The Internship Chronicles – Kayla Sawyer

By Kayla Sawyer; Game Design, ’18

I hear a lot of people say you have to be crazy to want an internship on top of everything else you do while studying in Montreal. Yeah, I guess you do have to be crazy. Crazy ambitious!

I’ve had the amazing opportunity of interning at Edoki Academy this semester. I initially had an interview with C4M Prod, but they recommended me to the company across the hall after learning about my skill set and interests. You never know what kind of connections you’ll make in Montreal!

Edoki Academy is a small company with branches in Montreal and Paris. They create educational iOS games for use at home or in the classroom. All of these games take strong inspiration from Maria Montessori and her “discovery” approach to learning instead of direct instruction. Their latest game, which is due to release very soon, is Busy Montessori Garden. Children learn about plant cycles, different vegetable and flower names, gardening practices, seasons, weather, and the environment through hands-on engagement.

As a game design intern, I have created countless storyboards, flowcharts, and other documents for interactions within their current big project, Montessori Academy, and tested new builds for bugs and gameplay quality. I have also worked closely with designers and programmers to conceptualize and develop mechanics and interactions. I have an interest in both audio and level design, and thus I have compiled and edited sound effects for Montessori Academy, and I recently received a mission to design a tangram mini-game for Montessori Academy with an intuitive control scheme and appropriate Montessori-esque level progression. I’m told that once a new build is ready, I will be designing new levels for a sequel to one of their very successful games, Busy Water, as well.

I’m so thankful for the amazing experience I am having at Edoki Academy. Although I call myself an intern, it’s rather apparent that I am a valued member of the team. I still think it’s crazy that I’m allowed so much power to design interactions, pitch them to the team, and then delegate tasks to the artists and programmers to actualize those interactions. There is no pecking order among the development team, there are simply leaders who manage the tasks and members who complement each other’s skill sets. It has been super easy to go into work four days a week and jump into the projects with excitement. Some days are less exciting and involve spreadsheets and numbers, but some days include digging into Unity scenes and implementing ideas I came up with!

If you are interested in or considering an internship in Montreal, I strongly recommend it. There is a huge time commitment and a lot of perseverance required, but getting hands on industry experience AND class credit is situation you really can’t turn down.