Sean decides the games people play

Jul 11, 2005

When Sean Jenkin was a student at the University of Wollongong's Faculty of Informatics he helped teach a robot to play tic-tac-toe.

Six years later he's Development & Test Manager for Microsoft Games Studios in the United States, heading up a team of 40 developers and testers in the Tools and Technology Product Unit who are developing the platforms for the next generation of computer games.

In fact, the work Sean Jenkin does today will determine the kind of computer games sold around the world this Christmas and for years to come.

Sean is one of the UOW graduates profiled in the Alumni section of the July edition of UOW's magazine, Campus News. The magazine is available in electronic format on the UOW website (click on the Media section of this home page and then scroll down to Campus News).

In the profile, Sean says he has the perfect job. “I come to work and make video games every day. Need I say more?” he said. “Seriously though, I work at a place that's on the cutting edge of game development in the world. I've also gotten to travel around the world and, meet game development idols from my childhood.”

Sean, 28, from the Wollongong suburb of Figtree is now based at Microsoft's headquarters at Redmond, Washington.

He spent five years at UOW studying part-time and working for a Wollongong software development company before receiving the offer to join Microsoft a few days before he graduated.

“UOW taught me one thing above all else … I learned how to learn. Without this skill I know I wouldn't be where I am today,” Sean said.

He said a highlight of his studies was a year-long software development project. “We had a mechanical robot with a vision system, and four of us spent 12 months teaching it how to play tic-tac-toe against people from around the world,” Sean said. “We had a web site that allowed people to control the robot via a Java applet and to see what the robot was doing via the vision system. It exposed me to working in a real-time environment using technologies from a whole host of companies.”

Sean said he had many fond memories of his time at UOW. “The best classes were the ones where I was challenged to expand my knowledge to succeed,” he said. “I also appreciated being able to take subjects from other faculties (music, management and astronomy) to balance out the technical nature of my degree. I still refer back to work I did in some of those classes.”



UOW Computer Science graduate Sean Jenkin, who is now Development & Test Manager for Microsoft Games Studios

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