TIGA, the network for games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry, emphasised the importance of developing ‘soft’ as well as technical skills in the video games industry, including team working and communication skills. TIGA made the comments following its Best Practice in Games Education Conference on 15th February 2022. The purpose of TIGA’s Conference, sponsored by Creative Assembly, was to share best practice and bring industry leaders and education experts together to help drive excellence in education and skills in the video games industry.
Speakers from award-winning games studios, including Creative Assembly, Payload and Rebellion, provided crucial insights on the skills and qualities needed in today’s graduates and employees. Emma Smith, Head of Talent at Creative Assembly, said in a keynote speech that there were graduate level skill gaps facing the industry, but not necessarily where you think that they are. She said the skill gaps experienced by Creative Assembly were not simply technical in nature, but rather ‘softer’ skills, including communication skills and team working, Emma noted that successful students needed to develop a sense of resilience, an ability to work as a team and a capacity to give and receive feedback.
Kirsty Moore, Rebellion’s Head of People and Talent and Tasha Nathani, Senior Technical Producer at Rebellion emphasised the need for students to learn C++ and debugging skills. Jason Howard, Art Director at Payload Studios, urged students to go above and beyond what they are required so that their portfolios better reflect three years of work.
Winners of the 2021 TIGA UK Games Education Awards revealed how they are achieving excellence in colleges and universities; teaching and research; working with industry and promoting diversity. Contributors included:
- Stuart Butler, course director for Games Technology at Staffordshire University, who stressed the importance of building strong relationships with the video games industry
- Neil Gallagher, senior lecturer BA and MA Games Art and Design at the University of Hertfordshire, who advised universities to encourage students to enter competitions, showcase work at end-of-year shows and post their work on forums.
- Carlo Harvey, Director of Future Games and Graphics at Birmingham City University, who said it was important to simulate a studio environment in education.
- Jake Habgood, Director of Education Partnerships at Sumo Group plc, who emphasised that TIGA accreditation helped universities by ensuring that industry professionals provided input and feedback on games courses.
- Thom Kaczmarek, Lecturer in Games Design at the University of the Arts London, who recommended the importance of students learning to develop playable prototypes as quickly as possible.
- Ruth Falconer, Head of Division: Games Technology and Mathematics at Abertay University, who stressed the need to support a diverse student population by making games and technology programmes that appeal to all.
- Robert Reed, Programme Manager: Computer Games at Leeds City College, who called on colleges to develop skills including teamwork, communication and personal responsibility
- Dr Chris Lowthorpe, Head of Collaborative R&D at InGAME, who said that universities should make use of collaborative R&D partnerships between industry and academia.
- Adam Jerrett, Game Studies Academic, Lecturer and Game Design Expert, at the University of Portsmouth, who recommended the use of Discord for communicating with students.
Dr Richard Wilson OBE, TIGA CEO, said:
“At TIGA our goal is to make the UK the best place in the world to develop video games. Excellence in education is crucial to achieving this objective. Education is the ladder on which students, studios and our entire sector climb to success.
“At TIGA we advance excellence in education by accrediting outstanding games courses; we celebrate excellence through our Games Education Awards, and we promote excellence in learning by bringing industry and education together through our conferences.
“I would like to thank Creative Assembly, our headline sponsor, for supporting our Conference. Thank you also to all our speakers from industry and education for sharing their knowledge and insights. By working together we are enhancing skills and education in the video games industry.”
TIGA is the trade association for the UK video games industry. Our vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to develop video games. Our core purpose is to strengthen the games development and digital publishing sector. To this end, we focus on four strategic objectives:
- influencing Government policy via effective political representation;
- raising the profile of our industry to influence public policy;
- enhancing education and skills through our accreditation programme (https://tiga.org/education/tiga-university-accreditation), the TIGA Games Education Awards (https://tiga.org/education-awards) and our Best Practice in Games Education Conference; and
- promoting best practice through our membership services, including the TIGA STAR Employer Award (https://tiga.org/star) and the TIGA Games Industry Awards (https://tiga.org/awards).
For more information contact TIGA: