ExaudLab: Melissa Cébola & José Fonseca Internship Experience
Melissa Cébola and José joined Exaud for their academic internship, back in April, under the guidance and training of ExaudLab’s supervisors, to create and develop their bachelor’s degree final project. After 2 months of internship, they ended up with a cool looking 3D adaption from Melissa’s original concept and 2D Game, Devil’s license. The team decided to interview them and learn more about the project’s process: inspiration, challenges and even the fun bits!
First of all, tell us a little bit about yourselves!
I’m a soon-to-be graduate in Video Games and Multimedia Applications. I’m a person who finds comfort in video games (surprised?) and animation series/movies in general (be it 2D, 3D, stop-motion). I’m quite shy at first, but once you get to know me, I can be funny and outgoing! I have many hobbies: I enjoy surrounding myself with things that make me happy and relaxed, which makes me enjoy interior décor. I also love collecting merchandise, such as figurines, replicas, and art books (I especially like hoarding plushies!).
I’m also graduating soon from the same bachelor degree. I like to play video games, watch anime, Japanese dramas and Youtube videos. I also like to study Japanese and when playing around with other hobbies, I do it in Japanese for practice.
What made you pursue a bachelor degree in Video Games development?
As I stated before, video games bring me comfort. I grew up in an environment surrounded by them, mainly because of my older brothers. They slowly introduced me to that digital world, and I inevitably started following their steps, joining them. It was never my initial intention to be part of this bachelor degree – I was always a student who was convinced and pressured that I should pursue a career in Science & Chemistry, that unfortunately led me to experience quite a tumultuous university life. I first tried taking a Geology bachelor degree – after a few years of introspection, I realized that it wasn’t quite what my creative mind needed. I tried my luck then with something I always admired and enjoyed, Video Game development, thus ending up where I am today. I find joy in doing 2D Art and Game Design the most.
I started playing games when I was a child so I have always been interested in video games. Before pursuing this degree I spent a year at an IT course and didn’t enjoy it so I decided to try this one and I don’t regret it!
Could you introduce the readers to the video game you develop during your internship?
This chaotic game is none other than my first ever pitch, Devil’s License! I would say some people can relate to the situation that inspired me: the idea came to me out of frustration of past experiences when taking my drivers’ license, in particular, on the day of my first driving exam. It was a nice, sunny Thursday morning, perfect to go for a walk, but I was more focused on the exam at the time. With my anxiety kicking in, fueled by the awful sarcastic voice of my driving examiner, I failed the exam in less than 5 minutes, stopping the car just above a crosswalk. It’s always a huge blow failing these, but from this blunder a great idea surfaced – a neat concept for a game. “What if I am the examiner and just fail all the students on purpose? Because I feel like it and I’m mean?” Thus, Devil’s License was born. The pitch was accepted as a 2nd year college project in the first semester, so me and another three colleagues worked on a prototype. The initial prototype was a 2D top-down point-and-click game, where we play as Ash, an infamous Devil examiner, and try to fail every student we examine. Ash has powers to change traffic lights and traffic signs, which can result in mistakes if the student doesn’t react in time. With three mistakes, the student fails, and our protagonist further cements his reputation as a mean examiner! Seems like fun, right?
The internship project that was proposed to us was to change the original 2D game into a 3D perspective. This was something that we thought about back initially, and we believed the concept would fit more in a 3D world – so this was an amazing opportunity to give the game another life.
Mel just summed everything up!
What are you most proud of (about the game)?
I’m very proud of the models. They might look very simple to a lot of people, since they’re low-poly and all; but it’s the first project I did so many models by myself, and that worked out well! Especially the buildings which took me the most by using some complicated features such as geometry nodes. When all the models came together in the game it looked like a very solid prototype, and it made me happy to see how it looked. With a few more models I’m sure it would look like a real city and much livelier!
I’m proud that I managed to do a working game with a somewhat complex AI in such short time. Even if I didn’t have the time to add every feature that was planned, the game works fine, unlike some previous games I made, where the AI could break at any moment.
What were your biggest fears regarding your internship? Were you able to overcome them?
I was in charge of modelling, which was something I hadn’t much experience with. Fortunately, everyone at Exaud made sure that I felt comfortable about going at my own pace, so learning Blender and Substance Painter almost from scratch was incredibly gratifying. Modelling and texturing were areas I somewhat tried to avoid (being 2D something I was way more experienced with), but I found a lot of enjoyment doing city models to the first game I ever developed, without being pressured. It was an amazing experience overall and having the help from the team whenever I had doubts and issues was super helpful. Overall, this experience was a huge step forward for me.
I was afraid of the pressure of working at an actual company. However, the people at Exaud were nice and understood that we are still learning, and that made me more relaxed and confident to develop this game.
Where do you want to go from here? The sky’s the limit!
One of my weaknesses surely is my indecisiveness. I found a new love for 3D modelling, but I still have a big passion for 2D art and game design. Thinking of new concepts and designing rules is something I liked doing these past three years. I’m still unsure if I want to dedicate my entire career to solely one of these three, perhaps another branch will show up and I’ll enjoy it even more. Surely, I’ll find something that will fit me like a glove. I’ve always been afraid of not “having” something that would work for me, but I’m confident that I’ll be able to change that.
I’m also not sure, but I hope that in the future I will find a place where I can enjoy working and making fun games.
We’re incredibly proud of Melissa and José’s hard work and accomplishments and we can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with next!
To learn more about our internship programs, feel free to email our HR Manager at email@example.com.
Working at Exaud is more than just a job. Want to come along for the ride? We’re always looking for great people to join us. Check our current openings on our Careers Page.
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