Students standing out from others by use of Unity software in gaming industry
By Rory MacDonald-Gauthier
Third-year game development students showcased their creations to an array of video game producers at the Montreal International Gaming Summit earlier this month.
The event, known as MIGS, was a two-day developers conference held at the Palais des Congrès de Montreal that allowed attendees to network with those in the gaming industry, view upcoming games, and sit in on sessions held by speakers in the gaming industry. In this year’s festival, Algonquin debuted their 10×10 trade show booth where they displayed four games that game development professors deemed worthy.
Whitewood, Project Full Throttle, Ascension and Subterfuge were the four games chosen, which all began pre-production during last year’s winter semester.
“The idea there was to build awareness in the game development industry in Canada, that Algonquin is here, and we’re producing high quality game development students who are basically, when they graduate, ready to enter the work force,” said David McCue, a professor of the game development program.
As this was the first time Algonquin was officially involved with MIGS, the students came to show their full support regardless of their games being chosen or not.
“I think by far this is the biggest student turn out as well. The three bus loads of students, roughly 100 of them, was organized by themselves with some help from the student’s association,” added Jodie Tilley, program coordinator of the game development program.
With the likes of gaming moguls Square Enix, Ubisoft and Warner Bros. present at the summit, students had to exhibit qualities that would make them stand out over others – whether that was based off the genre of game or the drive to attention to detail and work ethic.
Dushan Horvat, another program coordinator, felt that the program’s intensified focus on the game engine software titled “Unity” was a key factor in standing out from others. This was made quite apparent when a team not affiliated with Algonquin had to drop out of a game developing competition due to lack of knowledge in 3D elements, in which Unity focuses heavily on.
“Our decision of bringing in Unity to this program has paid dividends. This conference showcased that. Unity was everywhere, everyone was using it and the competition showcased Unity,” said Horvat.
“Rapid prototyping using Unity – it’s what the industry is all about,” added McCue. “We understand where the market’s going and we heard that from people who came to our booth and visited. We’re definitely on track to what employers want and what employers need.”
Overall the program’s trip to MIGS was a learning experience for students and to show them that a job in the industry is within reach. While yes, it is exciting and rewarding to promote their projects at these shows, there are many hours of work to be put in before this can be achieved.
“It’s a very competitive and fun industry to be in,” said McCue. “It’s a lot of hard work, a lot of long hours and deadlines are very, very important.”
“Being there it makes them see that some of these companies that they’ve grown up and seen – they’re actually within reach,” added Tilley. They’re in Montreal, where they’ve had conversations with some of these people who have seen their work. They can actually graduate here and find their dream job.
The students will continue to work on their projects until the end of the 2014 winter semester. Upon completion, they’ll submit them to Level Up, a gaming showcase held in Toronto on April 3. that is influenced by students in media and design programs in Ontario.