The Internship Chronicles – Part II

Liam Craffey (MCRM ’18), Mauro Agnellini (MCRM ’18) and Josh Bernstein (GDES ’18) tell us about their internships experiences in Montreal during the spring semester.

 

Liam Craffey (MCRM ’18) – Minority Media

During the Spring 2017 semester I had the amazing opportunity to intern at Minority Media. The studio has several commercial releases, two of which are VR (Virtual Reality) experiences. Papo & Yo, Spirits of Spring, and Loco Motors are their earlier non-VR projects. They used the success of those titles and have since repositioned themselves as a VR studio. Along this line they’ve released Cali a Gear VR platformer and Time Machine VR an underwater adventure game for computer based head mounted displays. Behind the studio is a team of ~50 people all knowledgeable about, and eager to see the future of, VR development.

The first couple days of my internship were spent getting caught up on the products Minority Media has to offer. Since they are a VR focused studio this meant time in VR, a lot of time. So much in fact there were days when I had to take a break from monitors in general. However, I wouldn’t have had it any other way for this experience has given me a deep understanding of VR as a platform and as an industry. Over the course of the internship I gained valuable knowledge about VR production, support, research, marketing, and the industry as a whole.

My position while at Minority was that of a Production Intern. This meant that I was to help out the production team in whatever way I could. Thus, over the internship I worked with a variety of people in a variety of departments on a variety of projects. One week I worked on facilitating product ownership on a project while another placed me on a team reviewing the competition within a specific market. All throughout my internship though, I felt like I was contributing to Minority’s goals and laid groundwork for future aspects of the company.

A main project that I worked on was the buildout of a new customer support system. I was tasked with finding possible services, comparing them, and then testing them out to make sure they worked. My work on this project helped them determine an easier way for them to organize customer questions, provided me with a deeper understanding of some of the problems consumers face with VR products, and taught me several lessons in how to address and respond to customers who have said problems. It also allowed me to get valuable experience with customer support tools available to studios. My work on this project will impact every future release through the customer support portal.

Another core part of my internship was researching the competition to Minority’s upcoming titles. As a business major, this was a great learning experience in regards to how studios begin marketing their titles. It taught me lessons on how find the uniqueness of their products, and how they use that to give themselves a competitive edge. Furthermore, I also got experience preparing the information I found for potential investors. Again, the work I did will have a lasting impact on Minority, this time through how they position one of their upcoming titles in relation to what’s available on the market.

Interning at Minority Media has been a wonderful and unique experience that I will carry with me throughout my career. It has taught me lessons about production, marketing, and customer service while allowing me to feel like I am contributing to the goals of the organization. I heavily recommend aiming for an internship while studying in Montreal, it’s definitely an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up!

 

Mauro Agnelini (MCRM ’18) – Bug Tracker

‘The Unsung Heroes’

“So you just get to play games all day?” If you’ve been part of quality assurance (QA) before, there is a solid 80% chance you’ve been asked this before. If you have no idea what I am talking about, then you are probably the one asking this question, which is fair.

You aren’t wrong, playing games is at the core of the QA process. Now switch ‘playing’ for ‘testing’ and you will begin to see that we are testing these games to make sure the end user has a smooth, bug free experience. Finding these bugs, or errors in programming and/or graphical code, documenting how they can be reproduced and then relaying this information to the developers for them to fix made up my process.

I was able to work at Bug Tracker in Montreal during this semester. This is a firm which conducts QA as a third party, working with several developers at the same time. We have three main departments, localization, functionality and compliance, I worked in the latter two. Respectively, the first department specializes in translating games to other languages, the second on if the game is functioning correctly and the final one on meeting development standards set by groups with platforms like Microsoft, Sony, Android and iOS.

The greatest takeaway from the experience was noticing how valuable it is for all disciplines involved in the game development process. Be you an artist, designer, programmer or producer who is directly involved with a project, it is valuable to see how people play with the game, especially when they find bugs. Communicating with the developers to provide as much information about these bugs and seeing fixes be applied was equally rewarding to experience.

I was fortunate enough to make good connections with my leads and fellow testers, some of which have worked at major studios in Montreal. I look forward to continue these connections into the future and leverage my QA experience wherever I end up.

 

Josh Bernstein (GDES ’18) – Neonable 

After traveling to MIGS (Montreal International Game Summit), I knew I wanted to get an
internship while studying abroad. After talking to a bunch of game developers, the one that
had a killer vision was Neonable’s Bootleg System. The innovative clone gun mechanic is
truly unique and new to the FPS genre.

Neonable is a small indie game studio in Montreal. The studio consists of many individual
teams that work from all around the globe to provide their game in all regions. You can get
the demo of Bootleg Systems on Steam now for free now!

As a game developer, I worked as a tools engineer to improve my team’s workflow, create
procedurally generated content, and customizable artificial intelligence pathing. As well as
giving, QA feedback and testing the game. My work primarily was done in modular
functions, in which I planned and broke down the functionality into smaller tasks,
estimating how long I would take to complete it, and then logged when I would make
progress on them.

Over the semester, I learned to create many useful tools and algorithms that help make
complex game development possible. I am so thankful for the amazing experience I have
had working at Neonable.