Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Blitz Open Day

I just got back in to Dundee today after traveling down to Leamington Spa in England for Blitz Open Day. It was an absolute blast! I highly recommend the experience to anyone currently at University and planning to go into the games industry.

The day was packed full of awesome stuff, all basically designed to educate students about the industry and Blitz in particular. Going into the weekend, I must admit that while I would have been happy to work at Blitz simply because they are a game company, I wasn't particularly enthusiastic about them as a studio. That has definitely changed! The culture and opportunities that Blitz represents are intriguing to me. First, they have many teams working on different games, so there's a lot of variety going on at any given time. Second, they create their own engine, giving an opportunity to try tool programming. They even have an R&D department for cutting edge research. Finally, the company allows it's employees to work on their own games on their own time - many other companies make you sign away your right to any IP you create while employed there, but not Blitz! One of the programmers I spoke to had just released her own game. Blitz even has an indie store where they will publish your games. In addition to all this, Blitz seems very focused on education, both for their employees and to better the industry in general.

After learning how awesome Blitz is as a company, I got to speak in small groups with several Blitz employees about the industry and breaking in. It was a great opportunity to discuss what needs to go into a portfolio, CV, and interview, as well as what to expect when actually working in the industry. After the open day, we went out for drinks with Philip Oliver (one of the founders of Blitz) and several employees. The other open day students eventually went home, but since I was staying in a hotel in town, I didn't have to. The developers invited me to second bar, where more Blitz folks and some indie devs were hanging out. It was a great night full of meeting new and interesting people and chatting with folks already in the industry. I had a blast!

I can't stress enough how awesome this event was, and I'd definitely recommend anyone currently in university for game development in the UK to try to go next year. You'll need to apply before January to get a place, so keep an eye on Blitz's website for when applications open up.

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