Our latest blogpost detailing the stories of Redhill’s latest generation of interns continues with those of Saara and Tomi, both Environment Art Interns help the Environment team who are working on a Blizzard Entertainment game. Much like many of the other interns we have talked about previously, both Tomi and Saara had been interested in video games since childhood.
Interest from an Early Age
For Saara, interest in both games and art was there from an early age, with them feeling ‘like logical things to put together’. When Saara got to university, she wasn’t sure about her specialization at first but ended up pursuing 3D animation. As it happened, a lot of people on that course were passionate about games and it was the initial point at which Saara considered the option of games as a career.
Saara cites the interactive nature of games as being one of the things she finds most appealing about them. She elaborates on this, saying that: “Being a part of making places players can step into and experience is something I like a lot”. Going into the internship itself, Saara expected to “learn a lot about environment art and things like making modular kits, learning from someone who has a lot of experience”.
Having completed the internship, Saara believes that the experience taught her valuable new skills she will be able to use in her video game career going forward, such as working faster by acquiring new technical skills under the guidance of Safeer, Redhill’s Senior Environment Artist who mentored her. According to Saara, she had previous experience in 3D art but not in this specific field. After working with the Redhill Environment Art team, she got to know how a triple A project differs from indie development. Saara elaborates on this: “There’s more people and resources involved, it’s interesting to learn about how the two differ”.
Summing up her internship experience, Saara concludes that the internship allowed her to test some of the skills she learned in her free time – she adds that ‘getting confirmation on those skills [is] rewarding’, with the internship letting her see how those skills are applied in practice and what about them is important to the whole process of video game making at large.
On-Site vs. Off-Site Internships
Tomi’s account of his experience with the internship program hit some of the same key points. Being artistic as a child, it was natural for Tomi to pursue game art as a career when the opportunity arose for him to do so. From the beginning of this pursuit, he “knew [he] wanted to work in 3D”, being offered an environment job at another Helsinki-based studio. According to Tomi, upon choosing games and environment art as his chosen vocation, he has not “looked back since”.
Going into the internship at Redhill, Tomi didn’t have many expectations due to his previous experiences of working in games being fully remote. Like many of the other interns at Redhill, he “didn’t know what working at a game studio on site is like”, being relieved upon realizing that “it’s easier and more fun” when people are around.
Much like Saara, Tomi learned a lot about the entire video game production pipeline as well as the tools the environment team uses in their day-to-day work environment. According to Tomi, “everything [he] has learned [at Redhill] is important in its own way”, with the tools he has been mastering during his internship playing an important part in game development.
However, when asked about his takeaways from his internship experience overall, Tomi’s answer had less to do with the technical skills he acquired on the job and more about the company and its culture. He had this to say: “The team has been awesome. Working on the projects have been great”, as well as praising the morale boosting supply of cookies at the office.
To Sum Up
As the experiences of these six interns have demonstrated, programs like the one at Redhill do more than rejuvenate individual departments, hone leadership skills within those departments and provide fresh perspectives on company institutions that can go unquestioned by those that designed them years ago (although the program demonstrably does all those things too). The greatest benefit of internship programs is, and forever will be the opportunity to give talented and driven young people a chance to test their skills on real-world projects and fulfill passions that had driven them, in many cases since childhood. For all its many shining achievements, the video game industry has, historically been a tough one to enter and Redhill’s internships are just one of many steps in which the barrier for entry can be lowered to allow the masses of talent to the other side to break through to help forge new approaches, tools and perspectives that will lead the industry in fresh and exciting directions.
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