James Grist, 21 from Burton-on-Trent, studied BSc (Hons) Computer Games Design and secured several job interviews through Staffordshire University’s industry connections leading to his dream role as a Junior Designer.
He explained: “I'd done a load of research for games design and from what I found Staffordshire was the best place to study. It's kind of a perfect choice!
“The lecturers are fantastic, I've made some great friends from them. They're a really great inspiration and they've helped me throughout my whole process at university. The facilities are fantastic - I kind of miss going to them because it is better than my set up!”
Students have access to industry standard software and hardware with a range of hi-tech facilities on campus including the Epic Games sponsored Design Centre, Game Development Labs, Motion Capture studio and Smart Zone technologies.
For his final year project, James created action-adventure puzzle game Kai N Tonga inspired by classic platforming games such as Banjo Kazooie, Crash Bandicoot and Spyro. James got 100% for the project and won the first-place prize for Level Design at student exhibition GradEX.
The annual GradEX event gives final year students the opportunity to showcase their work and network with industry judges who award prizes for the best student projects.
James said: “From that you have all sorts of developers from the indutsry coming in and reviewing your game and just making the friends with them because that's really important in the industry is getting these connections.
“From GradEX, it gave me so many opportunities…I had two job opportunities come up from that with Sumo Digital and Rebellion.”
After graduating with first-class honours, James secured several job interviews and now works as a Junior Designer with Playtonic Games. He was also one of 19 Staffordshire graduates named a ‘TIGA Graduate of the Year’ and has been shortlisted for a TIGA UK Games Education Award.
James said: “It's still surreal to this day, I take great pride in the accolade and being nominated for Outstanding Designer Graduate, but I wouldn't have been able to achieve anything or get a job as a Junior Designer at Playtonic Games without the support of the tutors. They've taught me so much and continue to inspire me! I'm immensely grateful for the support I received especially from Scott Billyeald-Doughty and Greg Penninck.”
He added: “If you've got something to aim towards and you're really passionate about what you're doing and what you're learning, keep pushing for it. You'll get to that goal if you keep pushing.”
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