Train2Game blog student interview #1: Lauren Black

There are over 2000 students currently on Train2Game courses, and with so many out there we decided it’d be a great idea to chat to them. Our first mini interview is with Train2Game Development student Lauren Black. Subjects she talks about include why she chose Train2Game, what was she doing before and her favourite part of the course so far.

Train2Game Blog: Hi Lauren, why did you choose to study with Train2Game?

Train2Game student Lauren: Since leaving school I’ve had quite a problem with studying in an academic environment. I had tried college, with the ultimate aim of going for a degree three times, and I’ve always felt like the tutors don’t know the subject they’re teaching well enough.

I even had one tutor who didn’t know the difference between Java and JavaScript, and for a web development module that would be quite an imperative titbit. With this being the case, I felt like I wasn’t learning anything, so why continue? I found out about the course when I was moving house – I found one of those little blue leaflets on my new doormat, and I took that as a good omen. A new house and a new direction, it couldn’t hurt to give it a go!

Train2Game Blog: Which Train2Game course did you decide to take and why?

Train2Game student Lauren: I’ve always been a bit of a geeky chick, and because of my history in web development I chose the Game Development course. For a couple of years I’ve wanted to break into the gaming industry so that I could both do something interesting with my skills, and also gain the knowledge and expertise to expand my businesses.

Most of my expertise lies in PHP development and since the course seemed to cover C++ in quite some depth, I figured that it would be beneficial to learn, not only to be applied to games, but to other performance-critical applications relevant to my clients.

Right now I’m having so much fun doing the course, hearing the ‘thunk’ of the book hit the floor in the post has become the highlight of my week!

Train2Game blog: What were you doing before you started your Train2Game course?

Train2Game student Lauren: Before starting the course, I had mostly been working on a freelance basis. I currently own and run an IT business, which deals primarily with web application development.

Prior to hearing about the course, I knew I needed to gain more skills; specifically I needed to learn C++. What most people don’t realise is that games, no matter how trivial they may seem, are a result of very sophisticated pieces of performance optimised software, making thousands of independent calculations every second.

The Train2Game Development course seemed like the perfect compliment to the direction I was already taking, and is allowing me to continue my career.

Train2Game blog: How are you finding balancing the course with the rest of your life?

Train2Game student Lauren: The course itself is very easy to keep on top of, each new chunk of information is provided in bite-size sections. I may be a little more experienced than the average student, but generally it takes me about an hour to read through each section followed by the tutor marked assignment I usually take around lunchtime. It’s the sort of thing that can easily be done in the evenings, or spread over a number of days.

Given my academic history, it’s great because I can take the course at my own speed without feeling patronised by incompetent tutors. Actually, speaking of tutors, twice I’ve called the tutor team to ask fairly complicated questions – and both times I really felt like I was speaking to someone of my own level, who actually knew what they were talking about. Definitely not someone in a call centre reading from a script!

Train2Game blog: What has been your favourite part of the course so far?

Train2Game student Lauren: Currently I’m about half way through Section 2. I’m just in the middle of developing a simple 2D game engine to build a platform game on top of.

Whilst it’s true the code given (at least at this stage) has been simplified, it clearly illustrates each integral part, so as a little side project I’m now able to expand upon the lessons learned by studying the engine provided to create my own cross platform version that will run on Windows, Linux and Apple machines and even iPhones.

Granted, these extras aren’t taught by the course, but it does go to show that the same fundamental lessons can be applied in many different circumstances.

Lauren is on the Train2Game Game Development course.

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