field of video games?
This is my first community management role and so I dare say this isn’t the greatest advice but it’s the path I took. My advice is to find a community that’s your online home and safe space. Try to help others feel the same way, and lead by example. When an opportunity arises to step up and be a community leader, take it. You will have so much fun and learn an incredible amount about yourself and others.
Do you have a closing message, for the people?
This community means everything to some people, so spread joy, and be supportive. We’re all here because we love games, whether playing them or making them. Do something amazing today, and always be kind!