Jess’ Unity Dev Work Experience

Jess joined us from the University of Chester on a five week placement to learn how to be a Unity developer alongside our team. She shares what her day-to-day was like during her time at Draw & Code.

Draw & Code's recent Placement, Jess Hodgkiss

How’d you find out about Draw & Code?

I first learnt about Draw & Code when they visited the University of Chester during the first year of my degree. I was very impressed by their display of immersive experiences and excellent creative content. I continued to stay updated with their work through social media. I was presented with a work placement opportunity during my second year of university, and this Unity developer placement stood out to me. I was pleased to learn the company offering this placement was Draw & Code.

What did you make of the place / projects / day to day?

My time at the Draw & Code studio was excellent! The office is a great environment and was a nice place to concentrate on my project. My project was to create a VR game, I had never used a VR headset before so this was a new but fun experience. I looked forward to coming into the office every day and to sit alongside some great people.

What did you work on during your time here at Draw & Code?

Firstly, I began researching existing VR games to discover what was already on the market. This research helped me generate lots of ideas for game design, fun mechanics and encouraged me to consider how VR differs from PC development.

My final idea was to build a treasure hunt game, set in an office, to find a can of Red Bull! I was encouraged by developers to enhance this idea by creating level designs and to consider the scope of my project. I had been allocated three weeks to develop my idea, this started with experimenting and discovering the XR interaction toolkit. After a week of developing, I ran into issues with these tools on build, and due to my restricted time I changed to using the Meta XR Core SDK. 

These building block tools allowed me to effectively expand on my project, and sped up development. After completing my second week, I had created my core movement mechanics, created controlled transportation hotspots and implemented hands and controllers with ray casting.

I did not get to complete everything I set out to do. If I had more time, I would have made my UI functional and added collision triggers to the Red Bull object, which would indicate that the level had been completed. 

Level design for Jess' VR game while at Draw & Code

What did you learn?

During my five weeks at Draw & Code I learnt so much. As it was my first time working with VR, the first thing I learnt was how to use the headset! I continued to learn how to set up initial VR projects in Unity and how to begin development. I learnt about the components needed to create simple mechanics such as locomotion and hand tracking.

During my development stage, I was taught how to use version control more effectively, I began using GitHub consistently and it was a brilliant tool to help monitor, control and rollback my project. 

How did you find working with the Draw & Code team?

The team members at Draw & Code were all so helpful and very welcoming! At the start of my placement I was welcomed by Ben and he explained my task, got me set up and helped me settle in during my first few days. Throughout my placement Ben was always keen to help me and made sure I was comfortable every day. Ben took an interest in my career and offered valuable advice about how to effectively get into the tech industry. 

After completing my research, I presented my original idea to Sam. He provided valuable feedback on my project. He recommended certain Unity tools, discussed the importance of a thorough design and supported my development by answering any questions I had. Sam also took the time to ask about my career and provided valuable advice on how to join the games development industry.

Another helpful developer in the studio was Tom. Once my project had taken a bad turn he offered help and showed me how to use the Meta Core SDK building blocks. Tom recommended GitHub to me, and helped me get it set up. He also asked about my career, and told me about his own working journey to get to his position at Draw & Code. Once again offering fantastic advice. 

There were many friendly people in the office who I spoke to often, such as Joanne, Jim, Andy, Faye, Mike and most importantly Crumble the dog!

In game capture

Do you have any feedback for the team here at Draw & Code?

I found the ‘VR task’ website useful, especially when managing my time and planning at the start of my placement. The addition of some recommended tools such as the ‘Meta Core SDK’ on the asset store would have been helpful, especially when there are so many tools alike online which aren’t as effective.

I enjoyed talking to the other placement students and answering their questions about my course. It was great to see how many placements are offered in different aspects of the company. The office was a great environment and I was very comfortable during my entire stay.

What have you got planned next?

My placement at Draw & Code marked the end to my second year at University! Until I begin my third year I will be working in a coffee shop at home, and spending as much time as I can with my dogs! Alongside this I plan to start developing a game over the summer, and to continue improving my skills until the next academic semester begins. 

I would love to find some more work experience in computer science, and to enhance my learning through a team project over the summer. I will begin my search for graduate jobs soon, I hope to begin my career within the games development industry!

 

Follow Jess on LinkedIn LinkedIn  and see some of the projects she has worked on her itch account



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