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DMU student lands job on most anticipated video game of the year

A Game Art Design student at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has landed a job working on one of the most ambitious and eagerly-awaited games of the year.

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Joel Phelps now has the enviable job of creating in-game objects for Star Citizen, a massive space-exploration game which is due out later this year, having attracted a record $100 million crowdfunding budget from eager fans.

Joel bagged the job offer winning a prize in the Search for a Star competition run by Aardvark Swift - a top recruitment agency for the video games industry - and supported by prominent studios such as Playground Games, NaturalMotion and Exient.

During the second round of the competition, which involved making a minimum of five props from the concept art provided, Aardvark Swift spotted Joel’s potential and sent his work off to a number of games studios.

Shortly after submitting his work for the competition’s second round, Joel was invited to interview with Cloud Imperium Games, the studio whose founder is behind the best-selling Wing Commander and Freelancer series, with headquarters in the US and studios in the UK and Germany.

Before the third and final round of the competition, Joel was offered a job as Junior Prop Artist and to top things off, he got through to the final round of the competition. After being interviewed by four games industry experts he was named winner of the Environment category.

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The 22-year-old said: “I couldn’t be happier getting this job, it’s exactly what I’ve always wanted to do. As for winning the award, I was up against some really tough competition, so I’m very pleased.”

Having entered the competition’s Environment category, Joel could have chosen to create anything from futuristic industrial warehouses to medieval castles, but he went down the sci-fi route submitting what he calls an ‘Alien Corridor’.

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Joel said: “I’ve wanted to make a sci-fi corridor for a long time now, but I was waiting for a cool idea and I really liked the concept art that Aardvark Swift provided.

“The main challenge of making the environment was getting the atmosphere right. This involved perfectly matching my colours and materials to the concept art, replicating the lighting correctly and filling up the empty space with dust, sparks and smoke.

“The final stages of creating an environment are very important to the outcome of the work and can make or break it.”

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Joel has praised the opportunities and equipment he has had access to while at DMU, saying : “DMU has prepared me for my career by providing me with a good place to work. We have good computers to work on with up-to-date software.

“We’ve also worked from relevant briefs over the three years, and during this final year we’ve been given a vast selection of briefs to choose from, to help us specialise in working on and improving the areas we want to progress in.”

DMU’s Game Art Design course also offers students a yearlong placement at BMW in Munich, as well as guest lectures by industry experts sharing information about the latest work opportunities.

Posted on Thursday 19th May 2016

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