Abertay graduate Iain Hamilton is juggling two new start-ups after completing his degree this summer – his new games design business and his baby daughter!
Iain has just graduated with a BA(Hons) in Games Design and Production Management and is now working hard establishing his new business Oui Neuf Ltd.
He says that the birth of his baby daughter just before his final year of study motivated him to do well and give both the best possible start in life.
What made you choose this degree?
“I studied Games Design and Production Management because it offered me the chance to learn about and gain practical experience each area of games development.”
What experience of the games industry did you have?
“I’ve worked with SEGA Europe and Sony Europe as part of their QA teams, testing their products and ensuring that any issues were logged, it's a role that is often considered to be entry-level but vital in ensuring the highest quality.”
Why did you choose Abertay?
“Abertay has great links with the games industry and is a well-known and respected institute. Also my college lecturer at the time said it'd be difficult to get into Abertay, so naturally it became my first choice!”
Did you go on any interesting placements as part of your studies? What were these and what did they involve?
“In my third year, I was accepted into the EUCROMA program in Copenhagen, I spent six months in the role of a game director working on a cross-media project with other students from across Europe. Had a great time and the other students really helped me improve. I learnt a lot from my peers and made a lot of great friends.”
Tell us more about your dissertation/Honours project researching educational games? What made you pick this topic? What were your main conclusions?
“I was looking to find out if games could potentially improve attainment in children through homework assignments. When I was younger I was never really engaged in my education.
“I thought that games could probably help children in the same position become more engaged in their education, which would surely have positive long term effects in helping them become effective learners. Games have huge potential to be effective educational tools, providing that each game’s mechanics are designed to assist the learning outcomes and also that games developed are able to offer the users pedagogical support within the game.
“The level of engagement seen in users interacting with games allows them to explore educational content in new and exciting ways. Furthermore this research found that in-game reward systems provide users with the motivation to actively interact with the educational content leading to users being able to learn new information and retain it.”
What did you enjoy most about the course?
“I enjoyed the practical experience and hands-on time actually making games and assets that can be used within them.”
What’s been the best part of your time at Abertay over all?
“Working in a team environment with other students, I learnt a lot from my peers.”
Did you have any particularly inspiring lecturers during your time here?
“Iain Donald; his in-depth feedback always helped me improve my own work. Also made me aware of so many opportunities, my first job in the games industry with SEGA Europe was thanks to him.”
Have you had any personal obstacles/challenges to overcome during your studies?
The birth of my daughter brought some financial issues, Abertay's discretionary fund ensured I was still able to attend my classes. (I was living in Glasgow to be closer to my daughter and the travel expenses to Dundee were quickly adding up.)
Would you encourage other students to study at Abertay? What would you say to those thinking about applying?
“I would. Abertay has given me the skill-set and confidence to achieve the goals I set myself. Not many people are able to do what they love every day – my time at Abertay has ensured that I can. I'd say, go for it! Dundee is a great place to study and Abertay offers the equipment, teaching and support needed to excel.”
Congratulations on the new start-up! What does the company specialise in? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
“Thank you, it's early doors yet and still working hard to get our next game made. Currently we are making games for mobile devices however we plan to move onto other platforms in the future. I want Oui Neuf to be a big part in inspiring future game makers and I've taken time to help out at the Mini Game Jam organised by Amanda Wilson where schools across Glasgow compete to make games using Scratch. In ten years time I'll hopefully be able to inspire my daughter and others to chase and achieve her dreams by saying ‘Look, I did it!’”