Sean Kelly a decorated former soldier injured in combat is now studying Video Games Development while working as armed security on super structure boats off the coast of Somalia, Yemen and going through the dangerous Bab el Mandeb.
He’s studying with Train2Game while working on his own combat video games and described games like Call of Duty as unrealistic based on his ‘hands-on’ experience.
Sean Kelly is 28 years old, a former soldier who completed tours of Iraq and Afghanistan. He gained three medals in his ten years of service in the army. Originally from Cardiff, he now lives in Burton on Trent with his wife and three year old daughter.
Injured while in Afghanistan by an IED Sean’s military career was over. It was during his recovery he began studying to be a games Developer. We spoke to Sean while he was in Sri Lanka on a ten day break from the boats, learning to surf and waiting for his next assignment.
Sean Kelly: “I joined the military in 2002 at 16, and left 2012. I spent 10 years in the military, did tours of IRAQ in 2005 with 10CS COY REME as there protection element, Afghanistan in 2007 with 23 pioneer regiment t as part of the force protection group and Brigade recce force.”
“I’ve travelled all over the world with the military, doing training exercises in Canada, Belize and various other duties in Europe. I received four medals during my service, I gained Op Telic Medal (IRAQ) Op Herric Medal (AFGHAN) Queens Diamond Jubilee medal Op Tosca (CYPRUS).”
“When I was in Afghanistan I got injured by an IED, spent a while going through DMRC Hedley court, and was told my career in the military was over. So I looked into something that I would enjoy, and at the time I was already a web developer, so when I saw Game Developing with a company called Train2Game I decided I’d like the challenge. At the time was a big task, as I was on Pregablin, which is a nerve suppressor that messes with your memory. I literally wasted two years of the course, as I’d forgotten everything and had to re-learn.”
“I got into security of boats because I knew some people who were already in the industry, it’s pretty difficult to actually get into, I was ok as I was ex-military so got the job straight away. If we’re in the middle of the Indian Ocean it can be pretty boring as there is nothing around. If we’re off the coast of Somalia, Yemen or going through the Bab el Mandeb…. it’s very dangerous.”
“The piracy threat is low, but we’re constantly approached, once they realise the ship has Armed security, they turn away. It really isn’t worth their effort to attempt to board us, but when your ship gets circled it can be a bit of an experience.”
“I have a wife and three year old daughter, they miss me but know that it’s best for the family, and I really get to crunch through my studying, I’ve literally flown through it. It’s a lot easier when you get so much time, there’s no distractions either, no internet at sea! So you literally have no other choice but to learn. But without the support of my family I wouldn’t have been able to get to the point I am at now, they’re helping get the course materials to me as well as giving me the support.”
“My ambition would be to create the next best FPS, using my military and anti-piracy knowledge to my advantage, also having the ability to handle a large variety of fire arms helps. Especially when I see a game like Call Of Duty and chuckle to myself, knowing the way they depict the gun battles is very inaccurate… at most levels.”
“If I was to make a FPS game, I’d straight away have first-hand experience as a fighting soldier. I could then bring that into the game, which is easier than trying to describe something to the average programmer, who has never had that experience, plus I like shooting stuff up.”
“The warfare in First Person shooters like Call of Duty is very unrealistic, the games are more ‘Hollywood’ than anything close to realism, the handling and firing of the weapons is unrealistic. They haven’t made the games for realism, there aimed at hitting the market quick, so most of the time the physics are just reused from previous titles, hence why they get old fast. A weapon system is a finely crafted machine, sometimes taking years to build into a piece of machinery capable of the battlefield. A lot of time “goes into games like Forza, the cars are amazing; why not do that with a FPS? Remake it but real.”
“I would love to study in a university but, I have commitments and would not be able to full time study. I pretty much study Train2Game anywhere I can, but I have studied during the monsoon season! The ship was rolling so bad my fridge in the cabin shot across the room!! Lucky it didn’t take me out.
“I continue my studies at sea, all my stuff is put into my Dropbox, my books are scanned and my disks I take with me, I work six hours in the twenty four on-board the ship. So now I have gone from having no time to pretty much as much as I need, while also continuing to make money for my family.”
“While I’ve been working as Armed Security, I’ve completed portfolio pieces on my Train2Game course, and I’m averaging 1 -2 games a month for my site as practice. I’m working on my own, I wouldn’t mind working with some guys, help me turn out more games quicker. That’s when I’m not enjoying the beaches of Sri Lanka, Madagascar or Goa….. Love it!”
“The ship in the pictures is the Bottiglieri Sophie Green, an Italian ship, roughly 230 meters. She’s on her way to Japan now. The photo of the super tanker I sent is MV Ilma, she is HUGE! Carries two billion dollars of oil, and approx. 330 meters long, 65 meters wide and 21 meters freeboard! She delivers only to China and America, nowhere else is big enough for her. One lap around her deck is 1km, big prize for piracy, I do super yachts too… but there restricted info, and the company can get hit hard. Protecting a boat like that you would have a four man team, carrying HKg3 7.62 x 2, and 2 x Steyr Scout sniper rifle 7.62 long… hunting rounds.”
“We don’t move around the deck, when transiting the HRA (High Risk Area) it can be quiet dangerous, and we need quick access to our weapons if the situation ever arises! The furthest out we go would be right in the middle of the Indian ocean… so maybe a thousand plus miles.”
“We see lots of marine wildlife; sharks, dolphins and whales, even dead camels and horses that are thrown overboard. We see loads of turtles, dolphins, and sharks. Watching the whales at night is great… when it is just the moon and starlight, nothing around for hundreds of miles! Very relaxing, helps concentration.”