Alex Riley takes two young rookies into the workplace. Budding games creators Kiya and Toby discover there is more than they thought to making computer games.
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Do you know your Mario from your Minecraft?
Or your Sonic from your SimCity?
Can you solve the puzzle of platform or have a strategy for action?
Are you a high-scorer or mad about power-ups?
Then maybe you've got what it takes to be a games designer.
Today, our rookies have an absolute passion
to be high-scoring games designers.
We take them behind-the-scenes
at one of the world's biggest games design companies, to find out
what games designers and developers really do,
as we go All Over The Workplace!
There are loads of different kinds of games you can play.
How about platforms games, like Sonic or Super Mario?
What about driving games like Forza or Burnout?
But instead of just playing them,
have you ever thought about making them?
Our rookies this week are aspiring games designers.
Let's meet them.
Hi, I'm Toby.
I'm 13 years old, I'm from Kent and I want to be a games designer.
Toby has already started making some of his own games.
This is one of my first creations.
Oh, the carrot has just died.
My favourite type of game to make is, basically, just fun.
Make them fun.
Hi, I'm Kiya, I'm 11 years old.
I'm from Birmingham and I want to be a games designer.
Kiya makes her own games for her younger brother to play.
That's a short game.
I think it's important for girls to work in the games industry,
because it's not all about the boys.
Girls can do it too.
Brummie Kiya and Kentish lad Toby meet up a skip and a jump
from Toby's home, to meet Alex in Guildford.
So, what do you think will be the most difficult
part about being a games designer?
I think the most difficult part is coming up with a good storyline,
that everyone will be drawn in to play.
And what skills do you think you've got that would make
you good at games designing?
I like maths and art, so I know how to create characters.
And, with maths, you can figure out the circumference
-and where things need to go.
-What about you, Toby?
Well, I've been making games for a long while and so,
I know how to code as well.
So, I think that's going to help quite a lot.
Well, that's what you think,
but this is what your families have to say.
I think he's a perfectionist, so I think that'll be the one
thing that does frustrate him more than anything -
if it's not going quite right.
He will get a game perfect, yeah, absolutely.
Before he's happy, it needs to be perfect.
If I think of a gamer, I always generally think of a boy,
rather than a girl.
Mentally, I think she's got the ability.
It's just whether she can fit into a man's world
and have that strength to push on through.
-Are you too much of perfectionist?
-I think so, yes.
But in the world of commercial games, you know, you haven't
got that time to keep perfecting every single tiny thing.
And other people will be involved in the process.
Will you be able to let it go?
It's got to be perfect.
And, Kiya, there's a lot of boys work in the gaming industry.
-There should be more girls, really.
-There should be more girls.
You're going to be working quite closely together.
So, let's stop chatting, let's get on with it.
So, have you ever wondered how many people it takes
to make a computer game?
Have you everyone wondered what all those people do?
And how their jobs all fit together?
Have you any idea where you are going to be going today?
-Not a clue.
OK, well, you're going to be going to the UK
headquarters of one of the biggest games companies in the world...
-Oh, my God. That's awesome.
-Come on, then, let's go.
This is the studios of the gigantic, multi-award-winning games designers.
It's here that they design
and make some of the most popular games on the planet.
The team here are really driven.
Pete Lake has been in this business for nearly 20 years.
Being into art, he started off as an artist for a motorcycle game
and he rose to become an artistic director for one of the most
successful driving games ever.
And now, he's a senior games producer.
So, what would you say are the three top tips for being a good
-Oh, tip number one, play lots of games.
It's great. In my job, you get to play lots of games,
to have a very good understanding of all the different
types of video games out there and what's good and what's bad.
Secondly, really talk to lots of people.
Talk to the people that are playing the game.
It's not necessarily about what I like doing,
it's about what everybody else likes doing in their games.
And the third thing is really just to be a little bit organised.
I'm running a team of 20 or 30 people and you need to
understand who's doing what and when and in what order.
So, being a bit organised really helps.
Pete's top tips are...
Play lots of games.
Brilliant fun, but it is research.
Talk to people, that's how you find out what they like to play.
And be organised.
You'll need to coordinate what's going on, who's doing what,
when and in what order.
Well, of course, Kiya and Toby have been making their own games.
Yes, Alex. Thank you. We've actually been playing your games.
Kiya, the shapes game was really, really fun.
I love the choice that you have in playing the different
types of game in there.
Think about how you could use sound in other different ways,
to feedback if the player's doing well or not during the experience.
But keep up the characterisation. It's really good to have
the characters, especially when they talk to you.
That was great, the way you get instructions of the game
through the characters in there.
And, Toby, the vegetable patch game was really good fun.
We had four people playing it, because the multiplayer side
of things is really exciting. Have a think about
how you can play with the scoring and the different game loops,
just to make it more of a game,
because one life just wasn't enough.
Well, congratulations, you've obviously got a talent
for making games. So, come on, what's our first task?
Good question, Alex. I've got them right here. Here you go.
"You are challenged to make a racing game.
"We'll give you a team of artists, designers and developers
"to help you."
"You'll both need to lead the team, to make sure you've got a demo ready
"to show in time for a big gaming festival."
-This is awesome. This is really awesome.
Let's start things off. Let me try something, OK?
-I feel like I'm actually in a game.
And we've just moved up a level.
Well, we're here today not just to have fun.
Cos when we make video games,
we come out and we experience things in real life.
So, today, we'll get out there, see how the karts feel,
think about what it's like to drive them.
Look at the track, where are the best bits of it?
And think about how to make this a game.
-What are all the different ways we can win?
-This is my kind of job.
Come on, then, let's go!
This is serious work. It's all about research.
The track is looking slippy, but that will give them
a feel for what it might be like driving in the game they design.
They can speed up down this straight,
but you have to stay on track, Kiya.
Are the rookies taking these corners too fast?
Looks like they made it.
Oh, maybe not. Toby's lost it on the curve and taken Mr Riley with him.
All good experience for the game.
-What was the best bit for you?
-I think the long stretch across there.
You just go as fast as you want.
OK. Going in a straight line, there's less to go wrong.
Although, at one point, you started off-roading, didn't you?
You went off the track onto the grass. I thought, "This is amazing."
-"What's she got up her sleeve?"
What about the bit down the bottom there?
Cos that was really slippery, wasn't it?
And you were like, "Whoa!" All over the place, weren't you?
That was the hardest corner for me.
I was always trying to not spin round.
You've got to put the pressure on the steering wheel, so it won't go.
I think we should take all of this back and try
and put it into the game.
OK? Let's go.
When you're writing for a game,
you have to talk to lots of different people.
So, you have to talk about design with the designers
and work out how they're going to make the game play
and what they're going to make the game levels look like.
You have to talk to the artists about what they're going to
make the characters look like.
Then, you might need to talk to the sound department to
talk about what they're going to do with the voice actors
and how they're going to record it.
Or even composers, to see how
the music will fit into the story of the game.
Back to base, to put the driving experience into action
at the ideas meeting with the team.
We've got lots of pictures to use as inspiration
and we've got the whole team here to help.
-I like the idea of the desert.
-OK, what about the desert?
We could have it racing through canyons and stuff like that.
-You've got the dust blowing all around.
-That's a good idea.
Obviously, we had a really slippery experience go-karting today,
do you think it could be a little bit more like that in the desert?
-Actually, a vehicle like that moon buggy might be pretty good.
Check that one out.
-Kiya, anything catching your eye?
The snow? What about the snow?
Cos you wouldn't have that much friction,
which means it's not as easy to drive in the snow.
-Right, what do you think, John?
-Yeah, snow could be great.
I mean, like you guys experienced today, slippy environment,
trying to taper your speed to your environment,
to make sure you're not spinning out all over the place.
Already, there are some good ideas bouncing around.
The research has got the creative flow going.
What do you like about this one?
I like the good scenery, trees, grass, greenery sort of thing.
But also you've got the big cliff in the background.
You're driving along and then, suddenly, you don't
-realise that there's a massive drop.
And you have to shoot over the edge, like, "Argh!"
Yeah, that could be one of the jumps, couldn't it?
Where you're jumping off the edge.
Can you imagine driving off the edge of that cliff?
It's got a river as well,
-sort of a stream or a lake.
-Oh, yeah, there's a lake.
Yeah, that'd be really great, actually,
for opportunities for splash up.
Just like there would have been in the desert with the sand.
-That's a good idea.
-That's a really good point.
There were some pictures of waterfalls around, I think.
Excellent. Audio-wise, do you think that would be good, Rosa?
That could sound very cool.
OK, so, we're looking at a racing game that takes the best
pieces of the mountains and desert and forest.
-So, we can have different routes. Is that about right?
-Yeah, sounds good.
-How does that sound, team?
Let's get to work.
When we got the task of making the racing game for a big festival,
I was really shocked.
I'm really excited about making the game for a big games festival,
but also quite nervous,
because we have a deadline and we have to finish it by then.
Going go-karting was really, really fun for research and so, I want
to put a lot of that stuff that we experienced today into the game.
It was really fun to see what other people's ideas were and to have
good ideas together.
Hey, Toby, I think you did a fantastic job today,
full of energy and passion for video games.
I'd like you to think more about how you can go beyond reality.
Think about things we can do in video games
that you could never do in real life.
Hey, Kiya, it's been great working with you today.
You were really good fun testing the cars.
What I'd like to see a little bit more of is when you're working with
the team, be a little bit more confident, try and speak up.
You've got some great ideas, but they're not always coming across.
Right, the next task is going to be two things.
First of all, vehicle design.
You're going to come up with the actual cars that are going to be
flying around your environment. And also the game environment,
with an artist. OK?
Art director Max Boughen has been a games artist for ten years.
He's a crucial part of the team that designs
mega-successful driving games.
He has worked on some of the biggest titles around
and has great advice for the rookies.
Can you give us three top tips
on becoming a 3D artist in the gaming industry?
Sure. First thing is to be super passionate.
If you're passionate, it becomes really easy.
The next thing is to pay attention to the world around you.
The more you take in the world and the more you pay
attention to it, the better you'll be at recreating it.
And the last thing is, specialise a little bit.
Once you've found that passion and you know you're creative,
if you specialise in something, it'll just get easier to do.
If you can specialise, then you're going to go far.
Max's top tips are...
Passion - if you love what you do,
that will show in the work that you do.
Observation - look at the world around you.
That helps when creating your game environment.
And specialise - develop your strong points
and that'll help you in your dream job.
Right, guys, we're going to design our vehicle now
and we're going to use modelling clay.
Now, we haven't got much time at all, so, I think the easiest way
we can do this is to think about what a hovering vehicle
-could look like.
-Cos it's hard to do wheels in a short amount of time?
Exactly. I think wheels will make it too tricky.
I think it would be too difficult. We'll take the best of what we do
and translate that onto the computer.
Like the go-karting, this looks like a lot of fun,
but there is a serious purpose.
The modelling clay vehicles help the 3D artists realise their ideas.
Things are really taking shape, as the deadline looms.
Right, everybody, that's time.
We need to stop what we're doing and put this into the computer
-and get it into our game.
Max now has their brilliant models and is setting about
bringing them to life.
He'll use the clay models as a guide.
My top three tips for anyone wanting to get into the games industry
is develop as much skills as you can,
in the area you want to work in. Be as determined as possible.
Don't let anybody tell you you can't do something or achieve it.
And, thirdly, go out
and meet as many people in the industry as you possibly can.
Max is happy with the vehicle designs, but are the rookies?
OK, here we go. Ready?
-Look at that.
-That looks amazing.
There we go.
I think they're really good. I think they all work together
really well. And I'll tell you what I like best about them,
they all look like they're going to travel really fast.
-So, that's cool.
-I can't believe we've actually done that.
I think that's a big, big yes from Toby and Kiya.
I just love graphics in games.
I love the way they look, so when we used modelling clay to create
our vehicles, I was really excited.
When you see them being transformed onto the screen,
it looks even more realistic,
because they have all the special techniques and designs in them.
We had to work really fast, as we had a deadline.
And, being such a perfectionist,
I just couldn't handle not being able to finish my sledge.
Kiya, I think you've done really well today.
I can see so much passion in this from you.
There's nothing wrong with failing,
so you might as well come out with ideas a little bit faster.
But, overall, the idea you came out with was fantastic
and I can't wait to see it in the game.
Toby, you could've have made your model a little bit bigger.
But you knew exactly what would work in the game
and that's the main thing.
You've just caught me playing a new game. It's really good.
-Oh, can we play?
-Oh, this is cool.
How do you make a game that's this popular?
Well, this guy should know.
John Stanley is a games designer,
who has worked on titles played by millions of gamers around the globe.
John specialises in high-octane driving games.
So, John, can you tell us
what your three top tips are for becoming a games designer?
My three top tips... Number one, probably the most important,
play lots of games.
Number two, try and see all the elements that make up a game.
Try it and see how the game comes together.
And number three, take on feedback.
Get as much feedback about your designs as possible.
John's top tip for the rookies are... Play lots of games,
that broadens your knowledge of gaming.
Analyse them, try to identify the bits in successful games that
come together to make the game so good.
And get feedback, which will help at improving your games.
OK, we've designed our vehicles now. What's the next step?
The vehicles are looking great,
but we need a track and we need one quick.
We also need to make sure that we make this game fun.
We're on a deadline, so we'd better get going.
I think we should do a big straight part at the beginning,
so they can speed up.
You could do a bit of a narrow bit, so not everybody can fit in.
-That's a great idea.
-So, you could have barriers there.
-So, it'll go out like that.
And then the rest of the track will go this way.
So, it'll come down here, like this. We'll bring this guy up, like this.
And then it goes up over a waterfall and then to the finish line.
I think you maybe ought to enter it slightly on a curve,
so you could end up crashing into the entrance.
The waterfall could be about there.
Yeah, I like the sound of that a lot.
With John's help and the go-karting experience,
they're about to bring their track to life, with twists,
turns and other pitfalls, to make a very tricky challenge.
Have I got that right, guys? Have we got everything we need in our track?
The track has been sketched out and now,
it needs to go into the computer.
-Just click, just there.
-Click on the side.
-OK, just there?
-Where my finger is.
At this stage, it's crucial to get the track layout right.
-This is my kind of thing.
-Are you looking at what I'm doing?
There's a lot of testing, user feedback,
thinking and tweaking to be done, before the game is ready.
That high, shall we do it?
Yeah, because then it gives it a bit of a drop.
Track layout done. Lots more to do, though.
Like music and sound effects.
Enter Rosa Dachtler,
an aspiring expert in just that.
She's studying audio technology
and splits her time between the studio and studying.
Rosa knows that as well as looking amazing,
a game has to sound amazing.
First up, the music.
So, see what you think of this. Maybe for the main menu.
CLASSICAL MUSIC PLAYS
-I like that.
-Yeah? You like it?
It's kind of like a waiting room, when you go onto it.
Now, we've got a couple of options for the actual race.
DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYS
That's very, very dramatic.
Steady on, Alex, it's only music.
I thought the world was going to end.
-OK, here's option two. This is a little spacey and a little racier.
The reactions from Alex
and the rookies showed that music can be really effective.
Toby and Kiya obviously like Rosa's music suggestions
and it looks like it's made it to the game.
Music ticked, what about the vehicle effects?
VEHICLE EFFECT PLAYS
-Here's another one.
Oh, I like that.
A bit flightier.
That one is a bit like mine, because mine is a hover board.
-OK, so, are you guys happy with those sound effects?
You like those vehicle sounds?
So, if you like, we can put you guys in the game.
-What do you think?
OK, Kiya, when you're ready
go ahead and say, "Three, two, one, go" into the microphone,
-as excited as you like.
Three, two, one, go!
All right, let's have a listen to that real quick.
"Three, two, one, go!"
-Well done, you're the winner.
-We can make that sound as cool as you like.
With lots of different effects on it.
Music and effects are done.
Now what's needed is to bring all the different elements together
to complete the rookies' game.
That's where coding comes into play.
Ace coder Edwin is on hand to give the guys
an insight into the coder's role.
Code is literally written instructions for a computer.
You have an artist who'll create what you see.
A designer will think of what your game is going to be like
and how it's going to work.
But a programmer is more someone who implements all of that.
So, they actually take instructions from a person
-and write it in a way that the computer can understand.
So, every single thing that happens in the game,
you have to write it all out as instructions for the computer
-to understand what's going on?
-For most games, yes.
-And coding is the same as programming?
and programming are the same.
I can't stress how important it is to have coders, just like Edwin,
so that we can actually get the game to play how we want it to play.
You don't fall into the gaming industry,
you're here because you love it.
It's quite hard to get into and the people who get the jobs
get them because they're really dedicated.
Yes, playing games gives you a huge advantage, because it gives you
a really big frame of reference
for all the different games that are out there.
But if you're going to be an artist,
you need to really work on your art. You need to be a good drawer.
If you're going to be a character designer,
you need to spend your time drawing characters, making up characters.
If you wanted to be a coder or a developer, you're going
to have to get your maths skills really up to speed,
your physics skills really up to speed,
and keep working really hard at that. And then, as Dom said,
there's musicians, writers, so many different areas of the games
industry that you can come and work at.
The entire office has assembled to give some feedback on the game.
-So, how are you feeling?
-Yeah, bit excited and a bit nervous,
cos we haven't seen it before and we're just going to play it now.
-What about you, Toby?
-Yeah, I agree.
I'm really excited to see what's come so far,
but at the same time, really, really nervous.
-Well, let's see how it goes.
-Let's do it.
-There we are.
-Look at that.
Everything the rookies have been working on,
throughout the whole project, has been built in.
Their vehicle designs have been included and the game
environment is looking impressive.
Oh, is that the short cut? Go the short cut, go the short cut.
-Here's the jump.
Elements of the track design still have to be added. And the music
and sound effects are to be inserted, too.
So, guys, has anyone got any ideas for this, how we
can make it a bit better?
Yeah, we could add some effects,
that would make it look a lot better.
In the ground, could you put little bumps to go over?
-So it makes it a bit harder.
-I think that is a great idea.
-I think on those long flat bits, we could put lots of bumps in.
It's impressive, but there's still a lot to be done
before it's ready for the festival.
How about a spontaneous round of applause, everyone?
I didn't expect that the game would come out that good.
We've only had a little bit of time on it and now,
it looks that amazing and that brilliant.
My favourite bit was when we recreated the models
on the computer and saw them come to life,
as well as doing all the audio for the game itself.
That was really, really fun and enjoyable.
Putting your own voices into a video game is really cool.
Toby, you did a fantastic job.
I think something you could maybe work on is your teamwork aspect.
I know you're very passionate
and you want to get your ideas out there quickly
but it's always good to think about what other people are saying.
Kiya, you did really well on the track design.
You were really thinking about what the player wanted.
I was really impressed at how quickly you picked up the software,
making the track. That was fantastic work. Very impressed.
Wow, Kiya and Toby have made a game.
They've worked out the style, designed their vehicles,
even laid out the track.
The question is, does anybody want to play it?
Let's meet some real gamers to find out.
This is one of the UK's biggest gaming festivals,
where top designers test their games.
Kiya and Toby's game, which they've called Kito Blaze, is ready.
The team at the games studio have spent quite some time finalising
the audio design...
Three, two, one, go!
..as well as the track, the vehicles and the game environment.
Kito Blaze is ready to be unleashed on the game-playing world.
-Hi, would you like to come and play our game?
Would you like to come and play Kito Blaze?
You can defy gravity with hover boards.
The rookies are doing a great job of attracting attention.
I love the graphics, how it's really easy to play.
What do you like best about it?
Probably the graphics.
Do you think you can make it to first?
This is a massive drop, to make it fun.
Out of ten, what would you rate it?
-Ten? Was it that good?
The game is going down a storm with the public,
but what do the critics think?
Aoife Wilson is an influential games journalist, who travels the world
interviewing celebrities and games developers, talking about games.
Aoife has given Kito Blaze a whirl.
I really, really liked it. I have to say, I'm really impressed
you guys put that together so quickly.
I love the fact that there were loads of jumps.
Really, really good idea to end on a fake jump, cos you're going
towards the finish line and you see it and you're like, "Yeah!"
I was just blown away. The designs were really unique as well.
So, you guys did a fantastic job.
Kiya and Toby have had an incredible,
hands-on experience of life in the games business.
Do they get top marks from the mentors in the know?
Kiya and Toby, it's been wonderful working with you on this project.
You've shown some incredible, creative ideas
and are full of passion every day.
You certainly have everything that you need to work in this industry.
You definitely have what it takes to be a games artist in the future.
I can see you've got real passion for it and I say, go for it.
The main thing that impressed me? Your passion.
Passion for the game and making the game is one of the most
important things about being a games designer. Well done, guys.
Kiya, Toby, you've had a really good look around the gaming industry.
Do you still want to be games designers?
Yeah, I want to be a games artist, like Max.
Because I think it's creative and I like art
and you get to use a bit of maths.
I want to be just like Max, again, with the games artist
but as well as an audio designer, because that was really,
really interesting as well.
OK, well, fantastic. I think you've done brilliantly.
You should be really proud of yourselves. Well done.
Ever fancied being a games designer? In a high-octane exciting world where 'virtually' anything is possible, we join budding games creators Kiya and Toby as they discover there is more than you think to making computer games.
Presenter Alex Riley takes them to a big international games company to find out what is behind the console. With help from the professionals, the rookies bring their ideas to life and their game Kito Blaze is presented at a major gamers convention. However the question is, will Kiya and Toby still want to be games designers after they have been all over the workplace?