The Internship Chronicles – Scott & Alex

By Scott Barter and Alex Frey (GDES ’18)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Scott & Alex interned at Champlain Montreal, helping to realize a long-held campus dream. Both are returning for the Spring session, so they’ll be here to tweak the project!

Scott Barter

scottInternships and coffee are synonymous. It’s expected that you’ll be making pots of coffee for anyone who needs it. I made a lot of coffee this semester. All of it was for myself.

My internship this semester in Montreal was with Champlain College. I was tasked with creating a virtual reality tour of Champlain’s Montreal campus, using the virtual building as a showcase for the work of students who have been in Montreal previously. I was incredibly excited to be working in VR. As the most recent and most impressive emergent technology that will seriously affect the games industry, it’s important that I familiarize myself with the design process early on. Champlain has given me the opportunity to do so with quite a bit of personal design freedom.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to tackle this project myself. My partner in crime was Alex Frey, a fellow game designer and a good friend. From the outset, we got to decide what technology we would be using and how we would achieve the goals set out for us at the start of the internship. We went with the HTC Vive, which in our minds was the most impressive VR headset on the market. Full scale room movement was very important to make the user feel as if they could really explore the building at their own pace. Once we had our tech selected, we began the building process. For me, that meant measuring, implementing, remeasuring, and re-implementing the dimensions of the entire academic center into our Unreal Engine project. Once the building was completed in greyblock, I begin texturing and lighting. Finally, we implemented all the previous student projects we could get our hands on into the virtual building.

The final result is a to-scale, highly detailed and highly accurate virtual tour of the Montreal campus, allowing students back in Burlington to take a look at where they might choose to spend their semester abroad without ever leaving the country, or even the main campus. Adding the work of previous and current Montreal students really helps to show off what all we’ve learned here, as everyone who has taken a semester in Montreal has said it’s been the most productive and intensive semester of their time at Champlain. I’m incredibly thankful that Champlain decided to trust us with some new technology, as it has definitely given me a leg up and an inside look into virtual reality development.

Alex Frey

Being given the opportunity to work for Champlain College on an unnamedindependent project was one of the most valuable experiences I have had yet. Allowing Scott and I the freedom and responsibility of handling a project ourselves taught me how to make the most of what you have. Working with emergent technology like the Vive VR headset has given me exceptional insight into the world of independent development, especially when solutions to problems are not yet readily available and must be figured out myself.

Working within the Unreal Engine, we were tasked with creating a virtual tour of Champlain’s Montreal campus as well as showcasing the some of the best work previous students have done while living there. While many of them were impressive pieces modeled by the very talented game artists, there was also amazing range of work produced by filmmakers, graphic designers, and animators.

I began the semester wanting an internship with another company, but after being given this incredible opportunity from Champlain, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Through their support and trust I was able to work within in a new technology like VR, something I am sure is not a reality even for some industry veterans today. The experience here is unmatched to any you could get in Burlington, and being so close to such a hotbed of creative activity here in Montreal really makes this an invaluable adventure you can truly not afford to miss.