The trip to Ottawa this weekend was also for some real work, as I had been asked to give a presentation at the annual meeting of the Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada, the government agency of which the GRAND network is a part. GRAND are the people that we worked with on the student project last year, and the presentation was to demonstrate how that co-operation worked, and what was achieved by the project.
It was really interesting to get to meet and hear from the other industry partners, not just from the gaming industry, but also from many other fields, from retail to computer sciences and the digital effects industry. There are a lot of very interesting partnerships and initiatives being driven by the NCE here in Canada.
The folks at GRAND also published a really nice write-up on the project that you can read here. I genuinely hope that with this project we have shown that different approaches to internships can work, and that it serves as an inspiration for future projects. Traditional internships definitely still have a place in the industry, but I firmly believe that there is something to be said for providing a more engaging and challenging experience that a project like this provides.
So presenting the results to the NCE was an important part of the process, and everything seemed to go well, and people were interested in the project. For me it's worth investing in good relationships with the academic world, and government, so that we can find ways to even better equip students for working in the industry in the future. As the industry matures, so will the systems supporting it, and we are fast departing the days when most game developers are self taught, bedroom programmers and enthusiasts. The next generation will also include those who have studied specifically to become game developers. That means that it is in the industries best interests to be at least a part of their education.
It's also a lot of fun to get to work with students, as their passion and enthusiasm for the industry is tangible and infectious in equal measure. That's really why most of us do what we do, and helping to inspire the next generation of developers is such a wonderful opportunity. I hope that our little pilot project can help inspire others in the future and that more students get to discover what it's like to dive into game development!