Interview with Ubisoft Game Lab Contestants

One attraction of spending the semester in Montreal is the Ubisoft’s Game Lab Competition, in which students from different colleges compete to see who can make the best game out of a chosen topic (this year: Dream). Although this is a big challenge I decided to participate in this competition this year as I viewed it as a great opportunity for networking and building my portfolio. But of course the road ahead won’t be easy. In addition to overcoming lots of hurdles as a team, we have to learn to balance this game’s development with our other classes and duties. Interested to hear their own take on the process, I reached out to some of my team members for questions before we started development.

Q- What attracted you to participate in the Ubisoft competition instead of the typical Game Studio II course?

Cristian: In all honesty, what attracted me was the name Ubisoft. When I was allowed to participate in the competition over the standard class I went for it, it just felt like an opportunity lost if I didn’t go for it.

Quinn: I wanted to get some experience in a more competitive scenario and I wanted to challenge myself more while in Montreal.

Alex: For me, the main draw was getting to work with a mentor from Ubisoft. Having first hand industry experience seemed like a really great way to further my career and portfolio.

Willow: The idea of being in a competition definitely pushed me to enter. Anyone can say they made a game, but how many people can say they made a game that got an award from Ubisoft?

Q- What’s something you look forward to and what’s something you’re nervous about?

Cristian: I look forward to working as efficiently as possible with our reduced time limit. I’m a fan of streamlining my work so I see being put in an environment that requires us to do that as fun. Something I’m nervous about is how our team will face that challenge, while working effectively is a good thing, it’s a pretty big challenge to pull off.

Quinn: I look forward to being able to make an actual game within the 10 week limit, I’m worried about the crunch that might occur.

Alex: I am excited to get to make a game with a much larger team than I am used to (8 people as compared to 4-6 people total). What I am nervous about is just the short amount of time we have to deliver a product compared to the normal Game Studio II course.

Q- In the weeks leading up to the competition, have you settled into your role at all? Why or why not?

Cristian: I don’t think I’ve settled into my role quite yet. The role I decided on was an animator and VFX artist and because the competition hasn’t started yet I haven’t had the opportunity to put in the work and define my role. I think I will settle in pretty quickly once we get started though.

Quinn: A bit, I feel like I need to work more with coding in UE5 to truly get better at my role, but with documenting and coding and working with the other talented members of the team I should be able to.

Willow: Not really. We haven’t even started making the game; it’s hard to say I’ve settled into a role I haven’t even done.

Alex: I have a role I’ve settled into with the Scrum Master position, but outside of that in terms of being a designer, I haven’t really found that for myself aside from planning on being less of a technical designer and more of a writer/SFX designer.

Q- What skills do you hope to develop by being part of this competition?

Cristian: I hope to develop better organizational skills. I’m confident in my ability to animate and implement my work in engine, but I’ve yet to really get comfortable doing that within a production cycle on a team.

Quinn: General UE5 and game programming skills

Willow: Like with all my other game studio classes, I’m looking to get better at working in a team. I get game design experience all the time, but it’s harder to get teamwork experience.

Alex: I hope to work on not only handling a fauxducer (de-facto producer) role, but also manage to have some creative role on the team outside of that.

Q- Where do you hope to be by the end of the competition?

Cristian: I hope to just be satisfied with the game that we make. My goal is to achieve a good work-life balance during my time in Montreal so I only want to put about 80% of myself into the competition. By the end of that, I hope that I can be proud of the work I’ve done while also not having sacrificed my well-being in the process.

Quinn: I hope to have better coding skills in engine and to have better portfolio material

Alex: I hope that by the end of this competition I won’t have lost any sanity devoting a majority of my time to the project. Obviously I want to do well and create a fun and interesting experience, but I want to remain healthy while doing it.

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