A game developer’s story
Developer at VRTRON (Sheffield / Malta)
Andrew Hamilton is a game programmer. After his studies in UK, he is currently working for VRTRON company in Malta on the development of an Environmental Videogame for Playstation VR about Roman history. We have met him and asked few questions about his job.
Q- How did you start to be a game programmer, Andrew?
In 2017 I completed a master’s in Computer Science for Games at Sheffield Hallam. Soon after this, I started working for Steel Minions on the REVEAL project for SHU.
Q- How long did it take and what is the suggested career path, in your opinion?
I would suggest to anyone pursuing a career in game development to look at university courses, especially those that focus on graphics programming and programming more generally.
Q- What do you do at the moment?
I am working for an European project called REVEAL (www.revealvr.eu), a project focused on Realising Education through Virtual Environments and Augmented Locations (REVEAL). I have started following the project in Sheffield and am now I’m working for VRTRON, a REVEAL partner. We are getting ready to publish the second PlayStation VR game for the project called ‘A Night in the Forum‘. The game will be published in 2019.
Q. What are the tools necessary to become a game developer?
A vital tool for game developers is called a game engine. A game engine is generally a suite of reusable pieces a software designed to help create and render video games. The REVEAL project is using Sony’s PhyreEngine to help build the 2 VR games: “The Chantry” and “A Night in the Forum“. Experience with a game engine (e.g. Unreal and Unity) is important, but I would argue a strong programming background and flexibility is even more important. The C++ programming language is widely used in the games industry but scripting languages like python are important for creating tools.
Q. What is the most complex aspect in the development of the game you are doing?
There are numerous technical challenges that arise when creating a VR game. The algorithms to render real time 3D graphics in VR have not yet been perfected and learning to understand them is very tricky.
Q. What do you see in the future of narrative videogames?
I can easily see narrative video games, especially in VR, being the future of an interactive documentary experience and story telling more widely. The REVEAL project has helped expose the potential for video games to tell an educational narrative in a fun and novel way, a trend I would like to see carried on by other video game developers.