26th April 2021
We recently caught up with Alan Horton, who studied on our HND Games Design course, about his current role at leading Liverpool-based games developer Lucid Games. Alan talks to us about his experiences of the college and attending Game Jams, which helped him break into the industry…
When did you study at the college?
I studied at the college from September 2016 to June 2018, enlisting as a mature student on the Higher National Diploma (HND) in Games Design. The course had 16 modules in total, covering all areas of games design from animation, programming, character creation, modelling and much more.
How did the college prepare you for your role now?
When I first started the qualification, I was unsure about which area of games design I wanted to move into but having a lot of modules covering all the different areas of games design helped me narrow down and find an area I wanted to focus on for my career.
What was the support like at college?
The support I received at the college was great, I have dyslexia and that put me off for years about going back into education. My tutors and support staff helped me with writing essays and blogs, which in turn helped me to become more confident.
What were the opportunities like?
The gaming industry is very competitive and is hard to get into. I found entering competitions, going to networking events and joining projects was extremely beneficial to my development. It helps you to get noticed within the industry but also helps you to improve on your chosen specialism.
Could you tell us a bit about the ‘Game Jams’ and how they helped you to get noticed?
Game Jams are a great way to work on your skills within a limited time frame. They can last anywhere from 24 hours to a couple of months and usually involve a team of up to five people. Within your teams and the designated time period, you’re required to develop a game based on a theme provided. Everything is usually made from scratch and by the end of the jam you will have a small playable game. I’ve entered a number of these before getting into the industry properly and was lucky enough to win one of them.
What is your role now?
I’m currently employed as a technical designer at Lucid Games in Liverpool. Usually part of a production design team, a technical designer is a game or level designer by training and is known for their technical skills. It’s my job to create and implement complex technical and system design elements into the game.
What are your greatest achievements so far?
My greatest achievements so far have been getting a job in an industry that I absolutely love, winning the Game Jam and having the game shown on Channel 5’s The Gadget Show. I’m also very proud of a game I created with my friends that we showcased at EGC 2019.
What things do you enjoy about working in the digital/gaming industry?
I enjoy being part of the creative process and producing something that many people will see, play and enjoy.
Do you have any advice for students interested in digital careers?
If you’re interested in a subject, try it. Like most things you might find it difficult at first but keep practicing and learning about your subject and you will no doubt improve over time.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to Alan for taking the time to speak to us, everyone at The City of Liverpool College wishes you all the best in your future career.