A day in the life of an Indie Game Development student

09 August 2023

A Day in the Life of an Indie Game Development student

Indie Game Development MA (Online) student Nathan shares his experience on the course.

Type: Video
Category: Studying, Student work

Nathan James Flannery is a student on Indie Game Development MA (Online), as well as a lecturer in games programming, design and development. In this video he talks about why he chose the course, what a typical day looks like and what he has taken from the experience so far.

Hi, my name is Nathan James Flannery and I'm a student of Indie Game Development MA (Online) at Falmouth University. I wanted to talk to you about why I chose this course, what I've got out of it and go through a typical day, to show a mix of all the different things that students work on.

One area of games development the MA has really helped me to develop has been in game engines. I already had some experience within Unreal Engine, but doing some solo projects in the MA has really given me a chance to get to grips with aspects of UA5 that I hadn't used before. Not only that, but also working in groups with other students on the MA has given me the opportunity to do some work in Unity, which I hadn't done before and that's been excellent to see the differences between game engines and how they're used for different projects.

Another area of games development that I've worked on has been in 3D art and 2D art. So again, it was an area that I had some experience of, but more so in 2D. The course has really helped me to get quick prototypes out there by experimenting with different types of 3D art such as MagicaVoxel, rather than low-poly models. I'm still using poly models, and things like Maya. I've also done some drawn art using graphics tablets, so it's really been good for experimentation.

And lastly, the course has helped me to develop things like time management. Of course it's not just about working on your own - the MA is a collaborative process as well as an individual process, and so there's been lots of opportunities within the course to work collaboratively with other students as part of a team or in pairs, and this has really given a lot of opportunities to foster things like project management skills, communications skills and techniques. 

You're never really on your own on this course. You have a huge support network of other students who are in the same boat as you. But also the lecturers themselves - they've got a lot of time for students.

All the people that I've met while doing the course online and remote working at long distance have been great, and there's been lots of opportunities to actually meet up in real life and engage not only socially, but also on projects. I thought that kind of student experience would probably be missing from an online remote course, but it absolutely isn't.

In terms of assignments for the course, they're a mix of practical assignments as you expect from something like games development. There's lots of prototypes and vertical slices that you have to make for various different modules. Also, there is a fair amount of written work - it is a level seven course after all! And so those have been quite a challenge, especially myself having had quite a break since the last time I was in academia. With that in mind, I think that actually having a routine and having space to do the work has been really important for me.

But you're never really on your own on this course. You have a huge support network of other students who are in the same boat as you, with the same questions and feelings, and reaching out to them was really helpful. But also the lecturers themselves - they've got a lot of time for students; you can chat to them in webinars and on the forums, and so I felt very supported through the whole process, but especially in those areas where I was weaker.

I would really strongly recommend this course to people looking either to get into indie game development itself, or for people like myself who are already industry professionals but are trying to make the next step. If you're watching this and you're thinking 'is the MA Indie Game Development course for me?', if you're already thinking that then probably it is for you! But hopefully this video has been informative and helped you understand what the course is all about. 

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