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Success Story: Emily Dervey

And………..another success story! This time around we have Emily Dervey, a 3d Artist at XR Games.

What course did you study?

MA Game Art.

What are you working on at the moment?

I can’t say what I’m working on right now! But it’s very exciting, and my team are producing really great work. It’s inspiring to be around and I can’t wait for everyone to see it.

I’m hoping to get back into the swing of a personal project soon. I’ve found since starting work I’ve not had the energy for it – mostly because I’m realizing the importance of time away from the screen – but I’m now getting to the point where I’m settled in my work schedule and excited at the idea of starting something for myself.

What work are you most proud of working on and was/is your most notable achievement?

For the work I completed during my MA I am most proud of my final project, as I got to blend both my skills and interests as a Historian and a Game Artist. I’ve always loved Tomb Raider, Assassin’s Creed, and Uncharted, so to be able to make a final project that celebrates history and an ancient culture was special for me. I also am very proud of the retrospective I wrote to accompany it. 

Our group project, Bioshock Infinite in London, got a lot of attention and praise. It’s fun to look back on it now, about a year on, with a little bit of separation and think just how cool it looks. I’m proud of what we created together, it was a very hard process but one of the most important experiences I’ve had.

I am very excited to have joined the steering group for GamesEd 2023, after being a last minute addition speaking on a panel at the 2022 event in April. This is part of my ongoing working relationship with the National Videogame Museum, where I worked as gallery crew during my MA. In June I also took part in Games Careers Week, and gave presentations to school children at the NVM about careers in games. I am excited to continue working along this route, accessibility and removing the class barriers into the games industry is important to me.

If you had to sum up your time at Escape Studios in one word, what would it be and why?

Unique!

My cohort worked entirely remote from each other as we were in the height of the pandemic for the majority of our study. We worked ourselves extremely hard and worked closely with each other, during a unique and unsettling time. I feel really lucky to have had our excellent tutors Chris and Tom, studio assistant Lele, and my cohort’s company every day. Looking back on it, the level of extreme commitment we all gave tires me to even think about!

It was obviously worth it, and the extra hours you put in is your own choice. But since then and since starting my job I’m grateful to have the chance to reevaluate how I use my time, and how I fit rest and friends and family into my life. The MA is a unique time where you get to commit yourself entirely to learning and creative work for a whole year, at a pace you probably won’t experience again. It was absolutely invaluable to getting me where I am now.

What lessons have you learnt during your time studying and your time working in Games?

Teamwork! The importance of regular and upbeat communication and feedback. I always notice it when someone is cheerful or kind, so I try my best to carry an upbeat attitude. I also think it’s important to be open to learning from your peers and relying on your superiors when necessary. It’s ok to not know things. Especially now in the workplace, I’m grateful that my team look out for me with regular feedback, ideas, learning opportunities, and sometimes just a friendly hello.

I’m learning to take good breaks, and to look after my wellbeing. Our job is tiring – socially, creatively, and on our eyes and body. Learning to rest and look after yourself is a hard lesson!

What is your advice for those considering entering the industry?

You can do it! It’s never too late to start and you can learn a lot on your own if you’re not able to commit to a course. There are plenty of YouTube tutorials for free industry standard programs and resources. Also, I think developing “soft”, or rather, “smart” skills, and getting experience of creative teamwork are just as necessary as your software or technical knowledge.

What’s your favourite game and why?

I don’t really have a short answer. Pokémon, Tomb Raider, Uncharted, Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Assassin’s Creed, I love them because they’re great but also because I have special people and memories attached to them, which I could go into on a whole blog post itself.

BUT WAIT I just have to say

I love Final Fantasy XIII !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love this game, it changed my life!!!! It’s got it all. Drama. Diverse ensemble. LEONA LEWIS?!?!! The best trailer you’ve ever seen?!?! Smart, difficult, strategic combat?!?! Beautiful visuals, vfx and music?!?!?! I need to personally fight the people who called Lighting “Female Cloud” for so many years. YOU WOT!!! Cloud could never be her. Lighting is the real soldier!!!!

Huge thanks to Emily and XR Games for this great interview!

More about Emily:

https://www.artstation.com/emilydervey

More about XR Games:

https://www.xrgames.io/

Unreal Authorized Instructor, Programme Leader for MA Games Art at Escape Studios & Tutor for Games Art Short / Part Time Courses. I have been teaching new creative talent for the past 15+ years, at institutions such as Alpha Channel and the University of Hertfordshire. I've also wrote numerous published books about Unreal Engine including; UDK Basics, Level Design and Documentation and UDK Games scenarios integration as well creating game assets for the next generation consoles such as the racing game ‘Pacer’. Currently working on my own game!

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