Promotion: We talk to a graduate of AIE's Advanced Diploma of Game Development Programming.
Game development had always been Calum Spring’s dream career. “I worked in IT for a few years, but the lack of creativity and passion eventually got to me and I snapped”, he says. “I went to an AIE open day, spoke to the teachers, and became convinced it was the right path for me. I enrolled and didn't look back.”
Calum is a graduate of AIE’s Advanced Diploma of Game Development Programming, as well as the AIE Incubator’s Graduate Diploma of Management. He’s also the lead programmer at Cardboard Keep, the developer of the recently released Warden: Melody of the Undergrowth. The game, which draws inspiration from the Zelda series and several other N64-era genre classics, won top honours at the iFest Showcase in Canberra in 2014, and was one of the 38 games showcased by AIE students at PAX 2015. All three full-time staff at Cardboard Keep are AIE graduates.
The AIE Incubator Program gives students access to development equipment, funding grants, and consolation with industry experts, which allowed Cardboard Keep to develop their ambitious game. “We were the recipient of a $30,000 grant in the Post-Incubator Developer Grant round of 2014”, Calum says. “This money helped us work on the game full-time for 30 months. The mentorship and guidance provided by the Incubator was fundamental in enabling our team to stay on track and plan our larger objectives.”
“The skills we learned at AIE were essential to our ability to develop Warden”, Calum adds. “Several solid years of practicing your art full-time cements the core fundamentals and gives you a true understanding to branch out from.” AIE also emphasises the importance of working together as a team. “It's easy to think of a programming or art diploma as a two-year program where you master that skill, but the reality is that just as much time is spent organising teams, communicating between parties and learning project management and conflict resolution”, Calum says
“These skills are hugely valuable, and they're something you can't just learn online. AIE allowed me to learn first-hand how to work in and manage a game development team. They help you get out of your comfort zone and into real industry situations.
AIE is hosting an open day on May 21 between 10am and 3pm, across their Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide campuses. There will be lectures, presentations and guest speakers throughout the day - if you share Calum’s dream of making games, this is a good place to start. For more information about your local campus’ open day program, visit http://www.aie.edu.au/openday.
Swing by an AIE campus and you’ll be able to meet some of the Cardboard Keep team, who will be giving away a limited number of free copies of Warden. The game is currently available for purchase on Steam.