It’s a wrap! Final Presentations were on Wednesday, May 7th. We had over 30 guests attending the talks with live demos afterwards.
On Thursday March 6th we had a special guest speaker from the Sims 4 team come visit us – senior AI programmer, Rez Graham. The talk was an open Q&A session that turned into a discussion about tackling the technical interview. Since he has experience being on both ends of the interview table, he was able to give advice through many humorous yet informative anecdotes. Some tidbits include:
- If you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s not the end of the world. The interviewer is also looking for how you respond to stress and will sometimes ask questions until you don’t know the answer to see how you’ll handle it. If you get into this situation, a good strategy is to give as much information that you do know about the problem – even if you don’t know the exact solution they’re looking for.
- The interviewer wants to hire you. They’re as excited about the interview process as you are. They just want to find someone to fill the role they need as quickly as possible so they can finish their project.
- The interviewer really only wants to know three things about you: are you smart (can you do the job they’re asking you to do), are you passionate (when it get’s to crunch time will you be there making the product the best that it can be), and can they work with you (will having to work with you negatively impact their own work)? The interview usually revolves around determining these three things.
After the Q&A session, Rez stuck around and reviewed everyone’s resume individually. He not only gave constructive feedback on how to improve each resume, but he made a point to find something about their resume that they did well. He also stayed later than intended in order to give everyone’s resume a thorough review. Thanks Rez!
TL;DR: Rez is a senior AI programmer on the Sims 4 team, is creative when it comes to his hair color, and is an all around great human being.
On February 20th 2014 we had Greg Dismond, the Technical Director on the Maxis team at Electronic Arts, give us a talk. Greg has been in the industry for over 20 years and he talked to us about interactions.
Greg started the talk by asking us to write down two of our favourite interactions and two of our least favourite interactions. He then gave a talk about interactions in general and how they can be divided into different levels of decision making. He explained how every time a person performs an interaction they are also assessing how easy or difficult it was to do which in return determines the possibility of them performing the same interaction again.
He used Google as an example of an interaction which most of us perform on a daily basis and explained how we choose to do it because the motive of the interaction and the tool used to perform it are clearly defined. In this particular case the motive is because I need an answer to a question and the tool is Google itself as it searches for answers and organizes them in a convenient way for us to access.
We then went around the class and discussed what each person had written in the beginning for their two least favourite or favourite interactions. This led to some interesting observations as a group as most of the people in the class had listed calling a call center/helpline as their least favourite interaction and the process is tedious and nobody likes to be kept on hold for a long time. This talk was really useful as it was really insightful in terms of the interactions we perform on a daily basis and also as students of game design to analyze our games in a better manner.
On Thursday, March 20th, 2014, Lynsay Pearson, who is the lead producer at EA, visited ETC SV campus and gave us a talk about her working experience.
Blue Sky Studios is an American computer animation film studio based in Greenwich, Connecticut. Founded in 1987 by the visual effects team behind Tron, it has been owned by 20th Century Fox since 1997. Using its in-house rendering software, the studio had worked on visual effects for commercials and films, before releasing in 2002 its first animated film, Ice Age, and completely dedicated to producing animated films. The studio has produced nine animated films, with Ice Ageand Rio being its most successful franchises.
We had a chance to have a skype meeting with Blue Sky folks which is really great. There were three people who attended the meeting with us.They are Deb Stone,Michael Reed and Adam Burr.
Deb Stone,worked in feature animation as a senior recruiter for Blue Sky Studios.Michael Reed is a Senior Research Associate at Blue Sky Animation Studios, where he works on geometric issues in modeling and rendering.Adam Burr is also a Senior Research Associate at Blue Sky Animation Studios, he he works in production as an effects and rigging artist.
We were really excited to get a chance to talk with them and ask questions. Producers,technical artist,modeler,animator,programmer and concept artist in ETC all attended this meeting.We asked a lot of questions about different roles in animation studios. They were really kind and willing to answer any questions we asked, all the students got the useful and inspiring answers from them. This meeting really helped a lot for us to know more about feature animation studios and their requirements.