Written by Lara Barusso
BA (Hons) Computer Animation Art and Design
We all know this has been a challenging year, it was indeed also for universities and our course. I’m Lara, currently doing my final year at NCCA (national centre of computer animation) remotely from Italy, and besides the difficult year, I did manage it well and got the opportunity to work on, what has become my absolute favourite project!
Ok, but what’s that?
As a part of your final year in any NCCA undergraduate course, you will have a final major project called FMP unit. This unit will run throughout the whole year and it’s an opportunity to use all your knowledge built during your first 2 years and expand on that creating something unique and completely yours!
It consists of creating a game, short animation, short movie, building a program or a tool, creating a VFX sequence, or an interactive experience, etc….there are no limits to the ideas for this unit, to work on as a degree project developing skills in your specialist area and to create something that will help you find a job once you’ve done! This project gives you the opportunity to develop your idea and work together with people from different courses!
Cool, so how does it work?
Throughout the summer you have the opportunity to think and elaborate on an idea and present it to your peers in October, then follows feedback from most of the lectures across the whole NCCA and your peers. Those presentations help to decide on how to approach your idea and to find peers that want to work with you, if you think you need a group. In this way by having different people specialise in different areas you have the chance to create a very very good piece of work.
So…what did you do?
I came up with an interesting idea and decided to present a concept for an adventure\mystery VR (Virtual Reality) game – hoping to find a group of people with different expertise to help me out. My idea was well received and I found 2 talented peers who also wanted to get involved! Together we started working on the game, we shared roles and worked closely with each other to create the final game prototype.
This project was awesome for the amount of opportunities that it created for us. Working with a technology like VR which is becoming more and more used in the sector and building our knowledge and expertise in this area is a great plus for our CV’s. The project gave us the opportunity to explore Unreal Engine, a tool largely used in the industry. This project has helped us develop our skills using real-time engines, and acquire confidence as well as good work to present in our showreels. This is all really relevant in the market at the moment, so is an excellent tool to talk about in an interview or during a job application.
Working in a group is not always easy, although this year I found a group that was great! As a director of the project, I had to come up with story solution to the problems and make sure the game was built following the original idea, as well guide the others toward my vision while respecting their ideas, views and expertise, so that every one of us would be satisfied with the outcome and the skills learned. This role has taught me very important lessons about leadership, communication and management skills as well as teamwork, compromising, and time management that I know for sure will be valuable skills in the future, whatever the path I take, these are skills that push up your employability and you as a person.
Making a VR game is a lot of fun and a lot of work! This was indeed my favourite project of the year but I also think it was my favourite of all. I could, with it, share my experience with people across different expertise and courses, learning from them and with them, I could see my vision taking form and get beautified by my mates that had brought their ideas to the game making it even greater than I expected. Of course in a uni year, we could not have a fully working game, but we were able to make a very good prototype, and as we believe in our project we want to keep working on when university is over.
Interested? Where can we see it?
Keep following NCCA channels to make sure you don’t miss the new graduation reel! In the meantime, you can see what has been done in the past years on our website.