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5 March 2020
Artist and gamer, Caitlin, is studying Computer Games Art at ARU in Cambridge. In this blog she tells us more about her course, the changing nature of the gaming industry, and her career ambitions.
Computer games have always been a part of my life. Growing up, I would always play games with my brothers and it was an amazing way to escape reality and become immersed in a whole new world. Pairing that with my love for drawing, I had no idea that this whole world of working in games was possible for me until I saw that you could study Computer Games Art at university.
When I first started my course, I was unsure what I wanted to do, but now I have really found how much I love designing creatures and monsters, and making them into 3D assets that could be put in a game. Seeing something you created in a game engine you can walk around or see animated makes all the hard work worth it.
In my first year I designed and created a mount in the style of the game World of Warcraft. This was the first creature I ever created and I really enjoyed making it and learned a lot. I went on to animate it in my Animation module last semester. This prompted me, for my current projects, to focus on creating creatures ahead of starting on my portfolio. I decided for my Digital Practice brief to design and create a creature, hoping to improve my skills. In my process I like to design a few concepts so I can choose what works best. In this case, I liked the fox-deer hybrid creature.
The games industry has always been male dominated, with around only 21% of game developers being female. More and more women are entering the industry, which is great because around 45% of gamers are female. There's still a way to go with equality in games, with female gamers receiving three times the amount of harassment in online games than male gamers, and I have been subject to this myself. Even so, I feel we are going in the correct direction.
Another obstacle I have faced pursuing this career choice is the stigma around games in general. Most people, when I tell them the course I am doing, perceive it as easy or that I play games all day, which is far from the truth. There are pretty technical aspects even for the art side of games and the skills learned around using software. This stigma is an issue that many of my classmates are faced with, regardless of gender.
Overall, despite the barriers, I am excited to see what I can learn and create in the rest of my time on the course, and hope after my degree I can be a part of creating a game, whether that be as part of a major games company or an indie studio.
BA (Hons) Computer Games Art student
Caitlin studies Computer Games Art in ARU's School of Creative Industries. Find out more about this course, and other undergraduate degrees, at one of our Open Days.