First Year, Game Productions - AIE Canberra - 2021

News / 09 December 2021

Hello Everyone again,

Writing up another annual post for the Canberra First Year projects for 2021 @ AIE. If you are interested you can check out the previous First-Year Projects from the last year.

My responsibility this year was to share the art delivery for the diploma, I was lucky to work alongside some really great artists/teachers. Ryan Ware, Cezar Brandao, Tom Magill, and Meg Groeneveld throughout the year we taught various skills and techniques across the 3d art pipeline in both games and VFX. This year ran a little differently, due to Covid-19 changing the landscape we typically teach in, we had the introduction of an online division of the class. So we had a blended learning situation, with students in a physical classroom in Canberra and a bunch of students online from around Australia on ZOOM. During the Production subject, we experienced a snap lockdown due to the spread of Delta strain of covid-19 which all students attended classes online till the remainder of the year. This did affect the student's output and mental health, but they all got it across the finish line.

For 6 weeks, 2-3 days a week, I myself along with the help of Tony Oakden, Kay Byrd, Justin Cragg, Meg Groeneveld, Cezar Brandao, Sean Fenemore and Enrique Klein, have been mentoring the students of first-year AIE Canberra Campus (Designers, Programmers, and Artists) develop a small video game production. Because this is the first time the students were working in groups on a production, we divided up the class into teams. Each team was randomly given a genre and a pre-defined brief of deliverables to meet. We did this, as we have in the last 3 years here at AIE Canberra to allow the students to come up with a game concept around the brief. The brief mentions design/art/programming deliverables that must be met and holds the students accountable, it also allows us to direct and mold the student's work more towards a commercial/releasable product. You can see some of these brief requirements mentioned next to the games below.

Although these first-year projects, these students still have a year of study to complete, before they graduate. This was the first time they were doing a production together for a long period of time across disciplines. There are some bugs and problems visible in these projects but all n all for them to pull this together in 6 weeks with working online and in-person they did really well, congratulations to all. I just hope they listen to the feedback given during the production and update their portfolios and various social media accounts to reflect the new work they want to show off. 

Rust to Dust

Elevator Pitch: "Rust to Dust is a wave-based onslaught FPS set in a fictional steampunk recreation of the American Western Frontier in the 1800s. Players will shoot their way through an industrialized Wild West, fighting off hordes of robotic enemies, relying on unique weapon augmentations and their own skill to come out on top."

Art: Connor McKinnon, Taj Koehler, Lawson Upton, Dion Maher, Lachlan Goolagong, Aiden Flaherty
Design: Zachariah Navarro-Bustos, Lachlan Boast, Beau Bardwell, Daniel Power
Programming: Charlie O'Regan, Marcus Ellis, Nik Rosser

Teacher Brief requirements:
First Person Shooter Game, 2x Enemies (with AI), 2x weapons (1 Hitscan Weapon, 1 non Hitscan weapon), Ammo mechanic, Health mechanic, Death/respawn system/Ending, GUI, Sound, Menu + Credits, 1 level.

Download Rust to Dust:


Elevator Pitch: "KAIDA is a 2.5D top-down, bullet hell game. You play as a young Quetzalcoatl trying to rescue your unhatched siblings. You must fight waves of enemies and defeat the goblin king to save your siblings from becoming a less than delectable goblin cuisine"

Art: Ace Davison, Adrian Carter, Anais Robert, Azshwyn Sibley, Jesse Lazzaro, Marc Ginman
Design: Brodie Maddren, Caleb McGlashan, Corey Barendrecht
Programming: Jazmin Fazzolari, Lewis Comstive, Nghia Do, Nicholas Connell

Teacher brief requirements:
Top-down Shooter Game, 2x Enemies (1x horde enemy) with AI, Single Player (1 Player character), Angled perspective view, Real-time, 2 x weapons/attacks (Both ranged, can be separate weapons or one can be a power-up), Health mechanic, Death/respawn system/Ending, Power-up with meter mechanic, Sound, Menu + Credits

Download Kaida: 


Elevator Pitch: "Velocitas is a 2.5D single-player side-scrolling precision platformer where you play as a prisoner and must make use of the magical rune on your hand to escape from a mysterious underground magical dungeon"

Art: Kye Harrison, Hayley Brooker, Cooper Steffens
Design: Will Hopkins, Paige Dowsett, Jake Stephens, Thomas Wisowaty
Programming: Noah Freeman, Nathan Duck, Chris Smith

Teacher Brief requirements:
Side Scroller Platformer, 1x Enemy (with at least 3 x observable AI behaviors), Clear end goal/exit, 1x Power up, Health mechanic, Death/respawn system, 1x Weapon/Tool* (Has Primary function as a weapon and secondary function as tool e.g. Flame weapon, that also burns plant obstacles) *No straight damage-dealing gun, Sound, Menu + Credits.

Download Velocitas: 

How's it Growing

Elevator Pitch: How's It Growing is an educational, fixed perspective point-and-click puzzle game set during the first plantings of the Australian National Botanic Gardens in the 1940s. You play as a budding botanist, learning about plant life cycles by manipulating plant environments to grow 3 native plants and disperse their seeds through interactive challenges.

This game was completed as an end-of-first-year project and was a collaboration between the AIE and the Australian National Botanic Gardens. 'How's it Growing' followed brief requirements that the ANBG developed, with the purpose of creating an educational game that can be used by teachers as a part of their curriculum, teaching students about Australian plants and their life cycles. Low-end hardware and the ability to be deployed in the browser were a must. 

Art: Aislinn (Ayvee) Smith, Petra Crispin, Lara Diego, Ethan Kyte
Design: Victoria Richardson, Charlie Brazil, Caitlin Johansson
Programming: James Greensill, Alex Manning, Ronan Richardson, Calvin Soueid

Play How's it Growing within the browser: 

Thanks for reading this far if you have, it will be interesting to see what they get up in their second year of study.
Next year, there will be a post showcasing their final Major works for this cohort. Although you can check out the 2021 Second-year students' work here. And if you are interested you can check out the 2020 first-year final work as well.

Once again thanks for reading this far, big congratulations to all students/staff involved, See you all next year.