Case study

Games developer — Adam Boyne

After going through Clearing, Adam Boyne graduated from the University of Hull with a BSc in Computer Science for Games Development (with industrial experience). He has since set up his own video gaming company

How did you feel on A-level results day?

It was an incredibly tense affair. All of the work that I'd put in over the past few years boiled down to the text displayed on the UCAS website. I was eating breakfast 30 minutes before the scheduled release of results, when I thought I'd check the site - just in case they'd gone live early. I don't think I've ever felt my stomach drop as much as it did when it said 'you're in Clearing' in large writing at the top of the page.

From that moment until I'd organised my first Clearing interview, the day was both a whirlwind and a panic. I had an overwhelming sense of dread that I'd ruined everything that I'd been building towards.

Things began to calm down once universities started replying about Clearing places - but as a whole, it was a terrifying experience to discover that what I thought would happen wasn't going to; that your life is going to go in a very different direction to what you'd planned.

How did your results and new choice of university impact on your career?

My results were only just below those that I needed to go to my second-choice university, and being set on my chosen course, I wasn't about to change my career path because of a few marks.

If anything, the University of Hull opened my options, as they provided a multitude of specialisms in computer science to select from after the first year. I knew that I'd have the opportunity to develop my skills before selecting the exact career path I would follow.

How do you feel about Clearing now and the new direction it took you in?

I remain in two minds about Clearing. On the one hand, it's a terrifying process, which it doesn't need to be. Not enough is done to explain that missing out on your first- and second-choice universities is not the end of your plans. If I'd been to the University of Hull before deciding my options, I would have seriously considered making it one of my choices.

More needs to be done on explaining how Clearing works. It isn't the scary place that it's made out to be, it's more a way of guiding students towards making the best decision. This is the other side of Clearing: the fact that it can take the people who feel the most lost (having just missed out) and put them back on the path towards success. I think that people should see Clearing as a way forward when things haven't gone as expected, rather than as a last resort.

How did you get your job?

Through the learning and opportunities afforded me by the university, and by being in such a thriving and vibrant city as Hull, I've been able to set up my own company, BetaJester, alongside two of my fellow students.

With support from the university and local businesses, we've completed our first year while still being profitable. We're looking forward to a successful second year with an even more prosperous relationship with the university and other companies based in Hull and across the region.

Tell us about some of the games you've been working on...

Since starting out, we’ve developed and released one title on Google Play, called 'Geometrix'. We developed this game as a test to see whether we could develop and release a title of entirely our own design. While it's not seen much commercial success, we're very proud to have a publicly available title under our belts.

Since then, we've worked on a few titles internally. Our most notable work has been our new game 'Here There Be Monsters'. The title was picked up by Tranzfuser, a scheme for recent graduates operated by the UK Games Fund. This gave us a small amount of funding to help develop our idea, before we take it to EGX 2016 this September.

What other successes have you enjoyed so far?

I was lucky to have my achievements recognised during university and this has continued since graduation. Accolades that I'm very proud of include: UK Microsoft Student Partner of the Year 2015; the Department of Computer Science's GB Cook Prize for an outstanding performance in the Honours stage; being nominated for Young Digital Person of the Year in the HEY Digital Awards 2015; and winning the Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Award in April 2016.

What are the best things about working in games development?

Video gaming has been a big part of my life since I was very young. It's incredibly exciting to think that I'm now a part of that industry. At networking events, I've met veteran game developers who have worked on some of the favourite games from my childhood. What has been great is that those people at the upper levels of the local and regional industry are those who've seen the games I'm making, and have given positive feedback about my work.

What advice would you give to other students and graduates interested in game development?

The first and most important thing you should do is network with independent developers, finding as many opportunities as possible. We'd be nowhere near as successful had it not been for the fact that we set out from day one looking for every opportunity to meet industry people and talk about games, development and the industry itself.

Without networking there's no way we would have been good enough to get onto the Tranzfuser programme, and we may not have even been good enough to start our own development company. I highly recommend finding your local or regional games developer meet-up group and getting involved.

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