INSiGHT: Breaking into the Videogame Industry - Videogaming Courses

By Neil Flynn 12.03.2020 2

INSiGHT: Breaking into the Videogame Industry - Videogaming Courses on Nintendo gaming news, videos and discussion
​The video games industry is now worth over £100bn globally, and close to £4bn in the UK market. These are impressive numbers, especially for such a young industry that has often had negative connotations associated with it in the mainstream media. However, in the UK, the approximate figure of £4bn has now eclipsed that of both the home music and film industries combined, which stood at £3.6bn in 2018.  Therefore, is it any wonder that the demand for game developers and experts is at a high point? What does this mean for the UK market, and is there a chance for new and upcoming talent to break into the very competitive landscape of such an industry?

The UK games market is expanding exponentially year on year, from studios not only recruiting in the more well-known gaming hubs of London and Leamington Spa, but to smaller based publishers and development teams recruiting throughout the country.  Video games have a deep-rooted history in the UK, from small teams in Cambridge creating classics on systems such as the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 or the BBC Micro. Over 40 years later, and the medium of video games still has the same ethos of creativity, fun, and a natural inclination to tell a story.
 
The stigma of youngsters and teens locking themselves in their rooms for long gaming sessions haven't gone away, but during this time frame the market has diversified in areas such as age, gender and accessibility. This wide spectrum of gamers each bring with them a fresh take on old ideas, innovative concepts, and brand-new mechanics, all of which is pivotal to the medium's future.
 
Now, more so than ever, there's a wide range of courses that can help passionate people live out their dream to become game developers. One such place that offers this is the National Film and Television School (NFTS) games department, which runs a two-year MA course in Beaconsfield that teaches prospective students everything they need to know to make a high-quality game through collaboration and practical knowledge. Game students at NFTS are able to work closely with students from other courses including composers and sound designers to marketing and distribution students, thus giving students a full repertoire on not just knowing how to make a game, but also on how to distribute them.

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Better yet the school actively encourages students from a wide range of backgrounds, even if they haven't necessarily had gaming or programming experience. Alan Thorn, the Head of Department for Games Design and Development at NFTS recently stated to Cubed3 writer Neil Flynn:
 
"The NFTS MA course in Game Design and Development helps people transform their lives, opening exciting opportunities in the games industry." Thorn also added that "It's exactly what I'd have wanted when I started my game development career."
 
Cubed3's Neil Flynn recently attended the National Film and Television Studies' Graduation Showcase. This is where new graduates are able to demo their personally developed titles that they have been working on. Jack Brooksby, a Junior Games Designer and recent graduate from the NFTS stated:
 
"Simply put, I would not be where I am now without my time on the Games Design Course at the NFTS. I know, from personal experience, how hard it is to get into the industry, and how important it is to stand out. The course itself provided me the tools and constant motivation to do this, learning not just Unity as an engine, code, 3D modelling and design, but also scope, soft skills and most importantly, it gave me a direction."​

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Jack had been trying for years to find a slot to fit in within the games industry and fell in love with games design:
 
"I have a clear career plan and goals to aim towards. I have met many people at the NFTS, both from industry and within the NFTS itself and this has put me in a great position, collaboration and networking wise. It has also given me confidence in my ability with games development, and allows me to have less of an imposter syndrome with my peers."
 
Jack was demoing his final year project, a game titled Cobot, which revolves around a cooperative multiplayer puzzle platformer that requires teamwork to progress. Cobot is visually stylish, and features a fun local cooperative experience that emanates Jack's experience of the two years he spent at NFTS. It wasn't just the gravity of the course that impressed Jack though, in fact he also places a huge amount of importance on the team at NFTS.
 
"I can't stress enough how fantastic all the tutors are on the course, in particular Alan, who has given me endless support and direction over the last two years and has inspired me to move forward with UKIE to become a mentor to other people, who like myself previously, have a desire to work in an industry they love."
 
Jack has found his feet in the gaming industry, even before he graduated, successfully working as a Junior Games Designer for a gaming studio.

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If all of this sounds interesting then it is worth reaching out to the NFTS to find out more information. The next course intake is in January 2021, but applications close on 9th July 2020. Alan Thorn, the Head of Department for Games Design and Development, stresses the importance of the value of the course by saying the following:
 
"Our curriculum, tutors, industry connections, and our creative environment compresses, at least a decade worth of combined knowledge into only two years. This makes our course a fast-track for learning a broad range of game skills, including coding, art, design, production, business and more. "
 
Remember that students have come from a diverse range of backgrounds, experience, and walks of life, but they have all displayed a passion, excitement and aptitude towards learning new skills and about games. To find out more information go to the NFTS Games Design and development web page , or alternatively contact info@nfts.co.uk
Link: https://nfts.co.uk/games-design-and-development
 
To experience some of the latest independent video games and student projects then, it is worth checking out EGX and EGX Rezzed events in the UK. Second year students from the NFTS regularly exhibit their projects on the show floor, and a large number of small studios also display their quirky projects in The Leftfield Collection.

 

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Sounds pretty nifty! I love things like this.

Another good starting point for budding developers is Fuze 4 on switch which let's you create switch games using the system itself!

The UK games industry is most definitely thriving so now is the time to get involved if you are looking to create and develop games! That's for sure!

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