Monday, 26 May 2014

Montpellier and Day One at Ubisoft

So last Thursday I got on the plane and left my comfort zone behind, I said good bye to it hoping to meet it again sometime soon. Since then I've been living, exploring and taking photos in Montpellier. The south of France is nice but dusty. I flew not having anything more than a week of accommodation, I had a lead for a possible room and I knew that I needed to make a French bank account and get a French sim card but all of this had to be done with poor GCSE standard French and not much money. Below are a selection of photos from my first few days.

I'm happy to say so far things have gone more smoothly than I was expecting, I have accommodation for the first 3 months and maybe more, I have set up a French bank account, I have a French phone number and I have finished my first day as a Ubisoft employee! I saw some cool stuff, no more shall be said of it, but it was cool, however because it was my first day I didn't get much to done or much to do. I have been told that during the first period of my internship I am to show them what I am capable of so that I can assist with the correct area. I don't think I've ever felt so motivated to create awesome things and show what I am able to do. I will say if there's anything I was scared of, it was this. I was hoping to be the bottom of the ladder and being told what to do because well I suppose that's easier, how ever tough the work may be, you know what you're meant to do. However this has been handed to me so I have some ideas of what I can do to show. I just hope they're enough and they are as desired. Its on my back to do stuff! this means I might be quite busy for the next couple of weeks, here is where I got to with the cart project, I have changed a fair amount and I'm nearly done with the crates.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Review of Second Year

Its only just setting in that my penultimate year of education is pretty much over. It has been a weird but great year and I feel that I understand University education a great deal better now. During first year I sounded really keen and dedicated but I don't think I necessarily proved to be so. I wasn't doing extra work, I was barely teaching myself on the side, self-motivated learning wasn't particularly high up on my to do lists.

With more interesting projects came a desire to learn above and beyond what we were being taught. I feel working above and beyond what you are told to do is what university education is about. Also a job in the industry seemed a lot closer at hand and I knew that I would have to really work hard to secure one this year or next. This drove me to be continuously making extra things or learning about new techniques in my spare time. Most people go to university having experienced a fairly spoon-fed school system and expect that to continue especially with the amount we are in debt for the fees. I hear a lot of "this isn't worth £9,000 a year" and I used to be one of those people but from the start of this year I had realised that we truly have a brilliant course with a brilliant selection of tutors who put the hours in. If you see this and show that you are inquisitive and excited to learn you can easily get your money’s worth. Neil deGrasse Tyson is very good at explaining how I feel education works best. He talks about how you should let children break things, drop things and generally make mistakes. The idea is that experiential learning is essential and the idea that play and learning things aren’t different things. From a young age my brother attempted to make me teach myself pieces of software, hardware… well I guess he just wanted me to teach myself anything rather than being taught things by someone else. Obviously teachers still play a pivotal role in education and below is Neil deGrasse Tyson explaining the importance of teachers.
My university work itself has been alright although I don't feel I've seen the improvement within Visual Design that I would have liked and in Game Production the group project sapped away a great deal of time and I don't feel I have much to show for it. Critical Studies on the other hand yet again I started off well with posting quite regularly about what I was doing and new and interesting things alongside the required tasks but this tailed off around the time I got a job in a restaurant and doesn't seem to have picked up again. This again is where I want to improve and I'm trying to work out a way to do this and keep the productivity going.

That being said, the private company side of universities seems to actually let them down. Having seen the influx of first years and the effect on the course I became worried that the desire for money from the university ruined the idea of educating people. However the lecturers on the course seem particularly capable of not letting this happen, and no matter what, manage to provide some very in depth tuition.

My goals for the course are to learn as much as possible and to get into the industry and continue learning. I am lucky enough to have secured an internship at Ubisoft Montpellier in the south of France and feel that I am ready for this next step in my learning.