The next installment of our miniseries of blogposts about Redhill’s newly overhauled internship program focuses on Niko Gardziella, a Game Programmer Intern and Vilma Oksanen, a UX Design Intern. Since joining the company, Niko has mostly been working on game systems and mechanics and Vilma has been helping Isabella (our intern from the last blogpost) on some of the in-house tools employees of the company use daily as well as participating in playtests.
Path Towards the Gaming Industry
A common thread runs between Niko and Vilma’s trajectory within the gaming industry – neither thought that a career in games was a viable long-term option. Niko speaks about getting a business degree prior getting into games programming despite games being an important part of his life from a young age, stating that: “After that, I started thinking about what I really wanted to do with my life. Figuring out working in games was that thing I wanted to do set me on the path that eventually lead me here”.
Likewise, Vilma reflected on her path towards gaming: “I didn’t realize games was a career option before that moment – they are something that always felt too fun to be a job! I didn’t even consider it as viable work at first”. However, both Niko and Vilma had accrued experiences in realms adjacent to their current responsibilities at Redhill. Vilma for example, was an artist before her Redhill internship, as well as building websites since childhood. She, however, describes herself as ‘the kind of person who just wants to create something new’. To that end, UX felt to her like ‘a natural way to combine both the artistic side and [her] past knowhow’.
Believing that she had sufficient skills to pursue opportunities in the gaming industry, Vilma’s first experience of the industry was a small indie company, working fully remotely which created a totally different set of expectations for her going into work for Redhill Games. Redhill’s office in Helsinki is bustling with activity, with constant intra-departmental collaboration giving the place a life of its own; about as far as one can get from a fully remote indie project environment.
Expectations vs. Reality
A bigger company this kind of on-site layout created for Vilma, an impression of a place where people ‘really know what they are doing’ with those expectations being met by her internship experience. Throughout that experience, Vilma got a good idea of ‘how good [she is] and how her skills measure up to the ‘industry standards’ as well as managing her time better in the course of her training. However, her biggest takeaway from the internship experience was that in a creative environment where the result is an aggregate of hundreds of individual decisions, miniscule details become exponentially more important. For Vilma, this realization was reached on account of the meticulousness of her training at the company. She sums it up nicely, saying: “The amount of details was surprising. Everything is supposed to be done the way it is for a reason – and it is super interesting to learn those reasons. The workflows and pipelines have been some of the most valuable things I’ve learned about here”.
The company is able to achieve this level of meticulousness by having strict structures in place where employees always know who to turn to if anything comes up. Vilma elaborated on her experience with these systems, concluding that they feel ‘well thought out’ and attributing this fact at least partly to Slack being the company’s primary messaging channel which makes ‘reaching out to anybody easy to do’. Nearing the end of her internship at Redhill, Vilma states that both the art team and the work that they do is great, a sense of pride in their collective accomplishments throughout her six-month internship that is only possible with company-wide structures that are functioning exactly as they are supposed to.
Learning How a Game Studio Works
Niko’s experiences with the internship went along the same lines despite him going into a very different field of video game making in programming. He describes himself as ‘terrible at art’, leaving programming as a natural choice for him to enter the video game industry. He did this initially by developing his own games on Unity which made him realize game development had a lot to teach him with regards to ‘new mechanics and how they’re implemented’. To that end, Niko came into his internship ‘expecting to learn a lot, both in programming and how a game studio like this works’. Especially, Niko wanted to learn about what the process and pipeline looks like and how things are created in practice. Reflecting on his internship experience, he believes that he was successfully taught about both of those things, adding that the ‘moving parts of AAA are quite different’ to those of indie games, especially the tools that get used in their creation. Both Niko and Vilma went into the Redhill internship with expectations based on smaller-scale projects within the gaming industry, with the six-month process giving them both the tools and the confidence to use their prior skills to help their teams to produce end results they can both be proud of. If you think that an internship at Redhill could be the next step in your career, check out what listings are available now!
WANT TO BECOME A REDHILLIAN?
We are always on the lookout for more Redhillians – so head out to careers.redhillgames.com and see what openings are available!