Presentation date: 31/10/2011

Nick Rathbone is a previous student from the University of Bolton, and is now an experienced Games Designer, with industry experience. In 2001, Nick completed a HND in programming, which he then went on to do a Games Design course for 3 years; he was awarded a 1st Class degree. I am hoping to come out of university with a first class degree, and hopefully follow in students (such as Nick’s) footsteps and find work pretty quickly after uni.
After university, he applied to many Quality Assurance (QA) and games design roles all over England; as he had worked hard on his portfolio and CV, he managed to gain himself an interview at Climax Studios, and get the job! In this job, he worked mainly on Silent Hill (Wii).
After working in Climax Studios, he then moved to CodeMasters, and has been there for 3 and a half years, and counting. Nick is currently climbing the career ladder at Codemasters. The reason Nick moved to Codemasters is that he was offered a games design role, which appealed to him more than the QA role he had at Climax studios.


A CV needs to: grab the reader’s attention, show relevant experience, demo your ability, and show your interests (without waffling too much)! A good CV usually covers 2-sides of A4, and is in a PDF format. It needs to be unique, professional and stylised. It needs to stand out in the crowd. This was a really useful piece of information; I always thought that a CV had to be in a very formal (and boring) style, however Nick explained that with a stylised CV, it will appear more unique, and more importantly it will help it to stand out when being reviewed by employers looking to hire new talent.
Nick explained that when applying for a role in the games industry, it is okay to include personal gaming interests on to the CV, as long I do not ‘waffle’ too much. To ‘waffle’ means to talk too much about things that do not need to be included, for example every game console I’ve owned is not something to include, whereas the genre of games I am interested in is something I could include in my CV.
Qualifications are important to show on a CV, however experience is the most important factor for a games CV. For example, I would include all of my QA positions (including the voluntary roles) onto my CV. There also needs to be a link to an online portfolio on the CV.

Agencies are not always the best option when trying to find a job:
Pros: They can help you with your CVs, they find roles which are not always advertised, and they do a lot of legwork for you.
Cons: They distribute your CV’s to lots of companies, and the employers have to pay the agency a fee if you are hired, and many companies will not employ people through agencies because of this.
Many companies prefer people to go directly to them as it shows a dedication to the company.

I learnt A LOT from this section of the lecture; I never realised that agencies take a percentage of the employees wage from the employers. I naively signed myself up for an agency last year, and had no knowledge of what agencies are like and gaining this knowledge from Nick made me take myself off of the agency. I personally decided that it would be of greater benefit to me to find my own job, as it shows employers that I am more dedicated to the specific roles I may apply for. Like I said before, I gained a lot of useful information from this part of the lecture, and it actually changed my approach to getting myself known within the industry; instead of placing myself on an agency website, I decided I would network myself though a website called ‘LinkedIn’ and I would go to events around the UK and get my name known for positive reasons.


A portfolio needs to be easy to access and clear to navigate; it should include demos/videos of previous design work, PDF versions of design documents. The idea of a portfolio is to sell you using your abilities and skills. Having a Youtube channel is good to show off videos, which can then be linked to your portfolio website. Keeping an updated blog can also show employers a side of you that they might like. Having a 2 minute show-reel showing a little bit of all of the work on the portfolio is something to definitely include on the portfolio.
It is important that all of the links provided on the portfolio site work correctly, and are clear as to what they are and what they link to. The website needs to look good, and show off who I am. I need to be proud of the website and the work on it. Thinking outside the box and making a unique website will stand out. The website needs to show off my personality, and not look like a generic template.

Placing a portfolio on a DVD, or a hard-drive is a good way to get noticed at events, and they are easy to hand-out to developers and companies. Before Nick explained that some people that applied for roles at Codemasters had very unique portfolios on DVDs and pen-drives, and I had never heard of giving a CV/Portfolio out that way. I believe this is a good way to stand out, but also a good way to show off technical knowledge that you have to employers. Nick explained that it is easy to get a template which can be applied to a DVD; this is basically a simple layout which is easily editable/customisable, and through this a menu can be created for the DVD where the employer can go to different sections of the portfolio and they will interact with the employer. I believe that I will be creating a website portfolio, in addition to having a DVD and business card which I will give out at events such as Eurogamer, and DEVELOP. Without this knowledge from Nick, I believe I would have ended up handing out boring paper CVs, with a link to my online portfolio on. So with this knowledge from the lecture, I feel that it will help me get a job in the games industry as it has helped me to understand that everyone is unique and we can show how unique we are by giving out CVs and portfolios in a unique way.


There are many different things that I need to do and think about before I head into an interview, and these are:
-Preparation: having knowledge of the company, and playing their games beforehand.
-Have passion and enthusiasm
-Stand out in a group interview (hopefully standing out because of my work and experience, as opposed to my gender)
Prepare to be tested; companies often do tests on the spot, such as “Create a mechanic and explain it”. Testing can also happen before and after the interview, as well as second interviews.
-Write down prepared questions, such as: “What’s your daily role?”, “What software do you use here?”, and “Is health care provided here?”.
-Dress casual/smart

Life as a ‘Games Designer’

What is expected:
-Being a team player is critical; being enthusiastic, social and spending time with colleagues is important.
-Communication is key! Be professional and social.
-Be pro-active and productive; training within work, content I produce should be ‘game-worthy’, and get used to using company templates.
-Have a ‘can-do’ attitude; I must have a drive to do work, and I must stay positive, no matter the situation.
-Deadlines and keeping to high standards; I must get used to sticking to deadlines, carrying out probation work, and completing documentation.

Life as a designer is tough; you must be determined to work hard. As a designer, you interact with all key areas in the development team, so communication is key!
Be proud of every single game you work on, and be positive about it.

Studio structure @ CodeMasters:
-Entry (Designer/QA)
-Senior (4/5Yrs experience)
-Chief (Lead)
-Executive Producer
-Studio Heads


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