Thursday, 18 February 2010

Internship Research

I have also been looking into different Internships available to me and experiences that people have had.

The following is about the EA Academy, found on

"Approaching Internships in the Game Industry
E.A. Academy
Where to Begin
An Ideal Internship
This past June I drove from Ohio to California, I had scored an internship with Electronic Arts. For three months, I worked on a new Playstation game, my first game development job. During the drive back, I had plenty of time to think over just how great my summer was. My childhood dream of entering the game industry had finally come true. It was confirmed; game programming is definitely my thing.
This is an article about internships in the game industry. It's for those of you who haven't had an internship yet and for those of you planning to hire interns.
First, I'll rattle on about the specifics of my summer, what was it like working at Electronic Arts and what the interns did. Then, for both prospective interns and companies I'll discuss Motivations, Where to Begin, Getting Hired, and outline an Ideal Internship.
E.A. Academy
The large Electronic Arts buildings in Redwood City really impressed my ex-girlfriend. I gave her a tour to show off the art on the walls, the video game machines, the nine foot tall Future Cop mech, the free espresso, the volleyball/tennis/basketball courts, the health center, and the sports bar. I then proceeded to drink on the job; it was the weekly T.G.I.F. party.
I worked, too. I programmed for Nascar Rumble, a game scheduled to be released this coming Spring. My code produces the graphics for some of the power-ups in the game. All it took was some creativity, programming, and comfort with 3D-vector math. OK, It wasn't really that easy. Although I enjoyed it, programming on a game is not the same as playing a game.
My first two weeks were spent programming an in game tool. During that time I had a crash course in the layout of the codebase for the game. Once I got approval to start working on the power up graphics, it took another two weeks until I had some initial prototype effects working. Throw in another month for the full development of my first 'real' effect, and the summer is already two-thirds over! The last month I spent cranking out another five effects.
Why did it take so long to be productive? It's called a learning curve; the beginning is difficult. I spent the majority of my time figuring out how to work in a strange codebase. There's no documentation, and good examples can be hard to come by (they are too specialized or optimized). But once I had working code that was familiar to me, I could modify it for many other uses.
I was not a lonely intern, however. There were 20 other interns working in art, programming, sound, and marketing positions. Other programmers worked on things like: developing a new display algorithm for a Playstation 2 game, animation control, special effects graphics, bug fixing, and tools. Artists produced textures and models to be used in games, as well as cleaned up and reformatted existing work.
We did more than just work, however. Once a week we gathered for lunch and a discussion about various positions in the entertainment industry. Speakers came to tell us about what it's like to be an artist, programmer, producer, marketer, and so on. We also had discussions with EA's COO John Ricotello, and the company's CEO, Larry Probst. We also held regular events such as game tournaments, baseball game outings, barbecues, and go-kart races.
At the end of our internship we reviewed our experience, were reviewed ourselves, and received some free games. The feedback from our managers was helpful; it let us know what we did well and what to improve. All the interns I heard from were pleased with the summer.
It isn't too difficult to understand why a student would like an internship. Most students take the summer off, and work of some sort is a good idea. The types of jobs one can get are slightly limited, however. There is only three months time before you know you will be leaving and you likely don't have much training. So, get a job at McDonalds, or at a restaurant bussing tables. Or, get an internship. There you get to sit at a desk, get paid more, and gain valuable experience.
Experience comes in a few flavors. First, you'll likely learn something useful about the type of work you're going to school for. Second, you'll be exposed to office life - the rituals, the restrictions, and the amount of time you do things other than 'work'. And third, you'll have work experience worth putting on a resume. If you decide to take a job in another city, you get bonus experience: that of living someplace new. And, as Reznor said, "There's nothing quite like the feel of something new."
But what of the other side, why should anyone hire an intern? Marc Wilhelm, art intern for Road Rash: Breakout, claims that "it lets companies recruit America's best and brightest and yank them right out of school before they get a taste for other companies." Which, in essence, is true. An internship is an excellent trial run for a potential future employee. During the internship the student can be assessed, trained, and motivated. By the end of the summer the company will feel familiar, and chances of return are high. As an employer this is an excellent way to attract fresh talent.
Students can get work done too, and they're cheap. Interns can work on real problems that might be mostly time consuming for fulltime employees. Although it may take the intern longer, it will still leave others to focus their time on harder and more critical issues."

I would ideally like to apply for the Framestore Intership over the summer

It is my ideal intersnhip as Framestore is a company I would love to work for, especially being located in London and being so well reknowned. My research on them is to follow.

No comments:

Post a Comment