Today we continue the story of our activities in the sustainability field, a sequel to the piece, this time on our Community Focus.
Community is a main pillar of our company and one of Amber's core values. We see Amber at the center of a series of concentric circles representing our studio, the local game dev industry, and ultimately, the broader society in which our teams are located. We feel a deep sense of responsibility and empathy towards the community within our company, industry, and society. Giving back is part of our ethos, and we'll invest part of our profit every year to make a difference. Our staff further contribute by volunteering their time to charitable causes, educating the youth on industry opportunities, and investing in our shared future.
Among all the social issues we considered tackling at Amber, we identified education as the area where we could make the most significant impact. Although the industry constantly evolved in the past decade and there were so many talented students, as of the start of 2023, in Romania there are only two master programs teaching game development related disciplines, and no bachelor degrees. But the market is ready for more educational programs for game development.
Going back in time, in 2017, we asked ourselves how we could improve access to information and how we can engage students in the study of game development, considering the lack of any educational program that included practical studies about gaming at the time. This need resulted in Amber Academy being born. Amber Academy, a program we also mentioned in our previous article, is an outside-facing educational program, with the purpose is to share its educational resources with the gaming industry at large.
A key part of Amber Academy has been the goal to share with high school and university students as much about game development as possible, in an informal, fun, and engaging way. Since the establishment of Amber Academy in 2017, the Company has made partnerships with Bucharest based high schools, the Polytechnic University, as well as several Student Leagues from Bucharest.
The Art of Game Design master program (offered by the National University of Theatre and Film “I.L. Caragiale” in Bucharest) created a great opportunity for us. One of the management members is teaching there, two colleagues are offering mentorship to the students, and other Amber employees held several workshops for students.
We also support the students of the Digital Art master's at the Bucharest National University of Arts (UNArte). Over the years, our colleagues have taught 3D art, while the most promising students were invited to participate at Summer Camps, as well as internship programs over the holiday period. During this time, they had the chance to learn the basics of working at a game dev studio.
Other projects we were involved in, include organizing admission to The Entrepreneurship Academy, a BBA program in business management and entrepreneurship, and holding various workshops and webinars on game dev dedicated to members of student associations, high school students, and students of other educational institutions, both local and foreign.
Bringing together people from the industry is one of the thrills of working in gaming, so we have thought of a way to make the most of it. Benefiting from its global presence, Amber has joined trade and community associations, with the clear purpose of supporting and promoting the video game development sector.
Amber is a member of La guilde du jeu video du Quebec, a professional association gathering 280+ members, which acts as a promoter of growth, creativity, and innovation for video game industry in Canada. One of its notable projects is the annual event “La Caravanne”, a project that is dedicated to entrepreneurship, networking, training and discovery of the local independent studios. The 2023 edition of "La Caravanne" brought together more than 40 independent studios which had the opportunity to present their game projects, discuss career development in the industry and other relevant subjects.
Through its Mexico subsidiary, Amber is affiliated to AJIC (Jalisco Creative Industry Association), a non-governmental association which enables synergies for the creative industry,, more precisely for activists in the audiovisual productions -video games, animation, VFX, and stop motion. Since 2018, AJIC has been the host of Sublime Jalisco festival, which is the biggest local networking and meeting event dedicated to the creative industry. Amber contributed to this event by introducing relevant speakers and master classes
Since January 2014, Amber Romania is one of the founding members of the Romanian Game Developers Association (RGDA). RGDA is a video games trade association, a non-profit organization that strives to make Romanian video game developers more successful and visible in the international markets.
Amber Romania has been a long-time supporter of DevPlay Conference, an annual game development event mainly targeting Eastern Europe, organized in Bucharest. Amber also supported several editions of Bucharest Gaming Week, the consumer-focused event that turns Bucharest into the gaming capital of the region.
In 2021, Amber partnered up with Arden, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting creative programs and the game development community, thus being involved in several initiatives. In 2022 Amber supported U-Echo Training Center, a major training program for Unreal Engine in Guadalajara, Mexico, whose goal is to generate local and national industry and specialized videogame skills in Latin America. The program gathered students from 6 Latin American countries (Mexico, Bolivia, Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador and El Salvador), with the total number of students trained, surpassing 700 people. The program's curriculum includes 32 courses related to video games, animation, VFX and other topics.
Another notable project is The Bee-Hive Graffiti, which started in 2021 and is part of a collaboration between Arden and Ciudad Creativa Digital (CCD) with the artists from the collective “Cabezas Cuadradas” and Luis Guillermo González. The creation of 16 graffiti works displayed on the streets of historic city center of Guadalajara (murals, stairs, and sidewalks), was the first step of the project that is meant to reactivate and rehabilitate the area by creating new tourist attraction points. The project's next step is adding an augmented reality (AR) component to the artworks, which will create a unique experience for the public.
As an expression of urban art merged with digital culture, this project promotes innovation also aiming to bring people closer to the animation, design, and videogames industry in general.
In 2021, Amber, together with Arden, organized in Bucharest the first Augmented Reality art exhibition dedicated to video games - an interactive exhibition showcasing the 3D art in games published by Amber. Also in 2021, Amber supported Let's Glow SF, a public art event that used video projection mapping techniques with light and colors to project virtual images from local and international artists onto iconic buildings throughout San Francisco’s Financial District. It was the largest holiday projection mapping event in the US.
Amber remains strongly dedicated to its community efforts and will continue to support key initiatives in the locations where Amber is present.
This piece is part of a series of articles related to Sustainability at Amber, with the first two available HERE and HERE.