The first TIGA Industry and Education roadshow with Creative Assembly rolled into the University of Portsmouth on January 18th 2023, giving both faculty staff and students invaluable insight into how a major studio and the wider industry operates.
For students, the Roadshow is an opportunity to learn first-hand from professionals about a full spectrum of disciplines, helping them learn about and nurture the hard and soft skills they will need to create their own career path within the games industry.
The Roadshow is also a unique forum for the university’s lecturers and games industry professionals to exchange knowledge and ideas that focus on continuous improvement, ensuring courses are in the best position to deliver the next generation of talent.
Portsmouth University’s School of Creative Technologies (SCT) is one of the UK’s finest collections of courses for students looking to acquire the skills they need to work in games. With 11 courses, 40 staff and more than 760 students, it’s also one of the biggest schools at the university itself.
And as the SCT’s Head of School Dr Adrian Hull pointed out in his welcome talk, it’s growing – with 2023’s fresher applications set to be double those of 2022.
All of the university’s games courses are accredited by TIGA (The Independent Game Developers’ Association). This means that the institution has been examined by a panel of industry and academic experts to make sure students develop the relevant and up-to-date skills required by the games and related industries.
The Roadshow event was split into three sections. The first comprised morning breakouts by discipline, during which faculty and Creative Assembly staff discussed common requirements, issues and workflows.
A lively networking lunch was then followed by a tour of Portsmouth University’s best-in-class Centre for Creative & Immersive Extended Reality (CCIXR), which specialises in R&D and development in virtual, augmented and mixed reality for both academic learning and commercial clients.
In the afternoon, more than 150 students from SCT gathered to listen to short presentations from the Creative Assembly development team, with individuals each offering career pathway advice based on their own experiences within the industry – encompassing VFX, Animation, Production, Art, Programming, Design, Live Services and Audio.
This was followed by two hours of breakout sessions, where students could ask a Creative Assembly specialist about their role and the kinds of skills and knowledge required to fulfill it.
The breadth of topics covered was vast, but key themes emerged throughout the day, including:-
- How both education and industry have adjusted to remote and hybrid working practices, and how these will evolve.
- The importance of understanding disciplines other than your own, so that working within a team environment can be as productive and enjoyable as possible.
- How a solid holistic grounding in year one of a video games course can help students lean into their natural skillsets thereafter.
- Why soft skills remain just as important for career success as technical knowledge, especially in the hybrid setups we see today.
Dr Richard Wilson OBE, CEO at TIGA, said: “TIGA’s vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to make video games. Our industry’s success depends, in turn, on access to a highly skilled workforce and cutting-edge research, both of which are provided by higher education.
“We are therefore focused on strengthening still further the quality of provision of accredited video games courses through our TIGA, Industry and Education Engagement Project. This brings industry and education together to enhance the quality of course provision, and to maximise students’ potential to secure employment in the games sector.
“I am delighted that TIGA is working with our superb partners – Creative Assembly and the University of Portsmouth – to drive excellence in the video games sector.”
Emma Smith, Director of Talent and Social Impact at Creative Assembly, said: “As part of our award-winning Legacy Project education outreach we are delighted to partner with TIGA on this unique event which brings together students and educators to promote best practice education, and increase awareness of games industry careers. As a 36-year-old studio, Creative Assembly has seen the progression of the industry to its current standing as a leading employer and economic contributor. There are many employment opportunities within games and we need to continue to improve the accessibility and understanding of these career pathways.”
Lauren Ansdell-Miller, student on MSc Creative Technologies at the University of Portsmouth, said: “The visit from Creative Assembly was so beneficial for both staff and students because it allowed us all to get a deeper insight into the industry. The advice and support given will be invaluable for our future careers and understanding of games development.”
Anna Limpens, Course Leader for BSc Computer Games Production at the University of Portmouth, said: “This was a fabulous opportunity for developers and teaching staff to share insights into current industry practice and ensuring that this is reflected in the curriculum to produce industry-ready graduates. The students also found the experience hugely beneficial in terms of understanding the breadth of roles available within the games industry and how they can prepare themselves for them most effectively. The developers generated a real sense of excitement and passion for what they do and we look forward to developing our relationship Creative Assembly.”
To find out more about career opportunities at Creative Assembly, visit https://www.creative-assembly.com/careers
To find out more about the courses available at the University of Portsmouth, visit https://www.port.ac.uk/about-us/structure-and-governance/organisational-structure/our-academic-structure/faculty-of-creative-and-cultural-industries/school-of-creative-technologies
To find out more about TIGA University Accreditation, visit https://tiga.org/education/tiga-university-accreditation