Delve inside the world of Arthouse games with SAE Liverpool Animation student Maddie Thomson

14 Aug 2019

We spoke to SAE Liverpool Game Art and Animation student Maddie Thomson who has created an Arthouse game concept for her Major Project, inspired by her desire to work in concept art after graduating. 

Find out her wise words of advice to incoming freshers, and learn more about the Arthouse genre by reading our interview below. 

What are you working on for your major project?

For my major project I am studying the video game genre Arthouse, and creating my own concept for an Arthouse game. 

What inspired you to look at arthouse games?

There has always been an argument over whether video games should be viewed as ‘art’ or not, and I found it interesting that there is a particular genre of video games that are strictly seen as ‘art games’. I wanted to find out why only this genre of games are seen as ‘art’ and also use that to experiment myself, creating a concept for an Arthouse game. 

What skills and techniques that you have developed on the course have you been using for your Major Project?

With my course at SAE I have learned more digital art skills and I am using these for the practical element of my dissertation. I have also learned about the production process of a concept artist, so I’ve been trying to complete tasks in the same way a professional concept artist would. Also I have learned so many reasearch techmiques that I’ve been using for my written work, as I find the dissertation element the most important part, personally. 

What challenges have you encountered during the project, and how have you overcome these? 

I think one of the biggest challenges has been time management. I’m a very indecisive person but at the same time a perfectionist when it comes to creating ideas for practical work. Coming up with an idea for a new concept for a video game was fun but gave me less time than planned to create the final designs - I was constantly scrapping ideas, not because they weren’t good enough for the dissertation, but because they weren’t good enough for me. I like to create things that are interesting, not just okay. 

Eventually I made myself stick to an idea and gave myself a schedule for work. I had a small break on the writing part of the project so I could focus solely on the artwork. The writing was essential for the practical so I had to find a point where I could comfortably stop without the art being affected by further research. Once I got to a more comfortable place with the art, I carried on writing alongside it. 

What have you enjoyed about the course at SAE? 

I think the best part of studying at SAE has been the freedom I’ve had to go in whatever direction I want to. I have loved being able to learn lots of new skills, but it also being okay to focus on one more than the others. The lecturers understand that almost everyone on the course will want to go in a different direction; one person will want to be an animator, someone else a 3D modeller, and someone else could even want to do it all by becoming an independent games designer. The lecturers will still try and help you individually and use their own time to find things that will interest you personally. 

What area of the Animation industry are you hoping to go into after graduating? 

After graduating I would love to go into concept art. I am a traditional painter at heart, so combining my two loves of painting and video games would be a dream come true, I would love to help illustrate a designer’s ideas for them. This is what I tried to implement in my major project. 

Do you have any advice for the freshers who will be starting the Animation course in September? 

My advice for the freshers starting in September would be to not compare yourself to other people around you. The course will be filled with passionate artists that all have different skills, and some could be more advanced in areas than others. This can be scary at times, but see it more as an opportunity than a setback. University is not a competition so ask them for help in an area they excel in and you’ll find they will always be happy to help! It’s also more than likely that they admire a skill of yours and would ask for help from you in return. The lectures are always there to help but don’t forget you are surrounded by a diverse mix of talented artists too, so use that to your advantage. 

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