“Congratulations on becoming International Arms Dealers!” our new boss, Ryan, hollered as we came in for an initiation breakfast during the first week. With a little piece of context, this excitement makes a bit more sense.
As a company, IronBelly Studios makes most of their profit off of weapon assets for the Unreal Marketplace and Unity Asset Store. Their weapons have been used in a variety of popular games, such as Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, otherwise known as PUBG. Additionally, they cover other client based requests related to development, 2D and 3D art, level design, user interfaces, and virtual reality.
As interns, daily life can get interesting. The studio is found nestled into the rooms of an old sewing factory after an easy ten minute walk off of the Frontenac metro station. Daily Discord calls are the norm, since more than half of the company works remotely, with only three actually working in the Montreal studio. This also means we get the occasional visit of a remote coworker stopping in to say hi for the day after their flight from home! Including us interns and the promised occasional cat, it’s already a full house.
Despite this small scale, the personalities are huge, leading to a very personalized atmosphere. Jenn’s love for plants can be seen scattered across windows and twisted around furniture, and field trips to the downstairs plant store are always encouraged. Ryan and Adrien’s love for scavenging literally represent almost the
entirety of the room, from chairs and desks being found in the hallways to curtains and “broken” air conditioners being pulled from the unwanted goods of others.
To add to the excitement, work surprises can come from any direction. From witnessing the delivery of at least five packages in one day to taking an entire shift to take apart our personal computer towers to add in new Solid State Drives with the entire faith of our boss. (Note we were excited to get to do this as it meant our Computers
would run faster for the remainder of our internship!) On the work related side, our professional interests were personalized towards our goals.
As game design interns, we both primarily worked with level and environment building from conceptualization to implementation in Unreal Engine 4. This included gathering references for assets, architecture, landscapes, and lighting. From there, we worked with a game called Caliber and Class, on the map titled “District420”. Amanda was tasked with the Red team side, and Conor with the Blue team side. Outside the editors, quality assurance was periodically mixed in. From testing in-house with the IronBelly Weapon Library and Caliber and Class game to client requests like Fractured Veil, Zombie Road VR, and more. IronBelly Studios is always working on multiple projects, so QA Testing is needed on a variety of days with the communication of remote teams.
On Thursdays, Amanda switched roles into a marketing intern. With a wide variety of client and in-house projects on all scales, the tasks were never the same. Long term and short term assignments included; recording in-game footage and trimming clips for game trailers, researching the development of similar trailers and game genres, researching Architectural Visualization websites and art, overseeing user comments in the Unity and Unreal stores, and recording information into spreadsheets for the company.
As a production intern, Conor checked TargetProcess, a task management software daily to make sure all of the companies tasks are aligned with the correct sprint cycle. Every Tuesday he ran a projects report, move the data to a spreadsheet, and then update the company schedule to make sure the correct due dates are represented. He also occasionally set up tasks for other employees to keep them on schedule. His job also involved talking to different employees all over the world. From Warsaw Poland, to San Francisco California the Tyrannosaurus Rex emoji is the same around the world!
With fun comes difficulty. Employed as an intern in a professional studio will create uncertainty, doubt, and failure, but from it comes valuable lessons. Working with the company has proven to be challenging, from learning new repos to passing through creative challenges, communicating remotely, managing language barriers, and making sure to update the team and our boss on requirements. There is no better way to get
through this than by trying and pushing past personal comfort and boundaries. Afterall, the studio is there to help us learn and succeed!
Like it all started with a breakfast, it ended with a farewell lunch. Then we will return to Burlington for Senior year with all of the knowledge and experience that we gained from our time at IronBelly Studios!