KC INSIGHTS: Nathan Burton – Indie Developer 20/11/2020

KC INSIGHTS:

Indie Developer & past KC student: Nathan Burton

KC Games Design and Development students were lucky enough to grab a virtual guest talk from Indie Developer, Nathan Burton (who also happens to be a past student of ours!). He offered up advice on building portfolios, University and game jams to encourage them to push themselves to get a foot into the industry.

We nabbed quick interview with him after his virtual talk!

HOW DID GOING TO KC HELP SET UP YOUR CAREER?

The games courses I did at Kidderminster College where very important for setting me up in the long run, as the courses there covered all the main aspects of game development, such as art, design, 3D modelling, animating, and programming, and helped me find out which of these fields I liked working in the most and wanted to pursue further in University, where you have to choose a specific field to go into, whether it be art, design, programming, etc.

I enjoyed the actual development aspect of games while at college, like the Construct and Unreal Engine modules, and so pursued programming at University.

Kidderminster College also helped me apply to University, helping me set up my personal statement and get through the application process.

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TIPS FOR CREATING A PORTFOLIO?

Having a portfolio to go along with your CV is very important, as, in the games industry, companies will obviously want to see some of your work in action. Having an up-to-date video reel of your best work and projects you have worked on is very handy to have when in the games industry.

 

Regarding making things to put in your portfolio, game jams are a great way to quickly make some projects to fill it up, due to the length of the jams usually being no more than a week. Whether you join a jam alone, or as part of a team, it’s always a great way to push yourself to see what you’re capable of. Game jams will often have a set theme that you build your game around too, so you will have a wide variety of games in your portfolio once you have a few jams under your belt.

 

Itch.io has a GAMES JAM PAGE that’s always full of upcoming jams for jam newbies and veterans alike and is always worth checking out to see what jams are coming up.

FROM EXPERIENCE, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MISTAKES YOU'D RECOMMEND PEOPLE AVOID?

One thing to look out for is working on your own too much. When looking for people to hire, companies will want someone who can work well as part of their team and will be on the lookout for those who have experience working on projects collaboratively. This also plays into the portfolio things mentioned earlier, as having proof of you working on several games collaboratively is sure to make you stand out more to game studios.

WHAT'S ONE OF YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS ABOUT YOUR CAREER?

Being able to develop my passion project into a fully-fledged game has been a really fun experience so far, starting out with being able to work on the project at university, getting feedback from visitors who work in the industry in companies such as Rare and Rockstar, to now being out of university and continuing to go ahead with the game in my own time with the years of experience and knowledge I’ve gained throughout college and university.

WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES YOU'VE FACED DEVELOPING YOUR CAREER?

A unique challenge I’ve faced has been having to move house multiple times for the purpose of pursuing my education and career. Back in 2015, I was living in the highlands of Scotland, and back then there were no colleges nearby with game related courses relevant to me, hence moving to England and attending Kidderminster College (and moving house a second time whilst in England), followed by recently getting my degree in game development from Birmingham City University, and then moving once again back up to Scotland in the Dundee area, planning to, in the future, find work at one of the many game studios in Dundee, the birthplace of the Scottish games industry.

This whole trek around the country and jumping from house to house did make things a bit more hectic overall, having to pack, unpack and get used to new areas several times in the past few years, but sometimes you have to make big adjustments like this to pursue your career, and for me, it was definitely worth it to get where I am now.

You can check out Nathan over on our Success Stories page

You can checkout Nathan’s latest Games Jam HERE

FIND OUT MORE:

GAMES DESIGN AT KC

KC INSIGHTS: UBISOFT