XR stands for Extended Reality, an umbrella term for technology-driven altered reality that includes Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR).
Harrison Perry is a Programmer for Make Real, an award-winning Virtual and Augmented Reality studio with established corporate clients such as EDF Energy, Vodafone and McDonalds. We asked Harrison, some key questions about getting into the games sector.
Explain your role like I'm 5 years old
It’s hard to break it down. It’s a lot of talking and understanding, a lot of question-asking and listening. I need to try and turn a design document into a working computer programme. This means working with lots of people who make all different things, like art, sound, and everything in between.
I am the portal everything has to flow into and then I produce the output (the end product) which is a VR (Virtual Reality) application. This can come in many forms! Like AR or MR or basically anything you can imagine.
Take us through your average day at work
My work days vary a lot. Sometimes I write a lot of code, sometimes I’m reading design documents, sometimes I’m talking to other coders or designers or the art team or whoever. Being able to talk and communicate is probably more important than coding, but coding is still super important! So there’s a lot of communication going on all the time. In the VR world things are moving a break-neck speed, so you need to be fast on your feet.
What was your educational and career journey into your current role?
I did physics and design and computing at a-level (notice no maths!) and then I did computer science at King's College, London.
I've been coding for a long time, since I was about 13 (I'm 26 now) I learnt all my maths as I went along I got a 2.2 from Kings as I was busy making games and not going to lectures. I love to do other types of coding like bitcoin puzzles.
What do you love most about your role?
Making stuff run really nice on lower-spec hardware; writing shaders or hacking the headset to make it do something it shouldn't.
What's the hardest thing about your role?
The same thing I love about it. And of course, miscommunications and handling them.
What key skills should people work on to do your role one day?
Just get really good at using a computer and create stuff. Watch maths lessons on YouTube if you think you need it, just get good at learning and enjoy learning. Once you learn how to learn you'll be able to do whatever you want.
What advice would you give to your younger self looking to get started in the industry?
Hustle more, know your worth, be polite, show respect and don't let people disrespect you. Enjoy it and stay chill.
Do you have any links to good articles or videos that you think might give some tips or advice to someone starting in your role?
YouTube is a free university. Don’t ever think you can’t do something, because you can, you just need to be disciplined and motivated and you’ll get there. I’m still a kid!
Good stuff here:
Maths lessons with a visuals-first approach - 3Blue1Brown
Unity Beginner Tutorials - How to Make a Game