Working Practices and Culture at Gameloft Brisbane

Caddy Neville, a Talent Acquisition Partner at Gameloft Brisbane Studio, spoke about the work organization and culture at the studio, talked about their approach to education, and discussed the perks new team members get when they join the studio.

Introduction Please introduce yourself. Where did you study? How did you join the team?

Caddy Neville: My name is Caddy Neville and I’m a Talent Acquisition Partner in the Brisbane Studio and recruit talent for the Design and Art teams, I work alongside Dan Creevy who specializes in building pipelines and sourcing talent for the Programming and Production teams.

I’ve been with Gameloft for just over a year and when I started one of my tasks was to build the local internal recruitment process and assist with global projects. I studied for a double degree in Law/Business majoring in HR at the Queensland University of Technology and after completing these studies spent 2 years abroad traveling through Europe and the Middle East. I love building fun and creative work cultures and one of my passions is ensuring work culture reflects employee values.

Work Organization How is work organized at Gameloft? Could you tell us about different teams and how they communicate with each other?

Caddy Neville: Gameloft Brisbane has 5 core departments within our business; Engineering, Art, UI, Production, and Design. You don’t need to be a coding genius, an innovative artist, or a project management savant to be involved in games. The most important quality is that you have a passion for gaming. We are always looking for exceptional people in Engineering, Art, UI, Production & Design. The teams work together very closely so having strong communication skills is critical. We have various tools for online communications and have a meeting room for face-to-face collaboration. Could you tell us about the projects you are proud of the most?

Caddy Neville: Ah, this question is the best! I would have to say The Oregon Trail™ beside from winning a bunch of awards The Oregon Trail is a global phenomenon and you only need to play it for a few minutes to understand why, It’s a cinematic masterpiece! 

Important Skills What skills do you consider when hiring a new specialist? Are there any particular soft skills that are important to your team? 

Caddy Neville: When it comes to artists, we look for skills in UI/UX, VFX, 2D/3D Modelling, Animation, and Technical Art and knowledge of Unreal Engine is a bonus. Our pipeline for modeling is mainly in Maya, however, some people use Blender or 3ds Max. ZBrush is used for character and environment. 
Softs skills are equally as important including collaboration, leadership, mentoring, coaching, confident presenting, writing, and critical thinking.   

Welcoming New Teammates How do you make sure that beginners feel welcomed and safe at the studio?  How do you help them build a common understanding with other teammates?  

Caddy Neville: Firstly, it’s important for us to remember what that’s like! Whether you are a graduate/intern or an experienced developer, the first day will always present some nerves. We’re continuously improving our onboarding experience. We want to ensure we don’t overwhelm you and that you receive information in small chunks that are easily digestible!

I believe we are a very friendly and inclusive studio and I love that we have a number of social groups you can join in with rock climbing, running, yoga, playing pool during lunchtime, or weekend walking in Brisbane’s hinterland. Everyone is welcome or you can join Gameloft FC (our football club) and receive your very own Gameloft jersey! As for me personally, I enjoy going out to lunch with the team or simply chilling out on our rooftop with Mr. Hendricks, our studio dog!

We have a game launch and Halloween parties plus morning teas to recognize important events such as PRIDE, NAIDOC, R U OKAY? Day. In the past, we did team get-togethers for ten-pin bowling, rock-
climbing, as well as attending the Disney exhibition which provides a chance for the team to mix outside of the studio.

We have different internal messaging channels to help build connections in the studio, "Cute Pets" is very popular but we also have channels that discuss games and non-game-related topics. 

Thoughts on Burnout and Crunches How do you manage burnout? What strategies do you use? What do you do to keep the mental health of employees balanced? 

Caddy Neville: Gameloft Brisbane believes in the importance of finding a balance in everything you do, and this is what drives us further every day. We are fortunate to have a number of seasoned game developers in the Studio who work hard to minimize overtime.

In cases of crunch we do our best to be very transparent, Dylan Miklashek, Studio Manager hosts a monthly Town Hall to discuss important topics. As we are fast approaching a milestone the recent conversation has included crunch and overtime. I think it’s impossible in the games industry to avoid all periods of crunch so for us we ensure transparent communications with the Leads to understand and explain why it’s happening. We are very focused on managing scope so that crunch times are short and infrequent.

Approach to Education How do you approach education? How do you train your staff and motivate them to level up? 

Caddy Neville: We focus on ensuring staff is working towards small improvements every day. From soft and hard skillsets growth to leadership and management opportunities the company contributes effective training, guidance, and support toward the goals of each employee in our team. We have access to a training fund for each department, so if there is something they want to undertake that is valuable to the work they perform, we will surely support it! Most importantly, we are very big on hands-on mentoring and sharing from our more experienced staff, especially leads and directors.

Culture and Perks

Caddy Neville: We have a diverse and inclusive team located in beautiful Brisbane and we aim to provide a culture that encourages development and progression in the games industry. Whilst we have a number of experienced people in the Studio, there is no ego and everyone shares tips to help everyone grow in and outside of work. Everyone just wants to make great games and create a unique player experience. Many of the Brisbane team leaders seek to support and provide opportunities across all avenues, to cultivate a workplace that is constantly evolving but also welcoming. 

The art team on The Oregon Trail wanted to make an Apple watch in addition to the game, so the user could track steps along the trail. It’s very nostalgic to the journey and sits well with the strong emphasis the Studio has on mental health and wellness. For example, Gameloft subsidizes gym memberships and we have groups that love rock climbing, running in their breaks, etc. The studio offers a subsidy to support private health insurance. Oh, and how can I forget the Push for Better Push-Up Challenge in the studio?

The Studio also maintains an active presence at industry and education events to ensure we are giving back to the people that support us and offering a framework for students to enter the industry. We recently attended the SAE Institute of Australia Open Day where the students showcased their projects for review across, game design, animation, and film. The leadership team often attends university capstone projects and spends time reviewing portfolios.

More recently we held a Game Jam competition at QUT, and apart from a fun weekend, the idea was to create an opportunity for recently graduated students to win a 3-month paid internship across 3D Art, Technical Art, and Programming disciplines and the possibility of an extension to a full-time permanent position. The opportunity for every participant was to be able to include a completed project as part of their portfolio and receive project feedback from the Gameloft Brisbane team. 

We have regular “Show Case" events in the studio on Friday afternoons, it’s where the teams get together to showcase to the studio what they’ve been working on, we usually have a few beers and Mr. Hendricks joins in. We need to be careful though if we clap too loudly he starts barking! Personally, I really love this event it’s really chilled and relaxed and it’s a great time for me to learn about everything that’s going on and to learn about the challenges they are facing. I’m always super proud, to be a part of something so cool and exciting! 

One of my favorite perks of working at Gameloft is the very cool game-related free T-shirts and hoodies that we get because these t-shirts show all of our amazing and talented team at Gameloft in pixel character form. Especially the most important staff member Mr. Hendricks. When joining our team, you'll get your very own video game character sprite. This is just one of a large number of benefits you get when joining our studio! 

Conclusion Could you share some tips for artists willing to work at your studio? What should they focus on?

Caddy Neville: Connecting with us on socials is a great way to stay connected on what we’re up to and we also post all our open positions! Also, check out our careers section and job board for more information about our current positions available.

In your application include links to games and portfolios you’ve created. Referencing personal game projects, you’ve been involved in and specifically what you were responsible for in the game is extremely powerful and displays your passion for the industry.  

Portfolios are as important as a well-laid-out resume. Take the time to put this together and focus on quality over quantity. If you apply for a specific position, ensure your portfolio reflects this because if you’re too diverse it can dilute your skillset. If you apply for multiple positions, split up your portfolio.

Oh! And double-check that it is easy to open your portfolio with minimal clicks required! 

Caddy Neville, Talent Acquisition Partner at Gameloft

Interview conducted by Arti Burton

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