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Frontier’s CCO on how Brains Eden can inspire the next generation of game developers

Jonny Watts, chief creative officer at Frontier Developments in Cambridge explains why game jam initiatives such as Brains Eden are an ideal way to inspire the next generation of game developers.

Research has shown three quarters of all businesses face a shortage of digitally-skilled recruits. The digital skills shortage is especially prevalent in the games industry where studios must find innovative ways to discover digital talent. Game initiatives like Brains Eden, held annually at Anglia Ruskin University, are crucial in this regard as they provide an opportunity for the games industry to forge valuable links with talented young game developers and the education sector.

Next week at Brains Eden (13-16 July) videogames studios and technology companies will be able to witness the enthusiasm of students from around the world. During the four-day event students can participate in career clinics with games industry experts who can offer career advice, review and critique of portfolios, and answers to any questions students may have about the industry.

The event also hosts a series of seminars where attendees can hear inspirational talks from individuals working at some of the world’s leading technology companies. They will be offering guidance on how to start a career in the industry while sharing their own personal experiences about how they got to where they are today.

In the highlight of the event, students have the chance to demonstrate their development skills in a 48-hour game jam, in which teams are challenged to make an original game based on a surprise theme revealed at the start of the event, with their finished games judged by industry experts.

The quality of the games produced in those 48 hours always amazes me. Some previous years’ participants have even seen their work further developed by games studios, such is the level of skill and creativity on display in that brief two-day period. Top teams can win a variety of prizes ranging from state of the art technology to internships that add an extra element of competition to the weekend.

With many internships and full-time roles in major game studios arising as a direct result of previous Brains Eden events it’s clear we can build a strong future for the industry by supporting upcoming talent.

We think that full weekend of immersion in game development offered by Brains Eden is a huge benefit for students, and I’m sure the benefit for the games industry is equally clear. The event offers vital insight for games recruiters, as well as introductions to stand-out students. We can see how they work as a team, how they work under pressure, their ability to problem solve and much more – all of which are necessary attributes for those who want a career in games development – and we can give back with advice and experience from our decades in the business.

Game jam initiatives like the one at Brains Eden can be an ideal way to inspire the next generation of game developers, opening their eyes to the range of career options across the games industry. Those students are the lifeblood of the games industry and they’re going to push the boundaries of innovation to become the developers of tomorrow. 

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