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.

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".

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

Download Project Red: https://red-team.itch.io/project-red

'Elucid' 

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".

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

Download Project Elucid: https://teamelucid.itch.io/elucid 

Developer Commentary: https://youtu.be/E--dYO-WKFY

'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".

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

Download Project Latch: https://project-latch.itch.io/project-latch

'VFX Production' - Team Black

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

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

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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.

Finn