School of Computing, Media & the Arts

Student views

Emma Charnley

I was struggling to find what I wanted to do at university right up to a fortnight before the UCAS deadline. I knew I wanted to do something related to art, but I wanted a secure job field to go into.

Emma  Charnley

BA (Hons) Computer Games Art

It’s been fantastic since graduating. I secured a position before the end of my third year.

I was struggling to find what I wanted to do at university right up to a fortnight before the UCAS deadline. I knew I wanted to do something related to art, but I wanted a secure job field to go into. My mum showed me an article in a magazine about the need for more women in games. Until then I hadn’t really thought about creating 3D art, but after looking into it, it seemed like the perfect choice for me.
When I knew that I wanted to study a games art course, I wanted to see which was the best university in the UK. Teesside was at the top of the list and my first choice.
University is a time to really find yourself and grow. It helped me discover what I wanted to specialise in in the games industry. This was because of the style of the course offered at Teesside. In our first year we did a little bit of everything, animation, design and art. It gives you time to figure out what career path you want to take.
Teesside University has a different vibe to most other campuses I’ve been on. It has a relaxed atmosphere where no one is judged. The campus is the centre of Middlesbrough, it’s a very student orientated town where everything is value for money and right on your doorstep. There are opportunities for work outside of the University. There are also a lot of options to develop yourself working for the University itself. I worked as a base room operator in the University, which meant I looked after prospective students coming in for interviews, as well as being on the computer games stand at University open days. I found this opportunity helped my confidence grow and improved my public speaking skills which have definitely benefitted me in my career.
There’s always something you can do in the region, there’s connections with GB Rowing and an international white water course for kayaking. It’s not too far from the North York Moors where you can go cycling and walking. You are also pretty close to the beach, there’s always something to keep you entertained.
I fully seized the opportunities of the University clubs and societies, I tried out as many sports as I could at the Freshers’ Fair. When rowing with Teesside University Rowing Club, I was scouted to test for the GB Rowing World Class Start Programme and I was accepted. I did the programme for the first two years of University and left to focus on my final year. It was a lot of hard work but it was by far the best thing I have ever done. It was an invaluable experience that shaped who I am today and I miss it very much. In my third year, I actually joined the skydiving club and again, it was an experience I wouldn’t swap for anything.
It’s been fantastic since graduating. I secured a position before the end of my third year. I started out as a general art intern at Creative Assembly on the DLC team. Halfway through my internship I applied for an intermediate developer role at the same studio, I got the position and that’s where I’m currently at. I’m working as an environment artist within the terrain team, which means I get to do a lot of different things such as creating and generating vegetation, prop and asset creation, helping set up building blocks for the game world and terrain creation.
I’m extremely happy at Creative Assembly. It’s a fantastic company who really look after their employees, so I would like to grow as much as possible there. I guess my most immediate goal would be for a promotion to a senior position within the company. I would also like to possibly work abroad someday, maybe Canada or Denmark.
I would definitely recommend Teesside. I loved my time at Teesside and I’m really glad I chose to go there. I loved the atmosphere, the lecturers, the connections with GB Rowing and the very talented, lifelong friends I made there who helped me push my work to another level.
You can’t really put a price on the effect university has had on my life. It definitely seemed worth the cost to me, I can say some of my happiest memories were in those three years and now I have a great job to show for it.