By Kyle Mays (Multimedia – California Lutheran ’18)
Like the DemoNight I attended last week, this was event where my expectations had to be put in check in a great way, but for entirely different reasons. I hadn’t expected the alumni pizza night to be anything more than hanging out with past students while also getting free pizza. What I had not taken into account was the number of alumni that would show up, that they were nearly all full time developers at professional Montreal game studios such as Ubisoft and Rogue Factor, and that they were mainly there to talk to us!
The Q&A they hosted was full of solid and insightful advice on how to start looking for jobs upon graduating, their workplace environments, and necessary communication skills. Some of the best tips I heard included the importance of being able to read conversations you are having with recruiters at social events, and how important it is to try and be likable and relate to their interests rather than your own personal interest in getting a job from them. They stressed the importance of being able to put yourself out there and practice conversational skills as much as you can, and if you can’t do it on your own, go with a friend who might help keep the conversation flowing and accentuate the qualities you have that you might not even recognize. None of the advice felt like it was condescending or a show they put on for us: it felt really genuine and practical and I really appreciated it.
The sun was just rising, the car packed like Tetris, and Montreal, Canada written into Waze on the dashboard from Concord, Massachusetts. The whole family was stuffed into the handy dandy Buick SUV, papers ready and a plan set. Our dog Pepper content in his bed on my brother’s lap, and our cat left at home as the king of the house for the weekend. It felt like vacation, yet it wasn’t. Nerves tangled and butterflies wild, I was excited, but absolutely terrified. Three hours later we were in Vermont, dropping my brother’s luggage off at McDonald Hall, and another hour later we crossed the border into Canada. They say the biggest cultural difference in the shortest amount of time is the leap from Burlington, Vermont to Montreal, Quebec, and they’re not wrong. It was little city to mini New York (with a bit of Paris thrown in for good measure).
Alex Dalton (Game Producer ’19) had the opportunity to attend MEGA as part of his internship. Alex tells us all about the event.
When you first look at Montreal, you would probably see the vibrant history of the city. If you look carefully you would be able to see the thriving technology scene. From Place des Arts to Centre Phi, tech is everywhere. The game industry is thriving in Montreal. A number of students, myself included, have managed to land internships within the game industry. When I was seventeen, I wanted to be where I am right now. I work as a production intern for an indie studio in Montreal. The internship has been great and towards the end of the internship, I was given the opportunity to go to MEGA. MEGA or Montreal Electronic Game Arcade was an event similar to the concept of Penny Arcade Expo. MEGA was meant for developers to show off their projects and receive feedback. I had a good time.Continue reading →
By Michael Middleton (Computer Science ’18, Stonehill College).
Michael Middleton `18 sitting in front of a wall displaying some of Edoki Academy’s games.
Who Is He?
My name is Michael Middleton and I’m a senior at Stonehill College studying Computer Science and German. I’m studying abroad this semester with Champlain College of Vermont at its Montreal Campus. From the moment I started taking Computer Science classes, I’ve always wanted to try making video games. I also wanted to study abroad and practice my French, so when the Office of International Programs mentioned the Montreal opportunity my response was a rapid and excited “sign me up!”
Working at Edoki Academy
I was granted the chance to interview and accept a position at Edoki Academy beginning this past September. Originally founded as Seven Academy in 2012, the company merged with EdokiInc. founded in 2010 to form today’s existing company. Headed by Mr. Emmanuel Guyot, the company strives to create interactive mobile applications and games for kids aged 3 – 10 utilizing Montessori Education Method. Developed in the late 19th/early 20th century by Dr. Maria Montessori, the Montessori Education Method attempts to teach children through self-discovery and interactive learning rather than the traditional directed instruction. (To learn about more about Ms. Montessori, click here.) Continue reading →
Nick Magnus (Game Design ’19) tells us about his experience interning at Edoki Academy during his semester in Montreal.
Over the course of this Fall semester, I interned as a Game Designer at a small company called Edoki Academy. Founded in 2010, Edoki Academy specializes in Educational Apps for children. The company has been releasing apps for the iPad since its release and has been supporting many of them with new updates periodically. There are less than 15 employees, so It is very easy to know everyone.
The company is housed in an office structure 10 minutes from the Mont-Royal station, which offers a variety of choices for morning coffee. The office space, which has just recently moved, consists of a single open space with 10 computers, with offices for the directors. My mentor, Léa Tabary, delegated most of my tasks to me as well as provided feedback on my work. Continue reading →
At some point during my sophomore year I decided to go and study abroad. I had always wanted to go and visit another place, and doing it for school is the perfect excuse to go. At some point while I was reading over documents about the process of going abroad I decided to take an internship. The process of organizing this proved to be slightly easy while at the same time tedious. It required filling out extra forms, talking with the career services at the school multiple times, creating a passable resume, having a correspondence with the Canadian Government that involved sending them my passport information four separate times, and adding a thin layer of stress to everything I was doing. Now, skip forward about five months and here I am in Montreal in a internship with a small gaming company. Continue reading →
Alex Dalton (Game Production ’19) tells us about his internship at indie studio, Back to the Game, during his semester abroad in Montreal. Alex also had the opportunity to table the game he was working on at MEGA and MIGS.
When a student comes to Champlain College, what do you think they came here for? For many, it was the opportunity for a higher education. For me, it was all about the internship opportunity. Champlain College offered a number of connections that I could use to break into the highly competitive game industry. Upon arriving in Montreal I was thrilled to be starting my internship. Unfortunately for me, I did not find one for a few weeks but when I did, I hit the jackpot. I landed an internship at Back to the Game. Back to the Game or B2TG was founded by my boss Richard Rispoli, three months before I came around. The team was small, consisting of industry veterans. Richard worked in the game industry for fifteen years prior working on platforms ranging from PC to the Nintendo DS. Our lead programmer Ivan has been working with Richard for quite some time and I have become quite in awe of his programming skills. Back to the Game’s lead artist Michael is a quite and talented soul. Michael has worked on some great projects like Disney’s Zootopia and I have been honored to work with him. The same goes for everyone at Back to the Game. I could not be the producer I am today without the continued guidance of Richard. Continue reading →
Nick Oprisu (Game Production ’19) tells us about his internship at Illogika during his semester abroad in Montreal.
There is a good deal of discussion and debate about what a game “producer” does. Is it mainly business tasks like budgeting and marketing, or is it more project management role? Is it an equal mix of both, or is it something else? This uncertainty is partially why I was drawn to this type of work. Self determination and independence are traits I value highly in people and companies, and the chance to forge my own mark on this new profession is a welcome opportunity. While we can debate the role of them, producers are key to managing even small teams and making sure a game goes from an idea to a product, and a successful one at that. The successful producers figure out this balance fast and adapt their style and work methodology to the team they have. This tightrope walk of managing the product and managing the business is what separates the bad producers from the good ones, and understanding when their current model is failing separates the good from the great. Continue reading →
Montreal is a city of art, something you don’t really see unless you wander out of the port area. While the Old City is stunning in its own historical sense ─ with spiraling architecture and the sheer magnificence that is Notre Dame ─ the bustling pop-culture overtake in the rest of the city is pretty amazing too.
The first time I wandered randomly from the dorms and the Older City was also the first time I wandered into a forest of art. Boulevard de Maisonneuve displays so many beautiful walls of art that can’t fall into the category of “graffiti” and its negative connotations. Continue reading →