From Trainee to Full-Time Employee, What it’s Like Working in the Digital Games Industry
Determined to build a career in digital games, proud First Nations man Darcy Faulkner, took on an ArtsReady traineeship at Australia’s video game developers, Big Ant Studios in Melbourne. Darcy is part of the First Peoples Creative Industries Traineeship program – an initiative of the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, delivered by ArtsReady. After graduating from the program, he was offered full-time employment and now dreams of developing a game of his own.
“When I saw the traineeship was at a video game development studio I was immediately interested. I’ve played video games for roughly 12 years now and it is a major passion of mine so to undergo a traineeship in this field is a dream come true.”
Big Ant Studios is known for developing such games series as Rugby League Live, AFL Live, and Ashes Cricket. In his role, Darcy gets to test the functionality of the games before they are released to the public – we think that’s a pretty awesome gig!
“I get to test and check that the games don’t have issues that may cause the game to completely shut down while the users are playing it.
“So, my day may start by updating the game in trial, I make sure I am playing the latest issue then I complete a sanity test. This allows me to run through every mode, and make sure I’m able to load into an active game play. It Is honestly an amazing job; I mean I get to play video games!”
From here Darcy can figure out what is and isn’t working within the game’s structure. Which flows into a major part of the development and progression within the game.
“We test every single platform that we submit to which are PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox one and series x, we do steam which is PC, Nintendo switch and a range of generic consoles.”
This is Darcy’s first job however thanks to his traineeship he feels he has learnt so much about the industry.
“I had no idea going into it, but the traineeship gives you all the hands-on learning you need to be confident in the role. I was trained up through the year and given all the support and mentorship I needed.
“Now I have developed quite a good base knowledge, and I continue to get vital work experience to add to my resume. Another highlight of the traineeship would be following through on a promise I made myself, which was to complete a Certificate IV in game design.”
At the beginning of his journey, Darcy mentioned the transition back into study wasn’t as smooth as he thought. He found it hard to commit and focus on a particular subject however he said the support around him was second to none and got him through.
“Out of my whole journey, it was the study I struggled with, but I always had support whenever I needed it. It was just an email, phone call, text away which was very helpful.
“We had regular Zoom meetings as well for support and caught up in groups as well. It was constant contact; it was really good.”
As part of this program all First Nation trainees are provided a support team. This not only includes a dedicated Field Officer and Educator but an exclusive First Nations Mentor to provide personal, cultural and career pathway support as well.
“My Mentor Brett was a really big supporter, he always checked up on me making sure I was doing good and Yvonne, my educator, helped me every step of the way. I can’t speak more highly of her!”
Darcy believes the ArtsReady traineeship is the best thing he has ever done in his life. It has given him experience in a field of work he has always been passionate about and the outcome – a full-time job!
“The traineeship offers real rewards. Look at me, I now work in a full-time role in my dream industry. It gives you experience, a qualification, networks and sometimes, a job at the end of it! I really feel so grateful, and I hope to one day be developing my own video games.”
In partnership with the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, ArtsReady is offering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples unique pathway traineeships with popular Victorian-based creative companies, through the new First Peoples Creative Industries Traineeships program. The program is a progressive initiative to allow young people the opportunity to get their career started in Victoria’s creative sector.
DATE: 10th of November 2021
AUTHOR: Dakota McCarthy
IMAGE: Darcy Faulkner