There are 2,000 games studios in the UK (two thirds of which develop games for iOS) and employs 10,000 people – not to mention the 17,000 jobs that the industry supports in customer services, distribution and more.

It may also surprise you to learn that the North East of England is home to some fantastic games developers and concept artists: Assassin’s Creed, Just Dance and Watchdogs were developed by Ubisoft in the Newcastle area, Concept Artists Atomhawk designed spaceships and environments for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and digital media agency Think designed the online world of Pottermore in Newcastle too.

Gabrielle Kent joined us recently for an intriguing look into the gaming industry and the exciting opportunities it has to offer. Gabrielle certainly has the credentials, having worked for various games developers since a young age and she has taught at Teesside University since 2008. Below we take a look at Gabrielle’s tips for preparing yourself for a career in the fantastic world of games.

Gabrielle’s Top Tips

1.Become Fully Computer Literate

Develop your skills on various tools, including design software such as Adobe Creative Cloud and game design programmes like Maya and 3DS Max if possible. A solid understanding of these programmes will help you realise ideas and concepts and will prove crucial when looking for employment.

2.Use Twine

Twine is a free tool that allows you to create interactive, non-linear storylines that others can view and play through. This programme is easy to use and will really develop your storytelling skills and can even gain credibility – some people have secured jobs in the industry based on their impressive work on Twine.

3.Play Board Games

Board Games are a fantastic way to explore narratives and find out what you like. With multiple players playing together in real time, they allow you to evaluate the various storyline permutations as they play out. It also gives you the opportunity to see how people react to events in games so you can decide what to include in your own game.

4.Be Creative

Perhaps the most important tip, commit to experimenting with different methods of creativity. If you want to be a games writer, write stories, scripts and comics or even start a blog reviewing games (remember to be positive, if you don’t like something then suggest improvements or changes rather than criticism). Companies often search for the online presence of prospective employees and aren’t likely to hire you if you’ve ripped their games apart!

If you want to be an illustrator or a concept artist then draw every day and draw everything. Gabrielle believes it’s important to produce a portfolio of more than character illustrations, so draw the environment around them, the vehicles they drive and the props they could use. Pay close attention to small details, intricacies and textures as it is these that bring the world that you create to life. When designing a racing game, Gabrielle took part in a recce to San Francisco to establish realistic routes for races and the subsequent environments that had to be created. It was here that she noticed the minute details that she hadn’t considered before – what does the back of a road sign look like? What items do you find on the side of buildings? How much chewing gum do you find on the floor? This is the level of detail that you have to consider!

Gabrielle used this technique when writing her Alfie Bloom book series. She visualised the world around Alfie and mapped out the castle he lives in so that when she began to write, she could easily imagine how he would naturally interact with his environment – particularly the nooks and crannies that could often be overlooked.


Above all else, be proactive and do what you’re passionate about. After all, opportunities may not be as far away as you think!

You can find more information about Gabrielle and her work here.