30 Under 30: Timea Tabori

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Timea showing kids how to code.

Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were 11? Yeah, neither do we. It was probably pretty vague, like ‘famous person, ‘scientist’, and ‘cooler than my parents’ (sorry mum).

Image of Timea TaboriBut for 25 year-old Timea Tabori, 11 was about the age when she figured out what she wanted to do with her life. She wanted to make games, and unlike many people, she never changed her mind.

Looking into universities from age 14, at 16 she moved from Hungary to the Republic of Ireland on. her. own. to finish high school and better her chances of getting into a UK/ROI university.

It was at the University of Abertay that Timea really found her place. In her final year, she applied for an internship doing software engineering with Codeplay Software. She thought she had no chance, but she was offered the internship.

‘That was the moment I realised just how much you could doubt yourself – that was a huge turning point in my career and my confidence.’

It wasn’t the only time Timea surprised herself: after graduating from Abertay she started applying for jobs, and even as she applied for positions at big-name companies, there was a lot of self-doubt. It was totally unneccessary, of course, because she was offered a job with Rockstar North, only one of the biggest game developers in the UK.

Working as an engine programmer, Timea writes the core tech that everything runs on. ‘If we do our jobs right,’ she says, ‘no one notices. But if we get it wrong, everyone does.’ It might seem thankless, but for Timea the job gives her the chance to work on new problems everyday, seeing different parts of the games development pipeline, and it’s fascinating.

Timea says that there’s no ‘wall of sexism’ for women in the games industry, but she’s still passionate about bringing more women into the field. She’s a mentor with Coderdojo, which runs coding events for kids, and is a STEM and Video Games ambassador.

‘There are somewhat more women in the industry now, not a lot, but one thing I notice is that all, or almost all of them are actively involved in outreach’

Timea Tabori at a BAFTA Games design workshopTimea was also one of a very, very few students selected to be an IGDA Scholar: that means that she got an all-access pass to the Games Developers Conference – the largest gathering of professional video game developers in the world.

Afterwards, she wanted to give back to the organsation, so she started volunteering with the local chapter; she’s now chair of IGDA Scotland, which she says is ‘bizarre, but really cool!’ Not that bizarre, really, since she was one of MCV’s Top 30 Women in Games 2016, and one of Develop’s 30 Under 30 in 2014.

Having just wrapped up work on an interactive sonic installation for the Hidden Door Festival (just something she did in her spare time with Tinderbox Orchestra, obvs), Timea is passionate not only about making games, but about changing how people see them.

‘People don’t appreciate the depth and diversity of opportunities that games offer; there’s this beautiful storytelling happening, but no one outside of the industry really knows about it’

Find out more about Timea on her website or by following her on Twitter at @TimeaTabori, and check out IGDA Scotland and Coderdojo too!

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