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Work Experience 2016...again!

Hello everyone. We have had another local student join us for a week of work experience. Owen is in 6th form so is older than our usual work experience students. He's had a pretty intensive week so I shall pass over to him!

Considering I had only found out that I was coming to do work experience here at Flintlock only five days before I was due to start and Tom only finding out the day after due to a phone call from myself, I ended up coming in on Monday with a completely open mind and not much of an idea what was going on.

I came in on Monday knowing two things about the company. I knew Flintlock Studios was a game development company and that two guys named Tom and Jon worked there, but not much else. When arriving on Monday I was given the task of beta testing the working parts of the product that is currently in development, which is essentially finding as many different creative ways of breaking it as possible so that the final product is not released to the public with a whole load of bugs. That was ideal for me, as it combined two of my favourite things. computers and breaking stuff. And I certainly managed to do that alright! From the moment I walked through the door to the minute I sat, testing every combination of buttons to press, every way of going into negative points, every way of completely breaking one of the pages as I could, all in the name of making the game better.

Tuesday arrived and so did Jon, who had been off on Monday. A new name to remember. But considering he was only the second out of three people who worked here that I had met that wasn't too difficult. It involved a LOT of reading, trying to find information which would be going into the next page due for creation. Now I enjoy reading as much as the next person, but when you are reading from a design document for a game you are totally unfamiliar with that is over a thousand words long, you might as well have given me the complete works of Shakespeare written out in Latin and it would have made as much sense to me. Luckily I had Jon there to explain things to me (and trust me, he did a lot of explaining), and by the end of it, I had somewhat of an understanding as to what a lot of the abbreviations, numbers and names meant. For that section of the document anyway.

Wednesday was a strange day for a number of reasons. For starters within an hour of arriving, everything had to be switched off and unplugged for around an hour due to a thunderstorm that had decided to rear its head out of nowhere. Then once it had passed a teacher came in to see how I had been getting along and such, and so there was another hour in which practically no work got done. By the time she had left there was barely an hour before lunch, and so rather than starting on anything new and complex I was given the wonderful task of data entry. After lunch had passed Beki arrived and showed me the world of marketing. This was completely different to what I had been doing the last couple of days as there was not a line of code in sight, which was a refreshing change. However this was swapped for a large excel document, with just as much information to analyse as the data entry, so the swap wasn't as amazing as it had first seemed.

On Thursday I was given the choice of what to do and so to be productive and to save them time in the long run I bravely volunteered to do some more data entry, although I use the words bravely and stupidly interchangeably. However I did get a lot done, adding over fifty working entries over the day, some of which were much more complex than others to get working properly. This did take roughly seven hours to complete however it did make a decent sized dent in the amount of work there is left to do, even though there is still a sizeable amount left.

Friday, today, was a very interesting day. It started off with me doing some more beta testing, this time looking out for any graphical bugs, although I did manage to find more than just that, as breaking things just seems to come naturally to me. I did this until lunch time, after which I was given a mock interview as so that when it came to actually being interviewed for a job I would know what I need to do and what I can improve on by then. After the interview the final task of writing this blog post came about, which has also been rather enjoyable as writing is another of my favourite past times, hence the vast amounts written here. (Don't worry it is almost over!)

This experience has been a great one, mainly due to the fact that I have actually been given actual productive work to do rather than being given silly useless tasks as occurs so frequently in work experience further down the education system. I have been given such a large amount of trust and responsibility, such as coding in a language I had next to no knowledge of prior to coming here, being left to fix bugs I found and by being treat as one of the team and as a result has made me want to pull my weight and has helped me enjoy my time here as much as I possibly could have done.