Paris Games Week, an unmissable event for video game enthusiasts, is back this week. While the sector is booming, the Student looked at training in engineering schools that lead to careers in video games.
After three years of absence, Paris Games Week, the annual trade show dedicated to video games, is in full swing. The opportunity for young people (or not so young) to rush to the stands of the various publishers to test the novelties of this end of the year, but also to meet the professionals of the sector.
With more than 38 million players in France, the video game industry posted a record performance in 2021: a turnover of 5.6 billion eurosaccording to the union of leisure software publishers.
Logically, young talents are particularly sought after, especially those with an engineering profile. Although there are about ten French schools dedicated to video game professions, several engineering schools offer training in computers and new technologies to work in this area.
Engineering courses specializing in video games
Among these schools, Cnam-Enjmin (National School of Games and Interactive Digital Media), located in Angoulême (16), offers a three-year course accredited by the CTI (Commission des Titres d’Ingénieurs). She forms engineers in video game technologies and interactive systems.
The school offers work-study students a system that has many advantages. “This training brings three years of experience. And 90% of companies offer to hire the young person after the apprenticeship,” says Paul Bartholmey, training manager. He recognizes, however, that apprenticeships are not the easiest to get.
Among the fifteen or so students admitted, half do their apprenticeship in an animation studio in Angoulême and the other half in an industrial environment.
Working with art and animation students
Since 2020, JUNIA-ISENan engineering school located in Lille (59), offers students at the end of their course a specialization in “Software development, video game option” in partnership with 3D pole of Roubaix. The student-engineers are involved in the technical part while the students of the animation school take care of the graphic aspect and the artistic direction.
“Our students discover young people who are different from scientists that revolve around them during their studies. They learn to communicate with these artists and screenwritersto understand customer needs and translate them into computer code”, explains Stéphane Fardoux, teacher at the engineering school.
Computer languages, virtual reality and artificial intelligence
If engineers are responsible for technology, it is because they acquire scientific bases for computing and digital media but also the fundamentals of computer science (architecture of computer systems, algorithms and programming, etc.) Learning computer languages (C++, Java, etc.) allows students to strengthen their developing skills.
Students also address everything related to virtual reality, augmented reality, video game technology. Students also find how we use artificial intelligence in video games. Like all engineering students in France, they are also trained in project management, management and communication.
The ability to work in a team
“I worked a lot on my communication, because I tended to be quite technical when I explained some of my missions”, testifies Xavier Niochaut, engine programmer at Asobo Studio, based in Bordeaux (33). Graduated in 2021 from Telecom SudParishe followed the “Video games and digital interactions” option.
As part of his position at the French studio that develops the game “Flight Simulator 2020”, he discovered that several qualities are recommended to work in video games, such as taking a step back and the ability to work in a team. “There are different trades in a video game company. You have to know how to be humble and accept criticism. The goal is to make the best video game possible.”
Guaranteed professional integration
Since the sector is booming, graduate engineers find a job very quickly in the field. “A young person who comes out of our training is perfectly capable of working in a studio. We need people who manage the technicians, who know how to do project management, who have an overall vision and who are capable of innovating”, assures Paul Bartholmey.
We can even speak of a shortage of qualified engineers in the sector. “The boxes try to poach our students even before they have obtained their diploma”, specifies Stéphane Fardoux. The JUNIA-ISEN school thus envisages to increase its workforce within two years to meet growing demand.