NIC alum making waves in the gaming world

Greg Tinga is using software skills he learned at NIC to develop new games, as seen in this screenshot from the now-released title Magic: The Gathering Arena.

Greg Tinga’s love of gaming goes back to elementary school, when he would sneak over to a friend’s house to play the new Halo X-Box game.

Now, the former Comox resident is a software engineer at a leading, Vancouver-based gaming software company and says his time in NIC’s Mobile App Development program was instrumental in getting his start in the industry.

He recalls getting hooked after building his first software application while at NIC.

“It wasn’t anything special, but it was a deep feeling of accomplishment,” Tinga said. “That was the realization for me that I really loved this and wanted to go further.”

And go further he did. Tinga graduated from the program in April 2016, armed with new programming and application development skills as well as specialized technical knowledge needed to work in the software development industry.

A few months later, Tinga was accepted into Vancouver Film School’s respected Game Design program, a one-year immersive program for aspiring game architects.

Once again, the training he received at NIC placed him in a position to succeed, he said.

“What it enabled me to do was have that framework to apply myself and use that knowledge,” he said. “I was ready, I was prepared. Because I had a good grounding in software development from NIC, I didn’t encounter the problems other students sometimes run into. I got a 100 per cent grade on my first programming course at Vancouver Film School.”

Tinga graduated from VFS in 2017 and immediately got a temporary job at Beyond Capture Studios, which shares physical space with VFS at the VFS Cordova campus and maintains a partnership with the school.

A few months later, Tinga’s programming skills were noticed by award-winning children’s gaming software company Biba Ventures, named by Time Magazine as one of the Best Inventions of 2019 for the company’s free app, which blends gaming with outdoor playground activities. Tinga was hired as a game tester initially, but took initiative and, with his employer’s blessing, began seeking and destroying bugs in the software.

Within four months, Tinga was promoted to the company’s development team. By October 2019, he was named lead game developer.

“I learned so much from working at that company,” he said.

In early 2020, Tinga left Biba for a new job with SkyBox Labs, one of Metro Vancouver’s fastest-growing games studios. The company has developed and co-developed popular games alongside some of the world’s best-known publishers, including Xbox Game Studios, Wizards of the Coast and Electronic Arts.

He’s currently working on the in-development title Magic: The Gathering Arena. The company is also working on a new Halo installment – a future sequel to the original game that started it all for Tinga.

Now living in Vancouver and working in an industry he loves, Tinga’s advice to others is to invest in training.

“At NIC, I gained the tools to be able to work through problems and learn on my own,” he said. “That’s a huge benefit in programming. You can take your own initiative and use those building blocks to adapt to any situation.”

NIC offers a total of five DIGITAL Design + Development programs. To learn more or to apply, visit www.nic.bc.ca/digital-design-development.

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