Intern Role Profile – Gaming Art
Role: Graphic Designer
Location: Lift London
University Course: Computer Arts BA at – Abertay University
Hey, I’m Caitlin! I work as a Graphic Designer at Lift London, a Microsoft first party games studio.
I’m working on an unannounced game for connected devices, and providing creative support for Secrets and Treasure, a Windows 8 puzzle game released in conjunction with Mediatonic earlier this year. My work changes week-on-week, but generally I work with the creative services team to create user interface (UI) graphics for use in game, and collaborate with the in-house marketing team to make graphics for our online and print campaigns.
Favourite Aspects of my Role
My favourite aspect of this role is working between several teams, as I get to see every aspect of the studio’s work. There is a lot more involved in creating a game than just the art and code, and I am at the heart of the product and vision our studio is pushing, able to influence our direction and make meaningful changes. I have the freedom to plan my own solutions to creative problems, and the support of an incredibly talented art team behind me. I have an amazing manager who gives me the space to pursue my own opportunities, and a team full of industry veterans to learn from. It’s the perfect environment for someone starting in the games industry!
What I Have Learnt.
One of the most important things I’ve learned is how to function within a larger studio environment. My previous creative studios were small-to-medium sized, so coming to work at Lift, with over 50 employees, within the huge organisation that is Microsoft, has been a bit of a change! The process of going from concept to implementation and release is much more strict, as there are key stakeholders involved at every stage gate. I have also gained a more thorough understanding of the software and programs I use every day.
One of the best things about the intern scheme is that there are a huge range of opportunities that open up to you. This includes the intern 101 teams, designed to stretch your skills and experience by working across different sectors of the business with other interns. I am part of BeYourFuture (as Promotions Lead) and Milkround. There are a huge amount of more informal opportunities- it’d be impossible to do them all! One of the most interesting for me has been helping out at Ventures, Microsoft’s start up accelerator. I’ve also been given support from my manager and work time to volunteer for several games industry initiatives, including traveling to Cologne to volunteer at Game Developers Conference Europe, and speaking at Eurogamer on getting into the games industry.
The culture in my office is incredibly relaxed, yet charged with creative energy. In the run up to submitting our product for soft launch there are nights of crunch (working overtime on the project), but nowhere near as much as in other companies. Lift organise a lot of social events, but there are also informal ones almost every week. We have an internal board games club (a passion of mine,) and I am helping to run a videogame tournament in the coming weeks. I’m surrounded by motivated people who love games and tech every day, so it’s easy to get along with my colleagues!
Application Tips & Hints
It’s cliché, but my biggest tip would be to know yourself and be confident in your abilities. You need to know your educational and work background thoroughly and be able to relate your past experience to the questions the interviewers will ask.
Ultimately the interviewers are just trying to see if you’d be a good fit for the company. They’re not trying to catch you out or trick you. They want the best candidate for the role, and you need to show yourself in the best light and prove that!
Thoroughly read the job description and the experiences of other candidates online. Take everything with a pinch of salt- every year the interview and hiring process is different!
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