Entrepreneurialism is a top priority at this South Coast university
“START TO DEVELOP YOUR SPECIALISM AS SOON AS YOU HAVE DECIDED WHICH PATHWAY YOU WISH TO TAKE”
Professor Tanya Krzywinska is a prolific researcher of games, and has published a number of papers and books in the field of screen-based and interactive media fiction. In 2006, she became president of the Digital Games Research Association and is currently developing an interactive fiction game for iPad called The Witch’s Room. We spend some time with her discussing the importance of flexible degrees, maintaining indie sensibilities, and why Falmouth sees itself more as incubator than school.
Which disciplines do your courses cover? We offer six specialisms in our BA (Hons) Digital Games: art, animation, audio, design, programming and writing.
So six entry points to the same degree? Yes. We appear to be setting a trend in contemporary game education by creating an undergraduate course that allows students to specialise in different areas of game development and to bring that specialism to a group where live game development is undertaken. And rather than [as] traditional teachers, we see our role in terms of coaching and mentoring; [it’s] an incubation approach to game development within a university context.
Specialising is key, in your opinion? Absolutely. You should start to develop your specialism as soon as you have decided which pathway into games you wish to take. Start making games with your friends, play many types of games, be extremely curious about developments that relate to game development and technologies. Be open to learning and play around with new software, but above all make games by specialising in the area you want to work in! As an indie developer yourself, how do you feel about the label these days? It’s more relevant than ever. Indie games thrive on difference and so the term really does apply here. We believe that students stand a far greater chance of fulfilling their aspiration to work in the industry if they take an entrepreneurial approach to developing their own games. By taking this route, they’re likely to develop the type of independence needed to be successful. Does this prepare them for the realities of working in a large studio, though? The focused approach we take will also prepare our graduates for work in the traditional game industry, since they’ll have developed games together in groups and practised their specialisms to a high degree. Our aim is to ensure that our graduates are talented within recognised skills and have real, published game portfolios that utilise recognised software. Most importantly, they will be able to explore areas of that all-important difference in creative thinking that will make their work stand out! Have tools such as Unity changed the way you go about that? Yes – we’re now able to move away from making ‘sketches’ of games in 2D game engines to having the scope to make far more complex and potentially saleable games in whatever dimension!
“Falmouth is a very lively and creative place, with gorgeous scenery and a great sense of community,” says Krzywinska. “There is a thriving game community, including a gaming bar called 8-Bit in town”