Lecturer in Computing for Games
Business / Employer : The Games Academy, Falmouth University
Location : Penryn, Cornwall
Years in tech : 7
Primarily, I teach computing principles, programming and software engineering. However, when working on software development projects, I tend to draw on a wide range of skills including:
collaborative problem solving
I also find it important to receive feedback on my work, particularly when testing the robustness of a game and when making games for a particular target audience. So, it is important to test the designs and the software and then be able to work with the critical perspectives offered by others.
What does your company do?
We make computer games! Academically, I pursue a range of projects which includes digital games for education, accessible game interfaces that enable people with disabilities to play, as well as procedural content generation systems; specifically, computer systems that are creative. However, I also work with others on games for entertainment, and sometimes even games as a form of artistic expression.
What are your favorite products and services you have helped to develop?
My favorite game project that I worked on was an educational game that I produced during my Masters degree. It was called Vocalnayno and involved a game mechanic system that taught phonics to young primary school pupils in an engaging way.
Via the university pathway:
BSc (Hons) in Computer Science with Professional Development
Member of the British Computer Society
MA in Digital Games Theory and Design
PhD in Information Systems & Computing Research
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Alongside my studies, I worked in the IT sector doing:
Senior IT Technician
Software Developer (Contractor)
Advanced Technical and Research Assistant
I also contributed to a few indie game development projects on a voluntary basis, including the game Warm Gun by Emotional Robots. I regularly participate in game jams; most notably, the Global Games Jam.
What’s your favorite part of the work you do?
The emotions of fiore, pride, and satisfaction found in the discovery of new ways of doing things and/or overcoming a challenging problem. The senses of naches and joy found in other people using and enjoying software that I have produced. The excitement of testing systems, seeing them make a difference to the way people work and interact in ways I never thought of before.
I also enjoy demystifying technology, particularly programming, and watching people do cool things with the new sense of agency they discover.
What piece of advice would you give anyone considering a career in the Software sector?
There are two common misconceptions about software which I observe quite frequently: that IT is synonymous with computing/software engineering; and the myth of the lone isolated programmer. Firstly, IT is about using software and studying its use, while computing is about the underlying foundations of software and studying how it is made. Secondly, software development is an inherently social activity involving working with clients and end-users during the requirements gathering and testing phases of a project as well as working with other software developers, including immediate colleagues and specialists.
I normally recommend that students study mathematics and design technology to provide a solid grounding in problem solving and engineering.
Other technical subjects such as physics are also a plus, but do not dismiss the value of other subjects, including the arts and humanities, that may help to develop lateral thinking, critical thinking, communication, and interpersonal skills.
Tom Sloper’s website on breaking into the games industry is a useful resource:
As is GameCareerGuide:
What’s the best thing about living and working in Cornwall?
The pleasant atmosphere and lovely walks.