Like most of my friends, Playstation and Xbox games have been a large part of my leisure time as I was growing up. Unlike them, my interest went deeper than just playing the game. I got quite a reputation for constantly analysing the graphics and the special effects, hungry to know how the best of these had been created. My interest has spilled over into films I have seen in the cinema and I have been known to refuse to go and see a film if I know the special effects have received a poor review.
I quickly realised that finding out more about how films and games are put together would require quite a deep understanding of computers, IT and programming and this has encouraged me to study maths, IT and physics with an enthusiasm that I would not have had without this goal. Working with a computer is almost second nature to me, but wrestling with complex physical concepts has required a lot of determination to stick with it and get the grades I needed.
The extended applications of gaming and virtual reality are going to be exploited more effectively in the future in all sorts of other areas beyond leisure and entertainment and I want to develop the advanced computer animation skills to be able to play a part in this. The thought of working for a major company such as Pixar is very appealing but I think it’s difficult to predict where this technology will be in 5 years time. This gives my future career an unknown path, which I find very exciting.
A large part of my free time is spent on a Playstation but I think the online gaming that I do has broadened my knowledge of gaming and its use by others. I play in an online clan, which includes members from China, Holland, Australia and Thailand. Interacting with people on the other side of the world, sharing a virtual world, is something that would not have even been dreamed about 20 years ago, but it’s now commonplace. We have set up the clan so that we can talk together as a group while gaming and finding out about the lives of contemporaries in other cultures and countries has been interesting.
It is tempting to be on a computer or a Playstation all the time but getting a break away from a screen is necessary. I play football and cricket, depending on whether its winter or summer, and I have mentored some of the younger football teams, assisting the coach with training and preparation for matches. This still gives me the chance to get some exercise but I have really enjoyed working with younger kids – we do tend to talk about gaming and they have been amazed to learn, as I was originally, that it’s possible to do a degree in gaming animation. It’s an opportunity that I can’t wait to take up.