Earlier this month #visiblewomen was trending on twitter, highlighting women who are prominent in male-dominated industries.
Chris Berrow has been speaking to Cari Watterton who’s a user experience designer with a games company called Puny Astronaut in Dundee, looking at menus and interfaces in games… and says "game jams" are a really good way of learning the ropes...
Cari - So it's an event that you'll go to. It's usually equate student friendly where you're given a stimulus and you have to respond to that stimulus within 48 hours and create a game it's always have to be a game. It can be an interactive experience. Things like that but typically it's a game. So one thing that happens over years the global game jam that happens in January I think it's like usually around the 22nd and that happens on a global scale. There's like hundreds of countries that compete and it's great it's really cool because we get the theme in Scotland and the UK and it's like you can't talk about the theme until Hawaii gets it. So it's like you got to wait eight hours until they've got it. Yeah. And you just have these teams of people and you can either go in with your own team or you can go as a solo person get picked up by a group of people and it's a fantastic opportunity to learn new things. And it's just it's so much fun as well because you a lways end up with something at the end of it being usually you're up all night and you get free pizza and everyone's completely dead by the last day. Thought you're submitting has 101 bugs in it and it's just it's just a fantastic experience.
Chris - Yeah like you say you kind of end up with something at the end of it. You know portfolio-wise if you especially feel starting out it can be really good.
Cari - Mm hmm. Absolutely yeah. I've done I've done a number of game jams one of the best ones that I've done has been the Murray game jam which is actually from where I'm from originally and they they have two categories. They have a digital game and a board game and I've only ever done the board game ones because I didn't know any programmers at the time it just stuck with me and I actually the first year that we went we want it. Oh yeah. And we got to as the prize go down to the UK Games Expo in 2016. Exhibit the game and pitch it to publishers and all that stuff and it was a fantastic experience for a group of teenagers to go and do that was great. Yeah and it's awesome.
Chris - You're obviously on the younger side of your career in the earlier years and things like that. What would you say to people who may be sort of about to get to where you are and kind of what to do.
Cari - To me I think it depends what kind of discipline you're gonna go into. So for my discipline which is you own your wax if you have a strong graphic design background then that's really good. I've seen a lot of people like professionals in the industry who've started off with graphic design but I think going to game jams because there are loads running all the time is a really good way to sort of get a foothold in the industry. I think just speaking to people and making connections I found some of the best feedback that I got was when I reached out to other user interface artists that I admired and was like Can I show you my portfolio and what I've got. Can you give me some tips on how to advance and what to do. I don't feel like I'm at the stage where I can give proper feedback to people because I have so little experience. One of the best things was actually getting in touch with those people who had been part of the hiring process and who were able to say yeah we look for this kind of stuff and you probably want to work on this and present this differently.