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.


Second Year Student Major Projects - AIE Canberra - 2021

News / 03 December 2021

Hello Everyone,

Writing another annual post for the Canberra Second Year final major projects 2021 at AIE.
Show off what the students have completed in 2021. You can see previous year's Major Projects posts here: 2020 & 2019.

Major Production is a large milestone for these students, as it's them concluding 2 years of study before they graduate. It gives them the chance to showcase the skills they have learned over the duration of the course and put it on display. Additionally showcases their ability to work in teams and execute a game production in a team.

My responsibility this year was to share the art delivery for the advanced diploma second-year students. I was privileged to work alongside some really great teachers for the art delivery. Ryan Ware, Cezar Brandao, and Meg Groeneveld were all very much involved with the student's development. They all were extremely helpful when I went on long service leave at the beginning of 2021 for 6.2 weeks, they were all able to jump in and pick up the helm and run with it. I couldn't be more appreciative of what they have done for me in my absence with their skillsets and experiences they brought to the table for the students to learn from. 

Before students embark on their final year Major production we have a subject called 'Proof of Concept' which runs for 5 weeks prior to Major Production. Students in teams prototype and pitch concepts that they would like to take into the Major Production. They go through multiple culling processes within the duration of this subject, but the students are typically a part of two teams. Which they have to create documentation, schedules, prototype risky game mechanics, develop a Kickstarter-style presentation with a sell sheet and a questionnaire for the final culling process. We have chosen the two-group method, to keep students on their toes and not attached to their idea, And if one of their ideas gets culled they do have a backup plan. Additionally, students in the past cohorts found it difficult to join other teams later in 'major production' if they put all their eggs in one basket or in our case one game idea.

This Year we had 10 concepts. be approved for Proof of concept.

  • Parasite
  • Wall-Hacks
  • Beehind You
  • Magical Spell Masters
  • Game Ended
  • Investigator
  • Reflection
  • War Money
  • The Perfect Shot
  • Bad luck Bad Cat

The documentation and pitch are then handed off to a virtual industry panel, (Historically in previous years, was in person but due to covid-19 we had to change it to virtual panel). in which critical feedback is given and another grueling culling process takes place. At the end of this process, we end up with the final games that make it into Major production for development for the next 15 weeks. 

In conclusion of the subject, ended up receiving 72 pages of feedback across all 10 teams in Proof of Concept from a 25 person industry panel. This feedback was given anonymously to the students, which helped assist the final culling process to take place. And to reduce the games to only just 4 games.

These four games were:

  • Bad Luck Black Cat
  • Magical Spell Masters
  • The Perfect Shot
  • Splatacle *formally called 'Parasite'

For 13 weeks, 2-3 days a week, I have had the pleasure of assisting mentoring the students for their final year major projects along with Tony Oakden, Cezar Brandao, Justin Cragg, Enrique Klein, and Kay Byrd. I would also like to point out a special thanks to, Rik Lagarto, Ryan Ware, Tom Magill, Sean Fenemore as they have been instrumental over the last 2 years of their study. We also had help from the wonderful Tim Duck who collaborated with us again with CIT, to provide music and sound effects from his wonderful students.

Major production, unfortunately, had quite the rocky start, with the students experiencing another snap lockdown due to the spread of the covid-19 variant delta in late 2021. So teaching and production once again transitioned to online learning. It wasn't a huge transition for the teaching side of things. But I could see the mental toll it took out on the students once again like they had last year for the first year final production. There were quite a few ups and downs throughout the production and a lot of hard lessons the students had to learn while under these special circumstances. Managing expectations, encouraging clear communication, regular builds, testing and gathering feedback, reiterating gameplay/assets. The students were able to retain enthusiasm which allowed these projects below to exist.


Elevator Pitch: Splatacle is a wacky 2D action platformer where you can't use any of your limbs. Instead, you've got to make use of your giant tentacle appendage to grapple and bounce around the map, dragging your useless body along as you go. Swing, bounce and splat your way through the lab, avoiding a scientist's dastardly pet cat as it tries to thwart your attempts to escape!.

Art: Shay-Lee, Chris Ottey, Lachlan Smith
Design: Rhys Adams, Jibrill Murphy, Noah Rapetti
Programming: Ben Ioannidis, Jason Hastings,

Download Splatacle for PC:
Download Splatacle on Andriod:

'Magical Spell Masters'

Elevator Pitch: "Magical Spell Masters is a turn-based strategy game about spelling words to cast spells. Using a grid of magical runes, the player must spell out powerful words, combining elements to defeat dangerous foes across a series of battles"

Art: Sean Spek, Jamie Appleby, Brandon Nunez
Design: Sean Brady, Finn Mahoney
Programming: Fredrick Bancan, Tim Dodds

Download Magical Spell Masters: 

'Bad Luck Bad Cat'

Elevator Pitch: "Bad Luck Black Cat is a top-down 3D farming adventure game for the PC where you play as a Black Cat who has moved to a small village called Bastion in hopes of curing their ever-present bad luck. They must work with their new neighbors to grow and trade crops, overcoming their bad luck along the way".

Art: Hannah Lamb, Monika Haselhuhn, Hannah Levi
Design: Luke Schlesier, Rowan Brown
Programming: Blake Tighe, James Bobier, Callum Mcdermott

Download Bad Luck Black Cat:

'The Perfect Shot'

Elevator Pitch: "The Perfect Shot is a first-person narrative-focused adventure game where the player must recreate photos from an old photobook unlocking memories of a long-lost father figure, reliving the memories they had".

Art: Aiden Ross, Ricky-Lee Hudson-Stephens, Tom Stonehouse
Design: Ethan Wurfel, Jaelyn Meade
Programming: Jonathan Nemec

Download The Perfect Shot:

If you got this far reading this post congratulations! and if any of this interested you, you can check out previous year's 2020, 2019 posts on Artstation. 

One big final congratulations to all the students involved this year, and best luck with the future, keep working hard towards your goals. The hustle isn't over yet.



News / 10 September 2021

Hey, everyone just a short post.
Academy of Interactive Entertainment, the campus I teach at here in Canberra just won the ACT Small Training Provider of the year for 2021.
We were lucky to win two years in a row, making 2021 the second year. Congratulations to everyone involved
Here is the announcement below. 


Student's Graduation 2020

News / 12 April 2021

Huge congratulations to my art students of 2019-2020 who graduated today! After many countless delays due to covid, it's great to see all of you finally putting on those graduation caps and robes and concluding your two years of study with me. Even though I couldn’t make it in person due to being on long service leave, I was able to record my graduation speech from the beach and impart some advice on entering the industry.
Best of luck with the future and can't wait to see what they get up to.

This picture was snapped by Saxon, (Thanks for sending it to me!)

If you were interested in the speech it's self it wasn't something amazing, Just a short video I recorded on my phone on the beach during the first weekend of my Long service leave of 6.2 weeks. This was the second take, not scripted but what was on my mind at the time.

I wanted to express that, getting a job in the industry is hard. And that if they break down their goals and keep at it, They can break down any nearly impossible goal.  They can do it if they put the time and energy into it. The important thing is persistence, things won't be easy. Keep at it, and keep pushing forward.

You can check out their final year major productions for 2020 here in a previous blog post.
All the best,

First Year, Production (Games/Projects) - AIE Canberra 2020

News / 08 December 2020

Hello Everyone again,

Writing up a blog post for the Academy of Interactive Entertainment Canberra First Year projects for 2020, my responsibility was to teach the art students along with the assistance of Ryan ware over the duration of 2020. If you are interested in the second-year projects click this link.

The First-year of AIE is about teaching all the basics, 3d art pipeline, Modelling and texturing, character sculpting, Animation principles, Digital Lighting and Composting, Storyboarding, and finally... Production. We had a rocky start to the year, Australian Bushfires, Hail Storms, Dust Storms, and from March Covid-19, which threw the entire class into an online setting within ZOOM.

Overall teaching-wise, not a whole lot changed for me. I previously worked at AIE's online campus for 5 years delivering Advance Diploma Art courses online and about 3 years ago I moved to in-person training at the Canberra campus. I continued the tradition, of recording lectures and sessions and everything I did in class which I typically had to do for an online classroom. When covid hit and Canberra went into lockdown, I still had to attend on-campus due to terrible internet connections at home, because I had to compete for bandwidth with housemates and just wasn't feasible to teach a class.

Although my overall my covid experience has been okay, it wasn't for the students. I could see a lot of strain on the students... anxiety, depression, the isolation you name it. It has been incredibly difficult for the students and such a momentous task for them to all overcome. As lockdown restrictions eased, it was a very long time before we started seeing students come back to school. My biggest concern from an educational perspective for the students was the students missing out on the typical bonding experience they get when in a physical classroom/campus. (Which for final year projects is invaluable). From teaching online for such a long time previously, I always noticed teamwork and group dynamics are always on a thin knife-edge when working remotely. If communication and expectations aren't clear among the team. A promising successful team can easily tumble and fall within a week when previously they were going really well. 

For these students, for a lot of them, it was the first time they had to work in teams. A common problem from a teacher's perspective when students work in teams is some students work incredibly well solo, but when in a group scenario they might not perform as well. And require a lot of mentoring and practice to improve these soft/team skills. This was a challenge this year but they all overcame that obstacle.

For 6 weeks, 2-3 days a week, I myself along with the help of Tony Oakden, Rik Lagarto, Kay Byrd, and Sean Fenemore, have been mentoring the students of first-year AIE Canberra Campus (Designers, Programmers, and Artists). Students were divided up into teams and given a genre and a pre-defined brief of deliverables to meet. We had 3 games this year, FPS, Hack'n'Slash, and a Sidescroller. We also had one VFX team doing a production at the same time headed by Ryan Ware. Ryan shared the load of the teaching to the art students over the duration of 2020 (Both Games and VFX), without him I don't believe it could have been pulled off. Thanks again, Ryan.

Below are the projects, keep in mind these students still have a year of study to complete. And this was the first time 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 to pull this together during a global pandemic, they did really well. Congratulations to all. 

'Project Red' 

Elevator Pitch: "Project Red is a wave-based first-person shooter, where the player must survive the onslaught of evil cultists inside a decrepit Castle".

Art: Aiden Ross, Elliott Richards, Monika Haselhuhn, William Minter & Riley Harvey
Design: Jibrill Murphy
Programming: Zander Blount, James Bobier & Jason Hastings

Download Project Red:


Elevator Pitch: "Elucid is a 3rd person Hack 'n' Slash, set in the fictional world of cyber-enhanced Japan where the player can activate a lucid state to stun/grapple enemies".

Art: Hannah Levi, Ricky-Lee Hudson-Stephens, Sean Spek & Jordan Condipodero 
Design: Luke Schlesier & Rhys Adams
Programming: Jonathan Nemec & Evangelos Ghikas

Download Project Elucid: 

Developer Commentary:

'Project Latch'

Elevator Pitch: "Project Latch is a 2D, pixelated, side-scrolling, puzzle-platformer for the PC. The player uses a magnet to beat enemies, solve puzzles and traverse the harsh environment of a post-apocalyptic world".

Art: Tom Stonehouse, Chris Ottey, Lachlan Smith & Hannah Lamb
Design: Finn Mahoney & Sean Brady
Programming: Callum Mcdermott & Blake Tighe

Download Project Latch:

'VFX Production' - Team Black

Logline: "An infinite looping video passing through multiple low/mid poly environments."

Art: Rebecca Gibson, Madeline Harrop, Conor Joyce, William Minter, Ashleigh Murrell, Timothy Sixt & Ebonie Struss.


Thanks for reading this far and checking out these first-year projects.
If you have any feedback, make sure to let them know.

Next year, there should be a follow-up post showcasing what they did for the second year. Can't wait.


Second Year Student Major Projects - AIE Canberra - 2020

News / 07 December 2020

Hey everyone,
While I am still teaching at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment in Canberra, I like to do an annual Artstation post for the final year graduate major project. You can also check out the 2019 student graduates post I did last year here and additionally, you can also check out the first years of 2020 here.

This month we see another bunch of students concluding their study here at AIE Canberra. We had quite the start this year, with the crisis of Australian Bushfires, Hail Storms, Dust Storms, and from march Covid-19, which threw all the students online for a large portion of the year. Luckily Canberra wasn't hit as bad compared to the rest of the world for Covid-19 and the students were able to resume face2face study for the majority duration of the production.

For 15 weeks, 2-3 days a week, I have been helping mentor the students for their final year major projects along with Tony Oakden, Rik Lagarto, and Kay Byrd. The Students developed pitches that were presented to a digital Industry panel, which then went under multiple culling processes before it arrived at the 6 games we have today. Tim Duck collaborated with us with CIT, to provide music and sound effects from his wonderful students. And finally a huge shout out to Ryan Ware, who covered me throughout the entire year and provided additional art support to the students when needed. 

It was great to see these students, improve and overcome the challenges they faced during the 15 weeks, it was a pleasure seeing them evolve and develop these 6 little titles. Be sure to click on the links as there is more content/screenshots to check out. If the group included a public version of their developer commentary, I also included that under the trailer for each game as a separate link to check out.  

Other than that, check out the games below. 


Elevator Pitch: "Bosky is a relaxing PC & Mobile game where the player creates miniature forests in a personal plant pot ".

Art: Alexander Murphy, Erin Biskup & Sie McEachern
Design: Idris Hunt
Programming: Idris Hunt & Pip Jadric
Audio: Diego Aparicio & Jack Rankin

Download Bosky:

'Me Myself & Die' 

Elevator Pitch: "Me Myself & Die is an isometric puzzle game where the goal is to orchestrate and manipulate your death to progress. Each time you die, you leave behind a block. Arrange these blocks to solve the puzzle."

Art: Martin Widdowson & Sie McEachern
Design: Jason Marsh, Mateusz Solle & Dean Subritzky
Programming: David Flintoft
Audio: Lachlan Willacy & Yan Parums 

Google Play:

Martin has written a fantastic blog post breaking down me myself & die over the 15 weeks, Check out Part 1 and Part 2

'Malfunction on the Orion Express' 

Elevator Pitch: "Malfunction on the Orion Express is a Hidden Object & Text Adventure Game. Agatha Christie meets Firefly in this thrilling Sci-Fi detective story. Solve mysteries by interacting with compelling characters and investigating the luxurious carriages aboard the Orion Express."

Art: Frances Adams, Nguyen Pham & Brea Fox
Design: Gavin Lee & Dana McKay
Programming: Jim Phimphravichith
Audio: Tim Duck

Download Malfunction on the Orion Express:


Elevator Pitch: "Slimelight is a third-person wave-based shooter with a Roman theme where you play as a slime fighting other slimes.".

Art: Samuel Bartlett
Programming: Ryan Pallesen

Download Slimelight:

'Planet Unknown'

Elevator Pitch: "Planet Unknown is a retro-inspired Sci-Fi 2D pixel platformer. Play as a stranded adventurer who has crash-landed on a hostile alien planet that must find their ship’s missing hull to escape. Traverse the strange environment, solve puzzles, fight enemy creatures, and gather as many ship pieces as possible with the aid of special abilities. ".

Art: Elise Allan, Angela Stevens &  Sebastian Tuckwell
Design: Chris Selleck, Tristan Duggan & Matt Solle
Programming: Sian Sallway & David Flintoft
Audio: Lane Stoddard & Rhys Cronin 

Download Planet Unknown:

'Meltdown VR' 

Elevator Pitch: "Meltdown VR is a game, in which a player must stop a nuclear power plant from exploding be performing a series of seemingly innocuous tasks."

Art: Charles Spall & Martin Widdowson
Design: Connor Jack & Rowan Brown
Programming: Tarn Cooper
Audio: Mark Campbell 

Download Meltdown VR:

This year we had a collection of interesting games developed for multiple platforms. We had more groups compared to last year with more students shared across multiple groups. Project management and task distribution were the major things a lot of the teams struggled with, Especially when the pandemic hit, Everyone did pretty alright but there was some room for improvement for all the games posted above.
However watching these students come from their very first day to the last day here at AIE, proud to see how far they have all come. Look forward to catching them at their graduation.

Congratulations to all the students involved, and best luck with the future.


AIE - ACT Training Provider of the Year.

News / 15 September 2020

Hey Everyone just a short post.
Academy of Interactive Entertainment, the campus I teach at here in Canberra just won the ACT Small Training Provider of the year for 2020.
Pretty awesome feeling, to be a part it, alongside everyone else who was involved.

The ACT Training Awards is an annual opportunity to showcase the commitment, innovation, and outstanding achievements of all those involved in the ACT vocational education and training (VET) sector.
Due to Covid-19, the event was live-streamed here, I just cut the video to highlight the section we were mentioned.

All n all, huge congratulations to everyone involved, and congratulations to all the finalists and winners tonight.

Second Year Student Major Projects - AIE Canberra - 2019

News / 14 December 2019

Another year has wrapped up. and another year of students wrapping up their two years of study. 

For 15 weeks, 2 days a week at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment in Canberra. I have been helping mentor the students for their final year major projects along with Tony Oakden and Rik Lagarto. Students developed pitches that went under multiple culling processes and then pitched it to an Industry panel which the teachers filtered down to four games to be green-lit.

It was great to see these students, improve and overcome the challenges they faced during the 15 weeks, it was a pleasure seeing them evolve and develop these 4 little titles. Be sure to click on the links as there is more content/screenshots to check out. 


"A Top-Down, Retro Arcade, Shooter.  Where you can rotate the map to fire upon enemies from different angles".

Art: Jonah Bauer & Anna-Rose Barrett 
Design: Jonathan Hosking
Programming: Francisco Romano

Download Flank:

'Child of the Night'

"A casual top-down 3D stealth game where the player - a vampire - must sneak around the town and consume their victims before the sun rises".

Art: Meg Groeneveld, Lani Parker, Molly Trehy & Anna-Rose Barrett
Design: Blayne Cuzner
Programming: Justin Cragg & Callum Burden


'Legion Fall'

“Legion Fall” is a 3rd person, historical-fantasy game, where the player fights barbarians while exploring a mysterious valley to find the Legion’s lost messenger.

Art: Sarah Staley, RJ O'Sullivan, Robert Dickson, Aaron Lalor & Chris O'Neill
Design: Saxon Hutchinson
Programming: Thomas Wooster 



"A 2.5D puzzle platformer where you play as a marshmallow trying to escape the appetite of humans"

Art: Jaymie Sibree, Alyssa Barry &  Cassandra Zanin
Design: James Wilson & Jackson Lello 
Programming: Sean McCarthy & Reece McIntyre