NextGen students at Middlesbrough College were invited to participate in an inspiring week-long remote work experience challenge, with mentorship from the multi-award-winning games developer Creative Assembly (CA) in support environmental charity Ocean Generation!
The students were tasked with responding to a brief from CA to design a game to raise awareness of a vital environmental issue outlined by Ocean Generation, the importance of ocean sustainability and combating ocean threats.
Creative Assembly is one of the most well-established games developers in Europe, beyond their extensive collection of award-winning games, they harness the power of gaming to leave a legacy through education and charity. Ocean Generation is one of the charities they support, as chosen by their employees. Ocean Generation is a UK based charity that is leading an inclusive global movement that exists to restore a healthy relationship between humanity and the Ocean.
This week-long work experience challenge is part of their collaborative project called Ocean Hack, which demonstrates how gaming can be used as a tool for education and to motivate players to engage in topics they may not be so familiar with.
In total 40 Middlesbrough College students across nine teams took on the Ocean Hack challenge. Each team worked collaboratively as a micro-games studios to follow the whole production process to create a game. Researching, brainstorming concepts, creating mood boards, designing assets and levels, and developing all gameplay mechanisms in just five days!
To further support the students, Creative Assembly Ambassadors, Tom Bradstreet and Nikolaos Grammatikos, joined online calls with all groups half-way through the week. Tom and Nikolaos brought real industry engagement directly to students to offer feedback, advice, and inspiration as they worked against the clock to finish their projects.
The quality of finished work was incredibly accomplished across the groups, with student teams Vint Zealand and The Kings being invited to present their game to an industry panel from Creative Assembly and Ocean Generation on the final day.
Tom Bradstreet, Associate Community Manager at Creative Assembly said: “The students were fantastic, their passion for creating games was really inspiring! They explained their ideas enthusiastically and clearly, it was really professional stuff. I was incredibly impressed with the quality of work, as well as their planning and documentation processes.
“All the students had really taken their brief into consideration and put their own creative spin on it. The mood boards were coherent, and the assets being produced were stellar across the board. I was impressed by the level of thought and care put into each idea too, really fleshing out their concepts before jumping in to work on them. Given the short time frame they’d been working for, they had all made really solid progress.”
Ethan Munemo, a Level 3 Games, Animation and VFX Skills student at Middlesbrough College said: “The virtual work experience placement with Creative Assembly gave me a brilliant insight into the industry and what to expect. It was a fantastic experience and one that will help me prepare for my future in the sector.
“I’m really enjoying studying my games course at Middlesbrough College. The variety of modules we study during the course has allowed me to broaden my skillset, which is great for my future and for my portfolio.”
Classmate Abbie Marshall also took part in the virtual work experience. She said: “I loved the virtual work experience with Creative Assembly! My favourite part of the project was the teamwork project. It was also interesting to work with a big company in the sector and to find out more information about working in industry.
“The virtual work experience was a great idea as it made it accessible to us all, and it was helpful for my future career. In the teamwork project I was looking at level design which isn’t something I had previously considered as a career, but I loved this aspect during the project, and it is something I’m considering pursuing in the future.
“The course at Middlesbrough College is brilliant and its great that we have the opportunities to work with some of the experts in the industry and get hands-on experience.”
This work experience challenge is just one of the exciting projects our NextGen students take part in. If you are interested in studying Games, Animation and VFX and learning directly from industry find out more about our NextGen programme here.