Computer Games Technology student James blogs about creating a 'vertical slice' - a small part of a game - for a live brief set by a local games company.
Over the course of a three-year degree, students take many modules to learn many different things. For some students we pick our degree and university based on particular modules that excite us or that we know are going to help us in our chosen career.
My favourite module so far as a Computer Games Technology student has been a module from my second year, called Game Design & Development, or GDD for short.
In this project, we were tasked with creating a Vertical Slice (a small part of a game, such as a single level), in line with a brief given to us by a local games company.
A chance to collaborate
In this project, we worked with our counterparts on the Computer Games Art course. It’s really exciting to collaborate but it also means we don’t have to focus on the artwork in the game, giving us time to focus on the design aspects and letting them do what they’re best at. It helps take the stress off of us and we still get fantastic looking art to be used in our game. This is also how it will be in the real world, so it was great to hone our collaboration skills.
This module is my favourite for several reasons, the main one of which being that the Assignment Brief was set by members of industry, who would also be coming in at the end to examine what we had done and give their professional opinions. I found this really exciting, as it meant I could make some contacts in the industry and speak to people who had being doing this for years. Getting their advice was incredibly helpful.
Another reason it was such a great module, is that I got to work in a fairly large team. With a group of two programmers and three artists, I felt I could really do what I do best and focus on getting my parts done as opposed to finishing a whole game by myself.
Bringing ideas to life
Finally, I loved this module because I got to work with professional artists and see the game we were making, really brought to life by amazing artwork and creatures. The creature that these artists made for the project was genuinely terrifying to see, and more than once caught me off guard while testing the game.
It was a really refreshing experience to work with all these different people, and see a game we made and to such a high standard with amazing artwork. To then have that work looked over by professionals and hear their compliments, makes this module my favourite. I really feel this module sets us up for what it’s like to work in the industry, while helping us gain important skills and connections.
At ARU, James is part of the School of Creative Industries in Cambridge, where we include live briefs and real-world experience as a part of all our undergraduate degrees.
Find out more about these opportunities, and studying at ARU, at one of our Open Days.