Meet Terence; our awesome programming intern who helps research and create new systems for us to use on our games. Terence has contributed to our physics, network and streaming development, and shared with us some of the things he’s learned during his stay at Norsfell.
What first interested Terence in working in game development is the ‘artistic side’ to making software products. “When you are a developer, you usually work with other developers. You don’t get to work with artists and see that side of things. And that’s what I really wanted to learn more about”, he explains. Not to mention the difference between making software for business and making software for fun. “A lot of software is made for businesses and people to do work better. But games are made for joy.”
He also notes his preference for working with a small game development company like Norsfell: “It’s really easy to communicate with everyone, even the CEO! Everyone works together, and it feels more like a group of people working together in the same direction, to the same goal, instead of a traditional business”.
A few structures in place really help the team stay organized and connected to each other, “like our weekly sprint meetings. We review what everyone did last week and plan to do this week. This is also our time to share ideas at an open table and can make suggestions for the games no matter what your role is.” Terence points out the benefits of these meetings, even in smaller increments. “I have found from working here that it is very useful to take five minutes every day and check in with each other. We catch so many little issues before they turn into big problems, and it helps us stay on track.” The open communication and teamwork makes complex challenges and quick changes easy to address and fix in a timely manner.
There is also the active game development community in Montreal, which surprised Terence when he first moved to the city from France. “Game companies here share knowledge together and talk about their experiences. Yes, they are competing in the same markets, but they want to help each other. And everyone wants to help new people be a part of the community.” With companies working closely together and people excited to share their love of games, it seems natural that the industry in Montreal is open and welcoming. “I think this is also the mindset of Canadians”, Terence adds. He isn’t wrong about that either.
For newcomers interested in becoming game developers, Terence recommends spending some time evaluating your intentions. “Making games is different than playing games. It is incredibly technical; first you have to learn everything about software development, then you have to learn everything about game development.” He continues, “But if you are passionate, do not hesitate to get started. It is an amazing feeling, to do work that you love.” Terence also suggests working on your own projects outside of work and school: “Portfolios are really important, you have to show that you want to make games. It requires a lot of energy to make a game. It’s hard, but you keep working, finding solutions and discovering things on your own. That’s what companies want to see.”
It can feel difficult to get started, but he explains that being a part of the right team makes all the hard work worth it in the end. “Never give up. I sent out 200 applications to find an internship; the 201st was Norsfell, and I love it here.”