Fulfilling my dream of becoming a video game designer

Fulfilling my dream of becoming a video game designer

The video game industry in New Zealand is growing bigger by the year. Student Ethan Munn shares with myView how Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington has helped him on the way his to dream job.

Computer Graphics student and video game designer Ethan Munn

Pursuing a career in video game development is something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember. I was introduced to video games at an early age through my parents’ Sega Mega Drive and it’s been a passion of mine ever since. Because of the immense support from Victoria University of Wellington, including the Nga Hoe a Kupe Pathfinder Scholarship, I’ve been turning my goal into a reality.

Taking both the Computer Graphics and Computer Science majors through the University’s Bachelor of Science programme has given me an excellent foundation in design and programming, as well as opening up a new-found passion for film animation and digital effects. Studying here was definitely the right choice—it’s close to home and Wellington is a hotspot for game and film design, with companies like PikPok and Weta Digital based here.

Ethan’s 2D project Miles Away From Home pays homage to the formative years of gaming

Throughout my first two years at the University I’ve taken courses both at the Kelburn and the Te Aro campuses. These have covered a wide range of topics from coding fundamentals, to game development, scene composition, and 3D animation. Along the way I’ve worked individually and in teams, which has allowed me to improve my efficiency both independently and as a team player.

Moving into my third year has given me the opportunity to take even more courses that will help on my journey. MDDN321 (Game Design II) and MDDN301 (Mobile Media and Mixed Reality) through the School of Design are courses that will particularly helpful. I’m looking forward to taking on the challenges that these courses present alongside my programming courses at Kelburn campus. I’ve also been taking the knowledge I’ve gained at the University and applying it to a side project of my own—a 2D side-scrolling video game in Unity.

A well dressed hot dog inhabits the world of one of Ethan’s 3D animation projects

After I graduate with my Bachelor’s degree, I’m hoping to complete the Master of Design Technology. I think that this will be really helpful when I make it into the industry because the skills I learn in the Master’s programme will strengthen my visual effects skillset. The way I see it, the more versatile I am as a programmer and designer, the more opportunities will be open to me in the future. While I have free time over this break, I am going to continue to work on side projects as well as tutoring the first year COMP103 students for Trimester 3. This will ensure that I’ll be more than ready to take on these new design courses when I return for my third and final year of undergrad.

I am very thankful for the support I have received from my family, friends, teachers and Victoria University of Wellington in helping me pursue my goal.

Ethan Munn is a second-year Bachelor of Science student majoring in Computer Graphics and Computer Science. 

Interested in sharing your experience? Read our submission guidelines and get in touch with your story ideas.