Games development is close to Warwickshire’s heart, thanks to the studios that have established themselves in the Leamington Spa area.
What separates Warwickshire College’s games course from others is the contact time students receive, course leader for Foundation Degree Games Arts Mike Acosta tells Develop: “Being a higher education course, our highly selective recruitment process enables our students to receive a more intensive, one on one learning experience at the college.
“As tutors, we are also afforded more contact time with each student than a traditional university environment. We offer a learning experience that complements the latest in industry software with a core art foundation skill set.”
Acosta adds that the course also benefits from being located within a hotspot for games development. There are a dozen or more studios within close proximity to what some now call ‘Silicon Spa’. All course modules themselves are designed with advice from the industry, which Acosta believes makes the course “fully industry specific”.
In some cases, briefs are designed by particular games studios such as the 3D modelling component advised by Blitz Games Studios or the concept art brief set up with Kwalee.
Warwickshire has secured relationships with seven different games studios that have each offered significant areas of assistance in designing and developing the course.
Acosta explains that three studios in particular have acted as mentors to both students and staff by presenting talks, which they were happy to accommodate on campus. Codemasters has also provided work experience to students, allowing them valuable first-hand knowledge of development.
As for equipment, the studio is equipped with high-spec PCs, each with dual screens and graphics tablets. And industry standard software such as 3ds Max, Maya, Mudbox, Unity, Photoshop and Marmoset are all used in production. iMacs and iPads are also used in the studio to develop content for iOS.
Students who have completed the level three component of the course have secured work with both Blitz Games and Codemasters. Acosta says this has set a challenging benchmark for its level four students to meet.
For the future, Acosta endeavours for his course to remain a pathway into games development for the best students in the country.
“The selective nature of our recruitment process will continue to attract the very top calibre of students across the country, with a focus on an increase in work quality as opposed to student numbers,” he says.
“We are also looking to build on the relationships we already have with games studios while attracting even further attention from both local and national organisations. Our aim is to be seen as a centre of excellence across the industry, using our status and location to raise interest from the world’s most respected gaming representatives.”