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Amrita Bharij

Amrita Bharij - BA Computer Arts 2006

UI/UX Designer, Rockstar Games

Current role

The start of my career was exciting, thanks to the opportunities at Abertay. I worked hard and applied for many design roles during the last couple of years of the course. While still at university, I managed to snap up the Scottish TV scholarship, which was a brilliant experience. During my last year at university, I entered Dare to be Digital and although my team didn’t win, it exposed our work to various video games studios.

After that, I was offered a two-month internship as a Designer at BBC Scotland and the role of an Interface Designer at EA, where I stayed for seven years across three different studios. After the ten year point of my career, I decided to better my skills by doing another course. My ten years in the games industry ultimately prepared me with the skills and experience I needed in order to land my dream job at Rockstar Games.

In general, the role focuses on creating a great player experience; UX design is integral to the success of the whole game. It involves balancing usability, storytelling and visuals to immerse the player in the game world. It aims to successfully guide players through and to provide help where necessary, but ultimately staying invisible to the player. The role of a UX Designer is deeply collaborative, it entails working with the team to find solutions, developing flows and walkthroughs for each interaction, along with designing visuals and motion graphics. It also involves working with other disciplines for testing and implementing.

Abertay

Abertay had a huge impact on me, particularly at the start of my career. The University had great facilities and a variety of different modules. There were great opportunities available for placements and games competitions, which I believe have just increased in quality over the years. It was a fun and creative environment and I loved my time at there.

I believe Abertay is increasingly strong in its field due to a combination of strong relationships with industry figures, cutting edge technology, running events and competitions and keep up with current trends.

The advice I’d give my younger self and to new graduates is to always keep pushing, and never become complacent. Build up the confidence to get where you want to be, and believe in yourself. Be objective about your career path and if you find a gap, make plans to fill that gap. Consider that there are bigger and more suited opportunities other than your first gig. It’s important to identify the future prospects that are available to you in the position.

The future of the video games industry is incredibly exciting and I can wait to be a part of the next wave of innovation in UX Design. I’m constantly inspired by where it will go and I really look forward to seeing graduates from Abertay become a part of that movement as they have been for decades.

Influences

I played so many videogames as a kid, but the one that stands out as my all-time favourite would be Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. Not only was it crazy amounts of fun with a cool soundtrack, but there is also a deeper meaning...

One of the best things games can do is give a sense of empowerment, and when my brother’s illness didn’t allow him to play physical sports anymore, he used video games as an avenue to be able to have those experiences. We played tonnes of games growing up, but Tony Hawk's is definitely the one that we spent most of our hours on, and it further inspired me to get involved in a career working with video games to create fun experiences that can change the lives of others.