Social Media Coordinator, Claire Yeash, spoke with the producers in Montreal during the Fall 2018 semester about the city, the study abroad process, internships, and what it is like to be a producer.
Montreal is one of the biggest gaming hubs in the world; it is the largest city in game development in Canada, a country that ranks third in the world for games.
The producers in Montreal during Fall 2018
Developers from all over flock to this great city, and with over 150 indie companies and multiple AAA studios such as Ubisoft, Square Enix, and EA, there is a huge video game community. In addition to a great networking advantage, students who study in Montreal can gain valuable experience in a professional studio, attend interesting classes that improve students’ skills tenfold and dive into the culture of Montreal.
Adam van Sertima has been a professor at Champlain’s Montreal campus for five years and is, in his own words, a “Dad, philosopher, art historian and Games Studies specialist.” I sat down with him to talk about his expansive professional background, his passion for teaching, and his interests in film and video games.
Megan Hoins: Where did you go to college and what was your major?
Adam van Sertima: I went to Concordia University here in Montreal and I double majored in Communication Studies with a focus on Film Production and Philosophy, so I graduated in 1994.
Stacey speaking to a group of prospective game devs at Meltdown Esports Bar.
It started with a Facebook reminder: A career soiree was going on that night, giving me only a couple hours to get ready. “It’s not like I’m doing anything else,” I thought.
Five minutes before the event, and I’m wandering down St. Denis trying to find the venue, counting down the addresses. I’d expected it to be held in some office or conference room somewhere, but no: it was in an arcade bar—the Meltdown Esports Bar to be exact.
It was already crowded; the event hardly looked like an event, and I began to wonder just what the hell I’d signed up for. I stumbled to the bar, ordered a shot of bright red something, and that’s when it happened—
Colton Orr recently scored a job as a character artist at Insomniac Games after graduating from Champlain College last May. Since then, he’s been working with their team on the upcoming DLC for Spider-Man and has been running a successful side business selling basemeshes and characters on the ArtStation Marketplace.
I worked at Tuque Games, a small game development studio situated in Montreal. Tuque is just coming off the heels of releasing their first original game, Livelock back in 2016. With the success of Livelock, the team has decided to amp up production and dive into a much more ambitious and exciting new unannounced project.
During my time with Tuque I worked under the Lead Designer Kevin Neibert and the rest of the design team on their latest unannounced project. The majority of the work I did for the team dealt primarily with player experience. In the early days of my internship I was mostly on bug testing duty while I familiarized myself with the game and its mechanics. Over time my role shifted away from specifically bug testing and more toward player experience design (though with a bit of bug testing). Continue reading →
During the Spring semester of my junior year in Montreal, I was afforded the opportunity to serve as a Production Intern at a game studio called LuckyHammers. LuckyHammers was originally founded in 2004 as a company called “Fidel,” but eventually rebranded to the current name after being acquired by the Stolo holding company. Throughout its existence, LuckyHammers has worked with many different relevant brands and properties, but has more recently focused on VR projects, and digital versions of tabletop games for PC and mobile. Continue reading →
I spent two semesters in Montreal, and staying here was was a great choice. I got to go on more company visits, get taught by a Ubisoft employee, and more relevantly, I got to take another internship. This semester I got to work at a company called Pixelz, on a game titled Cefore, a demolition puzzle game (that’s also available now on Steam Early Access). My main function for most of the internship was creating a system that records GIFs of gameplay and gives the user the ability to upload them to Imgur and share them on Reddit and Twitter. Continue reading →
I worked at Edoki Academy, a well-oiled machine which churns out multiple games a year while maintaining their main product: Montessori Preschool. Montessori Preschool is a subscription-based service which provides over 10,000 users with a plethora of mini-games designed to teach children in ways they’ll find fun and interesting. With this, users can learn the basics of math, English/French, Mandarin, and practical applications such as taking care of a pet. Along with this, anyone who subscribes to the service is also given access to all of the company’s other games. These other games range from beginner programming skills in Code Karts to gardening in Montessori Nature. Edoki has a catalog of over twenty-five games each of which has their own teaching point and helps teach children basic problem-solving. While interning there I filled many roles for the company, the primary one being a translator for the company’s emails. Creating English versions of their PDFs for their subscribers who do not speak French. This is what I did for the majority of my time at the company, but it was by far the most lenient duty I had. By which I mean that unlike many of the other jobs I had done this one had no real constrictions, and thus I was able to express my creativity in the formatting. Continue reading →
Elisabeth Hammond (PWRT ’19) – Game Writer at Tuque Games
Working out the logistics of an internship was a long and arduous process for me that in volved many emails that mostly inquired whether or not it fit into my academic plan. Caught in the odd position of “not really a game designer,” but at the same time searching for a, more or less, game design internship, alongside having switched into the Professional Writing major my sophomore year of college, and thus having to double down on classes, I wasn’t sure if I was afraid of not being able to graduate on time or if I was afraid of not having the experience game companies so often seek from freshly minted graduates.
As it turned out, I didn’t need to worry about either.
Not only did an internship fit snugly into my academic plan so that I’d graduate within four years, but I was taken on not as a game designer, but as a game writer at Tuque Games. It seemed almost too good to be true, and I spent my winter break excitedly waiting to return to Montreal for a second semester and to see what my internship had in store for me. Continue reading →
When it comes to what my goals in life have been, the opportunities I’ve found often presented themselves to me in ways I wouldn’t have particularly chosen. In that way, I have chosen to take that as a lesson to be more excited for the times in my life that I didn’t plan for: Where things don’t go according to plan, and seeing how I am able to get to the same place I was going from where I ended up, or for finding a new place to go to with what I learned. For better or worse, I feel like this way I learn a greater amount about the world and myself. With all the highs and lows unexpected experiences that stem from the mystery of the unplanned unknown might bring me to, it all leads to me being whoever I become, wherever it ends up leaving me. I’ve accepted this as an inherent good aspect of life, even if it takes for some struggles to find the good it brought me. Continue reading →