****** Disclaimer ******
I want to state now the advise I offer is not the only way into the industry, this is just how I have done it. I hope this brings forth other people to tell their stories on how they broke into the industry so everyone can gain a better understanding. Because it is how I got in I will talk a lot about myself (I am not self obsessed just saying my views). I have just over 2 years of experience working in the game industry, from mobile games, indie games to triple A but I do not know everything so please correct me if you feel I was wrong but my word is not law there are many ways to do it this is just how I did it.
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Where to begin …hhmmm…. I will begin with universities as I know a few people wonder if they should go or not, me personally I would recommend going and the main reason why is now a lot of companies when reviewing applicants won’t look at you unless you have a degree. It is now becoming standard for you to have a degree. Like I said most not all as some companies are more impressed with self learning. Yet I would recommend going to uni as the courses are improving each year with industry vets coming into teach. This will also allow you to meet new people on your course and industry which will provide you with great opportunities to grow.
Choosing a university, is a tough one I know I spent ages looking around and viewing universities. I would recommend using magazines or sites like Edge, Industry Biz, and others to show you their recommend choices, then go to the open day. You need to find the right fit for you! When I was looking around the top 3 were Abertay, Teesside, and Bournemouth, yet when I visited the open days I instantly knew which was right for me so make sure you know. The credentials help but make sure it’s a match made in game heave for you and the university.
Uni’s will allow you to try out art, animation, design etc before you make your final decision which I think is priceless as you get a much better understanding of what one another does. This just makes you realise how important as well everyone is when it comes to making games. Really appreciate this opportunity and take it all in as it shows you just how much hard work goes into making games. With indie and mobile games you tend to do more than one thing anyway so take it in.
Once you know which path your set on go an get it! You say you want to work in this industry then stop saying it and start showing it!. Student’s portfolios all look very similar due to everyone doing a very similar brief so you need to make your’s stand out.
“How do I do that?” Said the reader
Well what worked for me was personal projects, games/levels I created in my spare time, these showed my passion as well as my willing to teach myself. A little story just to show you how it benefited me. I was in my second year looking for placements I had sent out hundreds of emails re-designed my portfolio a 100 times but nothing. It was the end of the Christmas term, the SU was hosting the festive fling (a big boozing event) and a lot of my friends were off accept my best mate Steve who needed to work on an essay. I really wasn’t to fussed on going if Steve wasn’t so I decided that I would work through that whole day and create another level for my portfolio. Later in the year I meet the great people from FOG Media (Shout out to a great bunch of people) who took me on for a placement year. It was about my second month in and they told me that the work that got me the job was the level I did when I was sat at home with Steve instead of partying at my festive fling, ( I am not saying give up your personal life and just work, just work a little harder than the course says, a few extra hours here and there will pay off).
Ask for feedback and help, you will always want to improve and the best way to do so is to receive feedback. Ask people on your course and don’t be afraid to get feedback this is how you grow so “Fail Faster”. Speak to tutors they are their to help and want to see you improve and succeed.
I have briefly talked about finding a uni, if you should go to uni and how to stand out from the others. I have skimmed over a few topics in this post I just wanted to get a foundation laid out before I continued with this mini-series. I may come back to certain points and expand on them. I hope this helps I will be putting out another very soon. If you have any questions or feedback/what you want to know more about please tweet me @MaxPears
Thanks and lets continue.