Lewis Williams – Music Technology
Lewis Williams is a Technical Audio Designer at video game developer Splash Damage, known for its multiplayer first-person shooters, including several Gears of War titles, Halo: The Master Chief Collection and more. As an Audio Designer, Lewis sources, records and develops the sounds and dialogue needed for the project he is working on. This can range from background sound effects to a race car engine at full throttle.
The Music Technology graduate knew he wanted to get into the games industry after his first year at Staffordshire University and has since worked for several award-winning studios. The University’s partnerships within the games industry as well as the high-quality music technology course gave Lewis the perfect mix to turn his passion into a career.
He said: “The University has a big link to the games industry, including accreditation from games industry body TIGA and working with the Unreal games engine. That was a big attraction for me, alongside the music technology course not solely being focussed on music, giving me the freedom to explore the process and technical aspects that were important to me.”
Games Industry Internship
Lewis started his degree in 2012, having studied music technology at college, back home in Eastbourne. He said: “I started to realise I specifically wanted to do sound design towards the end of my first year at University. I was able to focus on that element due to how the course was structured, through the modules I chose, which was very useful. I could also take a module from the games course, as some of the more technical aspects in that course appealed to me.”
Midway through his degree, Lewis began applying for internships at games studios, aiming to gain industry experience before starting his final year of study. He landed a position at simulation video game developer Dovetail Games, in Chatham. The company is known for its train and fishing simulators, built on the Unreal Engine, which Lewis had experience of using from his time at Staffordshire University.
When the internship was coming to end, Lewis was offered a full-time position as a junior audio artist. After speaking with his lecturers, he was able to complete his third year of study while working at Dovetail Games. He said: “The job was a fantastic opportunity, but I didn’t want to drop out of University so, thankfully, I was able to do both at the same time. The work was manageable as a lot of what I was doing at work related to my dissertation.”
Career in Games
After graduating in 2016, Lewis joined Slightly Mad Studios as a Junior Audio Designer. Based in London, the games developer is responsible for the Project CARS franchise, among others. Most of the developers at the studio work remotely and, after 9 months, Lewis was missing the game studio culture. Once Project Cars 2 was released in the summer of 2017, he moved to Splash Damage.
Starting as an Associate Audio Designer in June 2017, he quickly rose to Technical Audio Designer and is now working on the developer’s next generation of titles. He said: “The projects I’m working on haven’t been announced yet so I can’t actually talk about them but I’m enjoying working here. One day I’d like to open my own studio, but I’ve been working in the games industry for five years now and I’m enjoying my path and trajectory.”
For the last two years, Lewis has returned to Staffordshire University to deliver a guest lecture, when he’s spoken to current students about his career. He said: “I do a talk about my experience going from the course to my internship and career so far, as well as how the University supported me to get where I am. I really enjoy it and hope to do more in future.”