TIGA is the trade association representing the UK’s video games industry and its annual awards celebrate the achievements of both industry and education.
This month, it was the first in-person awards ceremony for TIGA since the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 300 games industry VIPs attending to cheer the games, the studios, the universities and the vital service support companies that have excelled over the past year.
Staffordshire University beat 11 other nominees to win the ‘Best Education Initiative’ award in recognition of its 1UP placement scheme which offer students hands on industry experience.
Professor Chris Headleand, Head of Games Development, explained: “At Staffordshire University we aim to provide our students with some of the best extracurricular opportunities to ensure they get the most out of university, and leave us ‘industry ready’.
“We see huge benefits to placement schemes, but there are relatively few in the sector. To address this, we created our own in-house studio called ‘Bulldog Studios’ run by some of our industry experienced colleagues.”
Through Bulldog Studios, the department created the 1UP placement scheme, and offered 30 internally funded summer placements for students across all levels. The studio was run professionally, exposing students to a work environment outside of the classroom they are used to.
Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with students describing the 1UP scheme as “an invaluable experience”, “a huge learning curve”, “a unique experience to network” and “an enjoyable experience from start to finish”.
The 1UP students developed a Staffordshire focused metaverse called ‘StaffsVerse’, which reimagines the University as if it had been built in the future on Mars. This multi-player concurrent world will be used in the future to support applicants transition to Staffordshire University, allowing them to explore the campus, meet fellow students, and make friends long before they arrive on campus.
The StaffsVerse project was supported by Amazon Web Services (AWS) which provided access to the AWS cloud platform, allowing Staffordshire University to take the StaffsVerse online.
Professor Headleand said: “We saw immediate benefits, with improvements in confidence, and students demonstrating the polishing of skills within a team-working environment. Many of the students described the 1UP scheme as a life-changing opportunity.
“To win this award is a huge honour and is testament to all the hard work put in by our students and staff.”
Members of the public can discover more about the metaverse in a free talk by Professor Headleand on Monday 5 December. Catalyst Collaborations: The Metaverse is Coming! The Metaverse is Already Here? will explore what the metaverse is, what it isn't and how it may impact our lives in years to come – book your place.
Discover more about Staffordshire University’s range of Games degrees