Training Students to be Major Players in the Computer Games Industry
With an estimated turnover of over £2.2 billion, the UK computer games industry is crying out for people with the essential skills to become the major players who will shape the future of interactive leisure.
Students at the University of Wales, Newport have been gaining an insight into how the industry works from the developers and designers who are creating some of today's top-selling games.
"The University is constantly forging close links with top companies in the computer games industry to ensure that the training we give our students is relevant, totally up to date and credible," said Dr Mike Reddy, senior lecturer in Computer Games Development.
"Recently we played host to the Microsoft Inspire Tour and our students were given a fascinating talk by Nick Burton, a senior software engineer for Rare, a company which over the past two decades has grown into a huge creative force behind today's consoles and become a household name to games players worldwide.
"Events like this are essential in showing our students exactly what it's like to work in the industry from the perspective of software development. They also learn about the unique challenges, rewards and the level of technical expertise required.
"In an industry which has been transformed from humble beginnings in programmers' back bedrooms into a multi-billion dollar business I feel it's essential we focus on industry links in order to offer our students the kind of training and resources the games market is crying out for."
Graduates who have made their mark in the games industry also visit the University to share their experiences and give invaluable advice to students.
"We were pleased to welcome Nick Rodgers, who graduated from the Animation degree course two years ago, and is now working as an artist for leading UK games developer Blitz Games, who make a wide variety of titles ranging from military simulation to children's educational games," said Dr Reddy.
"The University is very pro-active at making links with companies like Blitz which has tripled in staff over the last two years and now employs over 200 people in all areas of games design and development."
Nick talked to computer games development students at a fund-raising games tournament organised by the students' games society.
"It's been great returning to Newport and giving something back, by talking to students and telling them about what happens in the real world when they leave university," said Nick, who worked on two of Blitz's most successful games, SpongeBob SquarePants and Bratz.
"I learned a lot of valuable skills studying at Newport, but found out that animation for films is totally different from animating characters for computer games. It's important for universities to give students the right expectations about working in the computer games industry where it's essential that graduates are creative, committed, and have strong teamwork and communication skills.
"The career opportunities are enormous because computer games are a multimillion pound industry that is constantly growing."
One student who found chatting to Nick very useful was 20-year-old Catherine Woolley who is in the second year of the Newport School of Art Media & Design's Computer Games Design degree and whose ambition is to work on the development side of games, creating characters and animation.
"My goal is to see my name on the credits for a best-selling game," said Catherine who believes creative design, characters and a strong story-line are essential elements of good computer games.
"Many people have a stereotypical view of the games industry. It's a very male-dominated industry and that gives me an edge because companies are seeking to recruit more women. I'm enjoying this course - it's vocational and all our projects are group-based to prepare us for working in the computer games industry."
Dr Mike Reddy chats to Animation graduate Nick Rodgers who is now working as an artist for leading UK games developer Blitz Games
Nick Rodgers of Blitz Games talks to student Catherine Woolley about her ambition to creating characters and animation for computer games
For further information contact:
Press & Communications Officer
University of Wales, Newport
Caerleon Campus, PO Box 179
Newport, South Wales
Tel: 01633 432822
Mobile: 07821 028668