ESA Games, school dedicated to video games in Carpentras
ESA Games is the first specialist higher education establishment devoted to video games set up in Vaucluse. In 2016 it offered a 3-year course to become a 2D/3D Technical Game Artist, Technical Game Designer and Programming, with diplomas recognised by the French Ministry of National Education. A school that is not like the others where the keywords are creativity, tolerance, goodwill and freedom. Have a look at this gem.
In the beginning there was… Gilles Francescano, the town of Carpentras, VPA and Alain Tascan (Ubisoft Canada “daddy” and World director of Fortnite)
Gilles Francescano is a renowned illustrator (that science fiction and fantasy fans know well because he has illustrated many works of Ayerdhal, Jean-Claude Dunyach and Roland C. Wagner or the French translations of Robert E. Howard) who is a member of the organising team of the Nantes Utopiales international SF festival.
He had always liked sharing and passing on knowledge of his art, and tucked away somewhere in the corner of his mind was a project, a dream: to create an inclusive school where Game design and programming enthusiasts could learn and make it their profession.
It was a dream that became reality while he was at Kestulis, the literary festival taking place in Carpentras, to which he was invited. He talked about this dream, which the festival organisers and municipality were quick to share, then VPA. They did everything, at their level, for the project to come into being here in Vaucluse, at the foot of Mont Ventoux.
It happened in 2016. The wonderful story of ESA Games started to be written, supported by Alain Tascan (Ubisoft Canada “daddy” and World director of Fortnite), the school’s mentor from day 1!
A school with 2 full courses: 2D/3D Technical Game Artist, Technical Game Designer and Programming
The aim is to offer an undergraduate diploma to young people interested in the video game sector with a 3-year educational course, one year with a core curriculum during which students try all of the school’s subjects and what there is to learn technically.
For the technical element: master 2D design software in drawing or animation, 3D design, using game engines to integrate environments.
For the Game design element (game scriptwriting): acquire good knowledge of written expression with general culture and videogaming culture classes to consolidate students’ knowledge base. These are rounded out by language classes (English and Japanese) as well as art history classes, traditional drawing (academic drawing and introduction to colour and composition), Narrative design and method classes (marketing, portfolio design, Agile method …), as well as programming and developing classes.
New for 2021-2022
The educational offer has been expanded with 3D animation courses and the opening of Manga Drawing classes for publication or animation
1st year: a core curriculum for all students to enable them to learn the wide range of skills and specialisations available to them. After the first year, students choose their curriculum from Game Art and Game Design.
2nd year: in addition to the academic curriculum, students do a one-month internship with a company. The aim: immerse them in the working world through creating professional projects for private companies or local authorities.
3rd year: it is divided between producing the end-of-studies project and a four to six-month internship in a specialist company. Students therefore go off to different cities in France (such as Paris, Montpellier, Nantes..) and abroad (such as Amsterdam)
The icing on the cake while studying: Masterclasses with legends and experts in the profession
When John Howe (illustrator of Lord of the Rings by Peter Jackson) came to meet the students and sat down with them to correct their sketches, or Aleksi Briclot (cards for Magic, Dontnod, Marvel) or Mathias Verrhasselt (Overwatch AD, designer at Space X) described their career path, or when Patrice Garcia (Arthur and the Invisibles and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets by Luc Besson) came to share his experience, all the students had stars in their eyes (many of them stayed in contact with the artists) and a key to understanding, coming within reach of “the” ultimate goal…
The school thereby supports students throughout their training, until the day before they are presented with their diploma, which is given after they have defended their projects before a jury exclusively made up of professionals from various horizons (studios, publishers, exhibition curators, artists…).
Their professional future is waiting for them!
A source of pride: many students are hired by the companies where they did their internships before they have even received their diploma. And although the training is focuses on video games, the skills acquired in 3D, 2D design or programming enable them to share their knowledge by with communication agencies, graphic design, product design, computer development… Or to set up their own studio.
A school that trains professionals in the Gaming industry
but also in inclusion and benevolence
Beyond the traditional framework that follows enrolling in a higher education school when students have been awarded their Baccalaureate, ESA Games opens its doors to those who did not pass it. This is something Gilles wanted, who worked with this in mind, because motivation and talent are just as important for him as passing the Baccalaureate. As he likes to tell me, he accommodates all kinds of profiles, from the most classic to the most unusual: Baccalaureate holder, gifted children, those who didn’t succeed in school, or young people who have had a complicated life, sometimes having to deal with behaviour disorders (young autistic people have found a calling in this field). It is more to ensure that the applicant has chosen the right path, that they will get through the curriculum, and to support them in becoming a Game artist/designer.
A bet? No doubt about it. But the aim here is to enable a young designer to find their place in society with the best thing they can contribute; themselves.
So, if you are:
– A young person with the Baccalaureate or not, whose dream is to work in the video game world
– A company that wants to support a unique school that is training the talents of the future
Push open the door to ESA Games!