Train2Game News Cooking up a career in Games Development

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After a change in his family’s circumstances, professional chef Ben Randall quit working in a Michelin Star kitchen to study Games Development with Train2Game and to have more time with his family

When life changed for Train2Game student Ben Randall, 27, from Peterborough, he left his job in the kitchen to spend more time with his family and study Games Development. He now balances his time studying QA, working with student studio Devils Inc. and looking after his children and temporarily disabled wife.
 
Getting into studying Games

“I took to work as a chef straight out of school and worked my way up on the kitchen ladder to being sous chef in a number of restaurants with high standards (even a Michelin star).”

“I then started a family and the working hours got longer and it was hard to be with my family. Then unfortunately my wife fell ill and is now temporarily disabled. My wife and kids need my care at home so I had to leave work, but I’m not the type to sit around doing nothing.”

“That’s when a friend of mine said he was on a fantastic art and animation course for video game development and I jumped on that bandwagon faster than Mario on Koopa’s, but my six year old daughter has better art work than I do, so I spoke to the Train2Game rep that came out and he recommended QA.”
 
Studying with Train2Game

“I have been studying with Train2Game for around eight-nine months now. It’s been great so far. The course has a good learning curve to it so I find that it’s getting harder but you have already learnt all you need to cope with that change.”
 
“I am pleased with the course, mainly that for a QA tester to train at college they would need to study IT and software based courses and then move over to the gaming industry, whereas T2G specialize the course to the right area.”

“The positives of the Train2Game courses are they are specialized and that you can do them in your own speed, but at the same time you are not alone. I would recommend the course to others. I feel that T2G push students towards making a strong portfolio of work to present to employers later down the line.”

Working with Train2Game student studio Devils Inc.

“I have seen first-hand just how important teamwork is in the development of games and adding more work to a portfolio is great, but a QA tester is nowhere without something to test so I am happy to branch out and work with anyone at any level of their course experience.”

“It’s great working with Devils Inc. Casual, but great. Because of the nature of each member of the team working from home and using Skype to keep in touch the team trusts that each member is hard at work at their own pace.”
 
“I’m proud to say I am Head of QA in Devils Inc…. ok, Lead tester…… Ok, I’m all of QA (only one) for now as the project is in pre alpha stages at the moment. I have put a test plan in place and set a host server for a bug database and test anything the programmer throws my way. At the Beta stages if the testing process seems too large for one I will recruit testers to follow the test plan and delegate testing to them.”
 
“It’s a great opportunity to see exactly how each role in the team comes together in a project. I don’t think any amount of text book reading can demonstrate this better than real world experience in a development team.”
 
What’s next?

“We are now working on a new take on classic arcade game style space shooter in 2D.

The game will feature waves of enemies in a space setting that the player has to defeat with a small team of 3 AI planes to help. The game will switch when a boss is encountered to a 3D FPS fight (Lylat wars style) The game will then work on multiplayer features so that 4 players join forces or fight each other because.. who doesn’t love Co-op play?”
 
“In the long term future my dream is to work up within QA of a development studio (big or small) and be part of making triple A games you would be proud of.”

Train2Game News Tester Job Available

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A new job is available for Train2Game students who are interested in games testing.

F2P GAMES QA TESTER – Based in Milton Keynes

Games tester required to join a proven industry leading mobile games
developer. We need a few pragmatic and self-motivated individuals who can
work on their own initiative and function well within a team.

YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES

   – _ Write and run custom and bespoke test routines as required
   – _ Compile games test results and data into concise bug reports
   – _ Complete test report tickets

OUR REQUIREMENTS

   – _ 1+ years experience, preferably in games or related field
   – _ Strong team player, eager to learn and share with others
   – _ Bright, flexible and able to work to deadlines and under pressure
   – _ Tech savvy with an interest in F2P game on mobile and console
   – _ Strong written and oral communication skills
   – _ Excellent attention to detail
   – _ Ability to follow processes and suggest improvements
   – _ A good understanding of the software development and testing
   lifecycle

EXTRA KUDOS FOR

   – _ Professional development experience of mobile and console platforms
   – _ An understanding of the F2P games market
   – _ A passion for playing games, particularly on mobile
   – _ Initiative and drive for problem solving

Please send job applications to jobs@train2game.com

Train2Game News Student artwork gallery

Dan CableDan Cable is coming to the end of his course with Train2Game and we have every confidence he’ll go on to do some incredible things in the gaming world.

We’ve highlighted some of our favourite pieces of his work, but if you’d like to see more art and 3D Gifs then visit his work thread on the forum.
http://forum.train2game.com/showthread.php/14286-Wyldeone1978-s-Work-Thread/page6

In a post Dan wrote on the Train2Game forum and said of the course: “I gotta say, I’m partly sad it’s over (or nearly) but it’s been a long road to get here. I’m a little disappointed I took so long (3 Years) as I think I committed too much time to things like BF3/4 and iRacing rather than get my head down with this. For the money spent I think I’ve got a great value education and a great understanding of the core principles involved in game art.”

We’ve approached Dan for an interview and he’ll be getting back to us as soon as he finishes his course work!

You can view some of Dans artwork in the gallery below

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Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio talks to Phil Langdon

Phil LangdonI spoke to Phil Langdon yesterday who has lead quite a varied life in his lead up to joining Train2Game.

Phil spoke to me about his past careers, how Train2Game has helped him and his new game which you can download from here.

To listen to part one of the interview go here: https://audioboo.fm/boos/1640536-train2game-student-phil-langdon-talks-to-t2g-radio-part-1

Part two is here: https://audioboo.fm/boos/1640517-train2game-student-phil-langdon-talks-to-t2g-radio-part-2

OR read the transcript below:

Hello my name’s Phil Langdon, I’m doing a games designer course and I’m from London.

Hi Phil. How you doing mate?

Yeah very well thanks Mark. How are you doing?

I’m good cheers bud. So tell me a little about yourself then?

I’m forty three at the moment and I’ve done quite a few things in my life. I started off as a graphics designer in the eighties but lost touch with the computing side of it, I was doing the manual side of it, screen printing and sign writing. Then because the industry kind of died I thought to change what I was doing so I went to University and did a Maths and Physics degree, hoping that would get me a better job! It didn’t really work out like that and I am still doing bits and pieces of grafting just to make some money. Since then I was working for a firm exporting diesel engine parts and it gave me a back injury so basically it left me in my flat by myself, well I’m living with a girlfriend but I’m basically by myself. I thought to do a game designer course with Train2Game because I had what I thought was a really good idea for a game and with my design and mathematical background I thought it would be OK to get in to games, so Train2Game gave me that opportunity and that’s where I find myself today.

How have you been finding the course then since moving on to it?

To be honest, I find it quite easy in general. It’s probably because I’ve got a Mathematical background, I know graphics, I know visual communication and advertising and I’ve been in to games since I was eight years old I suppose, 1978 when Space Invaders came out and there was a massive explosion. I remember it vividly and I absolutely loved it to be honest. I saw the way games have gone over the years, I’ve been analysing it all the time and I never really thought I could get into it because in the late eighties, the issue went from being a hands on graphic designer with pen and paper to somebody who uses great computer programmes that I didn’t have access to. I always thought I’d never be able to get in to it but that’s completely changed. I find the course to be extremely relevant, everything is purtenant, I recognise everything in the course so far as being purtenant to the course. For me it’s quite but maybe that’s because I’m forty three, I don’t know. I find it very enjoyable, really enjoyable and I just get straight in to it whenever I get it out.

Excellent. It sounds like you’ve had quite a bit of experience and stuff with it then so is it coming in to your games design, those past experiences you’ve had?

Yeah, I just made a game purely based on an idea I had in spring just after I finished learning how to use Game Maker in the first part of the course. That was absolutely invaluable because they gave me an instant hands on means of creating something from my own imagination using my own skill. I think that was probably the best part of the course for me, a huge learning curve in terms of what goes in to a game, how it’s made, how you put things together, how you create the illusions.

Did you use Game Maker to create the game you had been designing then did you?

Well I’ve got four or five different game ideas but I just had one when I was going to sleep one night and I suddenly realised I could actually create it using Game Maker. What I saw in my mind, I thought that would be a fun little game and I know that Game Maker can produce that sort of a game because it is a combination of three different styles that Game Maker is really good at: Platformers, Top Down Shooting and the maze idea. I thought to combine all three, it’s a tendency of mine to use everything a programme has got and combine it in a way I’ve never seen before.

It gets the most potential out of something if you use everything.

Exactly! It’s not something good just to do that for the sake of it but if it’s required by your game idea then you’ve gotta do it.

So have you started creating that now have you with Game Maker?

Yeah it’s basically finished. I’ve got, in my opinion, an Alpha version so I put it out on the forum and I’ve already got some really interesting feedback on it and I’ve tweaked it as a result. Something was said that was really interesting that when you play your own game over and over again because you need to play test it before you present it to anyone, you end up making it really difficult because it becomes to easy as you know where everything is, you know how to defeat everything etcetera etcetera. So you need the feedback to bring you back down to Earth a little and make it some what easier which is what I’ve done.

What are your future plans for the game?

For this game the original intention would be this would be perfect for an iPad game or a mobile phone game and that’s the intention for it. Even though I’m a graphic artist and designer I can’t do really beautiful computer graphic as that’s something I’m still learning to do. So I’d want someone else to come in and help publish it and develop it a little in another studio.

So are you going to look in to the Train2Game well of students to try and find a nice artist for yourself?

Yeah, I didn’t know how far to go with that because my sister works in the industry already, She’s an animator, she’s been doing that for twenty years and she is working on adverts, doing graphics for adverts but she went to art college and had the qualifications to get in to that which I didn’t. So I’ve seen it from the inside and I know that a lot of people expect to be paid.

So finally, what do you want the future to hold for yourself?

To be honest I’d like to have my own studio with a bunch of guys and girls creating some really fun games, that’s what I’m into. I’m a bit of an indulger so when it comes to gaming it’s got to be great fun and engaging no matter what style or format it is. It’s enthusiasm to play it, that’s what I want to bring to the game. So I’d like a little studio with a bunch of people and go from there, that would be fantastic.

Yeah well good luck with everything in the future then Phil and we will talk to you soon!

OK thank you so much Mark, appreciate your time.

Train2Game News: Another Roll7 position available

roll7I get to share some wonderful news with you all this morning! A Train2Game Student named Sam has been employed at Roll7.

Sam obtained his job at the company after reading about the position on the Train2Game blog and we recently received an email from Roll7 detailing how very happy with Sam they are! They reported that he is now basically head of QA.

Roll7 now have another small time position available and have sent this message:

Hi there!

If you haven’t already done testing with us –

Any chance you can make a Testing Session on Friday this week?

We can pay expenses of £15, we only need you in for an hour

Cheers

Simon

This would be a great opportunity for a London based student to meet a well organised team and get to work with them, gaining valuable experience.

If you are interested in the position and you haven’t tested for Roll7 before email Simon at simon@roll7.co.uk with your CV.

Train2Game News: Train2Game radio interviews Lewis Gordon

Lewis GordonI got the pleasure of interview Train2Game student, Lewis Gordon. Lewis is one of the founding members of Merkury Games and he talks to me about how the studio started and where the ideas for the games came from.

You can listen to the interview here: https://audioboo.fm/boos/1561950-train2game-student-lewis-gordon-talks-to-t2g-radio

Or read the transcript below:

Hi I’m Lewis Gordon from Train2Game doing the Games Development course.

How you doing Lewis?

I’m not too bad, yourself?

I’m good cheers mate. So give us a bit of your background then mate, what you been doing?

I started the Train2Game course three years ago, I’ve literally just applied for my extension on the course it’s self, but I started off originally just as a gamer and I turned around and thought, “I want to make games”, didn’t know much about it, saw this course, saw I could do it around my own time and work and thought it suited me to the best of my abilities really. Once I started the course I did struggle a bit and I met a couple of people on the forums them selves, one in particular, we started to bounce ideas off of each other and get some actual games rolling. The original one we made was just between me and the programmer, it was just literally the two of us. We had no designers, no artists or anything like that, it was just a case of we thought we’d make a game and it turned out it was actually working, which was a shock!

Nice! With the games you’ve made and stuff is that with the studio you’re part of now?

That’s right yeah, both games we’ve made are or are part of studio work.

Yeah? What was the studio called, your one?

The studios called Merkury games with an M-e-r-k-u-r-y.

Any reason you decided to go with that rather than the actual spelling?

Just because, like with our games, it represents how different we want to be. So instead of going the same route and going the same words and everything like that, we will just change a slight bit to make it our own.

Fair enough! I’ve had a look at a couple of the trailers for your games, I haven’t had a chance to play them yet, and they do look quite interesting and fun. Where do the ideas come from for them?

The first one, the pirates one, that was actually an idea from my portfolio project. We had to make a design document for a game and that was the one I came up with, then me and the other programmer decided “OK, let’s try to make this game”. So we kept putting ideas together and the ideas just kept expanding and expanding. That one, its self is still a work in progress because we are thinking about adding more levels into it and bosses and things like that but the idea, like with any kind of game, come from games we have played previously but just something that we’d want to play ourselves. If we think we can enjoy it, we just want to make sure people can enjoy it as well.

Yeah fair enough! So, you develop mostly for PC don’t you?

Yeah, for ourselves, PC market is the one we are going for. Just purely because PC Gaming is more or less for the hardcore gamers. We can obviously look at mobile phones and consoles but end of the day, Consoles are becoming more and more like a PC so might as well go directly to the market that’s asking for it.

Your studio now, you said that it started off as just you and another developer, so what have you got now?

So originally it was just me and the programmer. Now, I don’t know the exact numbers, I think we’ve got about six artists, some of them are on and off – just doing work when they can, we’ve got out games designer and obviously QA involved as well. So we’ve got a good variety of people, some new, some experienced and some just looking to get involved really.

How long have you been doing the studio?

The studio started this year, so we finished the first game and thought, why don’t we try and make this in to a studio? Get some people together and make some games that would actually be appealing to people and not just us.

Yeah, is it all Train2Game members you’ve got as your team?

Near enough all of our members are Train2Game except for one which is just a person I know personally.

Nice one. So what are your plans for the future?

Plans for the future, we are hoping that we can turn this company in to something that can.. For us it’s not making a profit that drives us, it’s making them games, but if we can make anything off the work we do that’s a bonus none the less!

Perfect! Well I think that’s all we have time for today Lewis so thank you very much for your time buddy!

That’s no problem at all

I will talk to you soon

Talk soon

Bye!

Bye!

Train2Game News: Icey Monty featured in Newmarket News

Icey MontyThe success of Train2Game student studio, Icey Monty, has been noticed by studio founder Nick Walker’s local paper, Newmarket News.

The article in the paper talks about the success the young studio have been having lately and their recent partnership with Strongbow.

You can read the article in the link below.

Train2Game Student News Icey Monty Newmarket

Well done guys! Keep up the good work.

Train2Game News: Mad Munchkin Reviews

Mad Munchkin ReviewsTrain2Game student, Amy Methven from Elgin Scotland, has created her own YouTube channel talking about all sorts of different art and animation.

Amy’s Mad Munchkin Reviews have covered media such as games, movies and TV Shows. She has spoken about the Batman Arkham games, My Little Pony and she has discussed subjects such as CGI compared to 2D animation.

It’s a fascinating view on all the different aspects of animation.

I asked Amy why she decided to create her YouTube channel and she said “I started the Mad Munchkin reviews for lots of different reasons really. The first one being that I love Art and love talking about it, like most people on the Art and Animation Course with Train2Game.

The second reason is that I wanted to find other creative ways to expose my Art work outside of the video game industry. In a practical sense, it allowed me to develop my video editing skills as well as analytical skills when it comes to my writing. I wanted to teach myself how to construct my critiques so I can successfully back up my opinions on what I review.

The show primarily focuses on Animated Movies, tv shows and video games, looking at the creative process behind creating these pieces of Art from the perspective of theory rather than the practical technicalities of the process. As much as I love the practical side of creativity, it is the theory and reason behind it that I like talking about more. Asking why something looks a certain why is more interesting to me than finding out how it was constructed.”

If you would like to check out Amy’s YouTube channel you can here: http://www.youtube.com/user/Amymethven/videos?shelf_index=0&view=0&sort=dd

Or you can view her Deviant art page at: http://amymethvenart.deviantart.com/

Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio talks to Richard Hoffman

Game_Jam_T2GI had the pleasure of talking to Richard Hoffman who has recently released his game, Man Alive on iOS and Android. Richard spoke to me about his career history and where the idea for the game came from.

You can listen to part one here: https://audioboo.fm/boos/1544558-train2game-student-richard-hoffman-talks-to-t2g-radio-part-1

and part two here: https://audioboo.fm/boos/1544556-train2game-student-richard-hoffman-talks-to-t2g-radio-part-2

Or you can read the transcript below:

Hello, my name is Richard Hoffman, I am an indie game developer and I am on theGame Designer course with the Train2Game programme. I have my own indie company and we are doing cool indie games, developing and publishing on different platforms including Apple’s iOS and the Google Play Store.

Hi Richard, how you doing mate?

I’m alright thank, yourself?

I’m good cheers buddy. So tell us a bit about yourself, what’ve you been up too lately?

We have just finalised our game Man Alive which is now out for two platforms, iOS and Android. We also intend to publish it on Windows 8, so that will be out quite soon with a little bit of help with Microsoft’s tech team.

Yeah and how was it working on Man Alive?

It took a long time actually because we are working full time and doing this in our spare time. We started two years ago at the Global Gamejam and we saw it’s a really cool game which emerged after those two days and we just continued working and getting it to the stage it’s at now and we are quite proud of it.

Yeah, I’ve had a bit of a play of it myself on my tablet and it is quite a good different idea. Where did the idea come from?

The idea came from the Global Gamejam that we were in two years ago where we had a theme set and we had to do something around an ancient symbol of a snake that eats its own tail. This round shaped form, I’ve forgotten the name of it.

The Ouroboros.

That’s the one! My Greek or Latin is a bit limited! So with that theme in mind, we just bounced a few ideas off of each other and that’s basically what came out of it. We thought, we like playing Mario Brothers and platform games like Limbo for instance and we saw that every game has the same pattern; it’s all about survival and you have your set lives and that’s it. We were kind of bored with this, I’ve played games for about thirty years now, and it’s always the same pattern so we thought we’d do something different. With this theme we just twisted the whole platform game paradigm on it’s head, so it’s not about surviving but you have to die at least once in each level to get to the next level or the next stage. It’s an encouragement to throw yourself in to a river and jump up over your corpses which is kind of fun because it has a cute quirky graphic style which doesn’t look too serious at all because if I explain it to people sometimes they kind of get a bit anxious about the subject but it is quite funny.

Yeah it is quite good. It’s along the same sort of line is Limbo where it doesn’t look so bad to die, it doesn’t shock you or anything, it’s just something that happens.

Exactly except that in Limbo, the first time I played it my friends didn’t tell me you could die so I had a kind of shock moment, I thought it was forever and my friends were just laughing at me for not knowing that!

So what is the company your working with to create Man Alive?

It’s my own company called Global Empire Soft which I created three years ago and just started creating apps and games during that time.

Yeah, is it all Train2Game people working with you now or have you got a mixture?

I have a mixture actually, I have people I know from other universities plus Train2Game students. We work on different game projects whenever they have time as well.

So do you work in one place or are you a virtual team?

We are a virtual team but we come together occasionally but mostly we do everything over Skype and organise everything over Skype.

So whilst you are doing that in your spare time, what do you do for a living?

I’m an apps and games developer so usually I work on projects whether it be contract or a permanent position. My last contract or my last employer was Penguin Books which is quite a big publisher. We worked on some games and did occasional apps as well.

Excellent. So you’ve had quite a lot of experience already then?

Yeah I’ve had fifteen years working in the IT industry and working on apps and games on all different platforms. So I probably know most programming languages and in the last thirty years I’ve played a lot of games on all platforms, whatever came out at the time, from home computers to consoles and PC’s, now Mac as well.

So what brought you to Train2Game?

I was just curious to know more about game design because I never learnt it from Start to finish. I did a degree in Computer Science and before that I already was a programmer so it seems to be like I jumped in to the river and start swimming and then I am trying to understand where it starts and where it ends and what the whole spectrum of an education is. So because I am very passionate about game design and very creative and have a lot of ideas, I want to learn more about that the proper way and I thought the best way of doing that is with Train2Game.

So have you found Train2Game has helped you along in this then?

Definitely it’s a really good guide and has a good curriculum to starting from the simple mechanics of game design and platforms and game design and everything so I already got a good idea ready about the game design part. I am still in the middle of it but I am still keen to do the exercises at the end and just finish the TMA’s and just get to the next one.

Perfect. So finally then what are you working on next?

Next we are working on a few title, something called AVA which is an archaic flight simulator. So we are quite excited about that as we are all fans of Top Gun in our team and good old flight movies! We want to create something with a similar feel of the whole subject from landing, to starting from the Aircraft carrier and having all kinds of Airplanes and also using 3D instead of 2D. Our last game was quite an interesting and challenging approach.

Excellent, sounds like it’s going to be fun!

Definitely

Well I think that’s all we’ve got time for today Richard so thank you very much for your time!

You’re welcome, Thanks for having me.

My pleasure Richard, talk to you again

Train2Game News: roll7 hiring Train2Game QA Testers

roll7roll7 are hiring Train2Game students to be QA Testers at their London based studio. This could be the start of your career!

Due to the response and quality of the students that responded to the first roll7 request for student QA testers, the company are now offering two students an opportunity to get “proper hands on QA experience.”

roll7 are curently looking for candidates that:

  • Are diligent and hard working
  • Can keep attention to detail when performing similar tasks again and again
  • have good written communication skills
  • are SERIOUS about working in the Video Games Industry
  • Must be London based

The position will ideally be fully time between 19 August to 18 October. QA Testers please look out for more opportunities in August and September.

For full details of the positions, London based, please initially email recruiting@train2game.com including your contact and Train2game college details. Full details will be sent to you.

Don’t delay and apply today to start your journey deeper in to the games industry!