Ali Skewes

Games Designer

Ali's job title is Game Designer at Sports Interactive

What I do

I am part of a team that creates games. The process includes looking at high-level design, being creative, brainstorming ideas to decide what we want to feature big on, and then exploring the full design, which includes looking into the technicalities, how we can make it work and the systems behind it.

We work in sprints, so we have intense two-week periods where we focus on something, and we have agile working where we all work together and bounce ideas off each other, so we each have a board where all our tasks are kept and maintained. I make sure that’s on track before I leave each day.

Gaming console

Hear more about Ali's role by watching the video below...

How I became a technician

A typical day in my
working life

Each working day is really different, which is one of the joys of the job. We have peaks and troughs of workload. There’s a lot of collaboration and meetings when we’re creating the framework for a new game. I use a visual collaboration platform called Miro, which is like pen and paper but online, so there’s lots of input. It has sticky notes to sketch out ideas, tables, and you can add GIFs and videos if you feel they’re relevant – like an interactive whiteboard. Our hours are flexible, as long as you put in the core hours, from 12pm to 4pm. So you can start at 11am and finish at 7pm if you want to. We have people that work in Sweden and the US, so there are different time zones too.

The advice I'd give to
someone younger

There’s a lot of pressure on young people to feel that they need to decide what they want to do. When I was 16 years old, there was a lot of pressure to go down an academic route, but there’s so much time to work out what you want to do. Always harness what you’re interested in. Never feel that you should be doing something just because you’re expected to do it. Always tap into your own interests and uniqueness to find your own path.

A little more about
my everyday role

The best bits about working in a team

As part of our team we’ve got User Interface (UI) Designers, who make it visually interesting, and I’m the person underneath working on how it functions. There’s about eight or nine of us, so we often get paired up with a UI Designer for each feature and then each team of two will work collaboratively from start to finish. That means there’s always someone there to bounce ideas off who doesn’t come from the same game design background They have that technical knowledge and insight into the wider gaming world. So, they are complementary skill sets.

The most exciting thing I’ve achieved so far in my job

The first time we released a game, and my name was in the credits, was a really nice feeling. Another joy, now that I’m in design, is that I’m at the very start of game development, so you see this small idea or sketch on the Miro board, which ends up being something that people play and enjoy. That’s a really gratifying feeling. Even at the QA level, where you fix or notice a bug, I’ve made a difference to that person’s experience.

The next steps in my career journey

I’m very much at the entry level for game design, so I’d like to progress to a senior role, eventually. I really want to stay in this industry and this kind of environment. But I think I could take what I do pretty much anywhere. Such a creative role does lend itself to other industries, especially as I have a lot of experience in the production and development side.

What I do to relax

I’ve always been interested in reading and films. I feel they lend themselves to what I’m doing.

See Ali in the Technicians: We Make the Difference cinema advert

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