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Internship provides video game experience

08/19/15

According to Bradley Gradneigo ’15 of Palatka, Fla., the work he does as a computer scientist can be just as unique as his artwork. “At the core of my being, I love to be creative. Art and computer science give that to me,” he said.

Gradneigo, who graduated in May with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and a minor in art, said computer science interests him because of the challenges it presents. It serves as a catalyst for his art.

“In computer science, you can write code to do a number of different ideas, just like in art you can make it to mean a number of different ideas or concepts,” he explained. “Coding also can use art, which is why I like playing around in web development, graphic design and concept art.”

Gradneigo recently completed a “remote” internship as a concept artist with Rebel Games Interactive, an upstart video game company based in Dalton, Mass. With no need to travel to the worksite, it involved weekly or biweekly video calls that worked around his class schedule as he completed his degree last spring.

During that time, he and two other students worked to create a video game of their own. The experience, Gradneigo said, taught him what it takes – from both the technical and a business standpoint – to develop a game, from start to finish.

His “dream job” could include working as a concept or comic artist, an animator or a web developer, as Gradneigo is open to a variety of options. “The internship also got me into the mindset of the gaming industry and what employers will be looking for in a concept artist, and the responsibilities they have.”

The best part of the experience, however, was the opportunity to develop the game’s main character, the primary antagonist, and their enemies. He also learned how to make pixel assets. “You can think of it as the look of the early Pokemon or Final Fantasy games,” Gradneigo explained. 

He enjoyed his academic experience at MCLA, including classroom discussions, which were “very open.”

“The professors I had were all very nice and cool. Some of them were really adamant on helping me in any way they could,” Gradneigo said. “The class work related to my major was very challenging, and so were some of the electives I took.”

He credits the Center for Student Success and Engagement (CSSE) for his internship opportunity.

“I didn’t discover CSSE until my junior year; I wish I had gone there earlier,” Gradneigo said. “The help and the training I received for career building was invaluable.”

Gradneigo also was involved with the Computer Society, the Gaming Alliance and the Anime Club.

The Computer Society, he said, is a great place to hang out and learn about new ideas in the industry. “Also, it’s a great place to experiment and explore concepts.”

Gradneigo continued, “The Gaming Alliance is good place to go and play games with people from all around the campus – especially card or tabletop games. The Anime Club is an awesome place to go and foster a passion for Japanese cartoons and manga (comic books). As an artist, I loved going and just hanging out there whenever I could.”

The best part of being an MCLA student, Gradneigo said, was “meeting and getting to know all the different teachers and friends you make all over the campus, and building a network with them.”

He added, “I would recommend MCLA to prospective students because it’s a nice college, the staff is excellent and friendly, and the student community is great.”