Durham College student takes home gold in 3D Design at Ubisoft Toronto NEXT competition

Durham College (DC) Game-Art student, Melissa Friesen, beat out competitors from colleges and universities across Ontario to take home first place in the 3D Design category at Ubisoft Toronto NEXT 2023 competition. For the past decade, this annual event has cast a spotlight on student talent in Ontario, providing a platform to showcase their video game development skills and help spark career connections in the growing industry.

 On May 12, more than 200 students competed for a paid internship at Ubisoft Toronto during the first in-person competition since 2019. This gave the talented competitors a chance to network with experts in the game development industry, as well as fellow finalists.

For the 3D Design category, competitors created an interior scene of a video game environment that focused on visual storytelling, the composition of quality assets and attention to detail. Melissa’s winning submission was a fascinating and hauntingly memorable depiction of the inside of a psychic shop that left a lasting impression on the judges.

“The project provided me the unique opportunity to really sink my teeth into work where I had accountability, competition and aspiration. I was able to apply the skills I learned in the Game-Art program and see how far I could push them,” said Melissa. “My professor, Darryl Malloy, offered helpful critiques and constant encouragement throughout the entire competition. After two months of blue-screening and black coffee, I’m thrilled to have gotten a paid internship with my first-place win and feel optimistic about my future in the games industry.”

DC’s Game-Art program is well-known for its comprehensive curriculum that includes every aspect of the game development process and a focus on training artists for the games industry. By combining the skills they develop inside the classroom with hands-on learning opportunities, Game-Art graduates are prepared for careers in industry-leading game studios.

This is the second year in a row that a DC student has won in the 3D Design category.

“The Game-Art program at DC is growing along with the industry and continues to prepare our students to compete in these types of challenges that strengthen our relationships with studios,” said Darryl Malloy, professor, DC. “I was honoured to work with Melissa and witness the growth in her work each week throughout my class. The amount of effort and passion she puts into her work demonstrates how ready she is for a career in this exciting industry.”