At Ubisoft, I'm responsible for 3D modelling, which entails creating game art assets and texturing the game environments. I worked on Far Cry Primal, which was released this year. It was an amazing experience - we had a really talented team, and I was proud to work on it.
I recently graduated from George Brown College's game development program.
I grew up gaming. It's always been a huge part of my life, and I knew this was where I would end up eventually. In my high school nobody played video games, so I was the only one. I always kept to myself. The best thing about role-playing games is that you hang out with in-game characters - as sad as that sounds - and you get to make a story for yourself. You can be a hero, you can be anything. That's what I enjoy.
After high school, I enrolled at York University for a year. I studied film art because I wanted to go into cinematics for video games, but it didn't work out. Initially, I didn't know game development was a profession that I could go to school for, but when I looked into it I realized it was better to go straight into game art rather than through film.
I started learning more about what goes into games so I could build a portfolio to get into George Brown's game development program. In the first year of the three-year program you get a foundation in everything from programming to digital art and 3D, and in second year you're able to specialize in animation and 3D modelling.
Animation is what makes the characters move, either through performance capture or sometimes through hand animation; 3D modelling involves creating the space, the environment in which the character exists. I chose 3D modelling because I like to see the art come to life. You make everything from scratch.
It's definitely a challenging program, but I was willing to go through whatever hell I had to. I'm really passionate about games. The first year is especially hard because we focused on very different disciplines. It's a little bit overwhelming, but you learn a lot and eventually get to choose what you want to do.
The instructors are all industry veterans and have a ton of experience. In fact, I'm working with one of my professors from George Brown at Ubisoft right now, so I'm on my instructor's team. The teachers keep up with the latest game technology. When I got my opportunity here at Ubisoft, I knew exactly what my job was going to entail.
My favourite courses were 3D modelling and 3D character art, because we did a lot of organic modelling. I created an environment last year for the Ubisoft Toronto NXT Showcase competition. The theme was a historical diorama, so I created a Viking environment - it took me four months, the whole semester - and I was a finalist. That's how I got my first opportunity at Ubisoft.
In school, students get to choose what style they like, so if you prefer stylized games, you're able to focus on that. I'm drawn to realistic environments, so that's what I'm working on. Ubisoft prides itself on how realistic, beautiful and immersive its worlds are.
If you're a gamer who spends more time walking around looking at the environment than running around, you're suited to being a 3D modeller. You have to be able to pick up details and be able to tell a story through something as mundane as a cup or a small prop.
We create a lot of iterations to make sure everything looks perfect. Primal was a really big project and I was fixing it six or seven times. You're not going to get it right on the first try, and that's okay.
Where to study for a technology career
Durham College (Oshawa) Web applications for mobile computing (graduate certificate): $2,768/year. durhamcollege.ca
Brock University (St. Catharines) Applied computing (computer science): $8,393.05/year. brocku.ca
Sheridan College (Toronto) Honours bachelor of applied computer science (mobile computing): $8,203/program. sheridancollege.ca
University of Toronto (Toronto) Masters of applied computing: $17,500/16-month program. utoronto.ca
University of Windsor (Windsor) Master of applied computing: $25,000/program. uwindsor.ca
Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo) Master of applied computing: $11,275/year.
Algonquin College (Ottawa) Game development: $$7,337/year. algonquincollege.com
Brock University (St. Catharines) Bachelor of arts in game design: $6,377/year; bachelor of science in game programming: $8,393/year. brocku.ca
Carleton University (Ottawa) Computer game development: $10,281/year. carleton.ca
Centennial College (Toronto) Diploma in game art and design: $8,455/year; advanced diploma in software engineering technology - interactive gaming: $3,717/year.
Durham College (Oshawa) Game development: $6,936/year. durhamcollege.ca
Fanshawe College (London) 3D animation and character development: $4,147/term; video game design and development: $3,441/term; game development - advanced programming: $2,762/term. fanshawe.ca
George Brown College (Toronto) Game development: $7,512/year; game programming: $3,881/year. georgebrown.ca
Humber College (Toronto) Game programming: $3,960/year. humbercollege.ca
Laurentian University (Sudbury) Computer science - major in game design: $8,151/year. laurentian.ca
McMaster University (Hamilton) Software engineering - game design: $12,203/year. mcmaster.ca
Niagara College (Welland) Bachelor of arts in game design: $6,377/year (joint with Brock University); bachelor of science in game programming: $8,393/year (joint with Brock University); advanced diploma in game development: $7,235/year. niagaracollege.ca
Nipissing University (North Bay) Computer science - certificate in game design and development: $8,549/year. nipissingu.ca
Seneca College (Toronto) Game art and animation: $11,472/year. senecacollege.ca
Sheridan College (Oakville) Bachelor of game design: $9,649/program; game development - advanced programming: $15,692/three semesters; game level design: $14,141/three semesters. sheridancollege.ca
University of Ontario Institute of Technology (Oshawa) Game development and entrepreneurship: $6,203.34/year. uoit.ca
University of Toronto (Toronto) Computer science - game design: $11,520/year (plus fees); gaming and information security (both are focuses for computer science): $12,090/year; utoronto.ca
Wilfrid Laurier University (Brantford) Game design and development: $4,667/year. wlu.ca
York University (Toronto) Bachelor of digital media: $7,102/year. yorku.ca
INFORMATION SYSTEMS SECURITY
Algonquin College (Ottawa) Computer systems technology - security: $5,011.94/year. algonquincollege.com
Carleton University (Ottawa) Computer and internet security: $$10,281.55/year.
Durham College (Oshawa) Information systems security - graduate certificate: $2,768/year. durhamcollege.ca
Fanshawe College (London) Information security management: $2,050/term. fanshawe.ca
Fleming College (Peterborough) Computer security and investigations: $4,024/semester. flemingcollege.ca
George Brown College (Toronto) Network and system security analysis: $11,325/three semesters. georgebrown.ca
Mohawk College (Hamilton) Computer systems technology - network engineering and security analyst: $2,700/year. mohawkcollege.ca
Seneca College (Toronto) Honours bachelor of technology - informatics and security: $8,011/year. senecacollege.ca
Sheridan College (Oakville) Bachelor of applied information sciences (information systems security): $8,177/year. sheridancollege.ca
University of Ontario Institute of Technology (Oshawa) Networking and information technology security: $9,003.12. uoit.ca
University of Toronto (Toronto) Computer science - information security: $11,520/year (plus fees). utoronto.ca
York University (Toronto) Computer security: $7,102/year. yorku.ca