Physics, Mathematics, Geology
Computer Science (Cardiff University)
Character Animation (University of Bristol)
Chris programmes characters for video games.
“After my A-levels, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and so I took a gap year and worked in an aeronautics company through the Year in Industry programme. Although this placement wasn’t anything to do with what I ended up doing as a career, it was really useful – I learned a lot about working for a company, which helped me when applying for a job. I also managed to save some money to help pay for uni. Another advantage of taking a year out is that, unlike most of the people that are applying for degrees, you already know your A-level grades and so you’ve got a guaranteed place when you do go to university – and also get first pick of accommodation, months before everyone else.”
Chris decided on a degree in computer science after his placement, and then spent an extra year specialising in character animation for computer games. He now works for NaturalMotion; a leading video games development company and explains how what he learnt in A-level physics helps him in his job.
“Modern games rely on a piece of software called a physics-engine, this computer code governs how objects move and interact in a computer game. To build a physics-engine you really do need to understand physics. Objects won’t fall realistically without getting the gravity right, and if you don’t understand momentum you can’t create realistic explosions and collisions. The rules of physics need to be programmed in to a game and our physics-based animation engine has been used in lots of different games like Star Wars and Grand Theft Auto.”
“If you are interested in becoming a computer games designer, one of the most important pieces of advice I could give you is to take A-level physics and maths. So many aspects of games design rely on being able to reduce a game down to the physics and understanding what effect changing the rules and tweaking the numbers will have on the end experience.”
You can find more information about careers in physics by visiting www.physics.org