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Alumnus of the month – February 2016

Ary Shirazi
BA (Hons) Game Cultures, 2008

Robert Humphreys

Within two months of graduating, Ary Shirazi landed a job working on the Harry Potter game series with Electronic Arts. He is now Technical Designer at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe where he has developed some of the world’s most popular video games.
“I've worked on some blockbuster titles for huge games companies. But my time as a student on the Dare to be Digital competition is still the best development experience I've had.”
Since the age of three, Ary played on any game he could get his hands on. Until he enrolled at LSBU, however, he had never worked collaboratively on a game before. Encouraged by his Course Director, Siobhan Thomas, he teamed up with four class mates and entered a student competition in which contestants design a fully-functioning game prototype from scratch. After ten weeks Ary’s team showcased a space pirate adventure game inspired by pinball, called “Captain Cannonball” to industry professionals. 
“The Game Cultures course gave me the opportunity to collaborate and the drive to learn a varied set of skills. I had a playable demo before graduating, which gave me an advantage over other junior designers and got me my first proper job working on Harry Potter.”
Collaboration is critical to Ary’s success at Sony. A typical day might include prototyping a set of game mechanics, for example how quickly a player jumps from roof to roof. It will also involve liaising with the code, animation and art teams or pitching ideas to senior stakeholders.
With the skills he has acquired, Ary plans to one day release a game independently: “The feeling you get when a game comes together is indescribable. You need a solid team of design, programming, art, animation and sound design people. My advice to students is to collaborate and make a demo. If it’s good, you will get a job in the games industry.”

Since 2005, LSBU has been teaching the importance of understanding all aspects of games design, development and theory. Taught by professionals working in the games industry, this unique course has produced talented graduates who now occupy a range of positions including sound designers, programmers, scriptwriters, special effects technicians and character artists.