Why I chose to study Games Development: Becky Reeve, Year 3
Becky Reeve is in her final year of study on BSc (Hons) Games Development.
Here she shares what subjects she took before starting at NUA, what she’s been working on and how Games Developers can shape the industry.
What subjects did you study before coming to NUA?
I went to a fairly small sixth form and studied Classical Civilisations, English Literature and Language, Textiles and Maths. These subjects were very different, and it helped to keep my workload varied – I always had plenty of projects to be working on.
What interested you about Games Development?
I have always played a lot of games, ever since I was young, and I always loved how much involvement the player has in deciding how to interact with the world that has been created. I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from different aspects of games throughout my life as they introduced me to different forms of music and art.
I also looked up to a lot of female characters in games such as Coco from Crash Bandicoot who was presented as being capable, funny and very intelligent. However, it’s quite telling that I was more likely to find a relatable character in the form of an orange marsupial than a woman from a 90s game. I realised later on that I might not be able to be these characters, but I could make my own that would embody all the things that I enjoy.
Below: a screenshot of the shop system Becky created for her final project.
Was it difficult choosing between Games Development and Games Art and Design?
I think for a lot of people it can be, and you often get people swap in the first term or two, but I wanted to focus on the design aspects, building worlds and thinking about how the player could interact with these.
We do get to work with BA (Hons) Games Art and Design on collaborative projects, so we get the best of both worlds really.
Why did you choose Games Development at NUA?
One of the main drives for me was the university’s links to the games industry and its reputation as a great place to study. When I sent in my application NUA had just won the TIGA games award for UK’s Best Educational Institution 2017 and I also had a few older friends that had already started on different courses and their responses were all very positive too.
I liked the idea of working across courses with artists and designers as well as the other developers. Speaking to students at open days, they told me about Game Jams and collaboration projects that you could take part in for fun and to boost your portfolio, so it was nice to know what you could do outside your course.
Having taken part in some of these collaborations during my time at NUA, I have created a variety of work that I that has been hugely strengthened by the fact that I could collaborate with concept artists, asset producers, and indie developers.
Below: Screen shot of the horror game created in Becky’s second year NUA Game Jam with the theme of ‘Mirage’, screen shot of Becky’s game from NUA’s YouTube compilation of Global Game Jam 2021 entries for the theme of ‘Lost and Found’ and a screen shot of the base level from Becky’s second-year collaboration with Games Art and Design students around the theme of climate change.
“Developers really do play a crucial role in changing the cultural landscape.”
Why do you think games developers are important?
I feel really encouraged to see more women taking an interest in games development and starting to work in the industry as this is producing more interesting and realistic characters and stories. Personally, I loved to see female characters that I could identify with in the games that I played growing up.
When I realised this wasn’t as common an occurrence as I’d like, I decided that if I went on to develop my own games, this was something that I would put at the forefront of my ideas, so developers really do play a crucial role in changing the cultural landscape.
What would be your dream job or place to work after graduating?
As games is such a wide industry, there are lots of avenues that I have considered while studying. I would be interested in pursuing a design-based role such as a User Interface Designer. Indie development would also be an interesting option as it would allow me to take part in all aspects of creating a game.
Alternatively, I would also find games production or marketing an interesting alternative to development itself as it would utilise my experience in events facilitation and my interest in writing.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about studying Games Development?
I think the most important thing to think about when going into games development is what you want to bring to the industry and to let those ideas be the foundation of your work. Don’t be disheartened if you are not able to make your ‘dream game’ straight away, you can circle back to an idea over the course of your career, making it better each time.
I had a lecturer in first year tell me that everybody has that one idea for a game that will sit in their mind for a long time and the best way to do that idea justice is not to rush into the development. Instead, just let yourself try and fail at a few ideas first to gain the experience you need to have the best chance and creating your ideal version of that game.