Copyright 2001 www.tombraiderchronicles.com

[ November 13th 2001 ]

But on the other hand, games development is the new rock 'N' roll. The success of Angelina Jolie's blockbusting Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (as opposed to ropey Bob Hoskins's vehicle Super Mario Brothers) has proved that computer games have crossed over as a valid art form as well as one of the nation's favourite pastimes.


In terms of the male/female ratio, the games industry is still very much dominated by boys and their toys, and the pizza 'N' spectacles image of the games developer persists to some extent, however untrue it might be. But what you are more likely to find is a young, creatively talented workforce with lots of ideas and lots of enthusiasm. The work can involve programming or design, and individuals are assigned as part of a team to a single project.

It's not all rendering 3D zombies and writing code so Lara Croft can shoot her gun, though. There are, as in other industries, openings for specialists such as audio engineers and quality assurance technicians (games-testers).


The good news is that the UK is now a major player in global computer game development, with the market being led by British houses such as Codemasters, so you won't have to voyage over to Nintendo HQ in Japan to have a slice of the action. The UK games industry already employs more than the film industry in this country: no mean feat when you consider that both have been expanding rapidly during the past few years. Games development is one of the few areas of IT that is still going strong, and new hardware on the market means it is not going to slow down in the near future.


What with PlayStation 2 and Microsoft's Xbox apparently taking over the world, the industry is one that moves faster than that souped-up Nissan Skyline out of Gran Turismo: you'll need to be able to keep up. The required technical expertise will obviously vary according to what project you're working on, which platform it's designed for (Game Boy or Xbox? PC or PlayStation?), and what your specific role will be (for example, graphics, sound or gameplay).

Broadly speaking, though, you'll need to be able to work as part of a team, and a passion for video games beyond the odd game of Tekken after closing time is crucial to get your foot in the door.


The ultimate reward is bashing out a few rounds on a finished game that you've seen through initial conception, coding, testing and to completion. Working in a dedicated creative team in which the pressure is on to come up with the best ideas is another major plus (the money's not bad, either).

Occasional high-pressure deadlines towards the end of a project are the flip side of the satisfaction received at seeing a finished game top the Christmas charts.


If you have a portfolio showcasing your best work in animation, graphics or some other facet of games development, you're on the right lines. Qualifications are not as important as enthusiasm, imagination and straightforward talent, so make sure your work is so good employers can't afford not to take notice.

Information supplied by GTI, publishers of doctorjob.com, the NOW! magazines and the TARGET family, a comprehensive range of graduate and undergraduate careers publications, available from careers services, university departments and ordered directly from GTI Specialist Publishers on 01491 826262.

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