Last Friday, students and industry members gathered in the study rooms of the Academy of Information Technology in Ultimo to show off and share their games and projects with each other and the public.
Founded in 1999, The AIT is an institute dedicated to raising the next generation of digital artists and designers. The AIT offers a broad range of diplomas and bachelors from 3D Animation, to Game Design, to Web and Software Development, and many more. With specialised courses and small intimate classes, they aim to create the next set of leaders in their respective fields, and judging by what they had on display at their open day, they are doing just that.
The AIT Game’s day was also, for the first time, open to the public to come play, and provide feedback on the students projects from the past semester.
Carlton Zhu, Senior Lecturer at the academy, says the aim of the day was, predominantly, to celebrate the students games, “Students work hard on their game projects, but often submit to the teacher for marking, and then get left on a hard-drive and not getting the play it deserves.”
So, each year, they organise an open day for the students to share their projects, and get a full day of intense play testing as a bonus. This is also the first year they’ve opened up the day to industry representatives.
These representatives brought their own projects along to get feedback on, an important step before they take their work to PAX at the end of the month. They we’re also of great help to the students, providing them with first-hand knowledge of the industry, and professional feedback on their work. Included among them was No Moss Studios, who brought a selection of games along on a number of platforms, from PC to Mobile, some on sale now and some still in development. Biim Games was also present, and brought alone some humongous home made arcade controllers.
While this all sounds very serious, it was actually an incredibly positive and fun day. There were any number of single and multiplayer games on both PC and table-top, and all gathered crowds.
The students we’re encouraged to play all games available and we’re rewarded with raffle tickets for playing and voting on their favourites. Although the raffle seemed a minor motivating factor in this regard as all the students were very excited to get to test each other’s games.
This raffle culminated in a prize ceremony at the end of the day, which included prizes for best table-top game, best game overall, and best industry game. The prizes for the best games and the raffle we’re xbox controllers, various tabletop games, and an ocarina being included, and the final most coveted prize was a rare mini SNES.
First, second, and third year students all got involved. The first-year major project is a tabletop game, the second year is an individual project, and the third year student project is a major group project. These are projects the students have been working all semester and all were proud to show off what they’d accomplished.
Carlton says that the students showing off their games provides them all with a drive to work harder, and that they “hope to further inspire all students to continue making better games – and love what they do”.