Erin Michno, American National, Living and Working in Scotland

Hi! I’m Erin. I moved from America to Scotland to study and started my own games company in Dundee - Quartic Llama. I’ve met incredibly talented people working in games in Scotland. And I love that within minutes, you can be in amazing countryside.

Erin Michno

Erin’s father inspired her love of computer games even before she was old enough to play them. With the help of Abertay University’s Prototype Fund, she’s launched her own successful games company in Dundee - Quartic Llama.

Why work in Scotland?

I’ve been a gamer forever – since I was too small to play. I wanted to gain practical gaming skills and I’d always loved maths. The University of Abertay offered these elements and plenty of hands-on experience.

By the time I graduated with a first class honours in Computer Games Technology I’d worked on XNA for the Xbox, Playstation 3 and motion controllers – just the kind of things I’d expect to work on in the games industry. I felt totally prepared when I finished the course.

I was recruited as an associate research engineer by a company that produces cinemotive equipment using game technology. I worked on using motiontrols that use magnetic resonance to figure out where you are in physical space.   It was interesting and exciting – we made a camera similar to the one used in the movie Avatar.  But instead of costing half-a-million pounds, ours cost about £100.  And it was used by professional film companies.

I wanted to create my own games. And I was meeting incredibly talented people in Dundee with skills I didn’t have. Our lecturers gave us masses of support, and convinced us we could do great things.

Working for Quartic Llama

The company I co-founded is called Quartic Llama and besides producing our own games, we do contract work for clients including the National Museum of Scotland. We’ve done a lot of interesting things including producing a game for children that introduces them to a new exhibition on the Vikings, and developing a mobile phone game called DAMA. It’s a kind of Pokemon collection meets strategy game.

We’re also developing it for the iPad, iPhone, Android tablet and Android phone.

One of the major reasons we were able to launch the company was the assistance we got from Abertay University’s Prototype Fund, which provides grants of up to £25,000 to start a company or fund an idea.

The fund also gives a lot of support – they gave us office space and all the machines and software licenses we needed to get started. The people our building have a background in business and are always ready to give us advice. It’s worked out perfectly.

Living in Scotland

I love that within minutes, you can be in amazing countryside. I went to a wedding in Pitlochry, just north of Dundee, and suddenly I was in a story book setting. It was wonderful.

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