Playing the computer arts game

Andrew Macdonald, 22, is starting the third year of his computer arts course at the University of Abertay Dundee, having spent a year at Disney

Abertay is accredited by the computer games industry - there was an e-mail sent around asking for the portfolios of anyone who wanted to do a placement at Disney, and I applied. When I found out I had been successful I moved down to London for a year, which was a totally different experience and opened my eyes as to how the industry works - for example, the games I was working on will take around four years to reach the shelf! I made a lot of contacts and they will be useful when I graduate from university. Everyone was very encouraging and that's the wonderful thing about this industry - everyone is very positive because it's based on fun.



The course I'm doing has modules that cover all aspects of the industry, such as the foundations of what makes a good story and characters for a computer game. I don't do any programming in my course but there are other modules that do. We can produce complete computer games here because we have got all the skills necessary coming from each different module; you get to see both sides of the process and learn to communicate, with all the different departments and students working together.

Throughout the year we are asked to produce sketch books, where we record all our ideas and thoughts. We are also given end-of-year projects to work towards, such as an audio project or a student film. We then have to present them in front of our classmates and lecturers, when the presentation skills and product are both assessed. There is lots of group work involved and the team dynamic is really important.

In the second year you are given your first taste of working with students from other modules. There is a games production management group at the university and we work with them as well as programmers to produce a short game. That was put forward for the student Baftas for video games, which is a good opportunity for students to get recognition in the industry. In the third year we will be trained up to have the skills that allow you to focus on the personal project we will do in the fourth year. At the end of the four years we will have all the skills we need for the workplace - personally, I would love to get into concept art.

The Dare to be Digital competition is stationed at Abertay, which provides a direct link to the industry and encouragement to continue within it. Abertay has also invested a lot of money in refurbishment and there is a big open-plan room called the White Room, which houses university departments as well as external organisations. Everybody can contact each other easily, so it makes communicating between modules and departments really fast, and it's somewhere you can work really well.

Hopefully we are going to see a rise in production in this country, though currently there are a lot of employees going over to the United States to work. That can work in favour of the UK mind you, because people get some experience over there and then come back here to work and start up their own companies.

I would like to get into the American on Canadian industry, or perhaps work for the UK-based studio Lionhead studio, who have a new game coming out called Fable 2 that represents just the type of work that I love. I know I have to just produce a good portfolio - hopefully they will appreciate it!

To find out more about the Dare to be Digital competition visit www.daretobedigital.com

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

KS1 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking KS...

C# R&D .NET Developer (Algorithms, WCF, WPF, Agile, ASP.NET)

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: C# R&D .NET Developer (Algori...

Year 3 Teacher needed- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: Look no further; this is the ...

Primary NQT Teachers

£95 - £105 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: Opportunities for NQTs for the...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices