NA­TIONAL FILM AND TELE­VI­SION SCHOOL

An in­no­va­tive course in which stu­dents fo­cus on cre­ativ­ity

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Four years on from the in­tro­duc­tion of its Games De­sign And Devel­op­ment MA, the Na­tional Film And Tele­vi­sion School’s course has made a name for it­self as a com­pre­hen­sive and fiercely creative un­der­tak­ing. Head of games Jon

Wein­bren, who has 20 years’ in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence, in­clud­ing roles at EA and Sony, tells us what sets it apart. Why should stu­dents choose NFTS? There’s re­ally no other place in the coun­try – if not the planet – like the NFTS. It’s one of the world’s top film and tele­vi­sion schools and we have the awards, ac­co­lades and alumni to back this up. At its heart is a set of two-year MA pro­grammes in dif­fer­ent film and tele­vi­sion spe­cialisms, and dur­ing their time here stu­dents work to­gether on a va­ri­ety of ex­er­cises and out­puts, cul­mi­nat­ing in key grad­u­a­tion projects across fic­tion, doc­u­men­tary, an­i­ma­tion, tele­vi­sion en­ter­tain­ment and, of course, games. It’s a great ex­pe­ri­ence for the game stu­dents to be work­ing with screen­writ­ers, mu­sic com­posers, sound mix­ers, pro­duc­tion de­sign­ers, pro­duc­ers, vis­ual ef­fects peo­ple and other spe­cial­ists, many of them set to be the best and bright­est in their fu­ture fields. Why did you de­cide to add a game course to NFTS’s port­fo­lio? The game course was set up to be an en­gine for games in­no­va­tion – a place where a di­verse group of peo­ple from all sorts of dif­fer­ent back­grounds can de­velop their creative and tech­ni­cal skills across all ar­eas of game de­sign and devel­op­ment, and learn how to cre­ate mean­ing­ful, evoca­tive and en­gag­ing playable ex­pe­ri­ences. What do you look for in prospec­tive stu­dents? Many of our stu­dents come from be­yond the con­fines of a tra­di­tional games back­ground, so since we started our stu­dents have al­ways aimed to bring some­thing fresh and new to the medium. In fact, what I now see is the in­dus­try start­ing to speak more of that lan­guage – a re­al­i­sa­tion there’s a world of un­tapped pos­si­bil­i­ties to ex­plore. Which tools do you fo­cus on? We do a lot of work with Unity, but we’re not averse to look­ing at the al­ter­na­tives if stu­dents are par­tic­u­larly keen to work with them. We have ac­cess to all the en­gines if we need to. Art/an­i­ma­tion-wise we use Au­todesk prod­ucts such as Maya, the Adobe suite and so on, but we also have a range of more ob­scure pack­ages that en­able us to au­to­mate char­ac­ter cre­ation, rig­ging, en­vi­ron­ment build­ing, ma­te­ri­als and tex­ture cre­ation and more. Since our stu­dents have to spe­cialise in ev­ery­thing, they need ways of quickly cre­at­ing con­tent with­out ac­cess to a 15-per­son art and an­i­ma­tion depart­ment. So we use pre­vi­su­al­i­sa­tion tech­niques used in the VFX in­dus­tries to rapidly cre­ate as­sets we can use in both pro­to­types and in fi­nal game projects. What do you hope your stu­dents will take away from their time at NFTS? Our stu­dents get the op­por­tu­nity to work with the best and bright­est fu­ture prac­ti­tion­ers from across the me­dia pro­duc­tion dis­ci­plines, and they’ll come out with a port­fo­lio of game projects that shows off their ideas, vi­sion and prac­ti­cal devel­op­ment skills. They’ll also have had two years’ in­spi­ra­tion, two years of re­lent­less mo­ti­va­tion to make great games, which in­spire and en­gage with play­ers be­yond the norm, and two years of ex­tremely hard work and a lot of fun along the way.

“Our stu­dents have al­ways aimed to bring some­thing fresh and new”

The Na­tional Film and Tele­vi­sion School has been train­ing grad­u­ates for the creative in­dus­tries since 1972

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